God in the small things
As many of us in rural communities and country churches know, small can be beautiful. In a time when 'growth, growth, growth' is thegod, and a tide of anxiety rises around us in myriad ways, it is good to remember that true worth and value is not always about making bigger profits, or larger farms or schools (or groups of parishes, come to think of it).
As SUVs get bigger on our country lanes and the 'Buy One Get One Free' offers abound for festive provisions, we can overlook thefact that some of the most important things in life are right under our nose and do not depend on size or status for their importance.
Whether in the beauty of the mathematics which depict the sub-atomic universe, beloved of particle physicists, or the tissue paper fragility of the autumn leaf or butterfly wing, millions and millions of people sense the Divine at work around us and, on a good day, within us.
As we discover more about this world and the universe around us, things seem more complex and nuanced, not simpler;revealing hidden complexity that was known as far back as Aristotle.This is a reason for us all to be humble in our searching and in our assertions, whether we acknowledge or deny the spiritual in our lives and the complex worlds of which we are a part.'Concepts create idols', wrote St Gregory of Nyssaaround 1,700 years ago 'only wonder understands'.
Whatever the cell structures or circadian rhythms which frame our physical life, the ·wonder of a new life can take the breath away. It involves a mystery which defies casual explanation, as if it's all simply honnones or keeping the species going.
The closeness between people who love, including a first time mother like Mary (or in her language, Miriam) holding her new-born boy (in her language,Yeshua), is not something a spreadsheet or microscope can helpus understand. In the same way. through these weeks when the air cools and the nights draw in, the particularity of the stars above hush our hasty. distracted lives and cause us to raise our weary heads.That's if we're looking.
Whatever your opinion of the cultural, spiritual and commercial aspects of the Advent and Christmas season, remember that it is in the small and personal and particular that history is made, true love is shared and real friendship and hope take form.
You are not powerless, for it is in giving to local foodbanks - like the Chagford Eco-Pantry or Moreton Community Larder; recently opened - or a smile to a stranger; prayer for the world, or encouragement to the weary that we may join in with the Spirrt of the One who, as a small and powerless baby, came to be one of us.