Had a lovely walk today on a stretch of the Burton canal I've never previously been on: glorious sunshine, peaceful setting, canal boats occasionally going past, it was wonderful. At the same time I saw on Facebook that my daughter, partner and our grandchild had gone for a walk and they showed some lovely photographs from their local park. As I walked and reflected I found myself giving thanks for the privilege I have of living in an area and in a country with such beauty. Leaving aside the constant arguments about “Big Bang theory” or “evolutionism vs creationism”, what I think we should focus on is the belief that somehow (& in ways beyond our limited human minds) God created the universe. When I take my car in for a service I don't ask how the mechanic changed the oil, I'm just grateful he did: similarly when I've been in hospital I haven't queried the phlebotomists qualifications I'm just grateful she knows how to get at my blood. I know these are simplistic analogies, but the point is that sometimes we're too busy looking for answers instead of simply being grateful. Today I saw the beauty of rabbits playing and eating nearby, ducks resting peacefully, a swan nesting, varieties of colour in the trees and in the water; I felt the warmth of the sun, and to reflect the words of Louis Armstrong thought “What a wonderful world”.
But my thoughts also went to my friends in Poiana, Romania, where they have been hosting a team this week. The team have been insulating one of the houses in the village and in doing so will help the family concerned with heating and maintenance, making a major difference to their lives. In that village and in so many other places in the world the thought of a nice gentle stroll along a canal is unknown and many are in situations where to give thanks to a creator God is hard to do, because life is a struggle and is so much about survival.
For those villagers there isn't always the time to take in the beauty of the world and certainly in some places where there has been natural disasters it may even be understandable to curse God.
I don't know why I've been born where I have, and others elsewhere, why I'm the lucky one and others not, but I do know that the creator God has created a world where he expects us to be generous, gracious, grateful and he expects us to grasp the opportunities not only to enjoy the creation but to become creators ourselves of a better world where there is true peace and equality: where hunger and thirst is no more and where people's lives are not dominated by fear and anxiety.
Jesus called on his followers to make a difference to the world; to be the salt that brings flavour to the world. That's why I try to help the Burton Addiction Centre, the YMCA, my friends work in Poiana, and other situations where I can make a difference. It's why I try to be a good husband, Father and Granddad, because I want the best for others and I want them to have the same opportunities as me to praise the creator God.