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- Page 6

  • At Home in Lent - Days 6 and 7

    Day 6 - keys; Day 7 - safes.

    These two items (fortunately) go well together for the purposes of reflecting.

    Keys, a technology dating back at least 6000 years, evidently were a big thing among Romans - often fashioned as a ring (so not easy to lose if worn), they were a status symbol in and of themselves. "Look I have a key, I have stuff worth locking up."  Safes, not always just the ugly, functional, lead-lined boxes we may think of, but intricately carved items of furniture say the same thing - I have stuff so valuable I hide it away where it can't get lost or stolen (or used or enjoyed, for that matter).

    Peter being told by Jesus he has been given the 'keys to the Kingdom' - the wherewithal to enable himself and others to enter; Jesus telling people that where their treasure is, there their hearts are also...

    The thought that resonated with me as I read these two chapters was that often our deepest treaures are in our hearts - our memories. But even those can be lost or destroyed by the effects of age or disease.  perhaps it is good to take them out and enjoy them rather than to hide them away.  Certainly there is evidence that photos, music, stories, smells and foods all have the ability to evoke memories in people with quite advanced dementia - keys to unlock the safe of the heart allowing, if only fleetingly, the treasure to be enjoyed once more.

    Show us, loving God, the treasures we should keep and those we should let go. Unlock our hearts and minds that we may be open to recieve new gifts to treasure in a new season. Keep us safe, not hidden away fearing taint or failure, but freed to be the people you make us to be.  Amen.

  • At Home in Lent - Day 5

    Today's object is a mirror, and a reflection (no pun intended, but hey...) on the famous 1 Corinthians 13 passage that alludes to (in KJV speak) seeing 'through a glass darkly.'

    Apparently, and this was new to me, by the time Paul was writing glass mirrors were just starting to emerge - they weren't great but they were an improvement on the burnished bronze mirrors that had been in use until then. Looking into a mirror and seeing a dim reflection, a blurry likeness - a long way from the clear images we are used to today.  I quite liked his concept of the mirror 'growing up' from the polished metal to the dim lead-backed glass of the early midlde Eastern mirrors to the array of mirrors we enjoy today (he doesn't get as far as the mirror Apps on phones - maybe they didn't exists when he wrote the book) 

    One phrase struck me as I read the reflection, that when we look into a mirror what we see is 'a sinner, made in the image of God, in need of redemption.' (p26).  That tension of divine image-bearing and human fallibility is one that I often find myself pondering.

    Most people have a strange relationship with mirrors, or at least with their reflections - we look into a mirror to adjust our hair, do our makeup, check our teeth for stray spinach, or to decide if this item of clothing actually looks OK.  But as the pun shows, reflection is also about thinking, a call to look deeper not necessarily into the mirror itself, but into our own hearts and minds.

    Of course, before I head out to church this morning, there'll be a last glance in the mirror, just to make sure I am presentable!!


  • At Home in Lent - Day 4

    Today's object is the mobile phone, and the temptation to keep checking it... apparently the average person in the UK receives 22 calls a day (of which they answer 6) and checks their phone every six minutes.  Happily, I am not average!

    Now, I may have missed the point, but I found myself disagreeing with the writer today.  Let me explain.

    Referring to advertisements that were aired at the time the penalty for using a mobile phone whilst dirving was increased to a £200 fine and 6 points on a driving licence, he notes that they suggested putting the phone in the 'glove compartment' where it would not be such a temptation.  It is this 'avoidance' of temptation that questions... and I question his questioning!

    His argument (as I understand it) runs roughly thus:

    • temptation out of reach is not temptation (no chocolate in the house, you can't be tempted to eat it)
    • Jesus chose to go to a place of temptation (the wilderness)
    • therefore what we actually nned to do is learn how to handle temptation (don't text whilst driving) not have the possibility taken away from us.

    The flaws, as I see it are:

    • temptation is all around us (every shop is full of Easter treats!)
    • Jesus told us to pray 'lead us not into tempation...' (Lords' Prayer)
    • therefore what I feel the need to do is avoid temptations that have the potential to overwhelm me or others (partly why I keep the manse 'dry' as guests may be unsafe it otherwise) as well as learning how to be a sensible and responsible human being (who doesn't walk along wearing headphones and not looking where she's goping)

    Tomorrow is the first in a series of seiivces looking at the theme of temptation - strange to say, I won't be iniviting anyone to out looking for temptation, rather be trying to see what we can learn from Jesus about how we repsond to it when it arises.

    Oh, and by the way, I don't think Jeuss went to the wilderness seeking temptation - I think it came looking for him!


    And a PS - I munched an entire 80g bag of quinoa crisps whilst typing this... some temptations aren't worth resisting!! ;-)

  • At Home in Lent - Day 3

    Today we are invited to contemplate the fireplace or hearth, a place of hospitality and welcome, and the mystrery that fire is as dangerous as it is wonderful, that it has potential to maim, kill and destroy, just as much as to warm, cook or create.

    The photo is the fire I walked on last night - not when it was ablaze as seen here, but later when it was a mass of glowing embers.  The two-hour long training session before the five second walk was amazing - we were under no illusions about the power and potential of very hot embers to injure if not treated with respect, and we were empowered to be a community for those few seconds when each of us boldly strode out.

    So, to answer your questions, did it hurt? Nope, didn't feel a thing - other the than gravel round the edge of fire pit which was very ouchy on bare feet!  Would I do it again - yes.  What was the best bit... it was the time spent with 36 other people and a crazy, sweary, kind, motivational instructor who empowered and enabled us to do what seemed impossible.

    The book wanted me to reflect on Lenten themes of penitence and resurrection, phoenixes and fires that refine.  Perhaps those were there last night also.  Certainly I came away with a spring in my step and hope in my heart... if Lent can do that too, then I will be very blessed.


    Holy Spirit you came as fire to terrified men and women hiding away in an upstairs room. As you dwell in us, relight our own inner fire, we pray, that we may know our true worth and live our fullest lives.  Amen.

  • These feet are made for (fire) walking... (we hope)

    Today's the day - or more accurately, tonight's the night - when these feet will walk on coals of fire!  I've read the science, later on I'll be given the training, then in a few seconds it will be done!

    Walking on water next? I think not!