No. 43 - 16th July 2017

I think if I had to say what I enjoyed most about the Uckfield Festival, it would have to be the atmosphere.  My wife’s hairdresser once said, I like the Summer because everyone’s nice to each other.  People smile at you in the street.  And it’s true, especially on the Big Day Out when the sun is shining.  People chat to each other in a way that doesn’t really happen for the rest of the year.  I love it.  I came out of the King’s Church on Sunday morning, and cut through Luxford Field to get back to my car.  There was a jazz trio playing under the marquee and families were just sitting around on the grass listening while the teenagers stood in small clumps, pretending not to listen.  Suddenly, a younger, middle aged couple got up, kicked off their shoes and started to dance on the grass.  It just looked so natural.  They even managed a Lindy Hop.  I just soaked up the atmosphere and thoroughly enjoyed it.

In the Arena on the Saturday, there were two little girls called Fifi and Issy, who were performing their solo Modern Dance routines.  There they were, on their own in the middle of the arena with hundreds of people standing around watching them.  I’m certain I couldn’t have managed anything like that at their age.  They had such confidence and panache.  It was a joy to watch.

It’s at times like this that you realise how good it is to be in a community that is at peace with itself.  I know there are tensions and family feuds and people who can’t get on with their neighbours.  There always are.  But it doesn’t have to be like that.  Remember that reconciliation doesn’t come about by accident.  It takes a deliberate act of the will to make it happen.  It’s like that with God and it’s the same with your neighbour.  Someone’s got to make first move.  Fortunately, with God it was He who started the ball rolling, but with my neighbour, I can’t just sit and wait for them to take the initiative.  I have to choose to sort the relationship out myself, but it’s surely worthwhile.  The atmosphere during last weekend is just a taster of what it can be like with God or your neighbour.  It can start with a simple smile as a gesture of acceptance.  Who knows what might develop after that.  So, keep smiling, and don’t let the rain wash it off.

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