Binge tv- the pros and cons!

And the next episode!

In the depth of winter, binge watching TV is so tempting. When it is cold, wet and dark outside, you want to stay in and forget, and so watching a wee programme feels so comforting. And somehow you just keep going…..

Confession- I have been watching ‘New Amsterdam’, a hospital drama which has great characters and storylines. There are insights into what leadership looks like, as well as many complex pastoral situations. It can be quite mesmerising.

However, I am very conscious of the downside of it all too. Firstly, we need to have a certain discernment about what we watch. If we are feeling a little fragile, then watching something disturbing can keep us apart at night. Some of the darker series can be addictive but unsettling too, and have a really negative impact.

The other thing is that by watching too much TV, we actually are in danger of not living in the real world, but instead living through the lives of the characters we watch. They become our family, and we get so embroiled in what happens to them, that we feel as if we know them, and that they have become real to us.

There are times when binge watching something is helpful, in the holidays, or when we are looking for a distraction from illness or grief. These series can be a welcome distraction, and help pass the time. Some series are so well written, they are modern masterpieces, and tell a story so well.

However, I know I need to be careful. I need to learn to know when to turn the TV off, and be courageous to live in the real world. It is not as safe as being an observer, but it is what we are called to do, when we are ready.

In Psalm 90, verse 12 it says ‘ Teach us to count the number of our days, so that we may gain a wisdom of the heart.’ We only live a finite life on this earth, although an eternal one with God. We need times to relax and do very little. Yet we are called to use our time wisely, and to be purposeful. I don’t think I want some one doing a eulogy at my funeral saying that she was good at watching TV! I think I need a bit more variety somehow.

Gracious God, I thank you for the precious gift of life, to wake up each morning, to live in your love, and to show that love to others. Lord Jesus, sometimes I need to rest, to find restoration, even to watch TV, just to unwind. However help me to have healthy boundaries in my life, so that I can live life in all its fullness. Holy spirit, please may my rest bring renewal and inspiration, so I can live more purposefully for You, and to love and to bless others. Help me I pray, in Jesus’ name Amen.

Sky- bringing a change of perspective!

A stunning and ever-changing expanse above.

In recent days, I have been visiting Skye, and noticed the soothing rhythm of the tides, the desolation of the mountainous landscape inspiring courage, and now the ethereal beauty of the light evoking reverence. The skies here are more than awesome! ( skies on Skye seems to be a bit of play on words!)

The light on the Cuillin mountains has often been dramatic, with shades of dark and black and grey. The sea bays are adorned with purple heather and yellow seaweed. And the seas reflect the colour of the skies- from dark and moody to brilliant cobalt blue, with every combination of cloud formation drifting across the top in different layers. You can be mesmerised just watching the sky change, moment by moment.

In psalm 19 it says:

‘The heavens proclaim the glory of God, the skies display His craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak, night after night, they make Him known. They speak without sound or word, their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the earth.’ NLT version

The poet Gerald Manley Hopkins says ‘ the earth is charged with the grandeur of God.’ and there is this sense of God’s majesty and creativity being revealed through His creation.

After the confinement of lockdown, and the trauma of individual stories and difficult experiences, to see the expansive sky above, opens up our horizons, and refreshes our soul. The intricate patterns of deep colours and cloud formations inspires us to look up, to be reminded that there is so much more to life than day to day practicalities. The beauty of the sky can take our breath away, can fill us with reverent thanksgiving for all tbat is good, can remind us that God is the original and most imaginative Artist ever !

If we are worn down by cares and worries, if our life can feel a little grey, may we be inspired to look up, and be reminded of the power and glory of God, and may this give us hope.

Let us pray, Eternal Father, Your Creation is magnificent, whether it is the vibrancy of stars in a jet black night, or white fluffy clouds on a bright blue morning. Lord Jesus, slow us down, and open our eyes wide, so we might notice your glory, and gain a new reverence for life. Holy spirit, grant us a new perspective on our priorities and opportunities, and encourage us to be more creative in how we live each day, to relish colour and form and light. In Jesus’ name, Amen