You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
It’s the time of year when our thoughts turn to holidays. Some may already have had their summer break whilst others are restricted to school holiday time - a very expensive time – whilst others take theirs in the Autumn. That said do spare a thought for those for whom a holiday, a rest from the endless drudge of everyday life, is but a distant dream.
I recall a holiday with family in Italy a few years back. The glorious sunshine with temperatures well into the 90° F seemed endless. We enjoyed both the breath-taking beauty of the Amalfi coast, as well as wandering round the ruins of Pompeii and the town of Sorrento. Of course, we had to climb Mount Vesuvius – doesn’t everyone? Now that’s a story in itself. At the bottom of the mountain a poorly dressed old man and his wife were selling sticks to help the out of condition tourists make the difficult ascent. It was very hot and the climb looked arduous so almost everyone availed themselves of the offer. We had to pause several times for a rest on the way up but the views from the top were well worth the exertion as was staring into the awesome crater. The staggering beauty and power of God’s Creation! However, having returned to the bottom the question then was what to do with the sticks? They couldn’t be taken back to the hotel on the tour bus and in any case they wouldn’t fit in the luggage to take home. Fortunately the helpful old chap who sold them to us in the first place was on hand to take the sticks back from us. They had only cost the equivalent of a few pence so we could not ask him to give us our money back, could we? I have often wondered how much that one stick earned him over the season!
Of course, we already have a strong support when the going gets tough, when the steep hill seems to go on forever. Jesus said: 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV) And the great thing is that this support is offered to us freely, we don’t have to pay for it and we don’t have to give it back at the bottom of the mountain. He is there for us always. Thanks be to God.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years