Contact

girl in yellow shirt lying on bed

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

FaceTime and Skype

Houseparty and Zoom

Time to chat

And with others play

Distance may make

The heart grow fonder

But contact can make your day!

 

Padre

 

Prompted by Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, but inspired by the wonderful and special people I communicate with electronically.

 

 

 

Random Acts: A Mirror Cinquain

Poverty, Homeless, Frankfurt

Pixabay

Colleen’s syllabic poetry challenge this week is to write a poem on the theme of the following quote:

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.”

― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Here is my take on the challenge using the 2-4-6-8-2-2-8-6-4-2 symbol mirror cinquain form:

Single
Coin in cup dropped
Second hand jacket from
Charity shop bought on a whim
Vital
Gesture
Insignificant as it seems
Someone’s life has been changed
By such an act
As these

Padre

Rescue

Medieval peasant dress Arlette Green

Image: LEONARDO CARBONE

Arabella was a buxom lass with sparkling eyes and a smile that would light the hearts of all who saw it.   Before the first whispers of the impending war, she had served at the border helping in the collection of tariffs and examining the baggage and persons of women entering the land via her station.

The war had begun more precipitously than any had imagined.  She watched on in hope of a swift return to normality as the “brave” lads of her country’s expeditionary force crossed the frontier near to her post.  Many young lads momentarily lost the chilled look of fear from their eyes as she smiled in their direction, while some of the veterans made catcalls or urged her for a “good luck” kiss.

Behind the marching column were a large gathering of well-wishers, sweethearts, and parents who cheered as the last of the warriors crossed the boundary line.  There was quite a party on the customs house grounds which lasted into the afternoon, but began to wind down as the sun began to set.  Soon after, the last of the merry makers and their shouts of, “It will all be over by Gunten’s Day,” departed back to their homes leaving Arabella and her fellows again alone at the border.

That had been a month ago.  Five days after the crossing, a lone rider came galloping from the far side of the border shouting that they had met and routed an enemy force near the Tino River.  He then road on towards the headquarters in the capital.

There and been no word of the expedition since then.    Though a unit of engineers had arrived from the capital six days ago, and had begun to erect barriers and dig trenches.  “Just a precaution,” a major explained to Arabella’s station chief.

Then yesterday, dust was seen on the far horizon.  A column of mounted men was approaching.  To Arabella’s horror, they were soldiers of the Sultanate,  The cavalrymen dismounted just beyond bow-shot and began to establish camp, and causing quite a commotion among the engineers on Arabella’s side of the frontier.  The major immediately dispatched two riders to headquarters.

***

Hayden had been frightened to his wit’s end.  He had never seen a battle before, much less taken part in one.  He could not have imagined the terrible carnage that ensued as they crossed the Tino.  No sooner had they made the far bank, that they were met with a rain of javelins.  Brice, a lad that Hayden knew from the village, was struck in the belly and lay doubled over on the ground crying out for his mother as the dark blood oozed between his fingers as he grasped the wound.

Hayden’s attention was drawn away from the scene by a sharp slap on the back of his helmet.  “The enemy is in front of you, not on the ground, son,” the sergeant chided.

Hayden adjusted the strap on his shield, and drew his hanger and joined his colleagues in the advance directly towards the javelineers.  He really didn’t remember much of what had happened afterwards.  Their were flashing images of blood and carnage in his mind, but no coherent narrative could be given to them.  All he knew for sure is he found himself in a circle of cheering men, shouting “Victory.”  He was bone-weary, drenched in blood and human detritus, but he was alive, and they had won.

After that, the enemy began a series of retreats, each one drawing the expeditionary force deeper into the interior.  Most engagements were minor, but each built his countrymen’s confidence.

How quickly fortunes change.  There was another of those staggered shows of force by the enemy.  A wave of javelins fell short of  his line, and the attackers then fled over the crest of a hill.  As had become their custom, the expedition men advanced in careless order after them.  This time they were not met with the fleeing backs of the enemy, but an arrayed army three times their own number.

If Hayden had thought the Battle of the Tino was carnage, he was sadly mistaken.  It was but childhood games in comparison to what happened beyond that ridge.

For a week now Hayden had been on the run.  He was weaponless, he had discarded his helmet, and his dented breastplate chaffed against his bruised ribs.  He had taken to sleeping , when he could afford such a luxury, in gullies and behind jagged up-crops of rock.  He had filled his belly with moss, and had only secured a few mouthfuls of brackish water each day. But now he could see the flag of his homeland waving in the breeze above a stone blockhouse.  The problem was, he could see a large body of enemy cavalrymen between him and the refuge.

