Sunday, 20 July 2014

What have we become?


Some people made a terrible mistake this week. A shocking horrifying mistake. A passenger plane was shot down. They weren't aiming for a passenger plane, but that was what they hit. Because of that mistake nearly two hundred people - perhaps eighty of them children, including these beautiful faces here, lost their lives in a horrible, horrible way.
It is the kind of thing that should stop us in our tracks. We should be asking ourselves - is this too far? Does this awful thing show us just how near to the abyss we are? We should be asking ourselves these things personally but also as nations. Our leaders should be leading us to our knees. Yet, what do we see? Politicians on all sides jockeying for position. Trying to take advantage. Pointing fingers. We see people playing for time, hiding evidence, stopping grieving families finding their loves, their babies.Trying to shift the blame, to absolve themselves of all responsibility.
I am naive, I know. I sort of thought that something like this would make people stop. Say "Hang on a minute - this is too much, too far. Let's talk together like grown people who have maybe seen too much."
It seems not. I am afraid for what we are all becoming.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Things you get used to

I have realised these things about myself

  1. I will never be any good at structured dance. Now set me off in a room with Motown and - yes sir, I can boogie - a bit. Put some dance moves in and you have lost me. I hokey when everyone else is doing the cokey. I dread it when some wag at the front of church says "Let's all do the children's actions to this!" Because I know that, sooner rather than later, I will be facing forward when everyone else is facing backward. Or I will be wildly doing the helicopter on my own when everyone else has decided not to go for a second verse. I have never been to a Ceilidh. I am too afraid that carnage will follow.
  2. I will never be able to tan the back of my legs. It's summer and my legs are out. HOH insists that as I go about my business and walk about at lunch etc, then the flabby calves at the back will gradually tan. This does not happen - ever. Front of legs are brown. Back are very white. Unattractive stripes naturally follow. Most of my leg tanning happens at lunch when I sit on a bench in the park and read my book. I have thought that one way to deal with this may be by lying on my stomach on the bench for the duration of my lunch. Concerned friends insist that this will bring unwanted attention from the local constabulary.
  3. Whenever I run into people that I have not seen for a long time, I always look like I have been cleaning out caravans. I never, ever run into anyone unexpected when I am on my way to a wedding and I am reasonably turned out. Thus, I am convinced that there is a community of people out there that I have not seen for a while who are convinced that I have fallen on hard times and are packing up food parcels for me as we speak.
This is who I am and although it is annoying sometimes, it's not that important. What other people make of me when it comes to unimportant things should never be keeping me awake. It does sometimes and I have to speak sternly to myself because I am accepted. Not just in the big stuff but in the little things that sometimes band together and make me feel like a donk. I love God's attention to detail - my detail. 

Matthew 10 v 29“What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head!

I may never be able to dance the merengue - makes no difference to God. I may have lots to learn but here today, I am accepted, it is sorted. Onwards!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Letting it go

They couldn’t take their eyes off them—Peter and John standing there so confident, so sure of themselves! Their fascination deepened when they realised these two were laymen with no training in Scripture or formal education. 

So I'm reading this in the Message in Acts, and I get to thinking about Peter. Not John so much. He always strikes me as being the one that has it all sorted. The quiet, faithful, groovy one. I always think of John of being a bit like Jazz music or Jimi Hendrix or something. Can't help you with why that would be.
Anyway, back to Peter, it's that phrase, "standing there so confident"  He's a man perfectly at ease with himself and with his God. He's doing great things. He's like McFaddyn and Whitehead and there ain't no stopping him now. Yet not so long ago, he was broken. He had so messed up. Made himself look a fool. He declared undying love and devotion to Jesus and then couldn't follow it though. He let Jesus down - big time. He knew it. He accepted it.He was ready to leave the life of God behind and go back to fishing for a living. So what made the difference? Well lots of things, you know about the sort of things,the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus' calling - all the epic stuff.
There was, I think, also a quieter, more personal thing. Peter was able to receive his forgiveness. It is obvious to us that Jesus forgave Peter for his behaviour. It was done with as far as he was concerned. But then there is the next step in forgiveness. If you are forgiven, you need to BE forgiven. You need to act it, take it, do it. If it's gone, it's gone - move on, get on with the life you have been given. It does not honour God to keep dragging events back up that he has dealt with. It can be a bit self indulgent if we are not careful. God had stuff for Peter to do. He needed to be preaching and healing and getting bolshy with religious leaders and standing next to John while people got their astonished faces on. Even with God's power, he couldn't have done that if he was all "woe is me."
In truth, I don't know if Peter wrestled privately with what he had done in the past, but it didn't seem to let it affect his purpose and the way he lived his life. 
Being forgiven is supposed to make us feel good - if we let it.


The Internet is a funny thing. Blogging is even stranger. For quite a while now, I have been following a blog. I have never met the lady but from her musings, I understand her to be a woman of God, a preacher, a server, devoted to her family and her community. She likes a simple life, frugality and her home. Last night, I heard through another blogger friend that her husband had died. He had been ill for some time but the possibility of his death coming sooner rather than later had only really become into being in the last few weeks. His death must have been an awful shock. So this evening, in the spirit of God's community as well as a blogging community, I'm adding my prayers to those of her friends, for her and her family; that God will support them and they will feel his love and security at this time. And that those who mourn will be comforted.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

It's July!

No really it is. This week at work, had horrible conversation which sort of ticked through a few diary dates and then pointed out that when they were done, it would be time to start writing letters out for the CHRISTMAS DRAW! Ignore it - I am.

It is very humid here in the South West of England, so that everyone has one of those headaches which feels like you have a cartoon anvil on your head. The days are a bit energy sapping, I think, I do struggle to get stuff done when it's like this. Then, there are the twin distractions of Wimbledon and the World Cup. I am more of a footbally type person, I'm afraid. Probably means I'm common as muck but there you are.

Fruit of Womb One has returned to the fold for the summer (or at least some of it) This means that whenever I leave the house, I need to be careful always to return with a French Stick just in case the hunger pangs are overwhelming. (He is thin as a rake by the way) Aged parent has also joined in by stacking her freezer with food - just in case. 

He spent nearly seven hours on the train to get back and he doesn't have the shortest legs. He said it seemed like seven days. Myself, I just prayed for travelling mercies and got on with my day. The young people laugh when I pray for travelling mercies - not the praying - the phrase. Apparently, it makes me sound like something out of The Crucible. Well...

1. Ask me if I am bothered.
2. I think I might look quite fetching in one of those bonnets.
3. I love the phrase "Travelling Mercies.". It has everything. An acknowledgement that God is in charge, you can't think of everything that might happen and this just acknowledges that God watches over us. I love it. I am very much a commit it to God - all of it - kind of person.

If it were up to me, this family would still be singing "Jesus Tender Shepherd" before we went to bed. Apparently, that would be quite weird for a family in which the youngest member is 18.

"Jesus Tender Shepherd, hear me.
Bless thy little lamb tonight.
Through the darkness, be thou near me
Keep me safe till morning light

To be sung in child's lisping voice while parent sobs. Possibly to be followed by "This Little Piggy Went To Market" if they insist.

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