Period of Grace

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.

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Praising in Papyrus

Uganda has a great deal to offer the world and my wish is that the world would listen to the Ugandan melodies.
Melodies of culture, courtesy,medicine, courage.Generosity, patience (but not fast enough) hope,love and faith. And the  rarer irritants that go deep deep deep, metamorphose to training tools and transform.

The  church of England offers training for lay ministry and time for reflection outside the usual.Uganda is a few thousand miles outside the usual but I owe huge thanks to my mentors of vision whose gaze reaches beyond a diocese in order to help the diocese. A reader in the church doesn’t just read and the Christian gospel is not geographically bound.

The church I am attached to knows how to praise, it knows how to suffer and it knows how to fight with the  gentleness of Christ. It is hard to know each tiny drop that makes the flood, but each plays it’s part. It is humbling and empowering

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to visit the papyrus reed churches,the church meeting under a tree and the new churches starting.

And the opportunity is great to meet and talk with all the variety of humankind that is offered. From being given the pulpit on International Women’s Day, to the counselling of children,from the pulpit on Ugandan TV to helping the sick children and their parents privilege is too small a word.

So sharing belief is a great unifier of values and desires, direction and understanding. Ugandan fellow followers of Christ teaching me and shining as bright stars with his love in this world.