I will rejoice in the Lord
It's a beautiful day. Blue skies. No wind. Slight bite of winter still in the air. It is a day when it is easy to praise God as you go for a morning walk in the park. It even makes a journey to work a little less depressing.
But it brought to mind a passage in Eugene Peterson's "The Contemplative Pastor." (Yes, I'm back there again.) It is probably my least favourite part of the book, where he does a miniature hagiography of Annie Dillard, the American author who has written much on the spirituality revealed in nature and the problem of pain.
But in this section Peterson, drawing on Dillard's writings, says:
'It is child's play to "appreciate nature" when the sun is shining and the birds are singing. Something far more strenuous is involved when we face and deal with the cruelty and terror that creation also deals out in spades.'
Previously he makes reference to the 10% of living creatures that are parasites, which Dillard calls "the devil's tithe"... As someone who studied animal behaviour as an undergraduate, parasites, like the loa loa worm pictured above (hope that didn't put too many people off reading the post), were always biologically fascinating, but theologically challenging...
And although the sun is shining in the sky today I know that there are those who feel that it has been blotted out forever, because of a devastating diagnosis, or a death... or simply because of that peculiar imbalance in brain chemicals that conjures up my old friend depression.
So that sent my mind running off to good old Habakkuk and his unproductive vineyard, and I wrote this short piece off the back off it:
Though the sun in the sky does not cut through the deep darkness of depression and the TV news is filled with war, disaster, immorality and economic despair, though a wet summer has resulted in rising prices and food shortages and there is uncertainty about what is in the food we are eating, though there are empty seats around the family dinner table and there is no hope of staving off the tumour eating me alive, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. I WILL rejoice in the Lord.I WILL...O God be my Saviour,
Help me be joyful in you.