I was introduced to this writing on the first day back after the Easter hols, in a reflection done by one of my colleagues at our welcome back meeting. I love this. It resonates so much with me!
“People are often unreasonable and self-centred. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
Just to say that I’m relieved some decency came back to the british people in time for Weds! I have no issue with free speech and if your opinion was that you hated Thatcher, that’s up to you. However, there is a time and a place, and someone’s funeral wasn’t it. I never agreed with her having a public funeral through the risk of unrest. Cost was an issue, but if it had been a senior royal, or someone more popular, I argue that there would not have been such an outcry in terms of finance. At least the British people (generally) proved me wrong on the unrest front, in the capital during the funeral. I would say again that no matter how much you dislike someone, I cannot personally think of a time when celebrating someone’s death; being happy that they are dead, is right. I’m sure lots of people will now give me suggestions, including the fact that Mrs T ruined their lives. Keep that to yourself, for the sake of those who loved her. That’s what the British people managed to do yesterday, and I was relieved. I knew we were better than what I thought! I just knew it!
Macrina Weiderkehr is a nun from America, whose books the curate in my team ministry (and her husband) both read, as part of their spiritual path, work and development, and then introduced me to. She writes books about contemplative prayer and study, which is why our curate thought I would like her books. I’ve got three now, and I’m using two of them, Abide and Seven Sacred Pauses, all the time. I particularly like, in Abide, how Macrina encourages different, and sometimes creative, ways of thinking and considering bible readings, God, and the impact on my life. If you click on the hyperlink on her name at the start of this piece, this will take you to Macrina’s website, which I’ve recently discovered, and which will tell you more about her books, and particularly the main two that I’m reading.
Me and mum went to this event, at Holland House, which is a beautiful house with grounds, which was donated to the Church of England Diocese of Worcester by Mrs Holland in 1946 for the purpose of spiritual contemplation. Four retreat days, each one considering a different season. The main thought is that the whole earth is a sacrament of God, and each of the seasons has its own quirks and details that give things to enjoy and give thanks for. The first was spring, and we were so lucky because it didn’t rain, or snow (as it did in later days after this) and we spent a lot of time considering the first crocuses and snowdrops outside. If it had rained, I don’t think it would have worked as well. My creativity (for what it is worth) was inspired to write the following poems:
The wiry fingers of winter
Slowly giving way
Arms stretch out on the
A chill in the air
As patches of blue and green
Begin to appear
On the ground, signs of new life
Flowers, green growth
Tiny buds, reaching inperceptibly
Patches of purple and pink
Breaking up the dark colours.
It is preparing
It will suddently bloom
As God’s fountain of life
They are singing
They are not seen
But their song
The water is still
With perfect reflections
Of overhanging trees
Clear on the surface,
Except for a swan
That slides, majestically, by.
The signs of new life
The signs of spring
They are tiny
Sprouting from the ground
But they are there.
Life is Life. Existence is Existence.
We are so busy, that we miss
Unless you make yourself
Listen. Think. Breathe. Believe.
I’ve discovered this fantastic TV channel for those of you, like me, who are crafty crafters, and specifically makers of jewellery!. The presenters are completely mad, but the products and the experts are excellent! I got three strands of faceted semi-precious stones for £16 (inc p & p)! Go to SKY 655, Virgin 756, Freesat 807, Freeview 43.or http://www.jewellerymaker.com to find out more.I’ll put the website on my blogroll too.
I know how divisive a figure Margaret Thatcher was and is. I have debated whether to blog about this, because I know people are plainly capable of the red mists when it comes to Thatcher, but some reaction to her death has pushed me to respond. My mother was a stay at home mum with me in the 1980s so she hates her. My grandfather was a diesetter whose company went bust during her tenure as PM, and so he was made redundant. He hates her too (my father hates Arthur Scargill). What gets me is people celebrating someone’s death with a street party. Someone who was a mother and a grandmother; whose relatives no doubt loved her and are mourning her death. I am appalled that British people could be so insensitive. I do think that a mistake was made by offering her a public funeral.. Although Churchill got a state funeral, Thatcher’s will still be public, at St pauls Cathedral. Churchill wasn’t as divisive, in terms of whether he deserved such an honour. His domestic policies weren’t popular but he saw the country through WW2. That was enough for everyone. I think Sir Mark and Carol Thatcher and the family, and the City of London and its police, should be ready for the demonstrations that will happen during the funeral, because some of the British public have shown that they do not care if someone is mourning someone or not. When the primary school teacher who bullied me dies (i don’t believe she has yet), although she has coloured my life for the 25 years and counting after I left the school, I will not be dancing on her grave. I might think “Good riddance”, but I will be keeping that to myself. Maybe others could do the same. If her policies destroyed your livelihood, you have a right to be angry. Just try to be more sensitive to the fact that she was part of a family, and keep your hatred to yourself. British people are better than this.
I knew this would be coming up, and this meant classic episodes of The Good Life. Excellent! The one shown was called “The WindBreak War”, and is about Tom, Barbara and Margo arguing about a windbreak being put up in Margo’s garden. The four (including Jerry) get drunk, and Jerry admitting he fancies Barbara, Tom falling off the arm of the chair and other craziness ensues! Hilarious! This episode is in three parts on youtube. Put “The Good Life The windbreak war” into the search bar.
Richard Briers and John Thaw were great friends, as well as both great actors. I learned one thing about both of them. They were known for TV, but I knew less about their theatre careers. Both men had a wide-ranging canon of stage work under their belts, and not just Shakespeare.
The Easter Message from St Peter’s Square is known for the message to the city and to the world. It is also known for the Pontiff offering greetings in numerous languages. John Paul II is known to have been able to speak up to 11 languages fluently, while Benedict XVI could speak six languages fluently, with knowledge of at least two others. I have to confess that I liked the languages bit, but this is the bit that Francis cut. Thinking about it afterwards, I can see that the languages bit, some of the greetings often done phonetically, is the least important bit. The Blessing, and the Pope’s message are more important, and it’s taken me a long time to get it. As I’ve said before, Francis has a message for the most vulnerable, and to the rest of us to look after those people better. Francis can speak several languages, aside from Latin, Spanish and Italian that we’ve heard. It’s not the point, although those who think that Cardinal Bertone (who only speaks Italian) doesn’t speak enough world languages to be Vatican Secretary of State may disagree. Now I’ve got over the fact that something I expected to be there was missing, I’ve finally got the real point. Dur…
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“Lord, you sacrificed your Son
Jesus you sacrificed yourself
All for us, your chidlren.
We stand in awe of all, of everything
Born, Died, Rose Again.
All of this for us.
We kneel to you, Our Saviour
At my church, we did an interactive service for children. They visited different stations in the church; the Last Supper, Peter denying Jesus three times before the cock crowed, Pilate washing his hands of Jesus and sending him to his death (that’s the one me and my friend did. We used something off youtube called Making a cross in a single cut.), the crucifixion itself (banging nails into wood), and the body of Jesus in the tomb (the tomb was created by using the space under our altar, and lots of boxes. Simple but ingenious. I hope people enjoyed it, although the easter eggs hunt at the end (with clues to lead people to different parts of the church to find them) was the bext for everyone. We also had a band (piano, drums, alto saxophone and guitar) which was really good! We did get some kids as well as adults, so that was a relief! Thank you God!