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.

Advertisements

Education Sunday

1st February  2015

image

It’s Sunday!
In many Christian churches in the UK,today, education is talked
about and schools staff and pupils prayed for. Education Sunday. This is an education Sunday for me, as was last Sunday and as every Sunday can be.

I didn’t like the cockrel this morning.. All that loud flapping of wings before his virile pride burst forth into a dark hot 5 o’clock morning. Shhh and go away!

But education Sunday had begun and out of the darkness came harmonious rich beautiful singing. I’m not able to understand the words but the gentleness of the singing was a much better alarm clock than Mr.Cock.African singing at its best.

Lesson one : the local church can be
deeply devotional and not tied to a Sunday lie in.Jesus comes first.

Lesson two: corperate harmonious worship can enrich a community and it’s ok to let the neighbours hear.

At 7am, still behind the mosquito net snoozing I heard my host, the pastor, leaving for the first service. I didn’t want to get up.Too comfortable. Others of our household were sweeping floors and tending to small children. I didn’t want to get up just then,either.

Lesson 3: There’s a lot of work to be done. Lying in bed doesn’t get it done.

I attended the third church service of the day at 1100.  What joy!
Music already in full swing with over two hundred  gathered for worship. Singing, drums, dancing and lots of small children everywhere. It’s loud but the amplifier makes it very loud. It’s welcoming and joyful and controlled. It’s a performance only to an observer not to those interested in worship,but it is hard not to feel stiff.Everyone’s smiling and that soon includes me.

Lesson four: don’t be so self conscious. Noone ‘s watching you. Worship.

The photo attaching this post is all about help for shoes punning the good news.

The preacher’s job is to point to real help for souls. I’ve never experienced so much applause in a sermon as this one  progressed. Spontaneous  congregation participation. Real anguish healing and forgiveness from God is the experience of the congregation here.They know it and are believing and very very grateful.

Lesson five:
Jesus died for you and can heal your soul and bring healing in your life.The cobbler gets it and it’s up to your answer to the question Jesus asked Peter. “Who do you say I am? ” See Matthew ‘s gospel chapter sixteen verses15-19

I’m sort of bilingual.. I can get by.Spontaneous translation is quite another art. They have sermon translation down to a fine art. Fast and fiery at times, the preacher changes language and so must the interpreter. It’s slick and professional.And the occasional untranslatable word or saying

Lesson 6:
Uganda and so much of Africa is a bank full of credit for the world. The world sits staring like a miser at a pile of gold.

Lesson 7 : Man’s inhumanity to man is a worldwide phenomenon not an African one.

Education Sunday… So much to learn, so much to be thankful for and so much to respond to.