A Letter from the Vicar
I wonder have any of you had a ‘Wow’ moment in the last few months.
Some of you may know that I have begun playing golf again in the last year or so, and although Mark Twain and others have described golf as ‘a good walk spoilt’, I would suggest that for me it is ‘good walk enhanced’! And this was certainly the case back in June this year.
Since lockdown regulations have been relaxed, I have tended to play as early in the day as possible, starting just after 7 am. And there was this one morning when the golf was going okay, I had just got my best ever on one of the hardest holes for me, and about to tee off on the 6th, when across my path elegantly striding onto the fairway came a deer. But if that wasn’t good enough, then amazingly, and rather less confidently bouncing and prancing on its sticklike legs came a baby deer. Bambie had come out to play! And I watched for a while before they both strode off into the trees. This for me was a wow moment, and I recalled the words from Psalm 8!
‘O LORD our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.’ (Psalm 8 v 1)
Don’t you find it incredible that psalms written 3 millennia ago can be so relevant to our situations today? The psalmist does not declare the glories of God because he likes the sound of his own voice. He speaks so that others may hear and join in with the panoply of praise to God.
When I read the whole of the psalm later, I recalled another ‘Wow’ moment, but this was about 45 years ago! When I was a teenager, a group from our church enjoyed a weekend in Dale, Pembrokeshire, on the Gower Peninsular in John Stott’s Cottage. The first night of this youth group weekend away, my mind was restless and I went out on the rugged rocks about 3am listening to the sound of the waves and looking at the almost full moon and the stars in the sky. Did you know that there are more stars visible through telescopes in the night sky than there are grains of sand on the seashore or deserts? The next morning when we were doing an exercise of trust in looking into each other’s eyes, my partner said that all he could see in my eyes was perfect peace. It was as if looking at the stars on that moonlight night, looking at God’s handiwork had stilled my troubled mind.
And isn’t that what the Psalmist goes on to say?
‘You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise.’
Other versions suggest an alternative reading of ‘ordained’ may be ‘established strength’. I like that idea that by looking at the wonders of God’s creation we can be made strong to face all that life on earth throws at us. We can be strengthened to cope with the pressures of the pandemic and our troubled minds can be set at peace.
If you are not doing so already, why not decide to read a psalm each day and look out for the ‘Wow’ moments that God wants to reveal to you!