From The Rev’d Gareth Miller – June 2019

Brian Wood

The Rev’d Gareth Miller

Dear friends

Last month at Weston we had a Mouse Service! Yes, that’s right – a mouse service. We invited all the local mice – well, at least, thanks to Mandy Jones the church was populated by mice in various shapes and sizes. It reminded me of Robert Thompson, the furniture maker, who included a wooden mouse in all his furniture. I well remember coming across this for the first time as a teenager when visiting the lovely church at Hubberholme, in Upper Wharfedale, a village J B Priestley described as the smallest, pleasantest place in the world, where every pew has a (usually hidden) mouse.

“Small is Beautiful” was the title of a book by E F Schumacher published in 1973. The subtitle is “A Study of Economics as if People Mattered.” Well, of course they do, and it’s a common theme of religious thinkers and philosophers that it is the particular that matters as much (if not more) than the grand schemes. Jesus himself said that the one who is faithful in little things will also be found faithful in big things (Luke 16.10). Arundhati Roy’s novel The God of Small Things is about the particularities of relationships, caste divisions, forbidden love and social discrimination.

In a world where big seems to be more glamourous than small there is much value to be had in attending to what we can do and the small differences we can make. I don’t know about you, but my mind tends to come up with grand schemes for making the world a better place. Of course the reality is that few if any of my brilliant ideas will ever come to fruition. But what I can do is get on with the small things – it might be writing a letter or signing a petition; it might be visiting someone who’s lonely; it might be deciding to eat less meat or travel less frequently by plane. Or it might be just doing the next thing. It is sometimes easy to despair at the problems in my life and in the world and that can lead to depression. I find that doing the next thing is a very good antidote. It is usually something very mundane – peeling the potatoes, doing the photocopying, mowing the grass, dusting the shelf. These run-of-the-mill chores keep us rooted and grounded in the simple things of life. If we can do these with dedication, and even enjoyment, we might through them find ways of making a bigger difference in the world.

Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? To what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and put in his own garden. It grew, and became a large tree, and the birds of the sky lodged in its branches.”

Perhaps you can do something small this month, without worrying about its significance or outcome?


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