The Digest, our Parish magazine, comes out monthly. Here is the front page from the July edition. Paper copies can be obtained from the Church.

The month of July is upon us. It can be a month of mixed feelings. On one hand it is the height of summer with people looking forward to their summer holidays, sitting in the garden in the warm evenings, basking on the beach or taking walks in our glorious countryside. On the other it can feel like an ending, children are finishing school and saying goodbye to their teachers, some are leaving their schools for good either moving up or facing a new challenge at university or work. The new growth of spring is replaced with the maturity of the summer garden and some flowers are already passed their best. The days are starting to get shorter and in a few weeks, we will notice an autumnal feel in the air. We are at the crossroads of the year and getting closer to winter.

There are many times in the bible when people have faced crossroads in their lives, times when the status quo has changed for ever. In Genesis, after being slaves to the Egyptians for many years, the Israelites were finally freed and started on their journey to the Promised Land. Their joy and excitement were quickly changed into despair as they had to face the many challenges of the desert journey but for some their new awakened faith in God was shallow and did not withstand the trials they encountered. They cursed God and Moses and wished they were back in slavery! Because they turned their back on Him, it felt as if God had withdrawn from them and they were even angrier.

Yet it was not God who had left them, they had left Him. God never leaves us even when, during times of trouble and trial, it may feel like it. God is always there. Sometimes we put up barriers between ourselves and God because of bad things that are happening in our lives or because we do things that we know are not good for us or for others. It then becomes very hard to break down that barrier and in fact for us alone it is impossible. The only way that barrier can be broken is through Jesus Christ. He came down to earth for that very reason, to reconcile us with God. The barriers we have put up can only be removed from our side and Jesus had to come to us to do it.

We all have things that we have done that need Jesus to make us right with God. So, this July as we enjoy the summer turn to the Son, ask Him for forgiveness and bask in the love of God.

Trudie Jackson, Lay Reader