My Sunday morning routine has taken on a different look in the past year or so. Until March 2015 church activity had for the most part taken up the whole morning. But when the church I currently attend began sharing the building of another church in the town, our weekly services moved to a 2.30pm slot. It was an odd feeling waking up the morning of the first Sunday we were due at our new home. Much like the morning after the final dissertation has been handed in or the last exam, or the first day of retirement maybe.
What do I do now?
I wondered how to fill what felt like brand new hours. Fortunately I had just got hold of a new book. I grabbed a cup of coffee and headed for our newly-decorated spare room. It was bright and breezy and oh so quiet. It was not fully furnished and so I perched my bum on a spacious piece of floor next to the double-bed. And then I read. It was bliss. Two hours quickly passed, and with it the lostness I awoke with. I could get used to this. In fact, I can get used to this.
And so it is today. It’s one of my favourite parts of the week. I generally read something or other. Coffee is usually involved. There have been a few changes to the routine. My initial spot has been crowded out by a smart new wardrobe and I can’t quite make all Sundays. And yep, it makes me a little sad when I miss it.
Things took a turn for the worst last week, though. I had finished my coffee, with just the dregs remaining, and placed it on the floor. You can well imagine what follows. I was getting up and I accidentally knocked the mug over. Oh. How. I. Panicked. This is coffee, which stains BADLY, and the carpet is very new. The parents will FLIP. I legged it to bathroom, then the airing cupboard, to find something that would minimise the damage and hopefully lengthen the time my parents will give me to “Pack your things and leave.” By the grace of God and the carpet being brownish anyway, amazingly the two flannels I grabbed helped remove (or hide) the stain in its entirety. I couldn’t believe it. I began to breathe again.
I later confessed all to Mum (the coffee-stained flannels would never have got past her). She was not best pleased, as you can imagine. But she forgave me.
The day wore on and an unexpected thought came to mind. It may have been divinely inspired, it may not. I don’t know. It was God laughing over what happened, or more specifically laughing at my reaction to spilling over the mug. It was not a demeaning laugh at my or my parents’ expense, nor because I am inherently funny (far from it), but simply a Fatherly giggle at my alarmed and frenzied response to an incident in which He knew everything would be OK. And it makes sense in light of what I read in the Bible. Jesus – who we are told is God in flesh – was moved to compassion, love, anger, tears, joy, amazement by others, and I wonder if in our efforts to please and honour God, begin to comprehend Him even, we tend to forget the small and tender ways in which God is moved and stirred and affected by us, in all the lovely ways a parent is over their beloved child.
Yet with God it is so much more so. He is a good, good Father who takes delight in His children. In the words of that wonderful verse from Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a might one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
And if He sings over His treasured children, then I am quite sure He cracks more than a few affectionate chuckles over us, probably when we don’t even realise it.