Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tu das illis escas tempore opportuno

So it seems as though the activity today in this Corner of the Blogosphere is like buses.  You wait ages for a post and three come along at once.

This is one of my more serious reflections (there’s only so much wit a man can offer in one day) but I thought that I’d share it with you anyway.  One of the many great traditions I enjoyed as an Oxford student is the fact that the preprandial grace is read by the Bible Clerk at Formal Hall.  I was, back in the day, said Bible Clerk, and can still remember the Latin off by heart.

“Oculi omnium spectant in te, Deus! Tu das illis escas tempore opportuno. Aperis manum tuam et imples omne animal tua benedictione. Mensae caelestis nos participes facias, Deus, Rex aeternae gloriae.”

On Friday, I very much enjoyed being invited back to High Table (perhaps I shall bore you with that another time) and the grace was duly said.  In fact, the current Bible Clerk jokingly asked me if I would say it, and part of me wishes that I had taken him up on the offer – but that’s very much not the point, and as ever, I’m digressing.

Much later that evening (after the wine, turbot, chocolate torte, dragon fruit, star fruit, cheese, turkish delight, port, claret, dessert wine and snuff…), I decided that I had better read through the passage I had been asked to read the following day at a wedding.  The couple had chosen verses from Psalm 145 and although the reading did not include them, verses 14 and 15 stood out for me.

15 The eyes of all look to you,
   and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand
   and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

The observant amongst you will make the connection with the aforementioned grace, and one of the themes echoed throughout the whole Psalm is the praise of God for all that He has done, and all that He has given us.  What really stood out for me, however, was the phrase “you give them their food at the proper time.”

I’ve been going through quite a self-absorbed phase recently, and – if I am honest – it has been difficult to praise God.  It has not been easy to see that yes, He does satisfy the desires of every living thing.  However, this was a good reminder that God has His own timing, and perhaps we have to be patient.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a myriad of questions – but it doesn’t hurt to realise that God doesn’t work to our timeframe.  As with the famous footprints poem, hindsight is a wonderful thing.  Right now, I may not be loving the need to be patient, but who is to say what is around the corner, and what God will do in His proper time?

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