Firstly, thank you to all who left comments about my previous blog entry! Nice to see that my ramblings are appreciated every now and then! That was indeed all my own work, the result of a flash of inspiration whilst in the shower that morning. I often find it useful to think about the truths of the Bible in different ways, as it sometimes helps to see a different perspective or make it seem more relevant. I have thought for some time now that the illustrations Jesus used, while brilliant at illustrating his point, aren’t necessarily concepts that our Western society readily understands. For instance, it is a little-known fact among Westerners that in the Middle East, sheep and goats actually look remarkably similar, so much so that unless you know what you’re looking for you could easily mistake one for the other. That puts a slightly different spin on some of the things Jesus said about when God separates the sheep from the goats – while we may all look the same on the outside, and while some of us may look “religious” and “holy”, God knows what’s inside and knows what he’s doing when he does the dividing! So if my encapsulation of the story of salvation helps anyone to better understand what God did and why, then I’ll be more than satisfied!!
Ellie and I had our engagement party last night, which was a roaring success! I reckon we must have had somewhere in the region of 35 to 40 people here over the course of the evening (thankfully not all at once!), and we didn’t really struggle for space at any point, which was great! The weather wasn’t as sunny as was forecast, but despite being a little cloudy it was very mild and we all enjoyed standing around in the garden. The BBQ proved a great idea, and Ellie and I were apparently a very good team, each taking turns to man the food while the other ate and entertained the guests! I think we used the space very well actually; the garden was big enough for us to congregate out there most of the evening and there still to be room for Bethany and Jade to run around the garden attacking Berkeley, and there was plenty of room in the lounge when it got a little more chilly in the evening. What I thought was the pinnacle of the party, however, was just as dusk was approaching – there were people milling about outside, there were people chatting indoors, music was quietly and unintrusively playing in the background, the food was almost all eaten, and the garden lights round the pond were on. It was such a wonderful atmosphere! I have to admit it was the best party I have ever hosted. I might even go as far as saying it’s the best party I’ve ever been to! Everyone seemed to enjoy being there, everyone had someone to talk to, and people had come specially from other places (Sheri and Ian, most notably), so it was also a great opportunity for people to meet together and catch up, a bit like a reunion! Ellie and I were tired by the end of it, but it was definitely worth the effort!
Today I was disappointed to find that our baby bird has disappeared. Before Easter I noticed that we had a nest on the arm of our satellite dish, where a pair of collared doves had set up camp, and introduced two tiny eggs. By the time I came back from Spring Harvest they had hatched and grown to a fair size, which was quite exciting! However, yesterday morning the nest was empty. After a short look round the garden I noticed one of the chicks hiding in the weeds behind the pond. Clearly it had tried to fly off and not got very far, but thankfully the parents were still around and periodically fed it. They did lose the chick at one point when it decided to find itself a slightly better hiding place – the parents looked behind the pump house for a couple of hours, calling for the chick, but never saw it because they were looking in the wrong place. I managed to help them out by putting some seed on the patio, so the parents found the seed and were then in a position to be able to see the chick! Unfortunately, what with all the noise we made yesterday evening, the chick decided to fly up onto the fence in the evening, which I thought was a rather exposed outpost. Needless to say, the chick was nowhere to be found this morning, and the parents were flying around and calling for it most of the day. I suspect it may have gone down behind next door’s shed, but once down there it’s going to be difficult to get out again and the parents aren’t going to be able to get down there to feed it. So we shall see. I’ll keep my eyes out, but there’s not much else I can do, just let nature take its course. I’m still feeding the adults though, so hopefully they’ll stick around. And there are plenty of other little birds visiting our feeders regularly. I couldn’t tell you what they all are, but I enjoy watching them!