Becoming Real: 40 Days with the Velveteen Rabbit
Day 28 – Saturday after Mothering Sunday – 20th March2010
It was a long weary time, for the Boy was too ill to play, and the little Rabbit found it rather dull with nothing to do all day long. But he snuggled down patiently, and looked forward to the time when the Boy should be well again, and they would go out in the garden amongst the flowers and the butterflies and play splendid games in the raspberry thicket like they used to. All sorts of delightful things he planned, and while the Boy lay half asleep he crept up close to the pillow and whispered them in his ear. And presently the fever turned, and the Boy got better. He was able to sit up in bed and look at picture-books, while the little Rabbit cuddled close at his side. And one day, they let him get up and dress.
from The Velveteen Rabbit
by Margery Williams
This is a true saying that ‘If you aim for nothing you will always get it’. Wording things differently, if one never attempts anything one can never be a failure. It is an ironic way of looking at success and progress through life but one of which Christians may easily fall foul. After all, secure in the Saviour’s love, tucked up in bed with a convalescent faith, we may find our pilgrimage becoming ‘rather dull’ and be tempted to give up on the journey. But rabbits, especially Velveteen Rabbits, are much wiser than that.
It takes some wisdom, grace and the ability to ‘snuggle down patiently’ and make plans to move beyond the boundaries of the sick room – which we can allow our faith to become – and plan for the future outdoors and the further growth of our relationship with God. In the secular world this is called ‘moving out of your comfort zone’. For Christians it should be our everyday experience.
Clergy sometimes refer to Confirmation as a ‘Church Leaving Certificate’. The young Christian, having learnt the essentials of the faith, may then be tempted to put it to one side and not expect to spend any more time addressing Christian growth further. It seems usual to not plan to increase our faith, either by study, prayer or deed. Living with the ‘same old, same old’ can become a deadly habit and, if we are not careful, we may never recover from our soul sickness and never again see the brightness of the outdoors.
In the rest of our lives we plan and prepare for things – can we say the same of our journey with God? Like the rabbit do we, even if (and especially when) things around us are particularly dull, dare dream of the future and whisper into the ear of God all the things we would like to do with and for God and God’s people? If we do not next Lent may find us in a similar position to this Lent. Fighting the same battles and giving in to the same temptations as we have done before. But if we spent some time snuggling up to God, whispering plans for the future to each other who knows what might happen?
The space between now and Easter Day is a good time to plan the future of your faith journey. Share it with God (no need to make large public commitments, God hears our whispers) and then, as God’s love is unveiled commit yourself once more to a loving response to God’s generosity.
God of love,
I know that you are the source of all that is good
and graced in my life.
Help me to move from the life of sin
to which I so often cling,
into the new life of grace you offer me.
You know what I need to prepare for your kingdom.
Bless me with those gifts.
© Andrew Dotchin – 2018