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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

10 April 2019: Sylvia Roberts, St Peter's Church, Petersfield

Wonderful sewers

I was sick recently. I know! TMI (Too Much Information?) I wasn’t just poorly I was “Calling Hughie on the Big White telephone.” WTMI (Way Too Much Information?).

However there is a point to my sharing this gruesome information and that is to say that even in the throes of my misery there was a detached part of me that was just giving immense thanks for our drains and sewers. How wonderful they are. All evidence of indisposition washed away in an instant with minimum effort on my part.

I have recently watched a riveting TV programme about London’s sewers and I was particularly taken by the presenter’s awe struck respect for the beautiful workmanship in the meticulous brickwork of the Victorian sewers, masterminded by Joseph Bazalgette, grandson of a French Huguenot immigrant into the UK.

Bazalgette insisted that the capacity of each sewer should be double what was required for London at that time to allow for population growth. He could never have visualised the exponential growth of London’s population during the 20th century which is the reason that vast new sewers are now being constructed to serve the whole of Greater London.

The beauty of sewers seems to be a very appropriate metaphor for the season of Lent in which we now find ourselves. We each need physical, mental and spiritual sewers every day because we each have physical, mental and spiritual effluent which must be got rid of if we are to continue in physical, mental and spiritual good health. Lent (the time of quiet, thoughtful discipline before the great celebration of Easter) offers the possibility of self-examination, repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation – all those supposedly “churchy” words which are actually of fundamental importance to our wholeness and health.

The churches are in one way or another our beautiful sewers during Lent and indeed at all seasons. Joseph Bazalgette was the creator of a wondrous sewage system, Jesus Christ our Lord is the founder and creator of our Christian churches and it is through him that all the benefits of getting rid of our personal grot ( sin?) become available to us. It’s all there for the asking. It’s there for us all. Freely. We can all, maybe, investigate a church this Lent or Easter season and ask some searching questions?

Tot's Disco is this Saturday - 13 April - from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon at Petersfield Methodist Church

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