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Viewpoint from Rev Derrick Hill 07/10/11

Derrick ProfileRev Derrick Hill
Pastor, Park Baptist Church, Great Yarmouth
I write this piece during the last week of September. We have just enjoyed a wonderfully warm weekend with many enjoying the late summer sun. The weather forecasters continue to speak of an Indian summer – and I am looking forward to enjoying it as I take a short break from my church responsibilities
And yet we cannot escape the fact that the Autumn Equinox is passed and the nights are now longer than the days. As I drive along the A47 past Blofield the beautiful autumnal colours in the roadside trees act as a reminder that soon the leaves will fall and the branches will be laid bare. However warm the weather at present, we are inexorably moving towards winter – and the cooler evenings add weight to this point
 Dove right
Many church folk will recently have shared in Harvest Thanksgiving services, another sign that the cycle of the seasons continues as ever – for as God promised in the aftermath of the flood experienced by Noah:
“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease” (Genesis 8.22 NIV)
And yet that text reminds us also that such cycles will only recur for as long as the earth remains – and elsewhere Scripture reminds us that the patterns of life as we currently know them will one day cease. The news headlines act as evidence to us all that other ‘certainties’ which we have come to trust are now being shaken – and so we hear both of wars abroad and also of unrest on dove leftBritish and European streets; of uncertainties in the financial markets to which our leaders struggle to find a coherent response; of fears that our current lifestyles might be fuelling irreversible global warming. To whom do we turn?
Reading Scripture helps us to see that whilst features such as war, civil unrest, financial uncertainty and climate change might be new to us, yet they have occurred before – and indeed such features can be seen as just more cycles, albeit longer ones than the annual seasons. Historically such cycles have known their own harsh “winters”, more than uncomfortable for those who live through them!
However Scripture also shows how such “winters” tend to occur when people turn their backs on God – whilst the “winters” give way to the new life of spring when people call upon the name of the Lord once again! It is against such a background that worshippers from churches across the Borough, indeed across the region, have begun to meet together regularly to call upon our Lord, to acknowledge our past shortcomings and to seek His pathways anew in the hope of a spiritual, moral, community and financial revival. Without this we fear that society’s “winter” might be truly prolonged!
Let us not bury our heads in the sand, hoping that “winter” will not come – but rather notice the signs and call upon God to bring new life to our Borough soon, beginning with us