From The Garden Bench - Conversations
Words by David Hollows
In early March during the period of panic buying, two older ladies had this real-life conversation in a Rawtenstall superstore;
Have you been stocking up?
No, I have all I need and the cupboards are full. What about you?
Me neither, can’t see what all the fuss is about.
My freezer is full. But I am going to wait for two weeks.
Why two weeks?
Because, by then everyone will have so much stuff they will not need any more and the shops will be so stocked with stuff that they will be selling everything at half price just to get rid.
Well, the ladies were not quite right in the prediction but there have certainly been many interesting conversations during the Covid-19 period and trying to have a conversation at a distance of 2 meters has proved interesting as well.
Photo by Markus Spiske via Unsplash
Conversation for most of us is second nature and the Bible is full from end to end with all kinds of conversations; difficult conversations such as the one God had with Adam and Eve, unexpected ones such as the conversation God had with the boy Samuel in the night, life-changing ones such as the conversation Jesus had with Saul on the road to Damascus, comforting ones such as the one Elisha had with the widow, challenging ones such as the one God had with Abraham prior to the journey from Ur, confrontational ones such as the conversation David had with Nathan, rewarding ones such as the conversation the angle Gabriel had with Mary, the chats God had with Moses on the mountain tops, and you may think of many others.
Conversations are essential for communication but words are not always needed. In the Old Testament story about Elijah the prophet, Elijah is alone and depressed. God comes to Elijah and their conversation is very different;
God said; ‘ Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting the mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire then after the fire, a sound of sheer silence. (1 Kings chapter 19 verses 9 to 12)
Sometimes the most essential conversations are in silence.
Often God will speak through His word, the Bible, or in times of prayer when we set aside time with Him. Having a specific time for prayer and place for prayer is important for many. Sometimes God will have a conversation in a dream or vision; Joseph was told about the baby Jesus and to escape to Egypt in the Nativity story in dreams.
During Ramadan, it is sometimes reported that Muslims have had a vision of Jesus who comes to speak with the person.
Some people have their conversations with God while out walking in the countryside others while sat in the garden or an armchair.
But God speaks.
For many the issue is recognising God’s voice and learning how to respond.
Photo by Etienne Boulanger via Unsplash
This short prayer may help;
God, please give me today the grace and ability to love like Jesus, think like Jesus, behave like Jesus and speak like Jesus.
The following hymns may help; Master speak, thy servant listens (459 Mission Praise) Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire (567 Mission Praise)
Susanna Wesley was the mother of John and Charles Wesley, the founders of the Methodist Church. One of her prayers was;
God, I give you the praise for the days well spent. But I am yet unsatisfied because I do not enjoy enough of you. I apprehend myself at too great a distance from you. I would have my soul more closely united to you by faith and love.
You know, Lord, that I would love you above all things. You know me; you know my desires, my expectations.
My joys all centre in you and it is you that I desire. It is your favour, your acceptance, the communications of your grace that I earnestly wish for more than anything else in the world.
Stevie Wonder sang the famous song; I just called to say, I love you God is calling you – how will you answer?
Photo by JJ via Unsplash
Signing off; your local Lay-worker, David Hollows