Washing HandsThis week we have had some plumbers working on our house. In order to plumb they have had to turn off the water. I didn’t think it would be a problem… but it has become one as the day has gone on.

The kettle was filled with water before they started. The coffee machine was filled with water before they started.

But (and I will try to be delicate) there are other uses for water in a house that were not available to me that became more important during the day… ahem.

In addition to that, the first day was an ideal day for doing loads of washing (sunny and breezy) and the dishwasher was ready to go.

But it all had to wait until the water could be turned back on.

It made me pause for a moment in gratitude that usually water is readily available to us.

It made me pause for a longer moment and think of those on this planet for whom fresh drinking water is a luxury, never mind anything else, and then recognising that there is something I can do about that. (Time to make a donation to a charity making a difference in such countries).

It made me pause and reflect on how privileged I am and how much I take that for granted.

It made me pause and reflect on the way we use water in Believer’s Baptism.

It made me pause and reflect on Jesus saying he is able to give us living water and what that means for me – essential for life, thirst-quenching, taken for granted.

Be blessed, be a blessing

the danger of ducks

ducks 2Have you heard the phrase ‘getting all your ducks in a row’? (That’s row as in line, not row as in moving a boat with oars, or row as in having an argument). I am not entirely sure what the origin is of the phrase… perhaps it refers to the way in which ducklings seem to follow their mother in a line, or perhaps it’s something to do with the image above. The phrase refers to the need to be organised and schedule things in the right order so that you can achieve a task. Why that conjours up and image of ducks I don’t know.

But I have been trying for a while to get all my ducks in a row. You may have read previously bloggages I have written about needing to get things organised around moving house and the work that needs to take place here in order to provide an office downstairs. But it’s not just in big things that the anatidae need to be lined up in order. We need to achieve this task every day: you get out of bed before you wash; you put breakfast cereal into a bowl before adding milk (bowls are rather essential unless you eat directly out of the packet!); you put your socks on before your shoes… and so on. For the most part we do it automatically, without thinking.

Ducks can be dangerous once in a line because we can forget about them.

And it’s quite easy to do that with following Jesus: it becomes part of our routine – automatic. And in one way that is good. Following Jesus should be a natural part of life, we should be getting our spiritual ducks in a line. But if we do it without thinking we are in danger of losing some of the significance of what we are doing and why we are doing it. And we are in danger of taking it for granted and forgetting the astonishing truths about being a follower of Jesus – who he is, what he has done, that he calls us ‘friends’ and ‘siblings’, that we are able to pray ‘in his name’, that we can live life in Technicolor (R) rather than monochrome, that we need no longer fear death, that he is with us by his Spirit 24:7 and is with us even in the darkest valley… and so on. If we follow Jesus without thinking we are in danger of missing out on special moments when we read the Bible and pray and encounter him.

If we follow Jesus without thinking we are in danger of becoming fans rather than followers. And that’s a step on a journey that distances us from him.

Try to be conscious about your faith. Yes it should be natural, but give yourself some markers in the day to remind you that you are a follower of Jesus. For example, I try to use looking in the mirror when I am washing as a marker to remind me that I may need to ask him (and others) for forgiveness; I have daily emails that arrive from WordLive that share Bible passages and thoughts…

Don’t take your faith for granted. It’s far too important and amazing for that.

Be blessed, be a blessing