***

Arabella stared out through the window on the border-ward side of the customs house.  It was then that she thought she saw movement in the early morning light.  The enemy soldiers were still largely abed,with only a few sentries wandering the camp, but this was something else.

She spied the motion again.  Something, no someone was crawling quickly towards a gully just on the far side of the frontier.  She shifted her position, and reached for the viewing glass that was on a hook by the window.

Yes, it was definitely a person.  As she adjusted the focus, the features of a freckle-faced, curly haired lad of about her age became clear.  He had a gash on his forehead, and his uniform was in tatters, but he was definitely one of her countrymen.

The problem was that he couldn’t make his way from the gully to her side of the newly established “no man’s land” between the enemy cavalry and her own engineers without being seen and captured, or worse.

Arabella knew she had to act.  Though it was not yet the time of year to wear a heavy winter skirt, she donned one anyway.  It was a long grey garment which swept the ground as she walked. Perfect, she thought to herself as she glanced at herself in a mirror.

She then went to the small custom house kitchen and grabbed the bucket of vegetable peelings from next to the scullery.  As nonchalantly as she could, Arabella crossed into no man’s land and towards the gully.  A couple of the cavalry men watched her initially, but lost interest when the saw it was a woman, and that she was dumping refuse into the gully.

Keeping her back to the enemy warriors, Arabella lifted the hem of her skirts to mid-calf. “Come on, get under here quickly,” she whispered. “What are you waiting for?”

Hayden scrambled to climb under Arabella’s skirt, and he did his best to keep pace crawling, as she slowly turned and made her way back to the customs house.

Once safely on home soil, she said,  “You can come out now.”

Hayden didn’t seem to respond.  So she pulled her skirt out from over him.  “What made you wait?” she queried.

“I was – um – was. . . sorry,” he said red-faced.

“Oh, um -Oh!” she said, beginning to blush herself.

“Thank you for saving me,” Hayden said quickly, in an attempt to change the subject.”

“You’re – um – welcome,” Arabella replied, turning her face away to hide her embarrassment.

 

Padre

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Staff

DSC03459

My Staff with Canturbury, La Mont Saint Michel,  Jerusalem (not seen) and Santiago Badges

Trusty rod – a support and companion

Practical and yet symbolic

Of the aid we receive in this world chaotic

As our life’s journeys are made

 

The staff upon which we lean

Like the pillars of faith given from above

A simple reminder upon our way

Of a Father’s eternal love

 

It bears emblems of where we have been

The places – mere glimpses of where we have yet to go

Our pilgrimage is of yet incomplete

Till we reach that throne aglow

 

Padre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Captive Joy: Philippians and Life’s Lockdowns

Padlock, Door, Lock, Key Hole, Macro

Pixabay

I have been in lockdown since the 16th of March.  In that time, I have really only been out of the house on four or five occasions and those were short walks around the block.   Many of us are feeling the burden of the limiting of our everyday freedoms.  It’s frustrating.  It’s easy to grumble.

If we are honest, how does our limited exercise of freedom compare to that of Paul?  What does the Holy Spirit and God’s word tell us?

If you think a couple of months of quarantine is bad, think about being a prisoner for the Gospel.  Paul spent four or five years in custody.

It is his attitude in this confinement that is an example to us.

Philippians 1, Paul notes his love and thanksgiving for his brothers and sisters in Philippi and then verses 7 – 14 says:

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.  God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Although physically isolated from them he is still in harmony with them as they shared the grace of Christ.  We may not physically be together today but we are linked and united in that grace.

Paul then continues in verse 12:

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.  As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.

Members of the Emperor’s household guard were coming to the Lord as a direct result of Paul’s captivity.   It may not seem it now, but you may well be making a bigger difference in this time of restrictions than you are aware.  It may be through your examples of faith and perseverance, or it may be through such links and forums as these online worship sessions which bring us together and link us to some who have never worshipped with us before.  We are only the sowers, but God will reap the harvest.

 

In Ephesians 3:14-21 Paul tells the church not to be disheartened by his tribulation.  He instead explains his wish for the saints:

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,  that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

 

Paul’s desire was for the church was for it to know that no matter what the outward appearance of things may seem, God is bigger than it.

