4th June 2020

God’s Invite to ‘Stand and Stare’

“Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’”
Luke 1:38 (NRSVA)

In his poem ‘Leisure’, William Henry Davies poses an interesting thought:
“What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.”
Davies is encouraging us to avoid just passing through life; instead he challenges us to focus on the beauty and the wonder all around us. His desire is that we pause, take in the fullness of all that is creation and marvel. Davies’ wisdom is so powerful that there are many other ways in which we can apply this philosophy. Perhaps we could ‘stretch’ his idea to include all of the people that we pass by on our daily journey through life. To ‘stand and stare’ prompts us to take the time to talk with the individuals we encounter.

As Christians, we find that we have extra avenues of exploring this philosophy . Take, for example, our reading of the Bible. Do we always rush through the Scriptures in the hope to meet some target? Maybe our aim is to read through the Bible in one year. Such a goal is good and helps us to learn from the Written Word. But let’s hope we don’t just become mere ‘commuters’ with Scripture. Within God’s Word there are many moments where it is good to just ‘stand and stare’.

In chapter one of the Gospel of Luke, we find the wonderful example of a young lady called Mary. Perhaps young and still in her teenage years, Mary is asked to participate in the story of God. The Archangel Gabriel invites Mary to encounter the Living Word in an incredible new way. Will she become the human mother of Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God in the flesh? Mary’s decision to say yes, to participate with God in his salvation story, is a unique moment in history, never to be repeated. Yet, it reminds us of God’s offer to all of us today. Will we accept the invitation to let the Word come into our lives in a new and living way? To say “yes” is not just about accumulating knowledge or achieving a Scripture reading plan. The invitation is to ‘stand and stare’, to allow our lives to become enriched by what we read within our Bibles. The Holy Spirit desires to weave our story into God’s story; that the grace, love and mercy of God is not just something we read about. Instead, God’s grace becomes something we participate in.

Life is full of care. We can’t stop that. Yet, in all of this, God invites us to stand and stare. He provides his written Word as the means by which we encounter Jesus, the Living Word. Why not accept his invite today?

Father, let us hear your invitation – and help us to respond with all of our hearts, minds and souls today. We desire to encounter the Living Word in our lives, to change us from within. Lord Jesus, we look to participating in your story today, for you are the Lord of life and of our salvation.

Study by Ian Woodley

About the Author:
Ian Woodley is an Elder and Pastoral Council member of the Edinburgh Congregation of Grace Communion International, UK.

Local Congregation:
GCI, Edinburgh
Gilmerton New Church
Ravenscroft Street
EH17 8QJ

Meeting time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Peter Mill
Email: edinburgh@gracecom.church