Sunshine Moments

Pretty Woman, Young, Female, Lifestyle, Healthy, Summer

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay 

When in the sunshine we emerge

From our pandemic slumber

To once again shoulder to shoulder

Each other’s burdens un-encumber

When socially we shall once again

Hug, Greet, Embrace

Such joy we will then have

With sunshine on our face

 

Padre

 

 

Lesson Learned

Mask, Coronavirus, Quarantine, Virus, Epidemic, Disease

Pixabay

I have followed the blog of an amazing young woman named Caralyn ever since I began blogging myself.   In her latest post she asked a simple but important question – “What has this quarantine taught you?

I have learned that in the end it is tolerance and compassion that makes us the true survivors. We are touched by people who we haven’t heard from in years who send messages to just check that we are okay. It is the 99 year old veteran that walks around his garden to raise money for the doctors and nurses. It is the pastors who delivers groceries or prescriptions to the weakest of their flocks. It is our own ability to love and understand our friends and colleagues when they try to make a health issue a political one (on either side). It is when we stay in to protect the vulnerable, and yet will pray for those who flout restrictions, or hoard supplies, or even deny there is an issue at all. It is about “loving our neighbours.”

Padre

Leading the Way

Image by Cheryl Holt from Pixabay

There was an air of excitement as the convoy of eleven cars and SUVs arrived in the parking lot.  Many had been looking forward to this event since last year.  There would be singing, games, and of course – food.

Angel’s mom had made mac and cheese; the really yummy type with ham in it and the cheese all thick and gooey.  It was Angel’s favourite.  Tonya’s mom had made brownies, that were soft and chewy.  There were no nuts in them though – Tonya hated nuts.  This was also really good because James was allergic to them.

As the families began to unload coolers, and folding chairs from the vehicles, Charles started to sing Jesus Loves Me with a lisp, he having lost not one, but two front teeth the night before.  Several of the children giggled at this, only to be shushed by Sister Taylor.

“He’s doin’ a lovely job,” the Church Mother said, “You go ahead a sing, Sweetie, it’s lovely.

“Everybody ready?” Tonya’s mom asked the gathered families.

“Looks like it,” Someone responded.

With that, Angel and Tonya, the Pastor’s grand-daughters, ran across the little bridge.  They knew just the perfect spot for the annual Sunday School picnic.

 

Padre

Daily Writing Prompt #27: Realistic Fiction

 

Daily Blessings and the Family Eternal

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I am blessed.  That is merely a statement of fact.

Brother James brought a timely message today which clearly came from the heart.  Without going into a full recap, he made a powerful statement about our relationship with miracles.  Drawing on the I Kings 18, he noted that there are those moments in between the miracles when we can lose sight of the power of God.

I loved the point he made in reminding us to look between the gaps.   I have been doing that a lot lately, thus my opening paragraph.  I am blessed.  The big “miracles” may not be ever present, but God’s blessings and mercies are ever present.

God blessed me with a wife, who was not only my soul mate, but my best friend.   God has taken her home, but that too is a blessing in that I know she will no longer feel the pain and fatigue of her long term illness.  Yes, I have suffered a bereavement, but God and His people in my life (my family eternal). They have put me into a position of blessing even the more.   I am sad (that’s natural with grief) – but I am not depressed.  I am often lonely – but I am not alone.  I am encouraged in my faith.  I am encouraged by that faith.  I have wonderful friends who check in on me, and comfort me, and pray for me.  I have a church family who prays with me, for me, and over me.

Today’s service was a special experience.  It was one of those times when I was prayed over, it was especially comforting as we also announced the date for Dianne’s memorial service today.  But by far the most powerful act of love and support today came from my little sister in Christ, Jell.   She used one of my favourite images of Dianne from my Facebook and copied it to accompany words of comfort and support.  She is truly a precious and pure heart, and the little note will be prized by me and find pride of place among the condolence cards I have received.   I have put a link to the picture below, I am not tech savvy enough to know if it will open for others, but if it does, you will see the love in it.

