34 | small kindnesses #Lent2022

Jesus says, “Those who dwell in me and I in them bear much fruit.” (John 15:5a)

I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.” Ω Continue reading “34 | small kindnesses #Lent2022”

33 | groceries #Lent2022

The Psalmist sings, “The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish … I walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 116:3, 9)

It may seem odd to talk about what you eat at a funeral as a way of celebrating life, but at every level, that is exactly what it is. Nor do I mean a celebration in that cheery if faintly maudlin sense of giving someone a good send-off, though that is a part of it. Any food is a vital reminder that life goes on, that living is important. That isn’t brutal: it’s the greatest respect you can show to the dead … Continue reading “33 | groceries #Lent2022”

32 | a small shopping bag #Lent2022

Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11b)

I was 19 years old and studying theology at Whitley College. A few years earlier I’d experienced a shift into a way of thinking and feeling rooted in scripture and in the experience of God as understood in Christian faith. Through that experience I discovered deeper meaning and joy in life. I felt driven to learn more, so when I finished year 12 I went straight for theology as my undergraduate degree. Continue reading “32 | a small shopping bag #Lent2022”

31 | she helped me see #Lent2022

Jesus says, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” (Luke 18:42)

Henrietta could be voluble at home and in her neighbourhood but was loath to say much in the classroom. Once, as I tried to converse with her, only to encounter long stretches of silence or, at best, monosyllabic replies to my increasingly coaxing questions, she decided abruptly to set me straight: “I’m not a good student, so I keep my mouth shut here in school!” Continue reading “31 | she helped me see #Lent2022”

30 | i’ll take over now #Lent2022

Jesus says, “Truly, I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40)

One of the exercises I did with teenage students was one where, on the walk with Jesus, the student and Jesus passed by four people. They passed by a person who was injured, a person who was excluded, a person who was ill and a person who was lonely. It tied in with the theme of the day, which was ‘Who is my neighbour?’ Continue reading “30 | i’ll take over now #Lent2022”

29 | powerful presence #Lent2022

Paul writes, “We know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that God has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5)

I remember receiving the gifts of the spirit through a gift from my dear friend Rachel after the birth of my first child.  It came as a powerful force. Continue reading “29 | powerful presence #Lent2022”

27 | dewdrops #Lent2022

A friend loves at all times. (Proverbs 17:17)

I have a beautiful friend.  She doesn’t say she is a Christian, but she just embodies abundant love, generosity, and a joyful spirit – that I know reflects God’s love.  At random times, she sends me brief, sometimes funny cards that express love and care for me.  These little gifts come like dewdrops of love and warm my heart. Ω Continue reading “27 | dewdrops #Lent2022”

26 | love goes on #Lent2022

The lover sings, “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave.” (Song of Solomon 8:6)

When Paul told me, immediately after his diagnosis, to remarry after he died, it exemplified the way he would, throughout his illness, work hard to secure my future. He was fiercely committed to ensuring the best for me, in our finances, my career, what motherhood would mean. At the same time, I worked hard to secure his present, to make his remaining time the best it could be, tracking and managing every symptom and aspect of his medical care—the most important doctoring role of my life—while supporting his ambitions, listening to his whispered fears as we embraced in the safety of our darkened bedroom, witnessing, acknowledging, accepting, comforting. Continue reading “26 | love goes on #Lent2022”

25 | the best of both worlds #Lent2022

Jesus says, “I have spoken these things to you that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made complete.” (John 15:11)

Joy, joy is a good thing, one of the fruits of the spirit, I can’t exactly remember what fruit represents it, but let’s just say it’s a banana I think, because I remember I think it was that. Anyways, yeah, we all feel joy, we feel it when, you know. When you bring someone joy, you can also feel joy yourself, so it’s the best of both worlds. Continue reading “25 | the best of both worlds #Lent2022”

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