As you may have seen recently, there is a new member of our household. Gracie arrived on Saturday, a tiny scrap of 8 week old labrador puppy. She is asleep on my feet as I type. A gift to us as we leave this ministry and move on to a new one, she brings lots of love - and lots of hard work! Yesterday, I signed an email to a friend "yours from the puddles and poos." I rush around with kitchen towel, Mr Muscle and Vanish. An added problem is that I can't let her go into the Vicarage garden - she has yet to have her next inoculations, and we have a brood of foxes in the wilderness at the bottom of the garden, who leave their trademarks all over the grass. North London is full of vermin-laden foxes and rats, so no outdoor activity until injections+2 weeks. Indoor litter trays seem odd for a labrador. And as I begin to talk to Gracie and 'suggest' various activities, I can hear the stentorian tones of Barbara Woodhouse in my voice, that legendary dog trainer on television, with her emphasis on 'Sittttttttt' and Walk - eeeeeeeees!' I have yet to don a kilt.
But I can also see me and God in the way that Gracie and I interact. Gracie is totally dependent on me - for everything. Sometimes she runs away from me, sometimes she comes rushing towards me. I love her - unconditionally , in spite of having to clear up after her. A lot.
I know that God loves me like that; unconditionally. In spite of all the messes I create in my life (figuratively speaking you understand) and all the clearing up and sorting out he has to do for me. Sometimes I run away from him. Sometimes I rush towards him. HE still looks out for me - he is El Roi, the God who sees me, wherever I am, whatever my circumstances. (Genesis 16) I am learning from my little puppy. One day, I pray that she will be a help and comfort to those who come to The Vine at Mays Farm.
When have you known God as El Roi, the God who sees?