Pause for Thought: All change

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THE old siding, next to the up-line at Hampden Park station, overgrown for many years, is now making way for a car park, I understand. A sign of the times, I suppose. All change.

It was well-used in the past, no doubt, most probably for freight traffic, since it was opened in the mid-1800s, but no longer needed.

The rusty, obsolete track has been taken up, the concrete platforms have been broken up and the weeds and shrubs condemned to the bonfire. Sadly, several plum trees have also gone, just at the time they were producing an abundance of beautiful, succulent fruit.

I had promised myself, having a vision of jam and pies for a few months to come, that I would gather some of those plums, where the branches were hanging over the fence. Too late.

‘A time to plant, and a time to pluck up’, says the writer of the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes (chapter 3, verse 2).

A simple illustration in the story above of how things work out in our lives. Change. We don’t like it, but we can do little about it. Our jobs, our families, our locations – all are affected .

At the beginning of the seventies, my wife and I, living and working in Eastbourne, uprooted to travel to S.E. Asia to engage in a church and teaching ministry for well over a decade.

On our return to the U.K., with two sons for secondary education here, people often remarked: “You must have sacrificed so much to go to Thailand. ”

They obviously believed our existence out east had been a struggle, with few modern amenities and conveniences in that developing country.

“No,” was my response, “we gave up more to come back.” There had been acceptance, fulfilment, contentment, and suddenly it was all removed. Over there was meaning, that is a little world revolving around us. We were part of something successful. W

hen we arrived in Sussex, we were just two individuals in a crowd of sixty million.

Great comfort and support can be found in the old hymn ‘Through all the changing scenes of life, in trouble and in joy ... O make but trial of his love; experience will decide how blest they are, and only they, who in his truth confide.’

And there is the assurance from God’s word: ‘I the Lord do not change’ (Malachi 3, 6).

Anything to add, anything to ask?

P.S. I have promised friends at Heathfield Chapel, Punnetts Town that I will mention their upcoming Flower Festival. The dates are Friday 28th and Saturday 29th September, 10 am to 5 pm.

On the Sunday, 30th, the chapel will be open for viewing from 2 to 6 pm, followed by a Songs of Praise. Also on the Friday evening, 7.30, the Weald Singers will be in concert.