My blessings are daily, as is the love from my family eternal.

 

Padre

 

Jell’s Drawing of Love

 

Legacy of Faith: “Holding His Hand Each Day”

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In I Thessalonians 5:11, Paul wrote: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”   There are many ways in which we can lift each other up.  First and foremost of these is in the act of prayer.  The act of intercessory prayer is a mighty one.  It  taps into the central power of all creation – God – in order to strengthen and provide for the needs of others.

In addition to prayer there are our words of kindness and encouragement.  It is easy to get lost in one’s own struggles and to feel alone – “I am the only one suffering this,” or “nobody cares.”  But a gentle word can prove to be, not just a “reality check,” but a load lifter all on its own.

My wife, Dianne addressed this “ministry of encouragement” in the face of her own illness.  It is part of her legacy of faith, that she set out to lift others while she herself was in decline.   Below is a posting where she discussed it.

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami: ‘When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.’

I make a public posting almost everyday, and document how i am coping and remind readers that God is helping me through.

I do this because i want to connect with others out there, perhaps suffering terrible trials, maybe even waiting through terminal cancer as i am, maybe you have relatives out there who have a diagnosis or you just want to understand. Possibly you are prepared to pray for me to make my journey easier.

Whatever the reason, this is possibly my legacy, all i have to leave behind.

I have prayed to be healed and certainly believe God can heal me, but i wont know the truth until my time limit of 6-18m[onths] is over.

Most of the time i try not to think about it, but it an ever present ‘spectre at the feast’ and colours every decision to some extent.
In my case i will potentially be mostly well, until suddenly i am not, and then it would be a quick decline.
I do have other co morbid issues though which make me generally ill and confine my to the house largely, often to bed for long periods. These are the issues my post largely comments on and also logs my positive attitude, which i work hard to maintain.

There are issues i havent touched on yet, the stress of not knowing, will i see another birthday… The loneliness of being home all the time but too ill to really see anyone. The pressure to leave something positive behind, to not be an extra burden to loved ones, to be upbeat and cheerful, to ensure nothing is left undone, and just waiting to see …knowing everytime i am in pain or have a new symptom my husband worries and quietly panics inside.

It is a fulltime job, this being brave: as my mum described it today. But -it is what it is, and i am doing all i can, -all i believe God is guiding me to do.

Cancer… Is a terrible word, it has terrible connitations. i pray daily for those who have relatives who are suffering this cruel monster, who struggle to hold their life together whilst quietly being terrified and out of control.

But, God is there for all of us, he walks us into the storm, holds our hands through it and brings us out the other side changed, improved, sanctified.
Never forget to check if you are holding His hand each day (Dianne’s posting for 24 September 2018).

She was indeed “mostly well, until suddenly [she] am not, and then it would be a quick decline.”  Her decline was a matter of four days, but her bravery, concern for others, and this wonderful reminder to hold God’s hand daily inspire me to carry on.

 

Padre

In Agreement By Our Love

 

This song has always been a favourite of mine.  It calls to mind Jesus’ prayer for His people to be as one, even as He and the Father are one.  It strikes at call of the Hebrews writer for “Brotherly love to continue (Heb. 13:1),” and John’s admonition of I John : 7-8 for us to “love one another.”
Lyrics:
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity will one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
And together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.
By our love
We can make it come together
By our love
Yes, the Spirit of our God
By our love
We can make each other better
By our love, by our love
We will work with each other, we will work side by side
We will work with each other, we will work side by side
And we’ll guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love
By our love
We can make it come together
By our love
Yes, the Spirit of our God
By our love
We can make each other better
By our love, by our love
By our love
We can make it come together
By our love
Yes, the Spirit of our God
By our love
We can make each other better
By our love, by our love
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity will one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love
Source: Musixmatch

As I was doing my daily study, which these days also includes readings from Dianne’s prayer and study journals I found reference to the power of such loving unity.  Matthew 18:19 tells us,  “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”  Agreement in love.  Love in agreement.  Let us do so, then as Pastor Vince reminded us on the weekend, look out for the tidal wave to come.

