Celebrating life. Noticing gifts. Remembering God’s goodness. Welcoming joy.
Every seven days, sabbath brings a day of complete rest. Every seven years, a sabbatical where debts are to be forgiven is observed. Every fifty years, a jubilee year proclaims liberty when the people of ancient Israel were required to live off the produce of the land without sowing or reaping, rejoicing together in God’s care. The grain of gratitude was to be sufficient. The strains of joy were to be proficiently sung by all. (Leviticus 25: 1-22 / Deuteronomy 15)
Our pictures of his goodness can become a bit grainy if we allow gratitude to be shut out, or the lens of greed to dim our ability to see that every good gift comes from him.
We can become so focused on being industrious that we fail to recognize the litany of life given by the God who leases the land of our lives and ministries with generosity to ensure his blessings will see us through to the end. We may not always notice … especially if we are in a season of extreme conditions … but they are there.
Fifty random snapshots …
- a quiet word of hope from the God of all hope quite able to sustain us
- the mesmerizing sounds of cascading water
- the throbbing whir of a ruby throated hummingbird suspended in a garden of blooms
- rainforest mist
- songbirds waking in the morning
- candlelight and conversation over a meal shared with true companions
- the anticipatory cacophony of an orchestra warming up
- the feast of patterns and colour wrapped on bolts of fabric in quilting shops
- gooey warm cinnamon buns
- smiles of grace on faces aged with stories of sanctified joy in the midst of suffering
- a newly born infant cradled in the adoring gaze of parental wonder
- a tender kiss
- the intriguing beauty of wood grains
- footpaths through pine needles and young saplings
- the smell of freshly mowed hay in the dampness of falling evening
- crisp, clean sheets hung dry with the scent of cool freshness
- acts of simple kindness
- recapturing delight as seen through a child’s eyes
- the softness of finely brushed suede
- the elegant curves of railway tracks lying along folds where hills and valleys meet
- rainbows against dark menacing clouds
- porch lights shining in the deepening dusk
- late afternoon sun filtered through delicate shades of green
- stars scattered across the indigo canvass of a night sky unpolluted by city light
- the zig zagging of an old cedar fence
- the wafting fragrance stirred by walking through a patch of thyme
- cool water splashed on the face in the heat of a hot summer day
- a patient response
- a grove of locust trees laden with white blossoms
- the peace of communal prayer
- cobblestone streets
- dragonflies lighting on slender twigs
- the old familiar haunts of good childhood memories
- the lilt of an Irish accent
- new adventures
- the Spirit’s gift of strength to stand in quiet hope in the face of great challenges
- the comforting tick tock of a grandfather clock marking each precious moment
- silky bamboo yarn being knit together beneath the caress of guiding fingertips
- freshly picked berries and cream
- the honking of Canada geese flying overhead
- sitting on a well placed bench overlooking a peaceful scene
- a pot of tea shared among friends
- the unique charm of community theatre
- the sheer majesty of Rocky Mountain passes
- the graceful bounding of a doe across an open meadow
- the first light frost quickly melting in an autumn morning sun
- the soft aqua of new growth on a blue spruce
- the sweet clear sound of a children’s choir
- patterns of cream swirling in dark roast coffee observable in a clear glass mug
- welcome solitude, welcome multitudes, depending on the moment
Have we recently been refreshed by one of countless little gifts which caught our attention and reminded us that every square inch of this world is God’s field of desire to bless for our good and good pleasure which then glorifies him? Do we pause long enough to look?
There’s more than a grain of truth to the observation that servant leaders are not necessarily the best at staking out regular Sabbath patterns to take note of little touches of bounty and beauty, much less promoting longer collective sabbaticals. Paradoxically, we are called to be diligent workers in the harvest of those needing rest in Christ. We are to be sowers and waterers of the seed, but Jesus is ultimately the One growing his church, giving us all we need to become a bumper crop of joyful jubilee praise.
So, within a good and healthy work ethic is the epic discovery of spiritual gain as we are fed by the wholesome grain of Christ and his blessings, our daily bread.
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Phil. 4: 19-20)
We are invited to sink again into sabbath rest and feel the relief of a Father’s blessing.
‘Lord, your gifts come in many different forms. They are so plentiful we may even come to count them as normal entitlement and fail to recognize your kindness. Our senses become dulled to your amazing creativity and generosity and fail to see or hear your whisper of faithfulness in the little details nearby.
Help us regularly celebrate the fact that you carry us from year to year with your kind care far beyond our needs. Help us sing the song of jubilee in our dealings with others to make the gospel visible and enjoy the fellowship you intend for us to know, taking our own importance with a grain of salt around tables of hospitality hosted by you. May we be given eyes to see your beauty and bounty all around us and so be filled with renewed thanks and wonder, washed again in your love. Amen.’
I wonder what we’ll see today …