by Elaine Lindridge.
Another country’s government swings to the right.
Another newspaper headline spouts lies about refugees.
Another calamity linked to climate change.
Another foodbank runs out of food.
Another ‘warm space’ opens as if this were somehow normal.
Another change in the law erodes my rights to protest.
Another woman cuts her hair in Iran.
My home is warm and my belly is full.
My family are wonderful.
My diary has a holiday in it.
My work is fulfilling.
My budget balances.
My faith is in One who is faithful.
Now before you worry about me, let’s each be honest with ourselves. How many of us have emotions and responses to life that fluctuate frenetically from positive to negative? The writers of the Psalms obviously experienced this too. Many of these timeless songs start in dismay and move to hope. Then the next psalm, dismay, hope, and so it continues.
Panto season will soon be upon us, and I’m reminded of the slapstick character who fails to see that someone is right next to them even as the audience shouts, ‘he’s behind you!’. We can look at characters in the Bible and see the ending of their story without really engaging in the trauma of the ups and downs they faced. A blasé approach that nonchalantly concedes that God will sort it out in the end.
But when we are in the midst of rapidly changing times and we’re trying to navigate the turbulent seas of life, our view of God might sometimes be obscured. Maybe on the days when we’re not sure where God is, we need to remember that there’s a cloud of witnesses shouting, ‘God’s behind you….and beside you, and all around you.’ (Hebrews 12:1)
This is going to sound incredibly obvious, but at either end of these emotions is the need to breathe. The pioneer community that I am part of has weekly zoom prayers and we use a liturgy we have written ourselves. A refrain that runs through it is this,
Rooted in the mystery,
wonder and power of the Great Creator
who shows us how to breathe.
So on the days that are good, when the sky is blue and I’m living my best life, I pause and breathe deeply, remembering that I am rooted in the mystery, wonder and power of the Great Creator.
And on the days when the News is overwhelming and debilitating, and fear creeps into my soul, I pause and breathe deeply, remembering that I am rooted in the mystery, wonder and power of the Great Creator.
Take a moment right now.
Acknowledge your fears.
Relish your contentment.
Listen as the crowd of witnesses point to the God who surrounds you.
And know deep in your being that you are rooted in the mystery, wonder and power of the Great Creator who shows you how to breathe.