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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Reel to Real

I am of the era when a movie meant a reel-to-reel projection onto a screen. Intermissions at the cinema enabled the projectionist to change to the next reel. As our family grew, we used to take quite a bit of ‘cine’ film, and nothing delighted the children more than to have a movie night where we would sit and watch their antics, the way they were in times gone by. 

The images travelled visibly between the projector and the screen, spooky holographs of people and events. A side view revealed a sort of tunnel of light in which these images were captured until they were displayed on a flat surface.

As Don threaded the film into the projector, the kids loved nothing better than to cavort in front of the light so that their shadows were dancing on the empty screen. When the movie started, the images wrapped over their bodies, which continued to cast dancing shadows on the screen and interrupted the viewing of the film. Everyone else would call out, ‘Sit down!’ and finally we would settle to watch a short film depicting the way we were. 

The kids in the present moment could not see themselves as they were in the present, except as outline shadows on an empty screen, or interrupting a film of the past. 

It’s so much easier to see ourselves, the way we were, than to see ourselves as we are now. Whatever our antics, past or present, when God looks at us he sees his daughters and sons.

When Jesus was asked who he was, he replied with the extremely loaded phrase, ‘I am’, signifying his understanding that he and the Father are one, and have been one from the beginning and until the end. 

It would be very healing and encouraging if we could see ourselves as he sees us, and that when we are asked who we are, our first thought would be ‘a daughter/son of the King’. Reel to Real.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Poly Tunnels, Alpha and Omega

Poly tunnels. A means of manipulating the seasons and extending production of yummy things like rasps and strawbs. A visitor from Ohio asked me yesterday if the soft fruit season was over in Angus and Perthshire, and I said no, not since the appearance of the ubiquitous poly tunnels. In the natural world of our own garden, the season ended a few weeks ago. We’re moving fast into autumn and then onto winter.

Jesus said he is the Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the end. There are no poly tunnels in Jesus’ timekeeping. No artificial means of delaying his return. But the great news is that when Jesus returns – the Omega – it will not signify a slide into winter but rather will proclaim a glorious new world as Jesus establishes his kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven. No more tears and sorrow. No more violence and pain. A kingdom of love and peace. 


Monday, 18 September 2017

Round up

This may sound pretty random, but it’s all part of my renewed effort to open my spiritual eyes and ears and listen to what God’s saying to me. So this morning as I waited on him to speak, I didn’t hear anything but I did see the fences of a western-style corral. I didn’t see what was in the corral, just the fences on the corral. Then, galloping into view rode a cowboy on a horse, whirling a lasso over his head. He whirled it and whirled it, and then he let it slide down his arm and stop. He didn’t throw it.

Then I heard God. ‘You’re doing a lot of whirling the lasso without risking throwing it and bringing folk in!’ ‘How do I throw it, Lord?’ ‘Steady yourself in me. If you throw out words which aren’t coming from me, you’ll be off-balance and your throw will fall to the ground. You may get hurt; the other person may get hurt. You have to be absolutely secure, grounded in me.’

I think it must take a lot of practice to successfully throw a lasso while riding full-pelt on a horse. It’s taking a life time for me to get the hang of sharing the good news in a way that is relevant to my friends and others, so they are ‘caught’ by Jesus. Maybe I need to be more securely seated in the Word of God, and be more intentional in my conversations.

I’m thinking of Paul’s claim that he would become all things to all men so that he might win some to Christ. Successfully ‘lassoing’ someone for Jesus is as much about knowing the other person’s needs, fears, desires, hurts, so that the lasso can be tailored to pull them in gently, as it is about being securely seated in Jesus.

I’ve got a lot to practice.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Another Flat Tire

Another flat tire this morning. As I moaned about how frequently we have these, Don explained that the metal rims are corroded and so the tires don’t lean in tight and that’s what deflates them. (I think. Not overly interested in the causes, I just don’t want them!) 

Yesterday in Bible study we did an exercise in listening to God’s voice speaking to each of us. Some of us found it easier than others to distinguish what he might be saying from what we might be thinking ourselves. 

Perhaps spiritual corrosion keeps us from leaning in to God and being aware of his presence, his stillness, his peace, his voice. Spiritual corrosion resulting, perhaps, from overly-busy schedules, lack of teaching, even disbelief that he would want to speak to me.

I believe God speaks frequently to each of us, but that most of the time his words fall on deaf spiritual ears. Today I aim to lean in more, to take risks and to step out in faith.

No more flat spiritual tires.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Swallows Sweep

Swallows sweep past the window, darting here and there, chattering to one another. Other small birds – probably the ones who may over-winter here – hop down from the branches of the towering larch tree, pecking the ground beneath. A pigeon emerges from the foliage of the gooseberry bush. Beyond the near space, crows caw and land on the rolls of hay dotting the golden field. 

Autumn is upon us. I feel the stirrings of my annual urge to store up for winter, like a squirrel, pine cones and twigs for starting those fires that are already needed. In life, too, I am prepping for whatever is to come. Trying to find order in the picture folders on my computer, printing some out so that in the event of a laptop meltdown I don’t lose my memories. Gearing up for another round of the endless de-cluttering. Where does all this stuff come from?! I’m not necessarily sensing imminent winter, but the signs are there, and I know it is coming.

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, and he is the one thing that doesn’t change. I don’t have to moan, like the children do in Narnia tales, that it is always winter but never Christmas. When winter finally does come, I expect my spiritual ears to pick up the heavenly anthems and to be ready to shout out ‘Hark! The herald angels sing! Glory!!’

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Root Beer Floats

I was five and my sister was seven, and we were visiting relatives in Wisconsin for a few weeks. One night, several relatives came to my aunt’s house, where we were staying. Bedtime came and we were put into a curtained alcove off the kitchen/living room (if my memory serves me right), and while we struggled to go to sleep, the adults socialised while drinking root beer floats. It was agony hearing the spoons stirring, the straws slurping, the bubbles bubbling, while trying to sleep in a hot, stuffy room.

We were promised a root beer float the next day. The next day dawned eventually, but the root beer floats never appeared. I think my aunt just forgot, and we were taught never to ask for anything so we didn’t. We never got a root beer float during our visit there, for whatever reason, and over the years it became a joke between Judy, our mom and me, but at the time it was a promise broken. We were disappointed and let down.

God doesn’t promise root beer floats, but he does promise that he will never fail or abandon us. Sometimes I have heard a promise from him, but time has passed and it has felt a little like the root beer float that never appeared. Unlike that forgotten float, though, God never forgets, and he is faithful. His timing is not the same as ours, and his answers may not be in the form we are expecting, but I am assured that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and what he says will happen, will indeed happen. 

I can rest in his assurance, and wait with expectancy and peace.