Hare or Tortoise …   

No, not an option on the menu at the pub – thankfully. Which approach to life do you prefer?

Hearing again at the parish council meetings the results of the recordings on the Speed Indicator Device, you can’t help but think we are a society of hares; or possibly desperately late tortoises! For Ilchester folks especially, living as we do on the Foss Way with the added bonus of the London to Exeter road coming through there has probably always been a lot of passing traffic. I wonder, did folk used to curse the speeding donkeys of the mediaeval period?

The long standing nature of our communities give us a sense of permanence here; and yet there is also a keen sense of the transient nature of time, of life, and of the many folks who are ‘passing through’ – even if that is for 30 years.

‘Sojourner’ is a term used in the bible to talk of ‘a temporary resident without inheritance rights’. There is the sense that we are all ‘passing through’ the world, staying for a while. The psalmist says ‘Our days are like the grass; we flourish like a flower of the field; when the wind goes over it, it is gone and its place will know it no more’. However, the nature of ‘inheritance’ has always been important for the people of God and it is the core of a sense of ‘permanence’, for it is the land that remains and that a community is to take care of.

Any community, however transient, however fleeting their time in one place, takes care of for that time and age the land in which they dwell. We inherit from those before and will bequeath to those yet to come. Here is a calling for any community, to care for what has been received and gift it to the future. It is all too easy to forget this and do as we please, leaving nothing but a pile of rubbish and a mess for others to clear up. This approach neither respects those who ensured we had an inheritance in this age, and despises those who are yet to come.

As we rejoice at the villages we live in today and celebrate the communities we reside within I wonder what will we hand on to tomorrow’s people? Will they be villages folks wish to live within, communities they are proud to be a part of?

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