Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Colour and Aroma - Laycock

I leaned over my friend’s shoulder as he crouched on the riverbank. Clear water swirled over the dirt and gravel and spilled over the edge of the large pan in his hands. Slowly the larger stones washed away, leaving only fine black sand. He moved the pan gently, then stopped. “There,” he said, holding it up for me to look. “See it?”

I peered at the spot where he pointed. Tiny slivers glinted in the sun. “That’s it?”

My friend nodded. “Enough colour to keep us going.”

Those tiny flecks of gold found on the creek that day resulted in a major excavation of that area. A crew of men and machinery descended and the hunt for more gold was on. Similar scenes have been played out in the gold fields of the Yukon for over a hundred years. A small sliver gleaming in a pan was all it took for men to move mountains, dam rivers and create feats of engineering to equal the Panama Canal. All it took was a tiny bit of “colour.”

In his book, The Only Necessary Thing, Henri Nouwen writes: “The spiritual life is a long and often arduous search for what you have already found...The desire for God’s unconditional love is the fruit of having been touched by that love.”

When you find a sliver of love, you seek more of it. When you find a sliver of truth you tune your ear for more. When you find a sliver of God, your whole being longs for more of Him. That longing in our hearts is not unlike sitting down to a good meal at a good restaurant. The plates put before us steam with delicious aromas. We take the utensils in hand and take the first bite. Then another and another, until the food is consumed. Momentarily satisfied, we begin planning a return trip to the same place. We have tasted and it was good. Our natural instinct is to want more.

God has put his colour all around us – signs that He is here. His aroma surrounds us – it rises from the words of His people and His Word, the Bible. There is only one catch. The miners in the Yukon had to find that first sliver of gold by testing the ground. Sitting in a restaurant surrounded by good smells won’t convince you that the food is delicious. You have to take the first bite.

In Psalm 34:8 David says – “Taste and see that the Lord is good...” He did, and found more love and forgiveness than he had a right to. We will too. We’ve seen the colour – the glories of His creation that surrounds us. All be have to do is dig – look around and see. We’ve smelled the aroma – the wisdom of His word and his people. All we have to do is take a bite – read His word often, surround ourselves with Christian friends and mentors. What we will find is far more precious than gold, far more satisfying than any gourmet meal. It will mean engaging in an adventure far more exciting than any gold rush, far more satisfying than a visit to the most expensive restaurant in the world.

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