Greetings from Ros (July Newsletter)
In recent days I’ve been pondering the issue of our comfort zones and our reluctance to sample new things and try new ways of doing things. We are often creatures of habit, who turn to the familiar as our default mode rather than facing the challenge of the unfamiliar. This month I will be going away on Study leave with my friend Jean and for us our default mode for these times is going off the beaten track and making new discoveries.
You, LORD, are my shepherd. I will never be in need.
Some passages of Scripture are so familiar because we have learnt them and have frequently heard them over the years. It is easy for us to be so familiar with them that we don’t really hear them. Sometimes we need to read or hear them in a different version to gain fresh insight or for them to challenge us afresh…to help us to think outside of the box or to help us to step outside of our comfort zones.
You let me rest in fields of green grass.
You lead me to streams of peaceful water, and you refresh my life.
This year I’m returning with Jean to the North East, a part of the country which is so familiar to both of us. We will be going to places that we’ve visited before but hope to gain new perspectives, viewing them in new ways, but we also want to explore new places. There are so many places that we could visit but we must be careful not to try to fit too much in but to have space to rest and be refreshed. We all need time to simply enjoy God in the quiet places that he leads us to, even when life is very busy. Over the Summer months we will be Listening to God once again, as we take time out to be with him. But this year it will be different in that each session will have a focus as we explore different aspects of Christian spirituality and mindfulness with the intention of deepening our relationship with God. Watch out for dates and times.
You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths.
One of my devotional readings recently spent time exploring Psalm 23 and ended with something the writer, Janet Fletcher, had been challenged to write using a different metaphor to the shepherd, one that helped her to look at the Psalm from a different perspective & it helped to give a fresh perspective for me. This is her response:
The Lord is my Sherpa. He has all I need.
He ensures I take breaks at regular intervals
And leads me through breathtaking scenery.
He guides me in his wisdom and knowledge,
Along the best paths that only the Sherpa knows.
Even though I walk through narrow gorges and climb the steepest mountain paths
I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me,
Carrying my load, training me, encouraging me.
You set up camp and feed me in the middle of hostile environments,
I have more than enough to eat and drink, the healthiest food and purest water.
You gently massage my sore muscles and aching head.
You soothe my blistered feet.
I know that your unstinting kindness and compassion will always be with me,
Supporting me from behind until I end this journey.
Then I will travel no more, but live with you, rest with you
May this Summer prove to be one where we find our faith in God deepened and our walk with him become closer as he challenges us to step outside our comfort zone. Let us nurture fresh habits/practices that deepen our love for God and rekindle our desire to spend time with him and Scripture. Please consider joining in the Listening to God activities over the Summer.