It feels a bit like we’re making progress. I’ve had a proper professional haircut instead of another DIY attempt with my electric beard and hair trimmer. My daughter’s wedding, postponed in January, then postponed a second time in March, has now taken place. In church, we have been given permission to sing socially-distanced outside, and it has been a delight to be able to do this in recent weeks. It’s still not normal, but it certainly feels like we are taking steps in the right direction.
The pleasant weather helps the positive feeling, of course. The sunshine brings us out of our homes and into more [socially-distanced] contact with one another – a good thing after the drudgery of the “stay at home” instruction and the accompanying enforced isolation. But the weather also affects the garden and what grows therein. All of a sudden, the nettles are a foot high and the cow parsley higher. The grass that had seemed to slumber is now demanding its own haircut, professional or otherwise. Just as other opportunities become possible and other tasks become necessary, everything is growing and the garden owner must dedicate some time each week to containing the expanding green stuff or risk the garden being overwhelmed in no time at all.
I’ll be honest … I struggle with this. The Rectory has a large garden (for which I and my dogs are extremely grateful), but I have a busy life. The bottom line for me and for many others is that it is not easy to keep on top of the brambles and ivy when you’re already chasing deadlines for work. But it has to be done. And the deadlines have to be met. So yes, if you have ever passed the Rectory around 7am on a Thursday morning, you might well have seen me loading my brown bin with garden waste. Come rain or shine, daylight or night-time, I’ve done this more often than I would like to admit.
Over recent weeks, I’ve been reading the Bible’s book of Proverbs, and considering its challenge to live a life of wisdom rather than folly. The key to the book is in understanding wisdom as “the fear of the Lord”. This idea is expressed in various ways but is essentially the proposition that the best way to live as beings created by God in the world God has made is according to God’s plans and purposes. This means living humbly, with kindness and gentleness towards others. It means honouring marriage and the sanctity of life, respecting all others as of equal worth and value – each individual precious in God’s eyes and gloriously made in his image. It means striving to pay attention to the voice of God (most readily accessible to us in the Bible) rather than the tempting voices of the world. Sometimes it means saying, “No!” to something good in order to achieve something great.Let us consider how God would have us live, so that we might truly be a blessing to our family, friends and neighbours. Click To Tweet
As we emerge from lockdown and the pressures of life build again, let us not rush into “getting back to normal” or to embracing new and wonderful things. Rather let us consider how God would have us live, so that we might truly be a blessing to our family, friends, and neighbours. Like the fast-growing garden, there will be things to which we must attend – and right away. But there will be others that can wait; and still others we should avoid!
May God grant you wisdom for living, that you would know his blessing.