Dear Friends, 

Although there are plenty of signs of the onset of
autumn I am reluctant to completely file away some of the good moments of a
memorable summer.  I recall particularly one
event during our annual family pilgrimage to Corfu which has stayed with me
(with apologies to members of an evening gathering who have already heard this

During two weeks of intense heat we had three
successive days of storms.  Corfu storms
are dramatic and memorable.  Each time
the worst of the storm hit we managed to be in the comfort of our favourite
tavern so we were quite happy and safe. 
Some fellow holiday-makers were not quite so content: “We could have
stayed at home if we had wanted weather like this!”  For one young child, though, the storm was
far from a nuisance – it was the source of joy and adventure.  On the evening of the final storm I was sat
on our balcony enjoying the renewed sense of calm and normality.  The sky was blue and the wind had died
down.  Beside neighbouring apartments, a
local family pulled up in their pick-up truck to check everything was OK at the
accommodation they owned. Whilst Mum and Dad did a very quick inspection their
young son, no more than two years old, discovered a new world of adventure and
fun – in a very big puddle.  For five
minutes, with Mum and Dad close by, he splashed and laughed, he jumped and he
got exceptionally wet.  For those five
minutes, he was totally absorbed in the possibilities of that puddle and he was
full of life and joy.  He was, to use a phrase
from John’s Gospel, “living life in all its fullness”. 

As I reflected on this scene, I was deeply aware
of God’s presence in the laughter and joy of the child and the puddle.  I wished my fellow holiday-makers, who
earlier in the day had been moaning about the “dreadful weather”, could have
witnessed what I was seeing.  Without the
storms there would have been no puddle and without the puddle there would have
been no world of adventure to explore and enjoy. 

Since our holiday, during the busyness of church
life in September, I have often thought about that young child and the
puddle.  Each time, I smile and am
reminded of some important life lessons.   

Jesus placed a child in the middle of the crowd
and told his followers that if they want to enter God’s Kingdom they had to
become like children.  I think that
suggests that we need to have the ability to discover God in puddles.  We have to live in the moment and not worry
about how we might dry off when it’s time to get back into Dad’s pick-up truck.  We have to “live life in all its fullness”
even when there are storms around us. 
Yes, there are plenty of things to worry us and distress us, but there
is also a world of adventure out there and there is joy and laughter to be

With love and prayers 

Russell J Furley-Smith

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