Thought for the Day by Jan Betts (All Hallows’)
Even after a year of getting used to this funny time, of trying to do daily encouraging things like walks with friends, gardening, family zooms, committees and digging deep to stay cheerful, there are days when lethargy strikes like a sledgehammer and everything feels fairly pointless and by the end of the day that there isn’t much to show for it.
Like today in my life.
Then, giving myself a shake, I finally settled down grumpily at 9 pm to writing Thought for the Day, read Romans 12 and felt sledgehammered again but quite differently. We don’t, writes St. Paul, have to be dominated by our human nature. We are children of God. We can call him Father (or mother). We are heirs of the kingdom of God with all that means. We are part of the great story of redemption through the love God in Jesus. Brother Ass, to use St Francis’ term for our bodies – and hence, quite often, our natures – is truly a great pain and an ass but we are not chained in that nature. What we do is really important as we try to be faithful to the way of Jesus but it’s not what we are. A bad day is not a life sentence.
As Job knew in the other reading for today. All he suffered was real and mere words couldn’t work to change that. His situation was appalling and tragic, feeling completely handed over to the godless. His days were dreadful: full of the dread of what God might send, of what his despicable neighbours might accuse him of. But, he says, as well as the witnesses on earth accusing him of being wicked he has a witness in heaven, a defender on high who knows that his prayer is pure and his hands free of violence. As we have the Spirit to plead with us and Jesus to redeem us and bring resurrection into each new day.
Whatever we feel like, whatever sour notes our day strikes, whatever feeling we have about the aimless nature of our lives at present, this is not the story. We have to hold onto that and as Adriaan said in a previous TFTD, when life sucks or seems pointless, we have a witness and a parent in God, who we believe is there, and who redeems our rubbish days by resurrection all the time and every day. The God of love is as he is in suffering, resurrected Jesus who walks with us.
So I went to bed rejoicing that a little of the day had been redeemed by such a gracious reminder, rather than regretting my day.