Speer Road Church
(United Reformed Church)
The Last Word
Last word – September 2019
I guess most of us have heard of Glastonbury, mainly because of the annual music festival. We may well have a picture in our minds of rain and mud which seems to be the usual weather for the event. This summer Judith and I visited Glastonbury on a rainy and wind swept day. We walked to the Tor and stood on the hill with the wind almost blowing us over and wishing we had brought our Wellington boots! The whole scene was atmospheric and gave a sense of drama to the situation which I am sure many a film producer would have longed for.
We left the Tor to visit the ruined Abbey with its extensive grounds and there in the Abbots Kitchen met a travelling carpenter from the 14th century who explained about the tools he used and the kind of life he led. He told us about the rule of thumb and how 1 inch was the width of the master Carpenter's thumb and all measuring sticks were taken from his. As well as Sundays he also got 40 Holy Days a year off, unpaid of course, but it gave him a break and a chance to meet up with the family. Life was hard in the 14th century and our carpenter told us that by law he had to have a sword and be ready to fight if required. Should he be called to fight he would almost certainly be killed but he had been taught that the after life was much better that this life so he didn't mind about that.
Both visits and Glastonbury's old Bohemian feel spoke of another era a time when religion dominated life and helped people cope with what was happening to them. Our visit to Glastonbury encouraged me to reflect on our modern lifestyle that feels so complex and alien compared to our travelling carpenter's, we have a lot more comfort and physical security yet anxiety and mental illness is on the increase. As we travel through life we must ensure we do not lose touch with God our creator, as Paul warns in Romans it is easy for us to focus more on the creation than on the creator.