You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
So how many of you were early for Morning Service on Sunday, very early? The reason I ask is that at 2 am on Saturday 29 October 2016 all the clocks in the UK went back one hour. We moved from British Summer Time back to Greenwich Mean Time so we all had one hour extra in bed!
Have you ever wished you could turn back time, just like that? But, of course, we cannot. Yet we have all said or done something and immediately wished we had not. If only we could retract that word or action; but we cannot. Once the word is out of our mouth it is gone and cannot be recalled. Once the action is taken or a decision made it cannot be undone; the harm is done.
So what to do? On this point Thomas Merton’s advice is: ‘There are many declarations made only because we think other people are expecting us to make them. The silence of God should teach us when to speak and when not to speak. But we cannot bear the thought of that silence, lest it cost us the trust and respect of men.’
How true, ‘we cannot bear the thought of that silence, lest it cost us the trust and respect of men.’ How many times have we jumped in with a comment when a few moments reflection would have told us to keep quiet? ‘The silence of God should teach us when to speak and when not to speak’. That is the most important point surely. Before making a comment, think but before thinking pray.
Surely, insofar as any decision is concerned, the same rules must apply; ask yourself what God wants me to do. Before taking any action write a list of pros and cons if you wish but before going further pray. Is this what God wants me to say, or do? Am I doing this for my benefit or for God’s? Perhaps a good place to start, and indeed finish, is: ‘My command is this: love each other as I have loved you.’ John 15:12 (NIV)
Remember in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus could have run away, ducked for cover when the palace guards came calling; in fact He need not have made the journey to Jerusalem at all, but He did make the journey and He did not run and hide. In fact His prayer was: ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’ Luke 22:42(NIV)
In the same way, as we cannot turn back time, we cannot undo what we have said or done, we must ensure that, ‘not my will, but yours be done’
In the end we will be judged by how much we have followed the example of Jesus and so let us pray for God’s help and guidance in all we do or say.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time work for a number of years