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.


8 comments:

Angela said...

Yes! And an old schoolfriend has just tole to read where the crawdads sing...

M.K. said...

The pandemic has reminded all of us how precious it is to have God with us, every moment, no matter where we are. Churches are closed for weeks, but still we worship when we adore God in our hearts. And we appreciate now the loneliness that elderly residents of nursing homes feel, all the time. We should be more sympathetic now to them. I hope the school opening goes well there. Masks do help.

Lisa Richards said...

I've just subscribed to your church's YouTube channel! :) I spend a lot of time on YouTube, so I'll browse around later. Yes, nothing can keep us from His presence. I pray that many will turn back to Him as a result of the "world situation". God bless all in your home! :)

Pom Pom said...

Amen! Amen! I'm looking up the home book! Love you, Mags!

gretchenjoanna said...

Just like you, to make us think about books, and God's presence -- all at once. :-) He is everywhere present, and speaks to us in so many places and ways, in our hearts. Glory to God!

Pam said...

Oh hello, you're back! I love Kate Atkinson's writing - her turns of phrase. Hope back to school goes well. Ours are back, just, and granddaughter Louisa immediately began to cough, so she had to get A Test - result not back yet. And so it begins...

Lisa Richards said...

P.S.-I sat in on your church this morning! Loved the service and also watched one of PC's worship videos. What a blessing to see brothers and sisters far away worshiping God! Online worship is kind of surreal, but a wonderful thing. :) Bringing us together with believers we might never have seen otherwise. Hugs and greetings to the brethren!

helenjean@midgetgemquilts said...

Books . I can’t imagine a life without books or a house without books . As a child I felt sorry when I went to visit and they had no books . As an adult I am still shocked when someone says , of course we didn’t have books when we were young . I did. A houseful of books . I still can remember where I was when I read particular favourites . My guilty secret is , much as I Love the Chronicles of Narnia , I haven’t actually read them all although I do have them

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