Comment by Harborough churches: Why people are drawn to Welland Park's mini wildflower meadow

Every week, the Harborough churches write for the Harborough Mail. This week, it is the turn of Rev Stephen Haward, Minister at Market Harborough Congregational Church

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 1:48 pm
Rev Stephen Haward, Minister at Market Harborough Congregational Church

Viewpoint by By Rev Stephen Haward, Minister at Market Harborough Congregational Church

The bees have been buzzing in Harborough’s Welland Park. A small area, no bigger than a tennis court, has been sown with wildflowers. And now that summer has come, plenty of insects are being drawn to its cornflowers, candytuft and other bright species.

But the insects are not alone. It is interesting to see how many people are attracted to this mini-meadow as well. Every time I pass through the park someone has stopped to spend a few moments there, leaning on their bike or interrupting their walk or run. I do not know why, but everyone just seems to smile when they see it.

It was Jesus who taught his followers to do just that. Oil and wine were the great cash-crops of his time and he drew many lessons from the way that vineyards were managed and their fruit grown. But as far as we know he never said, “go and have a look at a vineyard”.

Jesus called people to drink in the beauty of the wild countryside instead. In his famous words in the Sermon on the Mount, he challenged his listeners to “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

On this supposedly wasted ground, he saw a sign of the sureness of God’s care; a reminder to put first things first; and also an antidote to the things that can make us so anxious.

In this understanding the brave colours of the wildflowers serve as welcome reminders not only that all of life cannot and should not be planned, but also of the way good things (blessings, some people call them) actually come about.

They often happen not by any effort of our own at all, but purely as gifts. Of course the natural world is not just there to teach us lessons. It is ironic that we are enjoying this new mini-meadow just at a time when so many new housing developments are replacing real fields and meadows, perhaps for ever. Our appetite for new building land seems insatiable.

We probably do need additional bricks and mortar so that everyone can have a fit home in which to live. But we need fit minds and fit spirits just as much, if not more. So perhaps some extra time spent with the red poppies and the buzzing bees really would help us all.

By Rev Stephen Haward, Minister at Market Harborough Congregational Church