Saturday, 30 May 2015

It's still a wonderful world

It would be easy to listen to the depressing news stories and be overcome with the horrors that are show to us. Wars which leave large numbers of people migrating in fear, migrants drowning in attempts to reach safer places, groups fighting for some misguided belief that allows them to murder others, people being abducted, famine, disasters. It could seem that the world is a pretty unsafe, dismal place to be.

And yet ...

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.

Creation, however we think it happened, is amazing. The diversity of life on this planet is astounding and the harmony that God created across it is mind blowing. Bringing order from chaos. Yet amid that diversity, wonder and order also lurks a darkness - we cannot control nature and often our activities cause nature to redress what we get wrong - global warming, sink holes where large scale mining or mineral excavation has taken place to name but a couple.

We were meant to live in harmony with God's creation and with each other, to enjoy but not destroy, to look after and not abuse. 

Now that might sound a bit dark, but the real point is that if we take a little time to look, if we take a little time to be still amidst God's creation we can gain something of the beauty of it all. The majesty and wonder, for me, is often almost overwhelming.

This week my wife and I had one of our Grand-Children for a few days, the wonder of watching a child grow up and find out about the world is something else, the joy she expresses when she sees something different or exciting is infectious. We spent a morning at a bird sanctuary and were all fascinated at the diversity and beauty of that small piece of God's creation. Water birds of many types including baby Swans, Kingfishers, a Heron and Kestrels.

We live in a wonderful world, (have a listen) a world that can and should be shared fairly with all regardless of their origins, a world that could and should be safe for all to grow and be nurtured in. A world where all have time to stop and be amazed at the beauty of this wonderful world that God has created and is good, very good.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015


Something I try to find time for, but often cut short, is reflection. That is taking time to look back over what has been happening in my life and especially what God has been about with me, what I am learning, being encouraged with and perhaps is changing.When I do find time, its always time well spent, but like many its time that is always hard to find.

Reflecting helps me to put things into a different perspective, lets me see just a little of God's bigger picture and nearly always, encourages me in ways I had not expected. You know what is is like, when we do things because we know we should, but have a sort of begrudging attitude as there are plenty of "more useful" things that could be done in the time.

Recently I put together a list of the outreach / evangelistic activities that our church is doing to help someone studying these things. I found myself reflecting on what we have been seeing as a church through these. Its hard to do that when you are helping to run them, organising them and such. So trying to put some key things about each down, and then thinking a little about the reason we do them, the impact they have and what God has been doing through them is really helpful, for me.

I recalled the story I was told a while back now of the caterpillar and the butterfly. The caterpillar crawling across a carpet, saw some colours and the change of them, but was fixed on moving slowly across it. Later as a butterfly it flew over the carpet and saw that it was a lovely Persian rug, with intricate patterns and colours and was all in harmony with itself.

Often when we are engaged with the detail, we don't see the bigger picture or the whole story of what God is doing, we see the issues, the things to overcome, the ups and downs or downs and ups, but the big picture is illusive amongst the details.

Looking over all of our churches efforts, there are folks who now come to church who didn't and possibly wouldn't have, if they had not come to our toddler group or coffee club of Cafe style outreach. There are families who have become connected with the church through our kidz Klub activities and our youth work. There are young people growing in faith through both of these. And then as I reflected over even more things, I could see God's hand, through helping others, visiting, encouraging,  watching their journey grow with him. And then there are the people who needed to know that they are loved even when they find it hard to love themselves. I felt blessed and in awe of all that God is doing ...

I encourage you, in your busy lives, take a little time to reflect and see the bigger picture of what God is doing.