Sitting_in_the_SunIt is that lovely time of year when, for a few hours a day at least, it is neither too hot or too cold and if you can find a sunny spot out of the wind, there is nothing better than to sit outside with the sun warming your back. Drink a cup of coffee, read a book, browse your Facebook or just sit and listen to the birds and other noises of Spring.

The air temperature isn’t much different to winter but the radiant heat from the sun makes it very pleasant and points to milder days to come. Of course once the sun goes behind a cloud or evening comes we realise it still is in fact winter.

It emphasises for me the importance of a short break from the routines and worries of life and the role of hope and expectation in coping with the emotional winters of our lives. As I sat in the sun last week at Murchison looking over the river with my cup of coffee I was reminded of the story of a psychologist talking about managing stress.

‘A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?” Answers called out ranged from 200g to half a kilogram. She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralysed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralysed – incapable of doing anything.” It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down!’

My faith lets me do that. I don’t expect God to remove all my cares and worries but when I pray or go to church I like to consciously take a deep breath and slowly let it out. I say to myself I’m just going to put these cares and worries down for a few minutes and luxuriate in a space where I believe I am unconditionally loved just as I am. It was Jesus who said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 20-30)

This is the gospel, and it’s good news.

Brian Spencer, Minister