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Reflection – February 2024

Tended by angels rather than consumed by wild beasts!

There is a lot on. We are in that start-up phase or rapid escalation of events and activities for the year. This year compressed by the early Easter which therefore means Lent starts early. That means the Lenten Bible study preparation – this year “in-house” by many in our church, is in full swing. Further, there is a Church retreat day on 24 February, the election of Church Council Leaders, commissioning of new leaders and covenant Service on 3 March, an organ 150th celebration on 10 and 13 March, all before Easter. We also take into consideration the recommencement of other church activities. Then there are all the community activities. Work . . . School is back and even for households with no children, there is the back to school or commencement of pre-school, school, high school, university, or work for grandchildren, maybe great-grandchildren, and nieces and nephews. Some families seem to have a sequence of significant family birthdays – one each weekend of January and February this year. A lot is happening. It would be a shame to get to Easter exhausted.

The Gospel writer, Mark, portrays Jesus as cast into the wilderness at the start of his ministry. Mark further portrays that in the wilderness, surrounded by the ‘wild beasts,’ the angels came and ministered to Jesus. Mark then portrays Jesus going into the wilderness on several occasions, to be alone and to pray. Two things that stand out for me from this. In the Bible the angels are often another name for the Holy Spirit. When surrounded by all the stuff of life – the “wild beasts” – do we look out for the Holy Spirit that comes like angels to minister to us? Secondly, there is something healthy about taking time to draw aside, to stop, to reflect, to pray. Jesus did that at the start of the day, and also at the end of the day. Taking a moment in the middle of the day is probably also worthwhile. It doesn’t have to be long, even 5 minutes if not 15, to refocus, refresh. It is not a bad practice for the entire year, certainly something that could be a goal for this season of this year. The ministering by the angels can keep the ‘wild beasts’ at bay.

Keith Hamilton