Bethel Baptist Chapel Llanelli

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK 23rd of October, 2018

Bethel Baptist Chapel Llanelli

The chapel vestry where I went to Sunday school was a hive of activity in my childhood but by now had become in need of quite a bit of TLC. So, along with some friends we got together to give it just that. The stage on which we had performed so many times had become a treasure trove of memories. The toddler chairs on which we sat listening intently to Bible stories were ravaged with woodworm and had to go. Dusty old Band of Hope banners which had been paraded around the town displaying the virtues of temperance were now certainly museum pieces.

Old photos of stern looking deacons who I’m sure were never allowed to smile had been unceremoniously shoved into a corner. Discarded chapel reports made interesting reading – Bethel Baptist Chapel Llanelli had 670 members in the 1950’s and over 800 in the 1930’s – where have they all gone? we all know the answer to that!

At one point there were howls of laughter with the discovery of a photo with a me as a lowly woodcutter in one of the Band of Hope operettas which were the high spot of the year. I did remember it – a eleven year old totally peeved that I had not been chosen for the male lead which was always a sort of Prince Charming character – told by the girls that my best friend was much more deserving of the part because he was far better looking – what a blow for my developing ego!

It was Charles Kettering the American inventor who said ‘You can’t have a better tomorrow if you’re thinking about the past all the time’ and that sounds like good advice to me. On Saturday the clocks go back and it’s a timely reminder that we are so often conditioned at different times of our lives. The Bible says that there’s a ‘time’ for every purpose, with even more emphasis on the Christian virtues of loving our neighbour and doing good in the time we are given.

Some harmless nostalgia and even dwelling on past memories, good or bad can help us to learn from the past. To wallow there and allow any regrets or wrong decision to burden us in the here and now is certainly not God’s will for our lives. That vestry clean up did take me back, but one thing I’m pretty sure of is that while my good looking friend landed the lead – time has been on my side!

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