My friend Joyce has sent me another lovely Tweet of a Robin who visited her garden recently and brightened up her day.
TURNING BACK TO GOD
We live in an ‘instant’ world where Internet technology has made it possible to find answers to many questions and seek information about many things. Social Media is both a blessing and a curse.
People find it so easy to wage war on others without any sense of responsibility. It is hard to seek and find redress when things have gone ‘viral’. Glib comments which pour from news media and gossip papers that masquerade as newspapers, damage lives.
Also, in our instant world, it is so easy to make decisions without pondering the consequences. Governments sometimes do this and regret it later!
Whereas, in a genuinely civilized and democratic society ideas are celebrated, debated, refined and honed, before becoming offered and accepted, we tend to rush in where, as they say, angels fear to tread.
One hopes that those in conference in Glasgow at COP26, may be more restrained and shy away from instant decisions which may lack substance.
A Conference which is seeking solutions to the problems besetting the world needs to be considerate, filled with kindness, respectful of all participants, including (and perhaps especially) those witnessing on the fringe of the Conference. Many are very knowledgeable including David Attenborough, Prince Charles and Greta Thunberg. There’s a lot of expertise around which must be heard. We must be encouraged in our hope for a better world, a safer planet and a deeper understanding of Creation, how it works; how it can’t work, and, most importantly who our Planet is for.
We have much to pray about right now.
So what has this all to do with the little Robin?
Well, first of all, it has no seat at the Conference table, yet it is representative of the whole of Creation. Though it has a beautiful and melodious voice, it will not be heard at COP26, nor will other parts of Creation.
When God made us ‘Stewards’ of the earth, He had a hope that we wouldn’t exploit our beautiful Planet nor the lovely and diverse people who populate it along with the amazing and vast varieties of creatures, plants and all that makes our world so tremendous.
The Conference in Glasgow will hardly celebrate that because it is gathered to make reparation for all the destruction each generation has made. At least, in theory!
I doubt there will be much Penitence, which brings me back to the Robin.
Who is apologizing to him/her for what we are doing to his/her habitation and freedom? Who will admit to the creatures the Robin represents that we have been sucking the life out of Nature, the world they inhabit alongside us.
So the other reason the Robin is important to us is in the words Joyce has chosen from Psalm 40.
“I waited patiently for the Lord,
He turned to me and heard my cry.”
R.S. Thomas, in one of his poems said, The meaning is in the waiting.’
The late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, said that it is important to distinguish between what is ‘urgent’ and what is ‘important’. That takes patience and discernment.
If at COP26 we only deal with the Urgent – and all our proposed solutions deal just with that, then we may miss what is important.
What will change our world is if we get the Important right.
And what might this Important be?
I am going to say that it is rooted in returning to the One who is the Creator of the world and the Universe. Too vast a concept? Then how about this to meditate on:
He drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
The moment we step away from the mess we are making and turn again to the Lord for help, we are moving from despair to hope and from blame to Praise.
We turn towards our Loving God and try to put our Trust in him.
Happy are those who make the Lord their Trust. Says the psalmist.
The Robin may well teach us how to Trust
It trusts that God in Creation will sustain it.
It sings for all of the Natural World (of which, actually we are part).
It knows its need of God.
What really worries me is – how true is that of the human race?
Does humanity know its need for God.
The important work is for us who do know our need of God to open others to trust in Him
and in His love for the Earth and all in and on it.
It really will make a difference.
This is how the Psalm ends.
With a slight amendment, I offer it as a prayer.
May all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
‘Great is the Lord!”
For truly, you are our help and our deliverer
Come to us and help us, O Lord our God.