Letter from St Mark's House

St Mark's House

August - September 2019


Dear friends

We are writing on the fiftieth anniversary of those historic words: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. Our minds fondly recall, however, the eighth man to walk on the moon, James Irwin, who was our guest at Stowe School when we were on the staff there. He wrote, ‘When I was on the moon, I was inspired to quote from Psalm 121: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help?” I knew my help was coming from the Lord who made the heavens and the earth. He made the moon and made it possible for Jim Irwin to place his footprints there.’ That psalm was originally for pilgrims going up to Jerusalem, but it holds good for any journey in life, including to the moon and back! It encourages us to look beyond the mountains to the God who created them: “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip …” That strength, security and stability is much needed in our current turmoil.

Society is increasingly troubled by uncertainty and insecurity, by division and distrust which breed agitation and fear. This is disruptive and destructive on a personal level and in the national realm. When “nations are in uproar”, another psalm speaks to our condition: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46.11). This is not, as is often misleadingly thought, an invitation to meditation. It is a command to a rebellious, restless world to submit to God whose laws we have abandoned and whose love we have abused. Chaos and confusion come from human folly and selfishness. In a situation of national crisis God spoke through the prophet Hosea: “return to the LORD. Say to him, ‘Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises’” (Hosea 14.2). This is our urgent need, for leaders and led, whatever may be the outcome of political processes in coming months. 

From space our blue and beautiful planet “looked so fragile” and so it is, with threats to its ecosystem and its human population. The aspiration of “peace for all mankind”, expressed by the plaque Apollo 11 left on the moon, can only be fulfilled by people whose hearts are changed by following the person who came to earth 2000 years ago. James Irwin reflected, when he looked at his footprints on the moon, “I believe Jesus Christ walking on the earth is more important than man walking on the moon. I will pray that you will yield your life to the Master and let Him guide your footprints.” Jesus came to guide our feet into the path of peace and has left us an example that we should follow in his footsteps.

In His steps

Nick and Harriet