Time For God: June 3

Written by Paul Beckingham

Focus: Genesis 1:31:  Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.

Ah, the romance of the narrow-gauge East African Steam Railway! Its appeal almost equals the Orient Express. Dangers beset its route; trains sometimes fell from bridges to the rocks below.

My wife and I took the rackety-clackety 13-hour ride from Nairobi to Mombasa. Stepping back in time, we experienced what is best described as faded opulence. Tired and worn silverware—and white Irish linen—graced the dining car tables. The white-coated service was attentive and cheerful. Gazing at wildlife past our carriage windows, we imagined ourselves back in a more graceful, time-warped era. A silver teapot—with a passenger ownership certificate—now sits in our home half a world away. It speaks to us of our journey back in time—it all seems very good!

Nostalgia adds a hue of charm and mystique to past scenes, to places we can no longer visit. The old railway has now been modernized. Steam engines are replaced by renewable energy vehicles. Renamed The Madaraka Express it has been designed, funded, and built by China. Some predict that the $5 billion project will plunge the country into servitude of international debt. Others hope for increased trade and communication. Greed and fear fracture our world; silver linings—like silver teapots—come with unpredictable costs. All is not as good as it seems.

In the slums of Nairobi moments of beauty and grace permeate the reality of suffering and pain. People pull together in common tasks of caring for each other; hope emerges in the heart of desperation. Hope is bigger than despair, love powerful than sorrow. They point to One who is worthy of our trust, deserving of our worship, and whose strength we seek and praise.

Gene Cernan, commander of the last Apollo mission, observed the spinning Blue Planet. Those moments were, he says: “…dynamic, overwhelming, and I felt …it was just too beautiful to happen by accident. There has to be somebody bigger than you and bigger than me.” There is!

The Living God declared that all He made was very good. Human hearts long to see the good restored. Our attempts to repair God’s broken world remain partial and flawed at best. When Christ appears all will truly be made new. Then our eyes shall see that all is, indeed, very good.
In what ways does God invite you to care for His world and steward His Creation? Where is God leading you to participate in repairing your broken world? What gifts has God given you to share with those whose worlds are shattered? Where will you find your strength to act today?

I arise today/Through a mighty strength:/God’s power to guide me,/God’s might to uphold me,/God’s eyes to watch over me;/God’s ear to hear me,/God’s word to give me speech,/God’s hand to guard me,/God’s way to lie before me,/God’s shield to shelter me,/God’s host to secure me.                                                
A Celtic Christian Prayer by St Brigid of Kildare (c.451-525).
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