Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
It has been extremely hot here for several weeks now. No rain is forecast for the rest of this week at least. So it is not surprising that a fire has broken out on the moorlands to the east of Manchester followed by two more in the west that joined together. There is some question that they were started deliberately, although why anyone would do that is beyond me! Any way they have spread like, well, like wild fire across the peat moors. Aerial photos show the extent of the devastation; at least nine square miles have been consumed by fire. Fortunately there has been no loss of human life although wild life experts tell us that whilst anything that could fly or run has escaped the blaze, those unable to do so, like the chicks of the birds or the young mammals will have died. Fire brigades from across the country, together with units of the army, have been doing their best to extinguish the flames but, of course peat has for centuries been a source of heat and light so it is very difficult to stop it from burning below the surface. The conditions in which they are working are terrible not only the heat but the choking smoke making it difficult, if not impossible to see or even breathe. Yet the fire fighters are working on and will eventually bring the fires under control and then extinguish them completely.
Daily we may face apparently insurmountable obstacles, sickness, bereavement, the loss of job, home, or family member. Often these may seem, like the moorland fires, impossible to overcome. But there is hope. Right at the beginning of his Gospel St John wrote: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5 NIV. And that is our hope for the future. We must hold it before us at all times. As the moors will, in time, regenerate and the birds and animals return, life for us too will go on. Let us be thankful then that God has said: Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 NIV. The Lord will walk with us as we walk the desolate moors of our lives without burning our feet and breathing freely without choking on the smoke. Thanks be to God
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years