Its been a long summer and as I look back I sigh with a smile.
I have spoken of great weddings earlier and I ventured back to Detling, which I will write about at another time, and on Sunday I returned from a 2 week break in Antigua.
I love the island of Antigua. A large part of having a great holiday is the quality of the company. We went with a special group of people who I simply love to bits. A highlight (and there were lots!) of my day, always, without fail, was having breakfast together as a group of 12 people …. and lunch … and dinner after pre-dinner drinks! There is something sacred about spending quality time and eating together and talking and suddenly realising that breakfast has nearly taken 90 mins! It was like time stood still … but then it all flew by so quickly as well.
I look back and sigh, though, not just due to missing the company, missing eating and drinking together each day …. I actually miss something about the island. It was not until I was writing my prayer email to supporters that I think part of the answer dawned on me.
The atmosphere and attitude on the island to me also seem to have something of the scared about them. The stereotypical ‘no problem’ attitude is a reality which is beautiful to both witness and be in receipt of. I think some people struggle more to accept this than others, because it demands a slowing down, and sometimes people avoid slowing down …. I wonder whether that is because they are scared a little of allowing themselves to catch themselves up! When we slow down we notice things we have to deal with. Antiguan people walked proudly … and I don’t know for sure … but I guess they have a better idea of who they are because they don’t spend their lives running from themselves.
I say this attitude has something sacred about it because i think it is an incredibly powerful illustration of Jesus’ words to us about worrying in Matthew 5:25-34:
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? “Which of you by worrying can add one 10cubit to his 11 stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; “and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not 12 arrayed like one of these. “Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
For a long time I will have an image of the crew of a catamaran leading all 12 of us in the words of Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’ as we pulled alongside the jetty … another sacred experience that will bring those words of Jesus to life for me in a unique way.
Thank you friends for being trustworthy … thank you Antigua for being beautifully welcoming … thank you God for grabbing me to slow me down …. again!