Summer has at long last made an appearance or, at least, that’s what many individuals are saying after a weekend of blue skies, wispy clouds and warm (hot) sunshine. This weekend I had the opportunity to visit a beautiful National Trust Garden – tall flowers with their heads turned toward the sun, lush green grass, vegetables beginning to poke through the soil and spectacular views across the bright blue sea all the way to Edinburgh and beyond. Simply stunning! We live in an amazing county where it is rarely difficult to be filled with gratitude for the beauty around us whether on the East or West coast or the top of a mountain.
In Psalm 121 we read “I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help comes from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” As I reflect on these words, I continually find myself wondering just how often I lift my eyes beyond the immediate and simply pause to allow gratitude to overflow. To read these words very slowly and turn them over and over recognising both the vastness of the Lord and yet the Lord who is intimately watching over our every step both day and night……..24/7.
During the past fifteen months of so much uncertainty the phrase “God’s got this!” has been used countless times. Sometimes in absolute confidence and sometimes a little more hesitantly as disappointment has once again stared us in the face. But, these words do resonate with Psalmist, who in v3 acknowledges: “He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber….” The word gratitude barely seems to be deep enough. Surely gratitude is a deep emotion going right to our very core, something we need to cultivate more and more in our walk with the Lord. Whether gratitude for the beauty around us, the relationship we enjoy with the Lord or the changing circumstances we navigate day by day – no matter what they are “the Lord watches over you” (v5a).
In SU Scotland, after fifteen months of pandemic, much uncertainty, almost constant planning, advertising, cancelling and planning all over again – is it possible to have an attitude of gratitude! Yes, I believe it is – we have been drawn to depend on God like never before and have experienced God’s faithfulness in amazing ways – many of which we could never have foreseen. Staff and volunteers have been amazingly creative as activities have been reimagined, risk assessments written and young people given the opportunity to explore the Bible and respond to the significance of Jesus in whatever way possible.
This creativity has enabled the entire SU Holidays programme to be reimagined into Day Camps at Centres, Day Camps in different communities across Scotland (Holidays Unleashed), Online Camp, small Expeditions and one very small residential! It is impossible not to be filled with gratitude when once again we see groups of young people gathered and simply enjoying being together and we look forward to hundreds of young people having this opportunity over the summer.
Why not pause and read Psalm 121 and allow gratitude to overflow today?
Director of Development and Holidays
A song of ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains –
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip –
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you –
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm –
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and for evermore.