Padre

Alive!

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

“The building looks so plain.  I wonder if there is any life in it?” the tourist commented to her partner as she passed the synagogue.

“It is not the cover that makes the book,” an elderly man in a dark overcoat and homburg hat interjected on overhearing her.

“Excuse me,” Alice responded, stopping in her steps.

“No please, it is I who interrupted your conversation.  I was merely observing, however, that we can’t know about the ‘life’ of a place only with a glance.  I assure you, it continues to live.  We still live,” he said revealing the number tattooed on his arm.

 

(103 words)

 

Padre

Friday Fictioneers 3 May

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Stained Glass © Padre’s Ramblings

 

Where I Stand

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Robin and John, Sherwood Forest

 

This is my place,

Where I’ll make my stand,

To hold my ground,

Defend my land.

 

This little place,

I call my own,

You shall not possess it,

It’s mine alone.

 

How many have stood,

At such a place of impasse,

Treating friends as foes,

Allowing none in – or to pass?

 

Like Robin and John,

Neither willing to retreat,

But an alliance was born,

When Rob admitted defeat.

 

Here now I then stand,

Better together than alone,

Stronger and firmer,

For the friendships I’ve sown.

 

Padre

OFMARIAANTONIA Photo Challenge: Where I Stand

Entitlement Revisited

Dunwich Beach 2

I wrote some time ago about the tendency of many people to take the attitude that life owe’s them something. I have had students who have expressed opinions which suggest that their parents are here “because of them” and not the other way around. The self has become the measure of all things for some people.

There is a rabbinic story which captures the flaw in the modern doctrine of “entitlement.”

Some travellers were taking a journey by boat. One of them took a drill and began to drill a hole beneath himself. His companions, shocked, inquired, “Why are you doing this?” He replied, “What business is it of yours? I’m not drilling under your part of the boat, but my own.” They all shouted, “But you will flood the boat for us all!” (Midrash Rabbah, Vayikra 4:6).

Our actions are often far from individual in their consequences.  John Donne was right when he penned “No man is an island.” Scripture tells us that the fall of all humanity came through one man (Romans 5:12, I Corinthians 15:21). Likewise, each of us has a greater impact on those around us than what we might think.

For those of faith, our actions are monitored by those who come into contact with us.  Our inconsistencies (rightly or wrongly) reflect on our brethren, and on God Himself. We are ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). Likewise our virtue is a light unto the world, and a city upon a hill.

But example aside, all people by their actions impact others. Our risky behaviours may endanger others. Our wastefulness may deprive future generations. Our untrustworthiness may leave others hurt.

At the centre of this is the “the hole is in my part of the boat” attitude. We as people of community, a family based in love, need to stand in contrast to the 21st Century cult of the individual.

As Paul reminds us, Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Philippians 2: 3-4).”

Padre

 

It’s About “Us”

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Building on from his message on communal and corporate prayer, Pastor Vince brought our focus onto the body as a whole. The idea of community is important. While not the proper etymology it still is still telling that the word community gives us a “common” “unity.”  It is exactly how it should be.  In the Book of Acts we see this.

  • “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place (Acts 2:1).”
  •  “All the believers were together and had everything in common.  They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people (Acts 2: 44-47).”
  • All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had (Acts 4:32).”

We can see clearly that the early church was unified.  It had everything in common, bot in possessions and in belief (“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship [Acts 2:42]”).

But how do we achieve this level of community? Paul tells us simply, Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,  then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Philippians 2: 1-4).”

See, it isn’t about me, it is about us! And this is fully in keeping with Jesus’ prayers and wishes in John 17. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,  that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity (vs 20-23).”

Kennedy said “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” God asks a similar but greater feat of you.  What can you do for your God, your brothers, and your world? It is about “us.”

Padre