We make links and associations all the time. It is part of the way we remember and categorise people. Someone always likes Pizza or Chinese food. He’s into football (but which code?!) or basketball or the game ‘played in heaven’ (rugby!). She’s always talking about this or that au-thor. It doesn’t take too long being around people to realise we all have our likes and dislikes and our patterns. When was the last time you changed the way you had your cup of tea or coffee? There’s nothing sinister in any of this. We’re predictable; creatures of habit.
Last Wednesday I was given a board game (thank you Jo and John). It was a bit of fun from the UK Games Expo in Birmingham – ‘Doctor Who and the Dalek’. (I think you might describe it as a Sci Fi ver-sion of ‘Trouble’.) Out of all the games that could have been chosen why did they choose that one? Because people who know me know that I’m into Sci Fi and Doctor Who is one of my favourite shows. So the present – and the thought – is appreciated (and yes, it will be one of the games ready to be played at our next congregational games evening).
The associations and links with people are like the tip of the iceberg. What is ‘hidden’ is all the time involved in cultivating the associations and links. So if pizza or Chinese food is what you’re known for then you’ll somehow have spent a lot of time with it. And on it goes – playing sport or watching it – becoming knowledgeable or skilful in any field requires if nothing else, time – and often lots of it. So I like Doctor Who and that implies that I’ve seen all the episodes – maybe more than once – and time quickly amasses.
So why mention all this? Because it struck me recently that our lives are largely patterns of behaviour – routines – daily and weekly – and perhaps even annually – and we will probably be associated with whatever we spend a lot of our time doing. I’ve heard it said, ‘Nobody ever died wishing they’d spent more time at work’. It’s not too hard to work out why that might be said. Or a context for ‘Enough of the screen, go out and play’ is also easy to imagine. We make time for what is important to us even if others think we’re ‘overdoing it’.
There’s a little section in the Small Catechism (Section 2 – see the Lutheran Service Book p.327,328) that I think is often overlooked in getting Section 1 learnt. The older I get, the more I wonder whether this shouldn’t get special promotion. It is called ‘Daily Prayers’ and presents us with two everyday activities onto which we can ‘hang’ our relationship with God – sleeping and eating. If God came knocking at our door each day, I’m sure we’d spend time with him. However he doesn’t and he’s not visible so he can be ‘out of sight, out of mind’. The Bible talks about regular time with God – more than just at worship – a continuation of the conversation so to speak. Daily time with Jesus can be difficult to maintain, yet when we find in the daily pattern for our lives time to read and pray, then over time, this becomes increasingly important be-cause no matter what else we’re associated with (or have done) God’s gracious love and care remains steadfast. His mercies are new every morning. God is truly faithful. His love never ends. Now that’s what we want to be associated with! — GS