On my weekly trip to the supermarket I tried again today to buy flour and brown sugar. Again, the shelves were bare, and I know the reason why. With everyone in lockdown the nation has suddenly become an army of bakers and cooks, everyone turning to their recipe books or the Bake Off for inspiration. And it is not just baking. With time on their hands people are again rediscovering all sorts of old hobbies and starting new ones. From sewing to woodwork, art to collage, DIY to gardening, reading to growing veg it seems we are again finding pleasures in the simple things of life. I am enjoying baking more -even if my flapjack was so hard you could break your teeth on it! I am playing my piano more and reading more- finding new treasures on my bookshelves and rereading much loved books. I am enjoying the pleasure of seeing a newly weeded garden bed and the smell of soup rising in the kitchen. Small things but things that should not be despised nor taken for granted. And from small beginnings great things can grow. I am sure there will be many of us who hope that what we have learned about the value of small things during this time of lockdown will change the way we live in the future. Getting off the treadmill of daily life and allowing the grass to quite literally grow under our feet has certainly given me time to pause, reflect and realise just how important the little things can be in bringing joy and a sense of God’s peace into my life.
There is a Bible verse that comes to mind. After the Exiles returned to Jerusalem, they set out to rebuild the Temple which had been destroyed. They were grieved at how small and insignificant they and their efforts seemed. But God came to encourage them with these words.
“Do not despise the day of small things….”
The small beginning did eventually lead to the temple being rebuilt, the Temple that Jesus himself was to come to and teach in. From beginnings small as mustard seeds, great things can grow in God’s kingdom and in the lives of those whom He has given so many simple good things to enjoy.
I asked the people of St James and St Anne’s to send me photos of the things that they were doing in lockdown. These photos show just how many of us are finding real joy in the small things of life.