space to think?

The coronavirus pandemic is scary in both the scale of things and the speed it spread (taking advantage of how interconnected global travel has made us). It’s also scary for individuals who may have caught it (and their families) and for those who are worried that they might. Maybe you are worried about the dystopian nature of the measures being taken to try to contain the outbreak. I don’t intend to diminish the significance or impact of this. I pray that you may find some comfort about it.

When I was little and had been naughty one of the punishments was being sent to my room to “think about what I had done.” I wonder whether this virus is providing us with a moment that otherwise would not have existed to think about what we have done: as the normal commerce, travel and activity of 21st Century life are suspended does it give humanity an opportunity to pause and reconsider what’s important? Will a period of isolation help us realise how much we need one another? Will the inability to do lots of the things we take for granted mean we no longer take them for granted when they are restored? Will there be things we have to do without that we realise we actually can manage without and don’t restore them to our life afterwards? Will we realise that helping one another builds community while selfishness builds walls?

Those don’t have to be questions that are only answered at a global level. We would do well to consider them as individuals, families and communities.

And I wonder if this is giving the planet a rest from human pollution and giving us an opportunity to make some of the planet-saving changes that we need to make but which the relentless activity of 21st Century humans has made it impossible for us to contemplate until now?

The first half of Psalm 23 might just have a global significance, not just a personal one.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

I don’t believe for one second that God has caused this pandemic, but maybe we will allow ourselves to listen for his voice in it…

Be blessed, be a blessing

beesyness

Sorry about the lack of bloggage yesterday (a lackage?). The last few days have been the sort of days where I have been able to do all I have set out to do, but each activity has flowed into the next without much breathing space in between. I find I can sustain that level for a short time but I soon need space to breathe and reflect at a more gentle pace.

I have been doing lots of different things, meeting lots of different people – planned and unplanned, writing, reading, studying, making phone calls, taking phone calls, writing and sending emails, receiving emails, and much more besides. I have (to coin a phrase) been busy as a bee.

bee 2That’s an interesting phrase. Because bees seem to spend a lot of their time resting on flowers sucking up nectar. The cross-pollination that takes place because of the pollen that sticks to their furry little bodies is not their beesyness. Their real beesyness is to collect nectar to feed the bee colony.

It is very easy to justify your existence (especially as a Minister) by how busy you are. I know of some Ministers who are always on duty, always active on church business, always available. Their identity is their role: their role is their identity. Take away church and they haven’t got much else.

But is that a sensible or even a Biblical approach? We don’t have to read very far into the Bible to read about God taking a day off! Recreation is re-creation and it’s essential if we are to function properly as human beings.

I have a rechargeable battery inside me. It supplies power to an occipital nerve stimulator that is successfully moderating chronic migraine and cluster headaches, but that’s another story. I have to recharge it regularly as the electronics are rather sensitive. If I allow the battery to discharge completely there can be problems. I have been told that it is possible that the ONS can be restarted if I let the battery run out once. If it happens twice it is unlikely to be restarted. A third time would almost certainly be fatal to the system and it would need to be replaced with all of the cost and surgery involved. I am acutely aware of the need to recharge.

We all need to be re-charged, re-created and re-freshed: emotionally, spiritually, physically. There is no special prize in heaven for getting there early because you worked yourself into an early grave!

So what re-charges , re-creates and re-freshes you? Is it a regular part of your routine? If not I hope you also have a superhero cape to go with your superman / superwoman powers!

Be blessed, be a blessing.