Sunday, 21 June 2009

The beauty of the countryside

This weekend I've been down in Salisbury with my fellow students on STETS (Southern Theological Education and Training Scheme) for the last weekend of our first year together. I think to an individual we questioned where the year had gone - one Easter School, 6 residential weekends, a few study days, five modules and assignments and more than 20 tutorials.....time has truly flown! I will write about that more later.

What I really wanted to reflect on was the weekend and the wonderful experience I had at the hands of the community in the Chalke Valley; 13 Parishes with 9 PCC's! Quite a handful. However, I think that we felt (I did, anyway), a real sense of community and togetherness with the people we met who spoke with real pride and positivity of their community and how it had really grown. I am sure there are 'issues' and everyday challenges to be faced, but it seemed that they were able to face them as a community. I was also struck with the true partnership and relationship between the URC Minister and the CofE Team Rector; I think that much of the success of the ministry will be down to this relationship working well.

The valley was truly an area of beauty. It coincided with a new album I bought on Friday by Sarah McLachlan; Ordinary Miracle (not a new album, just one that caught my eye), called Rarities, B-sides and other stuff. Listening to the words of the first track really talked to me; is it a contradiction to refer to an 'ordinary' miracle - not in the words of this song; everyday occurrences that are truly miracles, but things that we consider ordinary and perhaps take for granted. Lyrics below:

It's not that unusual
When everything is beautiful
It's just another
Ordinary miracle today

The sky knows when it's time to snow
Don't need to teach a seed to grow
It's just another
Ordinary miracle today

Life is like a gift, they say
Wrapped up for you everyday
Open up, and find a way
To give some of your own

Isn't remarkable?
Like everytime a raindrop falls
It's just another
Ordinary miracle today

The birds in winter have their fling
And always make it home by spring
It's just another
Ordinary miracle today

When you wake up everyday
Please don't throw your dreams away
Hold them close to your heart
'Cause we are all a part

Of the ordinary miracle

Ordinary miracle

Do you want to see a miracle

It seems so exceptional
That things just turn out after all
It's just another
Ordinary miracle today

The sun comes out and shines some bright
And disappears again at night
It's just another
Ordinary miracle today

It's just another
Ordinary miracle today

Wonderful words that really struck a chord in the light of this weekend. The villages of the Chalke Valley might be living in an 'ordinary miracle' but we mustn't take places like this for granted.

Added later...I've just discovered this song is from the film 'Charlotte's Web'. Link below (if it works):

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