Is it necessary, desirable or edifying to keep being reminded – via newspapers, TV, digital media – of the scandalous events, behaviour and opinion that are prevalent in current culture?

Paul, writing to Christians in the first century, said, “Fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely and honourable.” He wasn’t pretending the nasty stuff didn’t exist. This former persecutor of Christians exposed the amoral and immoral culture of his time – which wasn’t so different from our own culture today – but then pointed to an alternative lifestyle based on Jesus who was the epitome of truth, nobility, purity, loveliness and honour. Paul was himself persecuted on many occasions and imprisoned for standing up for what he believed.

A ride on a country bus yesterday reminded me that, while acknowledging the nastier parts of human nature and behaviour, we can balance that with glimpses of God through nature’s wonders: Snowdrops nestled beneath hedges that had had their winter haircut. Pale grass hosted twisted trees that stretched ungloved fingers skywards. Sheep, cows and horses grazed on gently rounded hills, squat-towered churches dotted the landscape and a buzzard rode the air currents in a blue sky.

Side by side we see beauty and brokenness, wealth and poverty, morality and amorality, wisdom and folly, selflessness and ego… What we fill our minds with will impact our attitude, affect our personal behaviour, and maybe prompt us to share goodness, truth and loveliness.

PS ‘Out of a listless sky’ has been added to the Poems page.

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