“Princess”

Crown, Moss, Head Ornament, Rust, Rust Crown, Rusty
Pixabay

Do not fret over things that have passed

Nor cling-on so wholeheartedly to that which will not last.

Do not be diminished by the things others say or do,

But hold your head up proudly

For that is the only posture that is worthy of you.

You may feel the weight of struggles

The burden of many cares,

Hold true to your path –

Though accusers may be many,

The failure is really theirs.

You were named “Princess”

The title says it all –

So with that queenly dignity

With the world your example share


Padre

For Sally

Spurned As Dirt

 

Brick and terracotta

Formed from earthy clay

Work of artisans and artists

Their ingenuity to display

 

From such a substance – simple

Spurned by most as dirt

It becomes things of beauty

As a master’s hands convert

 

Brick and terracotta

And Earth-born pottery

Ancient expressions

Of utility and artistry

 

Padre

 

While this poem is meant to sing the praises of the simple forms associated with mere clay, it is also an allegory on human worth.  If we can have such accomplishments with something “spurned as dirt,” how much more can we look forward to seeing in human potential – even the from those seen as other or less?

dVerse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(The) Devout of Africa

Wool, Cat'S Cradle, Hand Labor, Crochet, Fluffy

Pixabay

“I had some yarn in Africa”*

 

It is amazing what faith and determination can accomplish.

There are many, when misfortune befalls them, that will bemoan their lot and blame the world.  Others will turn to criminality or immorality to “make ends meet.”

This is not the story of one of those, but of a woman of faith.  Her’s was a faith in her God, herself, and in the principles of enterprise and thrift.

She had found herself in the situation of having to provide for her own needs, and those of her three children.  She had practical talents in arts and crafts, but little monetarily.  What she had – she invested; not in speculative ventures, but in real feet-on-the-ground practicality.  She knit, she crocheted, she fabricated slippers.  She above all believed in her principles.

She secured for herself a market place.  While only a stall on the pavement – it produced.  It produced income.  It produced an outlet for her creativity.  It produced an enduring example of what true character can achieve.

Through it all, her devotion remained strong.   Through her servant nature, her children were not only provided for, but believed themselves secure.  And secure they were in her love.

She had some yarn in Africa, but she wove more than mere crochet.

 

Padre

 

*With apologies to Meryl Streep

Of Fences and Bridges

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I had a discussion with my mother-in-law a while ago about atonement.  On the face of it, atonement is “the action of making amends for a wrong or injury.” Many of us spend a lot of time trying to “mend fences” with our friends and loved ones.

There are two types of wrong or injury involved here.  The first are the wrongs we perceive we have done to others.  Here are some questions to ask yourself before we beat ourselves up too much with these.  Did you do your best in the original situation?  Were your intentions good and honourable? If so, and it still went wrong, then apologise. If not, then try to make amends starting with an apology, and try to fix what went wrong.  Face it, people get things wrong.

The second type, are those things which the other party perceives that you did as hurtful. Again if your intention was good, and you did you best, tell them so.  It is up to them to make peace with the situation in their own minds.  You cannot let yourself become a slave to their lack of forgiveness.

Some things cannot be made right, however.  Sometimes the hurts not only tear down the fences, but burn the bridges as well (mixing my metaphors).  If you have apologied, tried to make amends, and are still rebuffed, it may hurt, but constantly belittling yourself over it will not make it any better for anyone.

Biblically sin is one of those bridge burners.  We separate ourselves from God and others by our actions.  Fortunately, God is bigger than many of our relations who hold grudges. For God so loved the world, that He sent His Son.  Here is a third kind of atonement, where the “wronged” party reaches out to make the atonement.

This is an ultimate example for us.  We too can make amends, not when we have wronged, but when we have been wronged.  In so doing we will live in a world of sturdy fences, and glistening bridges.

Padre

On Learning

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Human beings learn.  It is one of our strengths.  Learning and education are not necessarily the same things, however, as learning happens through experience as well as through instruction. Some level of learning is innate and each of us has our own aptitudes.

I have been an educator for nearly three decades.  I have seen a lot of theory come and go, but in the end what makes for a good education is that learning happens.  For some this is formal or even by rote, for others it is didactic, or Socratic. Each needs to be engaged in a way that suits them.

My own education says a lot.  I have six degrees (yes, I know), but I am limited in my practical skills.  I have recently learned how to change a fuse wire, and I am fairly competent at Ikea type flat pack construction (though it took me more than one wonky bookcase to achieve any success).

So what is the point of this?  Simply that we all have our own competencies and strengths.  Don’t let anyone who has a superior air put you down!  It is a pet peeve of mine that anyone uses educational attainment to belittle another.  In fact, it is the one instance where I will play the one-upmanship game.  I remember being at a seminar, and a (what I thought to be) interesting theory was put forward by an undergraduate speaker.  The response of one audience member was, “Well that is all well and good, but when I was at University X, we concluded . . . .”  Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have, but I did come to her aid with, “That’s interesting [person from Uni X], but when I was a Cambridge  . . . .”  I guess you see my point.

In the end, and as I have noted, I am highly educated, but I can’t change a sink washer. Believe in yourself, for every contribution to the world you make is a valid one. Keep on learning,  but more importantly keep on contributing!

Padre

More Than Just A Foot

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On Sunday, Pastor Vince shared a word in which we were reminded that we are all valuable in the sight of God.  God so loved the world (and each and every individual in it) that He sent His very own Son to die, that that world might have life.

Yet, many of us question our value. We wonder if we, or our roes are important.  This is not new, however.  Paul told the church at Corinth:

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.

Whether hand or foot, eye or ear, we are all needed in the kingdom.  We are all part of the body.  And every single member is loved.  So loved in fact, that even if we were a body of one – Christ would still have come and died, just for you; just for me.

You are more than a foot!

Padre

For The Sake of 10 Righteous

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One of the most interesting exchanges of the Bible is found in Genesis 18:22-33.  God has revealed His plan to destroy the cities of the valley, and Abraham intercedes and begs mercy for any righteous found there. It reads:

“22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare[c] the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” 26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” 27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?” “If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.” 30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?” He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” 31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?” He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.” 32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.” 33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home (NIV).”

For the sake of 10 God would spare the cities.  And if we look at the account of the Flood, the requisite 10 were not found then either, as only 8 were spared on the ark.  This number 10 being a special number in regards to the righteous has found its way into the Jewish worship as well.  Ten men who have had their bar Mitvahs  are required for the full worship and prayers to be said.  Why 10?  I don’t know, but Abraham stops at that number in his pleadings.

Christianity offers a slightly different tally.  Jesus said whenever two or more are gathered in His name, he will be there with them (Matthew 18:20).  We need not have 10 to worship publicly – two will do, and even then one can worship privately (Mathew 6:6).  Better still, Jesus so loved the world, that He died for it.  And even if there had been only one sinner, He would have still have done it (2 Peter 3:9).  He desires none to perish. For the sake of one, He came.

For the sake of 10 righteous God showed mercy in the Old Testament, but His mercy is shown now even for you and me.

Padre