On ploughing

Dear Covenanters

I trust this finds you doing well in God.

This last week has been a bit of a struggle for me as the reality of returning from a lovely holiday begins to bite. I had spent the previous six days on our land at Kinohaku (southern end of Kawhia Harbour), digging and hacking and weeding and planting and sawing and spraying and fixing and rewiring and putting up a clothesline and painting and drinking beer and eating whitebait fritters and stuff like that.

Kinihaku Bay

As I worked, I also saw what this place is becoming. I was helped in this by the view of the wetlands and bay beyond, by the marked growth of the trees we have planted over the years and even by the Kikuyu grass now covering scars of recent earthworks. All these things are beginning to give shape and substance to our plans and hopes for our little piece of GodZone – an outline of the future sneaking up on me.   

I’m reminded of that line from Hopkins’ Wind Hover:

No wonder of it, sheer plod makes plough
down sillion shine…

Read within the wider poem (follow the link above), the image is of plough furrows over a rolling English landscape (a long way from Kinohaku Bay, admittedly), seen from the perspective of the falcon wheeling above, caught in the morning light, glistening silver threads in the dull English morning – the drudgery and slog of ploughing a rough, cold soil (not to mention the muck of horse droppings), somehow transformed into something beautiful in praise of God. It’s a great image of our lives as followers of Jesus, the banality of our every-day turned into something extraordinary through doing the ordinary well.

Yet, if I’m honest, this is easier to see in our get-away place up north than in that very ordinary every-day calling I have here in rainy, cold Wellington. The trick, of course, as Hopkins understood, is simply making the effort of keeping at it.

I guess these thoughts began as part of our lenten study series God In My Everything as I sought to put together my rule. I’ll be having a bit to say about this at our retreat in a couple of weeks – including the need to better put it, God In Our Everything. In order to keep at it, we need each other.

Meantime, have a read of 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11.

Ka kite. Kia kaha.
Newt

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