It’s three minutes past three as I write this first sentence. When I lie down the room spins, due to a stubborn ear problem, so I’m propped up at my desk, tea at hand and fighting the urge to have a biscuit or a brioche… and there’s hardly any snacks in the house… would an ice-cream be ridiculous? But I’m not keen on ice cream so …. cheese and crackers? What do you think at 03.07 (doesn’t time fly?)…. tell you what, if I have a banana I can justify it as an anti-cramp measure! There you go… you never have to look far for an excuse/get-out/justification.
It’s Monday morning and I’m a bit sad to leave Sunday behind. It was a great Sunday, a Sunday of promise and celebration. Our church sent about 36 children and youngsters to a week’s camp in North Wales, and what seemed like the same number of adult volunteers went with them. Every year they trot off to a valley not far from the sea, and there they roll in mud, rub it into each other’s hair, pack it ritualistically into sleeping bags, and dip white trainers in it. Yes, white trainers. One of my grandchildren took white flip flops. Part of the experience is called get-your-biggest-towel-soaking-wet-put-it-in-a-plastic-bag-with-some-once-white-socks-and-burrow -it-down-into-your- few-clean-clothes (and leave it there, airless for 5 days) . Most children like that game.
They arrived home on Saturday at mid-day and, all over the town, parents and grandparents have been marvelling at the rich variety of North Waleian mud and its clinging quantities. By Sunday morning church service the campers were all fed and shining clean, rested and so very eager to see each other again. The delight on their faces as they fell into each other’s arms (nothing like a 12 year old for drama!) after a whole night apart was heart warming, and I can’t tell you how happy I was to see my youngest granddaughter not just obediently joining in with the worship but living it. What a lovely lovely morning. What a great gift from God.
And today I’ll hear all about the recording of my radio play. I was Skyped for the read-through but it’s the first time ever, in a near lifetime of writing, that I’ve not been present for the filming or recording of a play. It’s a strange feeling, but it’s been a good experience too, trusting the director, stepping back. The read-through was great, and the main character was such a consummate actor, his voice so rich with time and place, that it was all I could do not to shout out with excitement in the middle of it all.
That’s what I want to talk about now. Excitement. Life should be exciting. I don’t mean dangerous, or full of derring-do, but just plain exciting! Each day is an unwritten page, so what are we going to write in our life today? What will God teach us, where will He take us, how will we love Him? I spoke to a group tonight and hit a vein of excitement I couldn’t ignore; In my church we observe a special 24 hours of prayer every month. Out comes the white board and on it there’s a chart covering 7pm Monday to 7pm Tuesday – we don’t put our names down but we just bung a coloured sticker in the hours of our choice. Sometimes there are empty spaces, often in fact, but every sticker is just plain exciting! If you believe in the power of prayer, as we do, they hold out such promise! Not because our prayers are magic words, as if they of themselves have power, and certainly not because we always get it right and petition wisely or praise wonderfully, but because God hears our stuttering words and thoughts and whenever He hears them He answers. Those answers, even the answers we don’t recognise, the quiet steps of God in our lives, are the weft and weave of the Christian life, God at work around us, among us, in each heart. So when I see the coloured dots, the promise of prayers ascending, I do a mental cheer, a fist-pump, high five and double somersault – God will hear us, He will guide us, He will answer, He will reveal Himself. How amazing! How wonderful to be part of a praying community.
I investigated Christian communities recently (God shut the door very firmly on that bright idea) and the great attraction for me was the idea of being part of a praying community, a community devoted to prayer (and other stuff!). That would be so exciting. But now I see that my church has to be that praying community for me, right here and right now. And that is exciting!
Excitement is contagious. It’s life itself. Seeing the children greet each other after a bare 18 hours apart, was exciting. Happiness is infectious. Passion ignites. And we crave joy. I know, I know, joy can be deep still water in the soul, and it usually is. But it can also be a racing heart, a catch of breath, a sparkle in the eye, a leap, a hug, an idea. And excitement is creative, it moves forward, reaches out.
If we are not excited about our lives, what will we do with them? If we are not excited about today, what will I look back on tonight? If we are not excited about what God is doing in the world, do we understand who He is?
Some mornings I read Psalm 46 because, man, it’s so exciting! Because it reminds me who God is and who I am, it puts the world into perspective. Listen to the first few verses:.
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
And then I ask myself, a sort of soul-sounding, OK, Luce, suppose now the earth begins to shake, waters rise, the building begins to quake and crack.. the sky darkens… and this is it. This is the moment we’ve all been heading towards since the dawn of time… what will you do? Will you be afraid, will you run and hide? You know, once upon time I would have been terrified, but now? Now my heart is going to leap and I’m going to shout “Here He comes! Out the way! Out the way! Out the way!” and I’ m going to run, run, run to meet Him.
Here’s my prayer at.. let me see… 3.46 am; Lord God of all creation, please give me an awareness of your power, your love and your eternity. Please give me the excitement and energy to do today the things you want me to do, to draw nearer to you, to grab this life with both hands and plunge into it, this life of love and service and adoration. What could be more exciting than knowing you? Help me to have peace in the excitement and passion in the peace. Wow, Lord, how come I know you? I mean, me… me! I mean, you know, Lord, ME!
Our God is a great great God, the God of the possible and the impossible. How we love Him.
Night night. I’m going to try lying down again.