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FOR FUN OR FOR THOUGHT?

Recently my wife and I went to the zoo with our family on a public holiday so there must have been hundreds of families present.  I must say our SG zoo not only brilliantly maintains habitats for the hundreds of animal species, it also seeks to educate visitors by putting up pictures and signs which teach and enlighten us to i) appreciate our marvelous world, but also to ii) remind us to better care for God’s incredible creation.  For example there were educational signs like “Did you know a group of butterflies is called a flutter?” and “At birth leopard cubs have blue eyes, which gradually change to yellow.” 

Signs to stimulate thinking were also placed eg, “What is Man Without Beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts also happens to man. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth.” (Chief Seattle of the Suquamish & Duwamish, 1855).

But it wasn’t all education. There was a special “Splash Zone” where children and parents could play around in shallow water and on water slides. A carousel, goat rides and tram rides were also available.

As I walked through the various displays, I thought about the balance between “education” and “entertainment”.  Much as the zoo’s intent was to educate its visitors about animal/environmental care, how many took the trouble to read the signs and ponder the implications? Most were probably just there for a day out with the kids or visiting a tourist attraction: philosophical and environmental issues were probably furthest from their minds. Visitors were understandably more keen on watching the animal shows, marveling at the creatures especially at close range, looking for food, drinks, toilets and shelter from the heat or rain! Physical needs often take precedence over brain-work especially on a scorching day.

Isn’t this true in our spiritual journey as well? Our immediate needs often scream loudest for attention. Creature comforts, physical appetites, fun and enjoyment take priority over reading, thinking, reflecting, prayer and community. This imbalance is something we must guard against constantly. Yes, entertainment and fun have their place, but which activities ought to take priority in our journey of discipleship?

We can’t just walk through this world enjoying physical and material things which are only pointers to the Living God.  Psalm 8 tells us that we should consider God’s heavens - “the work of your fingers, the moon and stars which you have set in place.” Further, that man has been made “ruler over the works of your hands: all flocks and herds and the beasts of the field, the birds...the fish..” Above and behind all these marvels, is the God whose creative power is evident in the beauty of His Creation! No wonder this Psalm begins and ends with the same verse: “O Lord our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”  

In the new year, may the beauty of God’s creation constantly draw from us this exclamation: that in the beauty of the created order which we see and enjoy, God’s majesty is appreciated and worshiped! Have fun, but also take time to behold, to be awestruck and to praise God our Creator.

Ps Graham

 

BCC Vision

“Like a tree planted by
streams of water,
which yields its fruit in 
season” 

(Psalm 1:3)

Worship Venue

11 Woodlands Close #03-40 
Singapore 737853

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Thomson Road Post Office
P.OBox 434
Singapore 915715

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