Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Black dog days, Gannet waves and the enduring presence of God
Yesterday was what Winston Churchill called 'a black dog day'. I have them from time time. Down days;one where the darkness and doubt just seem to sit there over your head. Outside it was one of the first real days of spring, with just the promise of summer. Inside it felt like the storm clouds of pending doom. Nothing special seemed to trigger it, no cataclysmic disaster happened, it just was.
In preparing for 'Worship on Wednesday'. The church plant that I am heading up meets on a Wednesday night at 6:30pm (we are fourth day Adventists I quipped to a Friend on facebook) I was reading Em Blaicklock's commentary on the Psalms and in the midst of the black dog day I felt the light of God's Spirit.
EM Blaiklock was one of New Zealand's foremost biblical scholars. He lived in Titirangi, the part of Auckland that I grew up in and he is part of my earliest childhood church memories. Once a year (close to Christmas) he would come to church and preach. I remember his sermons for the depth if insight (even for a young boy as I was then) and the richness of his language. Later I was impressed by the fact that he would stand up to preach and would read straight from his Greek New Testament translating as he went. The signed edition of the commentary on the Psalms ( in a scripture Union series) had been a gift to my mother who had been his house keeper for years.
At the end of his comments on Psalm 4, a Psalm that in the NRSV is titled a 'confident plea for deliverance from enemies' the man we had always known as "Prof" Blaiklock wrote:-
" It should be ever remembered that God's Spirit is no seabird flicking the wave tops only. He rides the waters, down between the waves and on their dizzy curling peaks."
Into my 'black dog day' came images from other times. Images of great days out off the west and east coast of New Zealand surfing (body bording actually). Images of days when the sun not only shone on the outside but inside as well. Images of sitting out in the water, waiting for the next wave. Images of watching Gannets ride along the wall of waves with one wing almost touching the surface of the water (If you look at the image that goes with this blog sadly you'll notice the bird is probably a Pelican). Effortlessly riding deep into the trough, even as the lip began o curl over. Almost mocking me for my lumbering attempts at riding the waves myself. But making my heart sing with the sheer beauty and grace with which these amazing birds flew.
Into my black dog day on gannet wings came the promise and reality of God's presence.