Thursday, 24 September 2015

Refreshing community

I had occasion to travel by bus today in Glasgow. What a refreshing experience. On my 15 minute journey, I witnessed community in action. 
Having no idea where I needed to alight, and having been informed by the driver: "Saracen Street's a lang street, hen", I asked another passenger if she knew of the church I was scheduled to be. She did know and she took great care to not only make sure that I got off at the right stop but that I also knew in which direction to walk to reach my destination, (including where to cross the road).
One passenger got on, heavily laden with packages. In one of his carriers was some grocery shopping. But the carrier bag was torn and his groceries were in danger of spilling out. Another passenger not only donated another bag for him, but helped him repack his groceries. He then proceeded to share with everyone on the bus where the best bargains of the day were to be had. His advice was heard and appreciated. And good natured banter ensued.
I arrived, glad that I had chosen to travel by public transport.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Another way

Isaiah 65:17-25
The Glorious New Creation
For I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
and its people as a delight.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
or the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it
an infant that lives but a few days,
or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labor in vain,
or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord—
and their descendants as well.
Before they call I will answer,
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
but the serpent—its food shall be dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain,
says the Lord.
As we continue to witness the appalling plight of refugees throughout the world, fleeing war, persecution, starvation, discrimination and oppression. As our daily news bulletins show children washed up on European beaches, lorries full of bodies abandoned at the road side and migrants being vilified, our hearts tell us: There must be another way. But the vision that is sketched in Isaiah seems like light years away.
And yet...
And yet we see ordinary human beings exercising compassion, refusing to be hampered by governments' attempts to plead poverty or to scaremonger, opening their hearts and their homes, sharing their resources, making a difference in whatever way they can, fulfilling just a bit of that vision, creating chinks in the wall of resistance and fear and apathy that have arisen. We see love in action that gives rise to hope. Hope in the ordinary bringing about the extraordinary.
And we are called simply to keep on being ordinary, using and sharing the gifts that we have until, by the grace of God, our ordinary becomes extraordinary.

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