From Deacon Lorraine Brown - Peak Park Rural Development Enabler

11th May 2020

Hello!  

I am a Methodist deacon stationed in the Peak Park. I work with churches and communities to consider new and different ways of being rural church.  I am a self-confessed country bumpkin.  I struggle with outings to cities and towns, but I really love being out and about in the countryside.

Before I moved here some five years ago now, I was living and working on a small farm in South Wales. I remember one day early in the afternoon, after it had been raining really hard all morning I agreed to go and check on the cattle. They were grazing in a far field, next to the wet meadow. I set off with a stride intending to get to the cattle quite quickly. Like so many of us, my mind was already on the other things I wanted to do at the end of the day.

Well the clue to what happens next is given away by the mention of rain and wet meadow – the ground had become quite poached and the ride which joined the fields had become a mud bath.  As for striding out I was lucky if I could achieve a slide in any chosen direction.  My wellies soon became firmly planted in the mud causing me to do wonderful wobble and needless to say my hands joined my feet and then the rest of my body quickly followed

For just a little while I was very truly stuck in the mud.

I thought about calling my colleague to come and help, but when I thought on a bit more, I decided she would either be helpless with laughter or stuck in the mud next to me. I had to make a decision do I try to press forward, or do I try to go back? 

Whatever I was to decide the first thing I had to do was to stop trying to move and to be still. After doing that I could regain my balance, and slowly make my way to the side of the mud bath, where I could re-assess the route to the cattle.   

Needless to say, had I had my mind on the journey I was taking I would’ve noticed the state of the ride before I managed to well and truly plant myself in it. That wisdom could have provided me with a different path.

How often are we so busy doing what we’ve always done in the way we’ve always done it that we see neither opportunity or need to do things differently and we end up well and truly stuck in the mud?

I fear that my Christian faith can sometimes be rather like that walk in the mud. All too often it’s when I get stuck, when I’m not sure what route to take that I then think to be still for a while.

The Psalmist (psalm 46) begins by reminding us that ‘God is our refuge and strength’  stressing we should remember that strength and refuge in tumultuous times.  In verse 10 we are commanded to ‘be still and know that I am God’. It is in that stillness we will hear Gods voice, feel Gods strength and know of the refuge God provides.

The greater challenge I offer to myself, is to continue to practice the ‘be still and know that I am God’ even when I’m not ‘stuck in the mud’ so I can keep focused on the route God is calling me on today, and each day, rather than rushing ahead in my dreams about the route I might choose tomorrow.

And what about you? Have you ever found yourself stuck in the mud?   Why not Challenge yourself to a daily ‘be still and know that I am God’

May God’s peace be known to us all.

Deacon Lorraine Brown - Peak Park Rural Development Enabler