May 5, 2012
As I looked at this photo taken yesterday at Inchydoney I was reminded of the verse:
“People are like grass;
their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades…”
At times it seems that all around us are reminders of the transient and fragile nature of life. To see deteriorating health in those that were once so strong, whether people or animals, can be a difficult thing to have to deal with. I never cease to be in awe of those who face death with both great courage and deep peace. I wonder how I would react if I was addressed with that awful doctor’s euphemism, “I think you should get your affairs in order”? I’d like to think it would be a spiritual experience and maybe it would, but I’m sure too that I would scrape and rebound through each of the ‘the five stages’, Denial & Isolation, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and perhaps (God willing) finally Acceptance.
The destination is perhaps what shapes the journey most of all. If I were an atheist I would ponder the dissolution of myself to nothing, if I were an agnostic I simply wouldn’t know what to think, but as one who stumbles, trips and hobbles after the Lord Jesus, I know that He is the way, the truth and the life.
The verse I quoted at the beginning is from 1 Peter 1:24. The verse that goes before it reads:
For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.
Yes this life is fleetingly fragile, but new life in God, that is something different altogether. Perhaps we don’t fade away after all and for the one who puts their faith and trust in Christ, death is not just an ending, but a new beginning.
December 8, 2011
I drive past this local piece of artwork very often, but the other day I was walking and so had the opportunity to have a good look at it. I love the concept; here you have an old dark and damp stone wall, all fairly bleak really, but then a window, to a place where the Sun is shining, the sky is blue and the boats are just waiting for you to take them out on the water. It’s a chance to escape to another time and place where things are better than here (even if it’s only in your imagination and only for a brief moment).
There are many people who would just love to escape right now; to escape from financial hardship, pressures and stresses that are unique to each individual and others that are ubiquitous to us all. Thank God that there is hope and that there is a way out, and what better time to be reminded of this than in the Christmas season when we celebrate that God in Jesus came to us because He cares for us far beyond even our wildest dreams.
The whole ‘door to another world’ theme reminded me of a verse from the last book in the Bible, ‘Revelation’:
After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”
(Revelation 4:1 ESV)
September 19, 2011
Looking at this rusty old bit of metal that forms part of the sea defences at Red Strand, one can’t help but be struck with a new appreciation of the powerful forces of nature. The sea never gives up; day after day, year after year and for millennia. Metal, concrete and stone do not stand a chance, it may take its time, but the sea will conquer in the end.
I don’t know what obstacles you have in your life, but even though they might seem immovable and adamant in their permanence, there is a Force that is altogether greater…
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Mark 13:31
This past few days I’ve had the privilege to spend time with three people in the last hours of their life and then to do the funerals of two of them. It is impossible not to be affected by this experience, which is both a huge honour and privilege. It affects me differently each time but perhaps this last week I have been able to understand things from an eternal perspective more; that this life is little more than a preparation, a beginning for that life which is to come. In the midst of all this we have a God, an awesome God who is always there and who does not change. He is with us in life and He is with us in death and He is with us in that life which is to come.
And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.” (Hebrews 1:10-12)
July 26, 2008
Panasonic FZ50, f4.0, 100 ISO, 88 mm Jpeg
We all have ephemeral glimpses of heaven but I suppose that sometimes we are too busy to notice. How many times have I missed a moment of divine beauty because I was fretting about a parish meeting or wondering how I was going to pay the tax return?! Often such glimpses are unexpected, as in driving around the corner to see little more than the shadow of a deer just vanishing into the forest or the glimpse into the soul of a newborn baby when they open their eyes for the first time. Sometimes they are more planned such as in reaching the summit of a mountain on a clear day and then trying to absorb the sheer scale of the magnificently crafted landscape beneath you. Perhaps the most surprising thing of all is that God’s beauty is everywhere, to be found in every person, each of whom He has made in His own image and to be found in all that the Creator’s hand has touched…
One morning I was standing out the front of our house to have a better look at the misty yet colourful sunrise that was taking place – it was a special moment. Out of the mist came a single bird flying towards me. Without thinking I lifted up my camera and took the picture you see above. A lucky shot? Yes, and one that reminds me of the beauty of God’s creation that I take too often for granted…