Thought for the week – 25.07.19

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The other day I was standing at the manse window watching the birds – blackbirds, gulls, tits – as they sat on the fence and on the telegraph wire that crosses the manse garden.

This is a good time of year to be observing bird life especially near the coast. It is amazing how these little creatures balance so neatly and securely. They easily exceed the skill of an acrobat.

Their ability to do so is not just from their small body weight, or from their strong grip, but from the functioning of the inner ear, always important in balance, and to the bones and muscles of the pelvic cavity. Their heavenly Maker with such incredible precision created them.

God says: ‘I know all the birds of the mountain.’ And Jesus said: ‘Not one of the birds falls without the Father knowing it.’

Few of us could balance on a tightrope, and some of us feel insecure on a ladder. But there is another sense in which we achieve balance – a balance of work and play, a balance of responsibilities and leisure, a balance of the spiritual and the material, a balance of commitment to church and family.

In the gospel passage for the sixth Sunday after Pentecost, we have Jesus visiting the home of Martha and Mary. Martha has become agitated that she is left to finish preparing and serving the meal, while her sister Mary sits at the feet of Jesus.

Jesus declines to criticise Mary, who has chosen the better part. May we balance our commitment to practical tasks with the commitment of faith, and sit at the feet of the Master.

Malcolm Kinnear,

Church of Scotland minister Kinlochleven and Nether Lochaber.