As we journey through these uncertain times, each day Sean will seek to post a thought or reflection, a Bible verse or a prayer.
Tuesday 14th July 2020
During the weekend, I had the opportunity to saunter along the banks of the River Dee downstream of Banchory. Note the use of the word saunter. It was not a brisk walk or run, but a slow reflective stroll, enjoying the sunshine, listening to the sounds of nature and enjoying the fine views of Scotly, and Clachnaben and of course the River Dee. Even Melville our retriever enjoyed himself, cooling off with a swim. Being able to enjoy and appreciate the marvels of creation, is one of life’s richest and meaningful treasures.
Acts 9: 1-9
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
Our Bible Reading tells the story of the Conversion of St Paul. Here Saul, an intelligent, zealous and highly motivated Jewish Pharisee is hurrying towards Damascus when his journey is interrupted by grace. His original purpose was to arrest individuals who were thought to be corrupting the Jewish Faith. At this point the emerging Christian faith was still very much rooted in the ancient Jewish religion.
Over the next few days we will be reflecting on the transformation of Saul the Pharisee to St Paul the Apostle. But on our first outing, note the difference between saunter and haste. Saul is so fixated on his task that in his haste he fails to recognise what is happening right under his nose! God is doing a new thing and he fails to recognise it. This is why sauntering is so important in the spiritual life. To see clearly, to understand what is not obvious, we need to slow down, pause and ponder.
So today, why set apart some time to saunter?
Father, as we begin this new day help is to saunter.
Help us to know your presence, accompanying us, surrounding us and within us.
Help us to realise the depth of your love, to feel your compassion filling every memory
Help us to marvel at the beauty of your creation, from majestic mountain heights to the grass under our feet.
Help us to recognise your hand at work in our lives and in the people around us.
As we saunter, let us be more open to Jesus.
In our prayers today, let us remember…
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
you will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours
now and forever.
God of the quiet times, speak peacefully to our souls.
God of the noisy times, share our shouts of joy.
God of the sad times, comfort and console us.
God of the happy times, smile and laugh with us.
God of all times and eternity
Support us and make us strong
And make the bonds among us stable
For you are the arch of Divine Love
That holds together our whole existence
And so may the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Remain us all for evermore.