Count Your Blessings #122 – Fresh Life

Newborn Lamb - EasedaleYesterday we went walking as a family in the Lake District, starting off from Grasmere.

This week has been a weeks holiday, we haven’t been away anywhere, we’ve just made the most of pottering around at home. It’s been a good time for clearing up all of those little jobs that have needed to be done for some time, we’ve also had lots of fun.

As we were walking up towards Easedale Tarn we came across a sheep with a lamb. We could tell from the start that it was a very young lamb. It was still very wobbly on it’s feet and the umbilical cord was still fixed too.

Newborn Lamb - EasedaleEmily took my new camera and stealthily eased towards the lamb and it’s mother. They were both still very tired. The mother had been carrying this lamb around for some time (a sheep’s gestation period is around 5 months) and I’m sure that birth isn’t a simple thing even for sheep.

As Emily was still taking picture some people came walking down the path, they had watched the sheep giving birth only a short while earlier.

This was new life, a completely new start. But what kind of a life would it be?

Newborn Lamb - EasedaleThis was no cosy hospital ward, we were part way up the side of a mountain it’s still quite cold up there; the wind had quite a bite. It might not be the place where we would choose to be born into but there were Herdwick sheep, specially bred to stand the conditions up there on that mountain. They were were they were meant to be.

The other week I was out walking in the morning when I took a diversion to a nearby pond. As I approached, the water rippled and there were a few splashes, there were frogs everywhere, and frog-spawn too. More new life.

Walking to Easedale TarnPsalm 19 says this:

The Law of the LORD is perfect;
   it gives us new life.
His teachings last forever,
   and they give wisdom
   to ordinary people.

In today’s society it seems like a complete contradiction to talk about “law” giving “new life”, we expect “law” to bring rules and constraints leading to a lack of life. But that would be to misunderstand of the meaning of “law”. Other translations try to use other words to explain it better: instructions, revelation, teachings. I’m no Greek scholar, so I’m in no position to try and explain the actual meaning. My experience tells me that all of these words are kind of correct. The times I feel “new life” are when I follow in the paths that God outlines, I feel that “new life” ebbing away when I ignore them. I prefer the word “paths” because I think that it’s a better reflection of my own experience, “He guides me in paths of righteousness” as it ways in Psalm 23. The key to this phrase, for me, is the first part – “He guides” – this is no set of laws that are written down and used as a measuring rod. These are path of righteousness, paths of new life, that He guides us in, and He guides is in relationship.

So, my experience is this, new life comes through walking paths of relationship.

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