A nation stands resolute in mourning

Featured photo: Friends Noel and Lynne Brereton, who live just outside of Carbis Bay, are surrounded by fields of daffodils. The farmer has given them permission to pick flowers that will not be harvested for commercial purposes. On Friday morning we helped pick about 300 bundles (10 per bundle) to give out on Mothering Sunday at St Anta & All Saints and St Uny Churches.

CORNWALL COGITATION #8 Saturday 25 March 2017 Crossing a street can be hazardous.
Where available, we often use the pushbutton pedestrian crossing lights or the refuge (a marked safe spot in the middle of a main road).

Horrifically, pedestrians and police in London on Wednesday fell subject to a driver who deliberately aimed his car on Westminster Bridge to maim and kill. We learned of the terrible assault at Evensong in Truro, when the leader in her prayer mentioned an incident at Westminster {The City of Westminster is a district in central London that includes the Houses of Parliament and many government offices). Later that evening, 300 miles from London, we watched the special newscast and have followed it in the days since.

Especially notable and appreciated has been the regular updates from the acting deputy police commissioner, Mark Rowley. He has been forthright, sharing what is known, not speculating, effectively serving the interests of the public through the various media.

We mourn for the victims, for their families and friends, for the nation and the nations directly affected. Lord have mercy. Lord have compassion and comfort all whose lives have been suddenly and severely altered. The nation is somber as it carries on with redoubled resolution that evil will not displace what is good and right and true.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

On Thursday we took a coach tour to The Lost Gardens of Heligan. It was cold, though we walked the grounds, fields and gardens and just as it started to rain we took a late lunch. The animals, plants, trees, and water in this beautiful place could make Heligan a multi-day visit.

No, that’s not my hairstyle; so it can’t be me–even though cousin Carol Birky in reply to Marty’s Facebook post said, “Looks like John has had a rough winter.” Were it me, I’d be delighted to give this box of posies to the lovely lady.
The Mud Maid at Heligan. Passersby are shushed so as not to wake her up.
You find abundant beauty all about The Lost Gardens of Heligan.

Water quality

Wednesday was World Water Day. One article listed the most polluted waterways in the world. These included rivers and bodies of water in India, China, South Africa, Philippines, Brazil, Vietnam, Egypt (the Nile), South Korea, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iraq, and New York State (Dead Horse Bay).

Without any attempt to put this scripture in context, I quote Lamentations 5-6: “‘We must pay for the water we drink; the wood we get must be bought. With a yoke on our necks we are hard driven; we are weary, we are given no rest. We have made a pact with Egypt and Assyria, to get enough bread.”

And I leapfrog to Isaiah 66:14: “You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice; your bodies shall flourish like the grass; and it shall be known that the hand of the Lord is with his servants, and his indignation is against his enemies.”

What I want to draw from those scriptures is our dependence on God for purpose, direction and protection in every circumstance of life. I believe humans are stewards of creation even as we are sometimes oblivious to what that means.

Air quality

An issue that has surfaced in the last two weeks is air quality. “Air pollution is a more immediate threat than climate change to the nation’s rare and endangered plants as high levels of nitrogen let certain species like nettles run wild,” Will Humphries wrote in The Times (Monday 13 March). He quotes Trevor Dines, a botanical specialist, “We are force-feeding the natural world nutrient-rich junk food and it is having a devastating impact.”

Humphries concludes, “Nitrogen oxides come from fossil fuels in transport, power stations, industry and homes. The main source of ammonia, which causes soil acidification, is from agriculture. The report calls for nitrogen levels to be tackled to counter the threat to ecosystems.”

In 1952 London had a severe day-time smog. That lead to a clean air act which included reduction in the use of coal for heating. Cornwall born and bred friend Terry remembers visiting relatives in London and coming home with a black, greasy ring around his shirt collar.

A news story in this week’s The St Ives Times & Echo notes a new initiative in the Cornwall Clean Air Strategy. The strategy encourages the uptake of alternative fuels and low emission transport (including installation for vehicle recharging in new build housing). Cornwall has acquired 37 new buses representing an 84 percent reduction in emissions for the buses replaced.

Here’s one I especially like: “Improvements to the walking and cycling environment to encourage sustainable travel and provide a safe alternative to road transport.” The measures are directed at reducing the amount of nitrogen dioxide and fine particulates caused by vehicle emissions in Cornwall.

Quality action

A historical note: Five hundred years ago, in the early 1600s, Western medicine moved away from ancient and medieval medicine, away from treating the four humours as an excess or deficiency of four bodily fluids (black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, blood). So what did medicine do for a sick person? The treatment included bleeding the patient, sometimes with leeches.

Fast forward to the last 50 years and apply the lesson from medicine to energy sources.

We’ve moved away from exploiting fossil fuels to focusing more on renewable energy that creates a low carbon economy, that leaves more and more fossil fuels in the ground. It raises the question: What more can and must we do for our bodies and the bodies of all those who will come after us, to flourish like the grass?

For clean water and air to freely abound to make plants, animals and people prosper?

We all know some thing we can do now (like avoid the drive-through idling queues). We can join our actions with the vision told by Isaiah (66:22): “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I make, shall remain before me, says the Lord; so shall your descendants and your name remain.” What we do either aids or hinders God continued redemptive interest for God’s created world.

Signs along the way


Payne was executed in 1549 following the  Prayerbook Rebellion where he stood by his Catholic beliefs. The plaque is located on the Catholic Church in St Ives.

Tulip above, daffodils below, two examples of God’s eye for beauty

On Friday we helped pick bunches of daffodils to give out on Mothering Sunday at St Anta (March 25). Mothering Sunday used to be a day when you returned to your “mother” church for a visit. Today, observed at exactly three weeks before Easter, it still retains a spiritual focus in honouring those who are mothers or who help in mothering others. While increasingly called Mother’s Day, the church commemoration retains a distinction from the secular event.

I’m looking forward to singing a hymn to God’s lavish, boundless, unconditional mothering love and care this Sunday.



4 thoughts on “A nation stands resolute in mourning

  1. Thanks, John. Happy Mothering Day tomorrow! You two look good amongst the daffodils! Also liked the Mud Maid: a true Earth Mother!


    My iPad says that a smile always increases your Face Value!



  2. I sent a reply earlier in the day but now where is it? I enjoy your writing & pictures and feel like I’ m along for a trip among god’s plantings.

    On Sat, Mar 25, 2017 at 10:37 AM, It’s About Now wrote:

    > John Bender posted: ” Featured photo: Friends Noel and Lynne Brereton, who > live just outside of Carbis Bay, are surrounded by fields of daffodils. The > farmer has given them permission to pick flowers that will not be harvested > for commercial purposes. On Friday morning we ” >


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