May 2018: Thought For The Month

May 01 2018

Fishing from still waters

As a fairly recent arrival to the area (September 2015), I with my wife Kath and our dog have to agree that Fishponds ‘really is quite nice!’  I was intrigued to read of the origin of the name ‘Fishponds’ and further interested to learn that the only remaining old quarry, filled with water, from which this part of Bristol derives its name, is the ‘Lido’ lake where Alcove Angling Club fish.

This is a ‘still water’ lake where carp, rudd, tench and pike can, among other fish, be caught.  Before I get into deep water here, let me inform the reader that I am no angler.  I used to be keen when a young lad, but it was with a metal lure into the sea often without proper bait, and mostly catching seaweed and never a fish.  In fact my tackle got caught, rather than fish.

As I was reading the last chapter of the bible recently, I noticed in Revelation 22 a wonderful picture of the river of the water of life.  On the banks of this river are pictured trees with leaves for the healing of the nations.  I delved back in my bible to the Old Testament book of Ezekiel, and found in chapter 47 verse 7 to 12 a more detailed version of the same picture.  The fresh water is coming from under the door of the temple in Jerusalem, and it is strangely getting deeper and deeper as it flows eastward.  When it joins the Dead Sea it makes everything in this deepest hypersaline lake in the world suddenly capable of supporting life.  Fishermen are pictured lining the banks with nets, over a wide area the length of the whole enclosed lake (50 km), and hauling in huge varieties of beautiful fish.  The description ends once more mentioning trees ‘with leaves for healing’.

I am Rector of two congregations which meet in beautiful ‘temples’ (Frenchay and Stapleton churches).  My prayer is that alongside those prayers offered in every Christian church in the area, there will be a spiritual blessing, like fresh water, which goes out to every part of the Greater Fishponds area (and beyond) from our beautiful churches.  I have to say, that beautiful as the people are who meet in our churches, it is not be because of their churchgoing per se, or personal piety, that lives are affected for the better.  It is only on account of Who they meet with in their place of prayer, and how much they have let the Spirit of Jesus Christ fill every part of their lives.

Lest I remain too parochial in my vision for Christian mission in the world, let me reflect in some way this picture in Ezekiel and Revelation.  What if lives changed in Fishponds were to be the means of people of all the most war-torn and famine-ridden countries gaining healing and life?  Not such a long shot (cast), since Eritreans and others live in my street.