Monday, 30 August 2010
Tuesday, 24 August 2010
As I see it, gradually our prayers change us -rather than change God. As we pass from bewilderment and even protest to acceptance we make His will our will. So when we obey the divine command to pray for our enemies they cease to be people whom we want to harm and become people we want God to bless. Through prayer they cease to be enemies. Through prayer our wills become aligned with God's, and so we draw closer to Him.
Monday, 16 August 2010
Some can't wait for holiday time to come. They feel stale and weary and need time to stand and stare without feeling guilty. Holidays break the routine of daily life, relieve the pressure and give us the chance to go to different places and do other things.
But there are also those who can't be persuaded to take a holiday. As for standing and staring...for them that's a shear waste of time. There's too much to do, and they think they can't be spared. They feel uncomfortable about taking time off. With this kind of mentality they become like hamsters on a treadmill, compelled to keep moving, simply to stay in the same place. From childhood they may have been told that the devil makes work for idle hands...so keep busy! They feel guilty if they're not always doing something useful.
But I wonder if 'Standing and Staring' is really such a waste of time. The poet, William Henry Davies, certainly didn't think so. He realised the need for us to be still and look if we're ever going to appreciate the beauty of the world around us. Those who are constantly in a hectic rush will notice nothing. That will impoverish the quality of their lives. And so Davies concludes:
"A poor life this, if full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare."
It's not just a question of noticing the world around us. We can be so busy doing things for people that we literally have no time for the people themselves -to be with them and enjoy their company. But if we don't make time for each other we will find that love and friendship will grow cold and we will drift apart.
The same is true with our Love for God. That's why the Psalmist urges us, (46. 10),
"Be still and know that I am God!"
It's through stillness, listening, talking, or simply being together and silently enjoying each other's company that we draw close to one another.
And that's the point of observing the Sabbath day of rest. This compassionate law was intended to give people, and even the beasts of burden, such as oxen and horses, a break from the rigours of weekday work. We're given a chance to re-build our strength. This break, this change in the rhythm of life, gives us quality time for God and each other. It's wonderful that when God's involved holidays become holy days.
The change in pace of holiday-time gives us the opportunity to develop hobbies which enrich our lives, and this makes us more interesting to other people. There's much truth in the saying, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." We certainly do become crashing bores, if we can only talk about our own work and can take no interest in other people. And if we have no outside interests won't we be lost when retirement puts an end to our employment?
Peter and I had a retired aunt who used to go on holidays with our widowed mother. When our aunt returned home she would give an annual talk to a woman's group about the adventures and mishaps they'd experienced while on holiday. No one was certain whether she was simply accident-prone or looked for trouble in order to provide material for her talks. Poor mother certainly had to brace herself for the unexpected.
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
Such a darling child with a dazzling smile and a gurgling laugh....the child everyone wanted to hug...and why not? It was her birthday. Friends of the family dropped in to pay their respects and present their gifts...a variety of dolls, big ones, small ones; simple ones, others extravagant.
Before not too long this child would come to want what she didn't really need. This would become the pattern for most of the rest of her life. I find this is also true of myself! And what about you?