Friday, March 09, 2012

9th March 2012

I’ve been fascinated with trees for years and this is a magnificent specimen which I never noticed until today. I presume it’s seriously old going by the size of the stump, and I wonder how big it was in it’s heyday. It’s certainly a good size now and apparently quite healthy and good for a few more years yet. The National Trust blurb suggests some old oaks could be a thousand years in age and maybe this is one of them. So I’m thinking was it first alive with Æthelred the Unready on the English throne, or one of the Danish Kings who ruled our land for a couple of decades? Then again we had a French speaking monarchy before long as well.

It’s funny looking back in time at our country at that time as it was a totally alien place compared with today. But then again I can recall the 1960’s quite clearly and have many memories which are equally alien. I remember, at the beginning of that decade, visiting some sort of great aunt whilst she was in hospital and she was in her late 90’s… so would have been born I reckon in the 1860’s. So theoretically it was possible for me to have spoken to someone who at least had had a conversation with someone born in 1760’s or thereabouts! All of a sudden history becomes much closer to home as potentially 18th century ‘influences’ could easily bridge a 250 year gap to such as myself with the connection of just a couple of people. I’m grateful for that continuity as for sure on my mother’s side of the family we have a strong church connection, and I like to think that I have relatives waiting for me in heaven when my turn comes. Yes I believe the Lord honours generations of Godly people and maybe I’m just the latest in a long line. And my mum’s maiden name was Kirk which apparently is an informal Scottish name for church. Not sure about the Paine side of the family as the name seems to have it’s origins in the French for Pagan! At least there was an early enthusiast, Hugh de Payen, who sought to guide, with protection, Christian pilgrims journeying to Jerusalem and so founded the Knights Templar. But I have more doubts about their other activities over the years and I’ve no way of knowing if he was an actual ancestor anyway.

Over the generations we see profound change in society; and even over the course of my life I’ve seen my country change radically; beginning with the so called Swinging Sixties and progressing through radical Thatcherism into the somewhat related Blairism. Yes from my perspective each of these time periods saw massive societal restructuring and not without negative consequences either. Yet from the dawn of time, despite the greatest cultural diversity and forced change there has been one constant… the favour and work of God with his people. Yes, there have always been those who love the Lord and honour his word. So where we see love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control we recognise Godliness whether it be in the lives of those who believe or not. But there are those who lift up the name of Jesus allowing him to guide their steps and these are those who truly have the words of eternal life that we should all heed.

Yes, my life has changed quite radically even over the last 10 months so but one thing has remained exactly the same... and always will!

Hebrews 13:8 ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.’ (NLT)

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