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On Earth there is no Heaven but there are pieces of it: Jules Renard, 1887

1st June 2020

I think all of us during this lockdown have at least been grateful that the weather has been kind. Sunshine and warm temperatures have meant that we have been able to make the most of going outside either for our daily walks, or to simply enjoy being in our gardens, for those of us lucky enough to have our own green spaces.

For once we have been given the time to observe the unfolding of spring more closely than ever before and to notice and enjoy the changes in nature that we can often be too busy to observe. I for one have delighted in those changes and as I sit writing this, I can observe our starlings now with their fledglings, greedily attacking the balls of suet and seed while the sparrow family, chaffinches and collared doves hoover up the crumbs from underneath.

Meanwhile I observe one of the resident squirrels making his way up the pole of the other bird feeder to acrobatically steal as much of the bird food as he possibly can… and I will let him!

Such sights have brought consolation at a time when the news is invariably not good and they are a reminder that while ‘on earth there is no heaven..there are pieces of it’. This is why nature has long inspired artists to write, paint and compose and by its capacity to raise our spirits, many consider it spiritual.

To encourage engagement with nature, Wychwood has it’s very own Facebook page dedicated to noticing nature which gives a forum on which to post our pictures. Wychwood Wildlife through our Windows (WWW) seeks to encourage us to develop this week’s Habit of Mind and ‘Respond with Wonderment and Awe’ at the world around us.

However it is not only in the natural world that we may observe pieces of heaven. We need only look at the way many people have rallied to support those isolated and vulnerable in their communities, the way frontline workers have continued to serve whilst risking their own health and how individuals like Captain Tom Moore (now Sir!) have been inspired to do the extraordinary. These give a taste of what is meant by the words in the Christian Lord’s prayer that say ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven‘. Heaven is not just some future hope but the ideal which drives us to seek improvement in this world now. And we are called to be co-creators of that heaven on earth so that pieces of it may be visible.

A final reflection from the Christian St Teresa of Avila: “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

Mrs Crossley