As a surprise present I bought friends of mine a photography course. They then had to buy themselves decent cameras but apart from that they have, they say, benefitted from the gift.
Not sure I have.
When we go out for walks now it takes so much longer. They are endlessly comparing apertures and considering lighting effects etc …my gift has meant I spend a lot of time standing around whilst my friends improve their pictures by varying the camera settings.
But maybe that’s the point.
Maybe I am usually far too intent on completing the walk than enjoying what is around me… ‘what is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare…’ as W. H. Davies put it…’no time to stand beneath the boughs and stare as long as sheep and cows.’
Jesus was certainly a hard worker but he took his time out to pray and to be quiet. He took many of his parables from observing nature and its rhythms and was able to explain what he wanted to say by referring to the natural world about him.
Looking to the sky, seeing the birds in their busy-ness, hearing the humming of the bees, the trickling water, watching the sheep in the fields with the gambolling lambs, breathing in the sweet air of wild flowers and grasses…’Be still and know that I am God’ (Psalm 46) comes very much to mind and heart.
It is a blessing when a gift given becomes a gift to yourself.
Revd Jane Parry
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