Sarum Pause for Reflection: No Rubbish in Paradise


Nature-reserve wardening is not all about observing cute fauna & flora.

Sometimes I need to remind myself, 99% of visitors take 99% of their stuff with them when they leave.  Others don’t – as illustrated in the photograph.  The slogan reads ‘Plastic doesn’t belong in paradise.’  (Other brands are available.)

This summer, some of the refuse (not illustrated!) really is foul and stinking.  Hardly surprising when green spaces are open, but the nearby facilities remain shut.

Not pleasant, finding where some members of the public had improvised a ‘bog’!  (Even more unpleasant for the one on sanitising duty after I’d removed the paper rubbish.)  It brought to mind that passage in Julian.  Which in turn reminded me that even this long, mad summer will not last for ever.  Cooler, calmer seasons will return; nature will rest and be renewed.

Suddenly (blink and you’ll miss it!) at the final trumpet, we shall be changed: the shofar will sound; the dead will be raised imperishable.  1 Corinthians 15:52

I used to long for God to take me from this world.  Our kind Lord answered me, ‘Suddenly you will be taken from all your pain/sickness/ distress/sorrow. You will ascend to where I am your reward. So why grouch at having to wait awhile and respect my decision?’ Then I saw something lying on the ground. It was gross and horrible and shapeless, like a stinking claggy bog. Suddenly, out of that rankness, sprang something most beautiful: a small child, perfectly formed, agile, and very much alive, whiter than the lily. It glided swiftly up to heaven. And I thought, ‘All the goodness has been refined out of that foul mass, and all the rotten stuff left behind.’
(Julian of Norwich, ‘A Revelation of Love’ Chapter 64



Oh God,
make speed to save us –

Oh Lord,
make haste to help us!

Psalm 40:13


Try using this prayer during the working day, when situations arise.

In a monastery, likewise in the daily prayer of the Church of England, it is often used at the start of worship. Monastics also deploy it in ad-hoc personal prayer – it being short enough to memorise quite easily.

Share this reflection here.

A reflection from Jennifer Brooker ObJN, who has been a frequent visitor of Sarum College. She has a degree in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford and master’s degree in theology awarded by Durham University.

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