Greetings on this Friday, at the end of July. As a southerner, I don’t expect spring for some time yet, but the sun had real warmth this week. There is a tulip magnolia tree already well through its blooming near my house. I need to not miss these signs as they appear. One year in Christchurch I missed spring completely, ignoring all the signs as ‘false spring” when it was the real thing!
That was intended to be an introductory paragraph but, I realise, contains some truth about life. There are lots of signs about us which we need to notice. Sometimes they suggest all is not well. Others suggest something more satisfying is ‘over there’. Sometimes signs prompt us to stop and think, or grieve, or reflect.
At Cuppa and Chat this week someone brought the paragraph below from Matt Haig’s book “Reasons to Stay Alive”. It’s going round the internet so you may have seen it. Considering I could only last a day without a cell phone recently – it carried a message to me about my expectations of always keeping up and keeping on!
“THE WORLD IS increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturiser? You make someone worry about ageing. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new smartphone? By making them feel like they are being left behind. To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our messy, human selves, would not be good for business.”
― Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
One of the contributions of a faith system to the world is that it offers us a wider and longer and deeper perspective. We are reminded through religion/spirituality that life is more than the economy, more than digital connectivity, more than wrinkles. I hope the way we do Christianity at St Andrew’s is in such a way that we are comfortable with our messy human selves.
This weekend I am at Cross Creek near Featherston for an Ephesus retreat. At the Gathering on Sunday Pat Booth is offering a wider perspective on how we see God – that will be fascinating. She’s looking forward to seeing you there.
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