One of the things I’ve noticed in the last four weeks is the stillness at night or in the early mornings. No guys coming home from a night out, or taxi’s working late into the night, few police sirens because most people are locked down. It means that now I hear sounds that were drowned by the other sounds of life like traffic or the workmen across the road. With all that stopped or well reduced I heard a train horn sound the other day which I don’t think I’ve heard before at the Manse. I’m sure trains are sounding their horns on the approach to the station at Sydenham or Lanyon Place regularly but I’d just never noticed before. I notice the pigeons cooing, the sound of kids playing and the rhythmic squeak of the springs as they bounce on their trampoline. Normally life is busy but when it slows down as it’s done in the last few weeks we hear and notice things that were going on but which normally we miss.
Psalm 46 is a song with which we are familiar and many people have found comfort in its words during trying times but I noticed this morning how full of noise it is. We don’t normally notice but read it for yourself, the earth gives way, the mountains fall into the sea, the waters roar and foam, the mountains quake, none of these things happen silently but are accompanied by the sounds of upheaval and destruction. Noise, not only in the natural world but among the nations as well the sounds of violence and trauma, “Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall” What hope for peace? Well, it’s only in the Lord isn’t it? When he lift his voice the earth melts, wars cease, the weapons of misery and death are destroyed and the voice sounds which brings stillness and peace. Be still and know that I am God.... The Lord almighty is with us, the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
For most of us, for a time the clamour of the world has reduced or stopped, we have time to think, to take stock, to notice that most of the things we thought were very important and really urgent aren’t urgent at all. The things we miss are the things we thought we could do anytime like meet for worship, and have time to pray together, to hear the word and fellowship together and I’ve been wondering for the last week or more what the Lord is saying to his church about our priorities. When these doors you see in the picture open again what will we consider essential to being the church, to faith and to life?
For now, “He says, “Be still and know that I am God”
Lord these days have forced me to step back from the daily grind and take stock, not only to consider what really is urgent or important in life, but to realise anew the blessing of Christian fellowship. Lord as I consider my relationship with you and with others in the church, the body of Christ give me a new appreciation of the mercy you have shown in bringing us into your family and making us one through grace alone. Help me not to take this grace for granted. In Jesus name AMEN
Beneath the Cross of Jesus (Getty)