It is just a full week since the UK entered ‘ Lockdown’ and a couple of months since we heard that such a thing could be done. We heard of Wuhan as a far away city, in a country where the state has power and we shrugged. Now we have to get through Lockdown. A […]
Take a look at @BBCBreaking’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/BBCBreaking/status/761505804264452100?s=09
We sometimes sing with psalmists of old… “. Lord of the Nations.” … Lord have mercy Christ the Redeemer have mercy on all Olympic events and people. People of the world see Christ the Redeemer with open arms for you
I think this is the Sheffield to Leeds Stop Everywhere train.It’s warm and plenty of seats and a high proportion of men. Men in woolly hats.A window is open and the air is fresh. No one is talking and mindfulness hangs unspoken.Rain trickles diagonally across the window and the darkness wraps a cloak around us.Wakefield, Outwood,Leeds.
Sometimes I use the train from London.Just Wakefield Leeds. It’s warm, bright,spacious,plenty of littered seats.A collection of containers with a film of food and Starbucks and Yorkshire Tea cups with plastic lids. Yesterday,laughing loudly women around an empty Prosecco bottle dominated the carriage. Not pretty women. I think my woolly hatted fellow travellers would agree. Freshness exchanged for wear and tear.On yesterday’s train there were no windows to open but ageing or reduced air conditioning. 180 miles of fug grabbed its chance to escape into the Wakefield night but rushing in freshness was diluted by malodorous body used air,trapped by the door slam.
‘Leeds the next stop.Please take all your belongings with you.’
Leftover stuff someone else’s problem.
It’s the darkness that is such a changer of the atmosphere.Leaving home in the dark ,coming home in the dark .The central nervous system’s pressure to hibernate. So the promise of lights and fires and warmth is deeply attractive .
Light is a beacon for me now , sitting in a modern door less station shelter, designed to keep the air fresh,but with no lights .Cold.The tall light shining onto the platform edge gives warning of the darkness of the tracks three feet below. I’ve chosen not to drop into the pub,”The Station” perversely so I don’t get too warm ,nor too comfortable. But the damp cold draught is beginning to chill me. Train cancelled.Forty minutes wait.
The silence is broken by a man’s shouts .’You f…..ing idiot,you hate my family ‘.He comes closer with a women who enters the shelter first.She nods when I ask if she is alright, and the shouter rants and swears on .I ask him to please stop shouting and he sits and tells the women how much he loves her and how he will marry her and give her his child .I feel my indignation rise at the imposition of his plan on a women he has sworn and shouted at for more than 5 minutes in my ear shot.
In the darkness ,the light shines and the darkness has not overcome it .
The lady friend of the ranter and I catch the train .She moves away and finds a space to herself . I think of the Syrian crisis and the wars around the world .Conflict and man’s inhumanity to man in so many forms.
Advent .We prepare for Christmas .Lord, have mercy .
http://wp.me/p2Lhjb-e2 remembering my own tour de Yorkshire two years ago.. Need to do it again!
Take a few minutes out to read….
This is the script for this morning’s Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:
Yesterday I went to a church near Huddersfield to dedicate a new font. Not, I hasten to add, a fancy new printing typeface, but the place where Christians are baptised in water into the life of the church.
The point about a font – in this case a stone bowl resting on wood and glass – is that it has to contain water. This one had only had a dry run, and when we put water into it, it dripped straight through the bottom onto the floor. The plug didn’t fit, apparently.
But, it did offer a vivid image of the people who will be baptised in it. If the font leaks, then so do we. Something we can’t hide from this week – Holy Week – as Christians walk with Jesus and his…
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And there was darkness over the face of the deep…
And there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour..
Light is sometimes seen by planners as an incidental and in our world we manage darkness. Not a huge amount of thought or care is given to those who work in artificial light all day.I think you’ll know the low ceiling offices with no natural light or the clinic rooms in the centre of a building where staff have burrowed . Modern architects have begun to see the wellbeing benefits of natural light , but old buildings abound and the worker consumes the electricity whether day or night. Remember the tube drivers, miners,divers,submarine sailors….
I am a natural daylight lover. I like to see the sun. I like daylight. Artificial light is not a preferred option. Overhead sun is a good medicine with sensitive protection. We are creatures drawn to light.
So today Europe shall be reminded of what losing the sun in daytime is like and we are prodded into thankfulness for our amazing universe.We can remember our striving for shining light on our lives.We can be thankful for the light of the world.Then as sun is resurrected out of shadow we can echo
” Let there be light ”
Eight weeks in Uganda definitely showed the kindness, gentleness and hospitality of strangers. The reliability of the acquaintances and the sacrificial nature of those called family in faith.
Home now and the graciousness of those who stayed here is very apparent. The greetings of family, friends and colleagues are very special and very warming. To be loved is so very special and heightened, at times of return, to levels that are theoretically known but too often cringed away from.What is it with so much of our culture that encourages shrivelled displays of emotions ? A false modesty that hides the free expression of love,joy,hope, faith and even,happiness. A type of pride dressed up as carefully managed humility but leaking drops of falsehood and pretence saying that we are above the need for such deep comfort. Is this the politeness we crave? Why does the loud boast slide away to to be managed? Who is responsible for envy? and who for the vanity of the blogger? Are some legitimate joys and gifts kicked into that muddled puddle of false humility ?
But I need to share the period of grace of a returnee. There is so much blesssing with gestures of kindness, cooking, household stuff and meal sharing. I am blessed by indulgent listeners and kindness of colleagues, gifts and flowers, cards and patience. I want to share these generous times. There are so many acts of confident kindness. It is a sadness that English labels this as ‘spoiling’.
Humankind has been given a gift of community and programmed to love our neighbour as ourselves. We so often see the severely fractured behaviours of humans reported,even applauded or dangled at us for sick amusement.
So I shall tell the story of having treats and having things done for me, for being allowed gently back to the full flow of work. I tell it as a joyful time of re entry, a time of people being kind and generous, a time for those who obey Jesus’ words to love our neighbour as ourselves and I’m happy to be that neighbour whether in Uganda or UK.We can all show fractured behaviour, not one of us without wrongdoing, but it is very very special to open our eyes, mind and heart and to see that love of Jesus mirrored by so many of.his forgiven followers around and about.There is so much more story to tell about that and so much more to this greater period of grace. We have freedom to open our eyes hearts and minds to the forgiveness and love of Jesus. Truly a period of grace to enjoy.