‘Collecting moments’

‘This is us”

In recent days, I have had the opportunity to watch the final season of ‘This is us’ a poignant and wonderful series based on the life of the Pearson family. This is one of my favourite shows ever- such beautifully written characters and dialogue, such amazing story lines about what happens in the different generations in the family. The narrative shifts back and forward in time, and we are always learning a little more about why something happened, or the motivation of one of the characters. I am going to miss them all so much. A story about how people love each other in daily life, and about the magical moments which transform and connect.

One of the characters says the following ‘ that’s what we are doing, just collecting these little moments. We don’t recognise them when we’re in them, because we’re too busy looking forward. But then we spend the rest of our lives looking back, trying to remember.’

The show is very life affirming. The characters make mistakes, have difficult choices, and the ripples from what some one does or says, often has long term repercussions. Yet in the midst of it, there is grace and a desire to understand. It is incredibly human and emotional, going from heartbreak to joy and back again in many episodes.

The verse that comes to mind is from Philippians 4 verse 8 ‘ finally sisters and brothers, fix your thoughts on what is true and honourable and right, and pure and lovely and admirable. Think about the things that are excellent and worthy of praise.’

Often we compromise in life, we listen to music or watch stuff on TV that is trash or cruel, just because it is on. And it weighs us down, and can make us think that the whole world is like that. We need to watch stories and listen to music that affirm and inspire, that remind us of what is lovely and admirable, that this transforms and transcends the darker side. The things that are pure and lovely, are part of a revelation of the very being of God, and rather than leaving us dismayed, they lift us up.

For me, this programme reminds me of the intense beauty of connection, of the challenges to forgive, to accept difference, and to savour and appreciate what we have. There is not much talk of formal religion, but there is a deep spirituality and appreciation of life, which can speak to all of us.

Gracious God, forgive us for times when we dwell on the past, or anticipate the future, rather than just being in the moment. Thankyou for the gift of each new day, and the opportunities there are. Lord Jesus, you knew your Father’s will, and you spent time just loving the people around you, the people you met on the road, or over a meal. Holy spirit, grant us the gift of just living in the moment, noticing the beauty, appreciating connection and significance, and savouring all. For Jesus’s name, Amen

The power of the movies!

Downton Abbey!

Today I went back to the cinema! I hadn’t been for such a long time, and I had forgotten how much I missed it. When the world is bleak, a little healthy escapism can bring delight.

I saw ‘Downton Abbey: a new era’ which was a good story well told. The sets were elegant, the characters so charmingly familiar, and it felt quite endearing. Some of the dialogue might have been a little chunky, but it was sought to examine the theme of endings and beginnings, and was definitely a ‘feel good movie’. And Maggie Smith, was as usual, excellent!

It is a timely reminder of the power of film, story, music and dance to stimulate thought, to inspire the imagination and to feed the soul. During the pandemic, we have been more limited in our opportunities to enjoy art and drama and music. It is liberating to be able to begin to engage just a little once more, and hopefully to encourage all involved.

I remember the words from Philippians 4:8′ fix your thoughts on what is true and honourable, right and pure, lovely and admirable. Think of things that are excellent and worthy of praise.’

It is good to make space in life for things that inspire us, a wonderful song, a film that we enjoy, a book that opens our minds. There is so much that is good and enjoyable in the world- it is good to choose to appreciate and savour it.

Gracious God, there is so much which troubles us in the world just now. Help us to take time to escape when we need to, to something which can make us smile or which we can enjoy. Lord Jesus, you shared in meals with your friends, you went to weddings. Remind us that it is ok to enjoy things. Holy spirit, thank you for creativity in film, word and music. Inspire us, and replenish our spirits though the artistry of others, and though this heal and strengthen our souls, Amen