Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Stables and trees


I've been thinking about books this morning. This is a fairly common diversionary tactic for me, but now more than ever is there need for good books! I was listing in my head, as I ate my porridge, the books that were precious to me. I was thinking about Wendy Erskine's Sweet Home with all its illustrations of East Belfast life that manage to be illustrations of lots of life. She signed my copy at the book launch. And she used to be my head of department when I worked in her school. So lots of precious between the covers of that one.

And then I thought of Jostein Gaardner's not quite yet seasonal A Christmas Mystery. Definitely a book I'd want to throw in a bag of books to be saved in the event of a house disaster but obviously after my children (and Prince Charming) were safely out! I was trying to remember the end, and don't read on if it will be a spoiler, but Elisabet wonders what she'll do when all the others' roles are fulfilled and she decides that she'll bow her head under the lintel of the stable door, and she goes in to meet the Christ-child for herself. (Doesn't she?)

It strikes me today how very easy it was for Elisabet and the shepherds and the kings and the everybody to meet Jesus. They didn't have to book their place in advance, worry about how many of them would be inside or about how many households they represented, make sure everybody had a mask, that all hands were sanitised, and that there was enough ventilation. I'm very confident there was enough ventilation.

And what I think about all that is that today it is still very easy to meet Jesus. In fact, God is all over the Internet in these days of online church. Our local church is taking a return to the building very slowly and carefully, but my goodness, what an array of creativity has emerged. From services to a reading of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and amazing resources for all age groups. Prince Charming's Live Worship is there too from our mostly tidy book room! Have a look here, if you have any more time in the day!

We are less than two weeks from the return of schools here in Northern Ireland, and plans are still coming through from our Department of Education. One leading city school has this just this morning announced that face masks will be mandatory to protect staff. We'll all have different opinions of this, but I'll confess this house reassured by any strategies that acknowledge the need to manage fear as much as the virus.

I'm so grateful in These Strange Times that it is still easy to meet God. Easy to lift up His Name. Easy to call on His Name. And so worthwhile, since I do fully believe that history, even covid history, hinges exactly there.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 

But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.

He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.

Happy St Patrick's Day!

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