DAY 105: Wednesday 1 July
Good morning all
Yesterday afternoon whilst I was walking the dog around the park, I had three pleasant surprises.
First surprise was as I approached a corner on the path that is shielded with trees and bushes, I unexpectedly encountered a couple of young mums with their two toddlers on scooters. The surprise was that although you can’t see clearly around the bend, I would have expected some degree of noise, at least from the toddlers, to alert me to their approaching proximity, but both children were remarkably quiet and even the mums were chatting, but not loudly.
Second surprise was when the young lad wanted to ask his mother a question and began with ‘excuse me mummy….’ Now I didn’t realise that today’s children were still taught such courteous behaviour, so that was a pleasant surprise. The young boy continued with his question ‘how many leaves are there on that tree?’ I didn’t stay around long enough to hear his mother’s full response although I did hear her saying as they walked away into the distance – ‘oh it must be thousands’. By now I had made a safe distance away from them lest the mother look around at me and say, ‘shall we ask this old man, he will probably know?’
The third surprise was how unexpectedly warm it felt in the park – I had anticipated it being cooler and breezy, but it was lovely.
We are often faced with surprises – some good and enjoyable, others less so. The unexpected knock at the door and it’s a family member we haven’t been able to see in person for so many weeks. Or a box of flowers delivered to our doorstep from an anonymous friend. Or we go online to check the bank account and are surprised to find there’s more in there than we thought – but it can go the other way too.
The dictionary definition of ‘surprise’ is - the feeling caused by something unexpected happening – an unexpected announcement, an unexpected gift, an unexpected success.
You may remember the TV light entertainment series ‘Surprise, Surprise’ hosted by Cilla Black back in the 1980’s - 90’s in which they would spring surprises on unsuspecting members of the public and celebrities. The series ran for 17 years with Cilla, then after a break of 12 years, returned for another 3 years hosted by Holly Willoughby.
The Bible is filled with surprises, sometimes in visions, sometimes in reality. King Nebuchadnezzar ordered 3 rebel Israelites to be thrown into the fiery furnace but when he came to check, he was surprised and astonished to see 4 men, unharmed. The king declared in Daniel 3:25 “I see four men walking freely in the midst of the fire and they appear unharmed, and the form of the fourth man is like the Son of God.”
The Jesus story has ‘surprises’ – the wedding reception that ran out of wine – a storm on Galilee that is miraculously calmed – sick people healed – Lazarus walking out of his tomb – the women arriving at Jesus’ tomb to find it open and empty – a couple returning home to Emmaus who unknowingly encounter the risen Christ. Here's an animated video from the Bible Society briefly retelling that story >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndtnZV-5QTo
After Jesus had ascended back to heaven, the disciples were met together in something like a lockdown situation. On the one hand fearful they might be arrested as followers of Jesus, but on the other hand praying together for God’s guidance where they were to go and what to do next. Then suddenly, unexpectedly, the promised gift of the Holy Spirit came upon them in a dramatic way – they were surprised yes, but simultaneously were empowered to go and change the world.
When we walk by faith with God, we can expect surprises along the journey. Sometimes those surprises are gentle encouragements, other times they can be dramatic and amazing. In the old hymn Count your Blessings are these words - Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done. >>> COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
A fortnight ago on 17 June we reported that Jean Cussons had been readmitted to hospital for treatment with anticoagulants to clear some blood clots. We only heard yesterday the treatment was completed and Jean did return home to Greville House.
John Abbott’s daughter Jane, who is a teacher in Leicester, has been confined in lockdown for 2 weeks resulting from the recent rise in cases in Leicester.
MAKE YOU SMILE:
A little girl was taken to church for her first time. When everyone knelt, she asked, “What are they doing?”
The mother whispered, “Sssh, they are going to say their prayers.”
Amazed, the child looked up and whispered, ‘What, with all their clothes on?”
Someone asked, “What is the most sensitive nerve in the human body?”
The vicar answered, “The one that opens the wallet.”
Two big tears were floating down the river of time. They began to engage in conversation. Said the first tear, “I am the tear of the girl who lost her boyfriend to another girl.”
“Don’t feel so badly,” consoled the other tear. “I’m the tear of the girl who got him.”