Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Smelling the roses

Bethan and I recently watched Pixar’s animated film ‘WALL-E.’ It is a film for our times. Earth is portrayed as deserted and ruined - filled with piles of waste, the sun blocked out, and junk orbiting just outside the atmosphere. Humanity left 700 years ago in a spaceship, from which probes come every now again to search for green life. The idea is that when it is found it will be time to return and repopulate the planet.

Meanwhile, the life human beings live on the spaceship is one of such ease that everyone is overweight and over the centuries human bones have shrink. People hover around in techno-arm chairs with screens inches from their faces. Technology provides their every need at a word. They drink the nutrients they need rather than cook food. And rather than speak face to face with the person next to them, they speak to them via their screen. It reminds me of how Bethan’s boss used to email her from the other side of the room!

The film is sentimental. But it is also thought provoking; and it moved me to think about harvest. The great preacher CH Spurgeon used to counsel Christian ministers stressed by the busyness of their lives, to go for a walk and smell the roses. Surrounded as we are by technology and screens, we can forget the wonder and beauty of the simple things: normal conversation, plants, natural food. In forgetting these things, we can also forget the wonder and beauty of the one who provides them to us. In the book of Acts we read an excerpt of what the apostle Paul preached to people in his day:
“We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy."

This harvest time, why not go for a walk and smell the autumnal equivalent of roses. And as you do, remember the one who provides them for our joy.