Out for most of the day yesterday, and we were talking about how, for the first time, the days seem to be getting longer again. Perhaps the worst of the winter weather is still to come, but the seasons are already moving on.
I realised too late that autumn had passed. I had another couple of attempts at capturing a small scale landscape photograph that showed the range of colour, and the randomness of the fallen leaves and changing hues. Alas, once more such an image escaped my technical abilities and the opportunity of location and time.
I was reflecting on Psalm 119 with regard to leadership as I long for another change of season; in me and around me in the Church and places I serve. It is rather ironic that the Psalmist (v 97) can say
How I love your law!
I think about it all day long.
when we normally avoid this Psalm because it is the longest chapter in the Bible.
It is right to spend time as a Church leader thinking about issues of leadership, but the Psalmist goes straight to the nub of the issue (vs 1 and 2)
Happy are those whose lives are faultless,
who live according to the law of the Lord.
Happy are those who follow his commands,
who obey him with all their heart.
Culture may eat strategy for breakfast, as they say, but without a grounding in God's word it is all for naught. Without that basic foundation of our lives built upon the closeness of our relationship with God then we will simply replace one stale culture with another, whereas (vs 4 and 5)
Lord, you have given us your laws
and told us to obey them faithfully.
How I hope that I shall be faithful
in keeping your instructions!
basing our lives on God's pattern will bring about the changes around us that He longs for. I am fortunate not to have aggressive enemies like the Psalmist may have been referring to, and against whom he is seeking vindication, but we all long to have a fruitful work and so it is a timely reminder (v 6)
If I pay attention to all your commands,
then I will not be put to shame.
So I am looking for the change of season within and around me. I may strive to know life with all my skill, ingenuity and learning, but I cannot bring life to myself or to others. That can only come from one place (v 175)
Give me life, so that I may praise you;