The apple of an eye

apples at Charleston. photographed by Mr G.

The apple of an Eye

At a Church Conference, food was provided so people attending could enjoy a meal together. There was plenty of food, and at one end of the table, near the coffee, there was a bowl of chocolates .  At the opposite end, there was a bowl of apples. In front of the bowl of chocolates there was a sign.
“Take care!  Only two chocolates each. Remember, God is watching!”
In front of the apples, someone put up another notice:
Have as many apples as you like, God is busy watching the chocolates!”

The other day, I visited Charleston, the South Downs home of Venessa Bell and the Bloomsbury set. It’s fascinating in so many ways and what it stands for is quite challenging.
In a corner of the garden, the apple trees were beginning to be laden with apples, deep and red.

One of the marks of originality about the Bloomsbury group, for whom Charleston was  significant, is that it was a place for experimenting with relationships. Perhaps this experimentation was sometimes shocking, and at other times, it was held together in brokenness. It was however, an attempt push the boundaries. It was about discovering love, loyalty, friendship and, for some, community.

Relationships are rarely easy and the balance of giving and receiving needs working at.
There is, however, for all of us, a relationship which works because, oddly, it is never equal.
I am talking about  our relationship with God. It is a relationship of deep care and watching over us. It is pure love. As the Psalmist in Psalm 17: 8.  puts it :
Guard me as the apple of the eye.

King David, who is assumed to be the author of the psalm  is claiming the protection and care of God for Him. He can do this because he knows God’s constant love for him.
The apple of the eye, has differing interpretations but we have come to see it as a term of true endearment.  We often use it towards people who are very, very special to us. We might say of them, You/they  are the apple of my eye.
Well we are very special to God, each of us, so David’s request is not unreasonable and is certainly faithful. He knows God will not forsake him, even if David turns away from God.
And, we too, are the apple of God’s eye. God isn’t watching the chocolates at all.
He’s watching over us.
Though that’s  no excuse to eat all the Chocolates!

Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Alleluia, alleluia.
Keep me as the apple of your eye.
Hide me under the shadow of your wings.

(from Compline, the Night Office of the Church)

[Mr G]

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