Here in Cambridgeshire most of us are enjoying the beauty and abundance of an English summer. My faith and my reading of the creation story in the Bible tells me that the material creation is at its heart ‘good’, embued with the life force of creativity that is God, abundant with his presence.
There is a lot to be said for giving attention to the simple blessings offered to us by the natural world – a shaft of sunlight enhancing the vivid colour of the Sweet Williams; the green woodpecker picking ants out of the grass; the shriek of swifts overhead; the taste of a freshly picked strawberry; the drama of a summer storm. A mindful pause to give thanks is a vital stress-relieving antidote to our rushing world, and evidence shows that our ability to pick out and notice these blessings, particularly in the midst of more difficult circumstances, helps us to survive rather than to go under.
But how can we rejoice in these things which bless us here when other places across the world are full of impoverishment and human conflict? In the end, each of us can only live our own lives well. But, as part of giving thanks for the things which bless you, why not give a gift to people who do not have these blessings, via one of the organisations supporting those trapped by conflict or the lack of things we take for granted. That too is an act of mindfulness.
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil…
Gerard Manley Hopkins
First published in Dry Drayton News in July 2014