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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

12 June 2019: Sylvia Roberts, St Peter's Church, Petersfield

Layers upon layers

We have been doing some serious redecorating at home recently and we have been quite fascinated to find the different layers of paint colours that previous occupants of our house have found appropriate on door frames and woodwork. We have found a perverse pleasure in hooting with derision as we have discovered navy blue door frames and a strange khaki colour for wainscots. “Who could live with these colours?” we have questioned as we worked on pristine whiteness for all of the woodwork but it wasn’t long before the evidence of previous owners of our house began to intrigue us, triggered by the discovery of coloured paintwork! I was also brought up short by a magazine article I read whilst in the doctor’s waiting room, encouraging the use of bold colours on paintwork for 2019 and to realize that one has to be able to see the whole room to appreciate how well navy paintwork or khaki wainscots might look.

I don’t know how many readers of this article may have seen a recent TV programme called “A House through time.” The first series investigated a house in Liverpool and the second series a house in Newcastle. Through careful research the presenter had been able to find detailed information about the residents in each of the houses from the time they were built until today. It was fascinating viewing. One particular phrase, used in the introduction to each episode, resounded with me. The presenter reminded us that even though we may own a house we are nevertheless just passing through. We inherit the house and everything about it from all those others who have occupied it and there will be others coming after us too. Each of our houses are silent witnesses to all the everyday dramas of life. Not just births, marriages and deaths but hopes and fears, illnesses, changes in fortune, changes in society… and changes in paintwork.

It struck me then that it is not just our houses but our neighbourhood, our town, our country and our world which we occupy for just a brief lifetime and when we pass on we leave to others. We are just passing through. (Pilgrims on a journey… towards the Promised Land as Jesus told his followers?) Whatever we believe it seems good and right that we should live in our world carefully and responsibly so that when we pass it on to our successors they may enjoy living in it too.


The next Women's Brunch will take place on Saturday 22 June in Herne Farm Leisure Centre from 10:00 am to noon. The guest Speaker is Fiona Castle

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