For some of us this is home. We get to live here, and this week has been particularly good as it’s been sunny and warm. That doesn’t happen so often. More often it can be overcast with the threat of rain, which is partly why so many travel abroad for holidays ‘in the sun’. I had some time off and didn’t need to go anywhere but once the grass was cut could relax with a coffee in the ‘Costa del Back Garden’!
I was reminded of the OT Bible passage in Micah 4 v 4 in which God has spoken, rendered judgement and established peace so ‘every man’ can ‘sit under his own vine and fig tree without fear’. Everyone safe, resting in their own garden.
That’s actually a wonderful picture of future resurrection glory! The central theme of Scripture is how God powerfully and graciously sorts everything out, providing salvation and restoration through Jesus His Son. As His people we have tasted His love and kindness and are learning to live in anticipation of even greater things.
Now when the sun does come out here for a few days some local people go a bit mad, throw off the clothes, don’t use sun block and end up getting horribly burnt. Everyone knows that to enjoy the sun we’re supposed to be sensible and use a little restraint.
Which may be an old-fashioned idea but it’s actually a wise approach to life in general.
For example - do we like cars and bikes? Of course we do! Let’s check our tyres and brakes and follow the speed limits and enjoy! Drive like an eejit and we can expect to injure ourselves and others.
Do we enjoy food and drink? Indeed! Well, while one Guinness may be ‘good’ for us, sixteen pints and a bottle of spirits is asking for trouble. Exercise, sleep and a balanced diet are wonderful and healthy. Laziness, gluttony and drunkenness are sad, alternative forms of self-harming!
We know the score. A little self-restraint can help us rest secure and enjoy our seat in the garden a while longer.
No, it’s not always easy. The temptation to cross the boundaries and over-indulge are always there. But this weekend we celebrate Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit to God’s children with power, like Jesus. And guess what? One of the ‘fruits’ of being filled and lead by the Holy Spirit is self-control!
So we’re not alone. Never mind ‘the Force’. The Lord is with us to help us!
Making us a real power for good in the universe.
So we can live in the sunshine of His glory and love.