REFLECTION FOR TRINITY 20
I once had a book titled ‘If being a Christian is so great, why do I feel so bleugh!?’. When others are waking up and saying, ‘Good morning O Lord!’ why do I wake up and say,’ O Lord, it’s morning!’?
‘If being a Christian is so great, why do I feel so bleugh?’ could be the subtitle for the Psalms.
The Psalms are such a wonderful resource!
They can be uplifting, full of the praises of God.
At other times they are achingly human, grounded in the reality of daily life.
It’s the honesty of them, the way that they reflect the full range of our human emotions.
How many times during our lives have we looked around and said, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ How often have we felt that we are ‘poured out like water and all [our] bones are out of joint’?
In those times, do we have the confidence, the faith to say,
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; You are the praise of Israel. In You our fathers put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them.
Yet You brought me out of the womb; You made me trust in You even at my mother's breast. From birth I was cast upon You; from my mother's womb You have been my God.
In our lives, may we reflect the words of the great hymn ‘My hope is built on nothing less’:
When weary in this earthly race,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
in every wild and stormy gale
my anchor holds and will not fail.
How often have we exclaimed or muttered under our breath ' I don't have time for this' But what actually is time, and just how does it affect our lives?
We each have our own personal relationship with time.
I don't know at what age I became conscious of time, certainly in middle age an awareness of it slipping through my fingers like sand in an hour glass became apparent.
Wet days as a child seemed to drag on forever, whereas days spent playing outside in the garden or trips to the beach seemed to vanish like a box of chocolates.
Summer holidays meant a bottle of water, a jam sandwich, an apple and a whole day with your friends in which to have a adventure! Parents were calmer then, dangers didn't seem to be lurking in every shadow.
The Chinese invented water clocks, huge containers of water that dripped at a measured rate in order to carefully calculate the next 24 hours. Other nations used candles, meticulously marked to show the hour. It seems time over the centuries was becoming an increasingly precious commodity, no doubt work related rather than leisure!
Time can be an enemy or a magical ingredient in our lives.
Time can be a healer. When we lose a family member, a close friend or much loved pet it's difficult to overcome. Grief grips us and grows within us, like ivy up a stone wall, difficult to handle as its roots run deep. Time helps us to learn to live with it, we can't overcome it, but gradually we can learn to cope as time has the ability to heal over the raw wound and start to make it less visible to in our minds eye.
Time can slip and slide in our consciousness, making our past experiences momentarily meld with the present, and all the complex emotions that accompany a particular experience.
When gathered together with family and friends it's wonderful to relive happy, hilarious, fun times, rekindling our youth, laughing at our mistakes, embarrassing moments and sometimes our audacity and their outcome!
It's as if time has a life of its own, it has the power to interweave into our lives and effect change. If we're not careful it can become our task master and we its slave. It needs to be managed diligently. We are products of our past, but live in the present, our future is yet to be decided. We have the final say if we are strong enough to take the reins.
At the moment it's hot and sunny. by the time you read this however, harvest will probably be over, the fields drilled and prepared for the coming year, no doubt Advent candles will be appearing in the shops. When we light them on December 1st it awakens in us a tingling of anticipation for Christmas and all it brings, time working its magic again.