I love cutting the grass.
The smell of the new mowed grass of this outdoor activity is a very soothing exercise. Well, except maybe the noise! I love the way all grass stands at the same height and when trimmed along the edges it produces a neat, clear and exact fresh look. The up and down or across the lawn movement give me a good sense of accomplished satisfaction. You can see where you have laboured as you move row to row. Although it is very mechanical and rote, it is at the same time relaxing. Many a thought has crossed my mind as I progressed in my work. This may sound strange but always thoughts of Psalm 103 ring through my head – ‘Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone— as though we had never been here. The Africaans version of this Genevan version of the psalm perhaps says it best: ‘Die mens – soos gras is al sy lewensdae, ‘n blom wat ons aanskou met welbehae, maar wat kortstondig is en baie teer. Sodra die rukwind oor die veld gekom het, dan knak die steel wat lustig daar geblom het: dis weg – sy staanplek ken hom selfs nie meer.’ If you are able to read this language it gives a very colourful description of our life-span event and lays the emphasis on the shortness of it all. (‘the winds of life – a sudden (unexpected) gust ‘een ruk-wind’) can snap its beauty and it disappears without trace!) There is much show and beauty but then a sudden end with a thought of: who knows who this was? who cares to know their resting place, for over time that all will vanish from the everyday events.
You may think what an odd thing to do is to think about your end. Cemetery dismal thoughts………but know this headline of verse 8 of Psalm 103 and is often read after the remembrance celebration of the Lord Supper event in our churches: Listen to this (again in Afrkaans): Barmhartig en genadig is die HERE, lankmoedig en groot van goedertierenheid. Hy sal nie vir altyd twis en nie vir ewig die toorn behou nie. Hy handel met ons nie na ons sondes en vergeld ons nie na ons ongeregtighede nie. Want so hoog as die hemel is bo die aarde, so geweldig is sy goedertierenheid oor die wat Hom vrees. So ver as die ooste verwyderd is van die weste, so ver verwyder Hy ons oortredinge van ons. Soos ‘n vader hom ontferm oor die kinders, so ontferm die HERE Hom oor die wat Hom vrees. Want Hy, Hy weet watter maaksel ons is, gedagtig dat ons stof is. ‘As far as the east is from the west, [so] far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth [his] children, [so] the LORD pitieth them that fear him.’
This is the comfort for a lifetime of rest for your soul. As the (murderer turned chaplain) prisoner said: ‘When I was down and miserable because of my past life and then for the first time read this declaration from God’s Word for my life, a whole new chapter opened up for me. Just imagine my struggle with God: vanished in a moment: ‘for God promised as the East never meets the West; SO FAR HAS HE REMOVED MY MISTAKES AND REBELLION FROM HIS MIND! What a declaration of forgiveness! How could I not but be a servant for Him! Praise God!
And so, this promise is for all of us who do the daily ordinary (failings) things we do. Your life will be a cutting the grass exercise, forgiveness is guaranteed at every step and even your past will look smooth and neatly trimmed because the promises of Psalm 103 gives you that pleasure.
JS August 2021