Feeling a bit ‘deflated’? I came across a red sports car on my cycles and couldn’t resist a photo of its deflated tyres & recorded a 60 second sermon. As lockdown grinds through the phases, weeks become months and we adjust expectations of ‘going back to the way it was’ to accept an unknown future, which will look quite different. Like me, perhaps you’re threatened by ‘lockdown fatigue’ or the ‘listless doldrums’.
The ‘doldrums’ is a nautical term that refers to the belt around the Earth near the equator where sailing ships can get stuck on windless waters. Without some critical disciplines I’d be lost in the doldrums for sure. Carving out daily space to listen to God and weekly sabbath to puncture the pretence of being in control (resting, relaxing, recreating) help me appreciate that God is in charge. Also, weekly worship with God’s People via the internet & the significance & purpose of connecting with others and sharing in service help forward movement.
At a recent church leadership (kirk session) Zoom meeting we collectively accepted that it probably won’t be till after August that we can invite people back into our church buildings. I was heartened by the session’s realism and inspired by their readiness to find new ways to be & do church, continuing to learn how to connect with each other in meaningful ways beyond church buildings, by all means possible, especially in our homes.
Probably the discipline with the most positive impact on my attitude and approach to daily life & the future is the ‘graft of gratitude’, the steely determination to ‘be grateful’ for all ‘I have’ rather than get down about all that ‘I don’t have’. Local Lockdown walks with Dorothy have revealed some local views I’d never seen before and made me grateful for our local.
Nana Craig will likely blush at me singing her praises. Nana has many ailments from her ageing years which she could complain about, but she prefers to show interest in others (is there someone’s granny she knows?) and be grateful for all she has. At an Action Group Dinner we wished her ‘happy birthday’. I said, “Nana, you’re definitely a glass half full kind of person.” (as opposed to seeing it half empty). Quick as a shot she fired back, “Neil, I’m a cup full and running over kind of person.” Good for you Nana!
Sure enough, that’s what the 23rd Psalm tells us is our lot by faith, “The Lord’s my Shepherd, I have it all…cup full and running over…”
As St Paul puts it in Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT):
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Or as The Message translates, “It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.”
The attitude of gratitude can be a constant breath of fresh air to inflate our tired tyres, fill our limp sails, and shift us from the dank doldrums. Blow Holy Spirit Blow!