Word of the week: evening

Friday, 26 June 2015

Evening

Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes. - Matt Redman, 10,000 Reasons

I am really enjoying early evenings right now.

When it's Chris's turn to put our daughter down to bed, I quietly get on with things that need to be done. Tidying the shoes by the door; sweeping the floors; wiping the kitchen tops down; transferring piles of laundry, which is mostly unmatching, dirty toddler socks and discarded cardigans, into their right places. These are things that I quickly do at the end of the day before lighting a candle and then slumping onto the sofa.

There just seems to be a serenity about that time of the day, when the sun starts to set, and things are slightly tidier than normal. Even when I know I'm not actually going to be resting for the evening, it still feels like wind down time.

That zen-like moment of the day is starting to become a time of reflection and thankfulness to me. I think it's because recently, we've started to pray with Jellybean at bedtime. We talk about her day, the good and the bad things that have happened, and we say a prayer of thanks. (One time I asked Jellybean what she wanted to thank God for and she said 'cheese' and 'blueberries' which speaks volumes of what she cares the most about.)

I start to question myself. What happened today? What am I thankful for? Usually my prayers are a bit longer because I make them more complicated with all my Grown-Up Problems. And a lot of the time I get sidetracked in my thought process and I feel myself slipping away from thankfulness and slipping into something more like regret or anger or daydreaming or mild panic.

Sometimes I have an evening shower (by the way, showers in the evening are AWESOME. There's nothing like being sparklingly clean and slipping into your horribly old, baggy, faded pyjamas). And I think for a bit. I say thank you (eventually) because despite the aforementioned Grown-Up Problems, I have a lot to be thankful for.

Last Sunday at church, we sang the song 10,000 Reasons. It is a beautifully written song, essentially about being thankful to God in different seasons of our lives. It is a song that portrays fierce loyalty and devotion to God, about a person so overwhelmed with reasons to praise their Father that even at their weakest point, they make the conscious decision to keep singing.

As we sang it, I had to swallow a lump in my throat, because I remembered this article. Matt Redman was interviewed recently, and he spoke of a group of Christians in Indonesia who, as they faced a 13-man firing squad, sang that song.

That image has been stuck in my head recently. Of those men, facing their deaths. They declined to wear blindfolds, choosing instead to look in the faces of their executioners, and they sang

Bless the Lord, oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His holy name,
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
Worship His holy name

and I can't get over that. I couldn't get over it on Sunday, as we sang, and I felt a swell of pride to be connected to those brave men, that faced their imminent death, that stared in the face of the weapons that would kill them, and still had the strength and courage to sing those words.

The thing that gets me, too, is that the men who were executed were part of a well-known drug trafficking ring. All but one of them had turned to God in the decade that they had been on death row. Those are the kind of people that people in our society would call scum and throw into prison to rot. The kind of people that, in different societies, have their lives ended, because they are considered irredeemable.

In my house, the only sound I can hear is the clock ticking and my child's quiet breaths through the baby monitor. The surfaces are clean, the toys and clothes are in their right places. The candle I lit flickers and burns.

I am overwhelmed by the complicated and mind-blowing business that is redemption, and forgiveness, and the concept of being wiped utterly clean, the concept of not one person being out of God's reach, not one person being unworthy of His love, and how His ideas of what makes a person worth going after are not the same as ours, and how much better His way is than ours.

And I wonder if I was facing that firing squad, if I would feel brave enough to sing.

***

The Reading Residence

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