Popular Posts

Saturday, 30 April 2016

One Poplar Down

The poplar was older than my two younger sons. It was planted at the same time as its neighbours, but it shot to a great height quickly. Twice over the years, the top has cracked and broken off, flying into the telephone line and bringing it down. It could have been worse.

Today that poplar went down in a matter of minutes. A man with knowledge and experience and a chainsaw drove it down into the field, and then cut it into manageable logs for the fire for the foreseeable future.

The roots of that poplar have dibbled the drive so that now it needs to be repaved.

That poplar was a beautiful tree. I always enjoyed the way the new spring leaves turned in the light, a sight I will not see again. 

But it had two major flaws. It was weak above ground, where it could be seen, because it shot to great height without allowing time to bulk out some strength. It was weak below ground, its shallow roots suggesting that in a major storm, they might just give way altogether.

Spiritually it’s good to take time feeding on God and growing slowly and steadily, allowing a deep tap root connected to Jesus to securely anchor me.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

A real Scottish Spring

Move over, pussy cat. 

I can’t think of any spiritual comment. In my winter woollies etc etc and it’s nearly May. 

Oh, thought of something. Paul wrote that he’d learned to be content in all circumstances, relying on God. I guess I’ve got a bit farther to go on this journey...

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Solo Swan

The solo swan glided sedately across the harbour. Few fishing boats to avoid; lots of yachts in the marina but few out sailing this early in the season. I know what they say about ducks – looking serene but paddling frantically below the water line. This swan revealed no such feverish activity. 

A sense of serenity rose up within me. The assumptions which I have allowed to freeze exploration of possibilities seemed to shift ever so slightly. I began to think outside the box, to expand my horizons and let my imagination run. I felt as if my moorings had slipped, just a little.

Jesus came that we might have life, life in its fullest sense. I know it’s Mel Gibson who is most celebrated for his cry of freedom, but freedom is what Jesus gives us when we step into his grace. We so often nest into our comfort zone. It’s good to think outside the box.

Monday, 25 April 2016

The Heavens Declare

The heavens declare the glory of God. So does it follow that the seasons reflect his nature in all its complexity? I think so, and given that the defining attribute of God is love, each season must reveal a nuance of his amazing love for us. 

Spring is the smile of new life. Summer is the joy of abundance. Fall displays the colours of wisdom. Winter is the peace of rest. And a whole lot more, obviously.

Perhaps other geographical points stick to the seasonal script, but here in Scotland those seasonal distinctives often blur. Today, for instance, in between a sun valiantly striving to warm up the frozen north, we are having squalls of snow. And it’s cold enough for the snow to lie.

We can have four seasons in an hour, never mind a day.

Sometimes life’s seasons don’t follow the script either. A life in its spring or summer season suddenly being blasted by an icy wind and cut short. It can be hard to see the love sometimes.

I don’t get the seasonal confusion, but I am grateful that through it all, underneath are the everlasting arms. God’s arms express love at its most pure. 

The heavens declare the glory of God. Whether a sun blazes from a blue sky or snow falls from heavy grey clouds, God never changes.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

The Gloaming

The gloaming. It’s so beautiful, and it lasts so long at this time of year in Scotland that they had to invent their own word for it. I stood on the rocks at the entrance to Tarbert Harbour a couple of nights ago, listening to the lullaby of the lapping waves and watching the lightshow over the village. 

The end of the day. Time to stand still and reflect on the day’s activities, the day’s successes or failures, and give the package to God. Somehow things can look clearer from an end-of-the-day perspective. Mistakes may be highlighted and can be apologised for. Jesus moments can be perceived and gratitude can rise, filling the heart with joy and peace. 

The beloved dad of dear friends recently reached the end of his long life. His gloaming probably lasted a bit longer than he might have chosen, but it had a beauty about it, too, as loved ones had time to appreciate him and say their adieus. 

He is now in one big Jesus moment, home at the end of his day, and his loved ones can rest assured that they walked him home safely. There is a quiet beauty at the end of a life well-lived.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Slithering Snakes

A perfect Argyll day. I flew along the path, enjoying the birdsong, the warmth of the sun on my face, and the solitude.

Went over this wee bridge and paused, then gave in and lay on the grass, listening to the bubbling burn. 

If I’d known that the next day I would nearly step on an adder as it sunbathed on the path not far away, I might not have been so relaxed.

Life is a bit like that perhaps – we enjoy the rest occasionally, oblivious of the adders lurking nearby. 

Another reason to put all our trust in God, who sees every slithering snake in the grass, and has dealt with them.