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Friday, 10 May 2013

Helping one another.

Well, here I am, back on the ferry on the return journey to the UK.  A planned overnight stop with yet more friends of long standing, David and Gwen Staveley, and then it will be "up the road", tomorrow, and back to Scotland, and home.  We are both grateful to them, and to a new friend, Marie-Esther Rouffet, who looked after us so well for a couple of nights, on our way up to Dunkerque.

Regretfully, our Sat-nav is not as dependable as our friends!  It keeps wanting to take us by the "scenic route" when all we want is a straightforward journey to our destination.  We are even taken off the main road, from time to time, on a detour - that brings us back to the same main road a few miles on from where we left it!  I will be sending a strongly-worded letter to the manufacturers when I return home - and those who know me are aware that I am capable of writing a strongly-worded letter!

Still I don't want to fill a post with ranting.  Suffice it to say that, on my experience, I would not be able to recommend a Garmin to anyone!

There are, of course, lessons to be learned from any situation.  As we drove through parts of the French countryside that no-one outside a 20 mile radius even knows exists, we saw many fields with crops at various stages of growth.  One field would have no more than what appeared to be green lines marked on the soil - in reality,, the first little shoots of whatever crop had been planted therein.  Adjacent to that field there might be a field in which the crop was already some 12" to 15" in height.  The next field might have the familiar oil-seed rape apparently flourishing, and at an advanced stage of growth.

I recalled reading, earlier in the week, about the apparent fact that plants "talk" to one another!  Not in a vocal, and audible manner, of course.  However, scientists have discovered that, for example, when  under attack - perhaps from caterpillars - they use a symbiotic fungus, networks of which cover the roots of most plants, to convey a warning to their neighbours.

I thought of the Body of Christ, the Church.  I thought of the number of young people who, for whatever reason, turn their backs on it - and Him!  I thought of the wealth of knowledge that is held by those of more mature years.  And I wondered if we need to learn from the plants!  Do we actually communicate across the age groups?  Do we share what we know?  Are we willing to ask an older person for advice, or information?   Are we who are older prepared to listen to what the young folk have to say?  Do we have activities that are specifically designed to bring all age groups together - or must we continue to have a meeting for children; one for teens; one for young woman; one for older women; one for men?  Not that there is anything inherently wrong with such gatherings - indeed, there is much to be gained when people of the same age-group and/or gender meet with one another.  But is it enough?

Surely if plants are able to communicate across 'barriers' - effectively looking out for one another - we should be able to do the same!  The inspired writer of the Letter to Hebrew disciples of Jesus wrote: "Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God." (Heb 13:16).   Did he mean only material goods, or might knowledge, wisdom, and experience also be included?

When it comes to loving one another, the references are overwhelming!  Jesus, Himself, said: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another ; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35).  Paul, too, makes reference to this love: "... love one another with brotherly affection;" (Rom 12:10).  Peter encourages his readers to "... love one another earnestly from the heart." (I Peter 1:22); while John assures us that "... if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us." (I John 4:12).

One of the ways in which my wife, and children, and I express our love for one another is by sharing.  Ought not the Body of Christ do the same - in every way?

I'll not be purchasing another Garmin Sat-nav.  However, I will be endeavouring to share more of what I have, in all areas of life, with others who may even be helped by my input.  Perhaps all of us, old and young alike, should try to do the same!

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