Holy Hamsters

This is Sandy. She was the first of our family hamsters. As you can see she was a very holy, prayerful hamster.

.pray sandy

It may be that she was actually eating a sunflower seed, but it looks like a praying hamster to me (as opposed to a praying mantis).

I use that image to illustrate a reflection card, which I still use. The reflection goes as follows:

At the end of every day take a few moments to review the day as you and God together watch an action replay. As you do this, have these questions in mind:

  1. How did I experience God’s love today?
  2. How did I express God’s love today?
  3. Where did I act out of selfishness rather than love today?

Let the answers to these questions lead you into gratitude (for your experience of God’s love), encouragement (for your growth in service) and confession (for the times you missed the mark).

These are simple, but profound questions that I find enhance my relationship with God and others.

I don’t always remember to do it: I have tried to associate it with cleaning my teeth at night so I remember to do it, but sometimes other things push it out of my mind. However, when I remember, I find that this sort of reflection is helpful. Perhaps you will become a holy hamster too.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

holydays

Dear Bloggists

I have some bad news for you. I am back!

aircraft wingSally and I have enjoyed a week’s holiday in the sun as the final part of celebrating being married to each other for 25 years this year. It was very relaxing and refreshing. We didn’t do lots and lots of things, we didn’t visit lots and lots of places. We enjoyed quality time together. It was lovely. It was bliss. It was a real blessing.

And now I have just opened my email inbox for the first time in a week and 211 emails are waiting for my attention… so I have decided to write a bloggage instead of dealing with them! Nothing like a good procrastination to start the day off well!

I want to share a few thoughts with you about holidays. You all know that the root of the word is ‘holy day’. They started as religious festivals on which normal work was suspended (except for the clergy who had to work extra hard). They became associated with days off work, and the concept of holiday became established.

Being away with Sally reminded me that we all need holydays. We need to spend quality time with Jesus – relaxing and being refreshed in his presence, laughing together and getting to know him better (he already knows us better than we know ourselves). But we don’t have to get on an aeroplane to do it (which avoid long waits for luggage to reappear after the baggage elves have jumped up and down on it for a while). And while it is good to set aside special times to do this, any day can be a holyday. It depends less on the calendar and more on our attitude.

If we include Jesus prayerfully in our day, listening to the prompts of his Spirit, sharing our thoughts and ideas, any day can be a holyday.

I am in the privileged position of being able to go away now for a couple of days on a Ministry Refresher Conference. Our Baptist Union runs these each year on a five year rotation basis. As this is my 20th year since my ordination (doesn’t time fly?) I have been invited to attend. For me the timing is brilliant because it means I can finish my holiday with some dedicated holydays. But the journey to the conference can be a holyday, and even starting to answer 211 emails can be part of a holyday too.

Time for a coffee first, though!

Be blessed, be a blessing.