 

So in a practical application, we can see in Philippians 2:14 and 15:

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky   . . .

 

We need to examine where we are today.  Not only in this Covid crisis, but in all life’s other lockdowns, as well.   Job losses, bereavements, strained relationships, and the like are all lockdowns emotionally, but they don’t need to be spiritually.

 

What can we do?  Well look at the opportunities.  In this long isolation I have had more time for the word.  Have you?  More time to pray.  I have really focused on many of you, and for families around the world who have suffered loss in these times.  More time to encourage.  The internet is wonderful when applied to godly purposes.  I really have been blessed myself in being able to send little words of hope and encouragement to others.

 

In the end, in life’s lockdowns, it’s a time for joy.

 

Padre

 

If you have noted that the format of this isn’t exactly the same as my usual posts, it is because this in a manuscript of a sermon.

Lockdown

Pretzel, Bavaria, Snack, Crispy, Vespers

Pixabay

Groceries in hand, and with all haste

I headed home – no time to waste

In fear of catching something rheumy

I’d just stay inside my homestead roomy

I hadn’t considered that my roomie

Would have thought to do the same as to me

So hoping to not go looney

I shoveled loads of snacks – into me

While pretzels helped the things I faced

They seem to all have gone to waist

 

Padre

Double Take

Use the following homophones in your writing:

rheumy – having a watery discharge of mucous
roomie – colloquialism for “roommate”
roomy – lots of space

and

waist – between ribs and hips
waste – make ill use of

Don’t Stop Me Now

 

This week, Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday includes the termination prompts of End/Finish/Over/Stop.  Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now fits nicely.  While it may not have proved to be exactly a rocket ship on it’s way to Mars, reaching only number 9 on the UK charts and a way too low 86th in the USA, the 1979 song is still a great listen.

Padre

Lyrics:

Tonight
I'm gonna have myself a real good time
I feel alive
And the world, I'll turn it inside out
I'm floating around
In ecstasy

So don't stop me now, don't stop me
'Cause I'm having a good time, having a good time

I'm a shooting star leaping through the sky
Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity
I'm a racing car passing by
Like Lady Godiva
I'm gonna go go go
There's no stopping me

I'm burning through the sky
200 degrees
That's why they call me Mr. Fahrenheit
I'm traveling at the speed of light
I wanna make a supersonic man out of you

Don't stop me now
I'm having such a good time
I'm having a ball
Don't stop me now
If you wanna have a good time
Just give me a call

Don't stop me now
'Cause I'm having a good time
Don't stop me now
Yes I'm having a good time
I don't want to stop at all, yeah!

I'm a rocket ship on my way to Mars
On a collision course
I am a satellite
I'm out of control
I am a sex machine ready to reload
Like an atom bomb about to-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh explode

I'm burning through the sky
Yeah!
Two hundred degrees
That's why they call me Mister Fahrenheit
I'm traveling at the speed of light
I wanna make a supersonic woman of you

Don't stop me
Don't stop me
Don't stop me
Hey hey hey!

Don't stop me
Don't stop me
Ooh ooh ooh
I like it

Don't stop me
Don't stop me
Have a good time, good time

Don't stop me
Don't stop me

Ooh ooh alright

Ooh I'm burning through the sky
200 degrees
That's why they call me Mister Fahrenheit
I'm traveling at the speed of light
I wanna make a supersonic man out of you

Don't stop me now
I'm having such a good time
I'm having a ball
Don't stop me now
If you wanna have a good time
Alright
Just give me a call

Don't stop me now
'Cause I'm having a good time
Don't stop me now
Yes, I'm having a good time
I don't wanna stop at all

Writer/s: MENTOR R. WILLIAMS
Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

True Down-pouring

Rainbow, Cloud, Evening Sun, Rain

Pixabay

Troubles and woes

Oft seem to downpour.

Life’s tribulations build up,

Till we can’t stand one more.

We suffer disappointments,

Grief, loss, and pain.

Sometimes feeling,

We’ll never be whole again.

But there are silver linings –

In those clouds of storm.

Moments of calm and peace –

Giving us a respite,

And a chance to release.

Look upwards beyond

Those menacing clouds,

To heaven’s grandeur

Above their dark shroud.

There you will find ready,

The Author of all Blessing.

He will downpour sweet things,

All your soul’s needs caressing.

 

Padre

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #158 – Downpour in 88 words