Psalm 95 v 1 – 7
Some of you may be aware that I have two sisters, Pam and Ann, both are older than me in fact they are considerably older than me, – a fact that I remind them of each time we meet, (aren’t brothers wonderful). Pam celebrated her 80th birthday at the beginning of March this year and we managed to have a family celebration before the current restrictions were introduced. Ann is two years younger than Pam so I look forward to her celebrations after the restrictions have been lifted.
Both Pam and Ann moved from Yorkshire to Lincolnshire some years ago, Pam moved first and Ann followed two or three years later so they could be close at hand. A sudden thought struck me, neither wanted to move to Derby !!!!
Their local church is Horncastle Methodist Church and I go over there and preach a couple of times a year and we all get together for lunch after the service.
Like everyone else they are ‘enjoying’ social separation and because of their great age they are considered vulnerable (as am I ), so to make sure that they are both alright I telephoned them this week to check, (they say we have to look after the older generation).
Both are fine, Pam has resurrected her interests in card making and embroidery and Ann is further developing her skills in oil and watercolour painting.
When I was sorting out the cupboard under the stairs I came across one of Ann’s oil paintings that she gave to me some years ago. I hasten to add that the painting was not in the cupboard through disrespect, it was removed from the bedroom/study for redecoration and I hadn’t replaced it.
It’s an interesting picture of Mount Everest in oils and I have to say that looking close up the subject is hardly recognisable. It resembles a series of blobs of thick paint dabbed on a canvas with a knife with not a paint brush in sight as you would expect. Then there are the colours, apparently unrelated blobs of red, green, and brown but not in a uniform pattern. Amongst the colours there are streaks of black and white which to my eye serve no apparent purpose.
Now I have to admit that I am not an artist. My attempts at drawing are best described as ‘childlike’, big bodies, small heads with sticks for arms and legs, but while I admire Ann’s vision, I began to realise the true reason why the picture was in the cupboard under the stairs.
But then; – hang the picture on the wall and stand back to view and the picture is transformed into a majestic mountain rising up from the Himalayas, with a snow capped summit merging into a harmony of colours and textures. The black and white streaks turn into shadows and light, the reds turn into rocky escarpments, and the browns and greens turn into eroded weather beaten inclines. The picture comes alive and you can almost hear and feel the wind howling though the peaks. It is a masterpiece.
It’s like our lives, there are times when we look close up and it appears to be nothing but dark skies and storms but we stand back and view the full picture the storms fit into one small corner and the rest is bright and colourful and that’s where God is, protecting, guiding and caring for us.
It reminds me of the present situation with Coronavirus, looking close up it appears to be a disaster. A jumble of restrictions, financial uncertainty, illness, suffering and unfortunately for some death.
But if we stand back and view the picture we see, caring people and communities, dedicated NHS staff, coordinated efforts by industry to provide specialist equipment, innovative ideas and solutions to previously unknown situations and hope for the future.
(Psalm 95 v 1)
Come let us praise the Lord
Let us sing for joy to God
Who protects us
O by the way; – I am reframing the picture and it will be back on the wall before the end of next week.