Belfast Telegraph

We belong with God and nothing will stop Him from making us His children

Thought for the weekend

By Allen Sleith

My sister was over from England with her family recently. We were down at the beach, and as I walked along with my nephew, I asked him how school was going.

“So what’s your favourite subject, Patrick?”

To which he replied, “Lunch!” — unusual, but fair enough.

So I tried again. “Well what’s your second favourite subject, then?” I continued.

“Break!” came the reply. You begin to get the picture of Patrick’s view.

I can still see him in the mind’s eye shortly after his foodie take on academia, tucking into an ice-cream back at the car as he held a seashell to his ear hoping to hear the sound of the sea.

Our church backs onto Downshire Primary School, and often, when I’m going to and from work, I can hear the sounds of the pupils at break and lunchtime as they play outside.

I love their excited shouts and laughter.

The exuberance and energy of young children at play is wonderful, a reminder to the rest of us of earlier, largely carefree days, when life is lived in the moment with sheer untrammelled joy.

And sometimes, elsewhere, when the demands of a busy schedule weigh a bit heavy, I cast my mind back to the sounds of those children in their playground revelry.

I wonder if that’s akin to the Prodigal Son of Jesus’ parable. The younger son had broken his father’s heart by asking for his share of the inheritance — basically hoping his dad was dead so he could party hard.

But when he went on a bender and the whole thing became as miserable as, well, sin, he finally came to his senses.

He realised he was in the wrong and began the long, remorseful journey home.

Prodigals that we are, might we too come to our senses, repent of our wrongs, and hear, in the inner ear, the beckoning voice of the God to whom we belong?

W B Yeats penned these classic lines as he pondered his longing for the lake isle of Innisfree:

“I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.”

Belfast Telegraph

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