From the Rector

Some while ago, BBC Radio 3 introduced a feature during their main morning programme entitled ‘a slow moment’.

It’s usually a single piece of music designed to encourage listeners to pause in what they’re doing, draw breath and allow a gentle, reflective composition to calm their agitated minds or soothe their frazzled nerves.

On Sundays, the idea is taken a stage further and a somewhat longer piece is interwoven with an outside recording of some natural habitat, perhaps a marshland in East Anglia or clearing in a Brazilian rain forest, so that the music of human origin blends with the natural melody of birdsong.

We would probably agree that contemporary lives are busy, maybe busier than they have ever been, and that the pace of life, no matter how hard we try to stem it, has a tendency to be frantic.

Back in the early years of the 20th century, the poet W H Davies published a poem called ‘Leisure’, which opened with the famous couplet:

‘What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.’

His words seem even more apposite today than they ever were.

There’s such a temptation to do things as swiftly as possible, to leave time for the next crucial task, to fill every moment with activity, and to forget the value of pausing to dwell on the precious nature of the moment.

The other day, I went for a walk out of the village and towards the top road above St Tudy, and as I went up Bodinnick Lane, I slowed my pace, which had been brisk, and gradually came to a halt and stopped to look and listen.

I was rewarded with a clear view of a large mixed flock of redwings and fieldfares high up in a nearby tree, and then a wonderful display as they flew off in a mixture of the redwings’ tseep and fieldfares’ cackle.

If I had strode on, as is my wont, I would have missed this precious moment.

The New Testament Gospels show us Jesus often taking the opportunity for a time of quiet and peace, a slow moment, in what must have been a constantly busy and demanding life.

He knew the indispensable value of times of stillness and prayer.

In busy lives we too must acknowledge the need for slow moments, for times to stand and stare, for offerings of prayers of gratitude and supplication.

All our churches here are open during the daytime to make that easier for everyone. But we can do it anywhere and we know it is essential. W H Davies’ poem ends with the sobering thought:

‘A poor life this, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.’ 


David Seymour





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