Over the hills to the North and East, a strangely peaceful blend of pinks and peaches tint the underside of the clouds. The January morning temperature is hovering around one or two degrees but the coldness in the air is brisk and refreshing, reminding the occupants of this semi-rural suburbia in western Fife, that overnight there has been a scrubbing away of yesterday’s dirt and grime, and highlighting God’s grace, that His mercies are new every morning. A loose and straggly “V” of wild geese honk and squeak their way overhead, presumably flapping their way towards new pastures in the centre of Fife, to the North East. On the main road through the village, chilly puffs of air from the East accentuate the coldness. A bigger than usual waft stirs a discarded Coke can into motion, the clanking and scraping disturbing the otherwise quiet and peaceful ambience. Further along, the Bluther Burn bubbles its way towards the Forth Estuary, but still with a few miles to go.
I walk this way many times, but this morning the usual became unusual, and the mundaneness became new and fresh, as though an extra dimension to the world had suddenly appeared, starkly emphasising the vibrancy in creation. A reminder to me that I have choices I can make in this Pilgrim’s Land. I can trudge along, ruing the injustices of life, or I can stand with the Psalmist (Psalm 121), lifting my eyes up, straining for all that God has for me.
I look up to the mountains—
does my help come from there?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble;
the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
never slumbers or sleeps.
The LORD himself watches over you!
The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon at night.
The LORD keeps you from all harm
and watches over your life.
The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go,
both now and forever.
This was my Dad’s favourite Psalm. He never talked much about his Christian faith, but he had a depth within him that sustained him through some horrendous times, in his war service and life in general. So I commit today’s blog to his memory.