Acts of kindness and light: a reflection from the Dean, Wednesday 1 April 2020

As I came back from my walk, I saw that St Ethelbert's Well on Castle Green had been brightened! Alison, one of our chorister mums, who lives nearby, had placed some lovely flowers in the ancient well. We generally do this just on St Ethelbert's Day, 20 May, but it seems a particularly apt and kind gesture at this challenging time. Seeing the things we may take for granted – flowers, shrubs, nature – in a new light – opens our eyes to all that is beautiful and heart-warming in our world, and perhaps opens our hearts to a new gratitude?

As I was thinking of this, came the news that so many garden centres are now in dire financial straits, with the stock of these, the three busiest months of the year, likely to go to waste, as nobody can visit garden centres and outlets. This story of financial difficulty, even ruin, in these times, is repeated so many times, in so many business sectors – they all so need our prayers.

Today, give thanks for the green you can see from your windows – perhaps your own garden with its flowers and shrubs – perhaps a window box, springing into life. Perhaps that may sustain us and give us some hope today?

A prayer of thanksgiving for nature

O God, we thank you for this earth, our home; for the wide sky and the blessed sun, for the salt sea and the running water, for the everlasting hills and the never-resting winds, for trees and the common grass underfoot.

We thank you for our senses by which we hear the songs of birds, and see the splendour of the summer fields, the taste of the autumn fruits, and rejoice in the feel of the snow, and smell the breath of the Spring.

Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty; and save our souls from being so blind that we pass unseeing when even the common thorn bush is aflame with your glory, O God our creator, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.                                                                                 

Walter Rauschembusch  1861–1918