Sunday 8th March
Kerry and I mind our two granddaughters on Wednesdays. In the afternoon, we walk to School with Aurora to collect Melody after her School finishes. As there is a park nearby, we inevitably spend some time there before returning home. There is a bike-path at the back gate of the School that branches off to the park. It travels through a small area of grassed edges and woodland, through which the rainwater is funnelled towards a creek further beyond the housing estate.
Whenever we travel on the bike-path Kerry and I take care to look for anything to show to the girls. At one house that we pass, two small white dogs are often seen in the backyard. At times we see kookaburras or peewees or willy-wagtails sitting on fences. Quite often we hear and catch fleeting glimpses of wrens and honey-eaters among the trees. Ducks and swamp hens often feed in a small pond adjacent to the path, where we also see dragonflies hovering over the reeds. After rain, exquisitely shaped and coloured fungi can be seen quite close by. And, the other day, we saw three frill-necked lizards sunning themselves on the grass edges.
We marvel at the girls’ simple pleasure in observing such ‘every-day’ sights. I sigh that, with our hurried and harried life-styles, we miss so much of what we fail to see if we but slow down and look around us. It is only because the girls are not rushing about and welcome our pointing out what can be seen, that they gather such enjoyment and are open to our explaining of what they can see.
Psalm 24 contains these words:
“Who has the right to go up the Lord’s hill? Who may enter His holy Temple? Those who are pure in act and in thought.”
These words remind us that our time of worship of God is not something that we race through so as to rush onto the next thing in our busy schedule, nor is it something that is done by rote or by following a familiar pattern of words and phrases. We approach our worship acknowledging that it is a time to quietly reflect that “the World and all that is in it belong to the Lord”, as Psalm 24 tells us. We approach our worship acknowledging that we must relinquish all else that has a hold on our heart and mind and spirit, because anything that draws our focus from being wholly on God is but a worship of idols and false gods with their false promises of satisfaction and purpose. We approach our worship acknowledging that we come into the very presence of God, who is righteous and holy, and who desires that we seek to emulate Him in our acts and in our thoughts, “filling our minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise, things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely and honourable”, as Paul tells the Church in Philippi. It is not a matter of ‘simply going to Church’, nor of being ‘simple if we go to Church’. It is a simple matter that God is, and that we are God’s creatures whom God loves and blesses. As we gather for worship, let us be open to God, to what He can show us and to what He can teach us. Geoffrey