Reading (Psalm 46)
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Last Friday I had my Covid-19 booster jab. The pharmacist who administered the injection was so gentle that I hardly noticed that I had had the jab at all. That was until later that evening when my arm began to ache, and then the rest of my body decided to join in and by Saturday morning I ached all over. I woke up on Saturday morning, not feeling at all well and so, after breakfast, I went back to bed to rest and sleep. I knew that what I needed to do was to drink plenty of fluids, take some paracetamol and rest. By the afternoon I no longer felt the need to be in bed, so got up, but I knew that I needed to continue to rest. The problem is that I’m not good at resting, all I could do was think about all the things that I had planned to do rather than concentrating on the important job of getting better. Thankfully I did the sensible thing and continued to rest.
By Sunday morning I was feeling much better again so Rob and I went to the service at Old. The morning service is an opportunity to meet with other Christians and spend time with God. But trapped inside Old church was a small bird which kept flying around the window behind the altar. It was very distracting, especially when it was joined by a butterfly, which it caught and proceeded to eat! I was supposed to be concentrating on the service, which was the reason I was there and was much more important than watching a little bird. One of the responses that we use at the beginning of our services reminds us that:
We meet together as the family of God, in our Father’s presence,
to offer him praise and thanksgiving, to hear and receive his holy word,
to bring him the needs of the world, to ask his forgiveness of our sins
and to seek his grace, that through his Son Jesus Christ,
we may give ourselves to his service.
Our ability to meet with and talk to God, either in private at home or together when we come to church, is a privilege that we all too often take for granted. We sometimes forget just how incredible it is that we are able to meet with God and so we let other things get in our way. On Saturday my only priority should have been to get myself better and so everything else could wait and shouldn’t have been on my mind. On Sunday I should have ensured that my attention was on the service and not the little bird. In psalm 46 we hear God say that we are to be still and know that he is God. If God is truly at the centre of our lives then he deserves to be given our full attention when we gather to worship him.
Father forgive us for being so easily distracted from spending time with you.