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A Skinny Fairtrade Latte in the Food Court of Life - Page 3

  • God's Promises...

    Leading Uni Chapel Prayers today. The reading was Isaiah 65: 17-end. As I read out to the congregation the beautiful words of promise, this verse struck me deeply...

    "the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child"

    Remembering with gratitude and love the inimitable Miss A who died this week aged 100 years and 11 months young. Rest in peace and rise in glory.

    "Forever young" as the song says.

  • That Thing Termed "Ministry"

    Among other things today...

    I prayed the rosary with an elderly Italian Catholic... 50 Hail Marys... no wonder I'm a prod!

    I signed documents so someone can get the ID they need to fly with Ryan Air

    I wrote a letter that will hopefully enable someone to get a visa to attend a family wedding

    I collated data for review of a technical specification

    I listened to a taxi driver tell me about the loss of his mother

    I did almost nothing on my planned 'to do' list but several things on the revised list

    I experienced grace in a very unexpected place

    Oh, and backs of my calves are now well scratched by Sasha who has been telling me to stop work for the last hour!!

    All this is ministry that cannot be taught but is totally authentic. So maybe I'll end with a trio of "Glory Bes" and an Our Father after all! (Who knew that RC placmeent I opted for in 2000-2001 would be so useful all these years later!!)

  • Our Lady of the People with Downs Syndrome...

    At last night's evening service, we were shown some religious art depicting the adoration of the Magi. Among the works shown were a couple that had been modelled by people known to the artist, among them children or adults with what we would nowadays term Downs Syndrome.  I recalled that I had recently seen some Madonna and Child art that went a stage further, and depicted the Christ Child as having Downs Syndrome.

    Take a moment to appreciate that enormity of this... that 500 years ago (or thereabouts) it was seen as OK to depict Christ thus, with an extra chromosome, a 'mistake' in his makeup, without anyone getting het up about perfection and spotless sinlessness.

    Times have changed, Downs Syndrome has been named, stigmatised, destigmatised, restigmatised and more.  We have become accustomed to seeing Jesus portrayed by people of colour and a lot of people have encountered a Christa (female being crucified) to the point that its shock value is largely lost.  But a 'maimed' or chromosomally rare Jesus, whether visible or invisibly unusual, that's not something I've come across beyond these early Downs portrayals.

    What does it mean to be in the image of God for people whose chromosomes are not typically arranged? What does it mean to see a protrayal of the infant Christ that looks like 'us' - or that looks like 'them'?

    A Christ with Downs syndrome, a Christ with androgen insensitivity syndrome, a Christ with BRCA1 or BRCA2, a Christ with an auto-immune condition, a Christ with dissociative personality disorder or gender dysphoria, an amputee Christ, a Christ born blind or deaf, a Christ with learning disabilities...

    The list is endless and the questions complex and unanswerable.  Not good enough to say that cancer or diabetes or leprosy or mental health conditions are all the product of sin or sinfulness, even if, on a global and historical measure, that is,partly at least, true.  Not good enough to reduce Christ to a perfect (whatever that means) male locked in time in space, when the eternal nature of God defies that.  Not good enough to think we ever get a handle on this, let alone understand it.

    For now, though, just take a moment to sit with the beautiful image of a Madonna and Child painted around 1460 by an artist called Mantegna and marvel at the Christ in whose face we glimspe something of God.