I stayed with Mum last night who still lives in the house I grew up in. As I walked to the station this morning to get a train to London I passed by a house which holds happy memories for me. Shirley Lees lived there and I think I have blogged about her before. She was a missionary in Borneo and published one of the early positive books on women in ministry. She was one of my Crusader leaders and ran CSSM holiday clubs. Back then it was really only women I encountered in my emerging Christian journey – apart from clerics! One of the sad things is never having expressed appreciation to her for the way she inspired me but I can publicly honour her through my blog. I am minded that we rarely know the impact of faithful ministry with children and young people but it can make a difference to a whole life. It is always nostalgic going back home but in a way that encourages gratitude for the good foundations instilled in me.
I am mindful of what I am blogging and will often see what resonates in my Spirit. Today I was reminded of a piece of work I submitted over seventeen years ago – I can date it fairly easily as it was around the time the adorable nephew was born and pictures of him less than 12 hours old are opposite me many times I blog.
I spent several years exploring the concept of kenosis in relation to youth work, through the work of Bonhoeffer and in the Christ hymn in Philippians 2. While I still have reservations about the way some talk about self-emptying (which is what kenosis in essence means) and the dangers of its misuse, I still really like the quotation which I used at the head of the chapter:
Kenosis: a joyous, kind, and loving attitude that is willing to give up selfish desires and to make sacrifices on behalf of others for the common good and the glory of God, doing this in a generous and creative way, avoiding the pitfall of pride and inspired by the love of God and the gift of grace (Ellis 2001: 108).
I am mindful so often at the moment when listening to the news that the church has much it can model about the way we relate to one another. Clearly we don’t always get it right but as I often say, little acts of kindness contribute to making a day better and being loving and gracious, seeking to glorify God not ourselves is something we might want to remind ourselves of when faced with a choice. I am grateful for some of these responses yesterday.
Ellis, George F. R. 2001. “Kenosis as a Unifying Theme for Life and Cosmology”. In John Polkinghorne, ed. The Work of Love. London: SPCK.
Many of us who are educators will often say we learn as much from those who we teach as we hope they might from us. I wonder how often those we say it to believe it! The picture is of a lovely gift I was given by one of our graduating students. I cannot imagine going through what she has been over the duration of the course. I am so full of admiration by her determination, her continued faith in God and her desire to support and help others. Today I am immensely grateful for the gift but more so for what I have learnt from seeing her journey from interview to completing the course.
If I had been on Facebook 25 years ago yesterday I may well have got a memory pop up. Paul and I went to Portsmouth for the 50th Anniversary of D Day. We had previously toured the different places in France that are part of the story as well as those which are in England and even Scotland where we saw the remains of a Mulberry Harbour block.
I cannot imagine what it must have been like and my eyes have been filled with tears as I have watched and listened to some of the coverage over recent days. We went 25 years ago to pay respects and to say we still need to remember.
I am so sad about the dissonance between some of the values expressed then and some of the values which are expressed now. A world at peace would allow for human flourishing, a world without violence would make a difference to the whole of creation. I am always aware that change has to start with me and that I need to show some of the courage that the men and women we have been hearing stories about demonstrated 75 years ago. We are hearing from the last few of that generation, let’s treasure their stories and wonder in what ways we can do our bit in trying to make a better world.
Last Saturday we went walking in Malvern and I filled my water bottle from this wonderful flowing water. Most times we come people are bulk filling with this pure tasting water – I wish we lived nearer. I drink a lot of water every day and am mindful that is a great privilege and turning on a tap and having safe water is not the experience of so many. I feel so much better staying well hydrated, I function better and it aids my well being. Today I am being thankful for the little things in life that I can take for granted and will make a donation to Water Aid to help others access water too. It goes without saying that I am most grateful to Jesus who is my living water which sounds a little cheesy but want to be public in my gratitude to God too.
Yesterday we launched our edited book on Paediatric Chaplaincy Principles Practices and Skills. It was over three years in the making and includes so many contributions from around the world with different chapter authors but lots of practice examples too. It is the first text book in the field. It is an immense privilege to be able to be involved in such a project and we are so grateful to everyone who made it possible. It was good to celebrate yesterday. A patient came and talked to us about her experience of chaplaincy, an atheist consultant shared his perspectives and, pictured here, Sarah-Jane Marsh, both endorsed the book and came and gave a really encouraging speech for the launch. God is good!
We were given these at Slimming World yesterday evening. I got the significance of giving us something just before Christmas to encourage us to keep on going. However, on looking up the meaning of the word mojo – magic spell or lucky charm I have some further reflections. In a tongue in cheek way I used to joke about waking up slim with good teeth and good hair! That for me would have been the magic spell way of losing weight – no effort on my part!
I don’t have any mojo to lose but perhaps what I do have to lose is a bit of motivation and the capacity to choose wisely or return to old habits I have learnt over the past year or so if new habits slowly lead me back to where I was in my before picture!
But taking mojo as a metaphor for motivation I want to keep it and this little bag is a great visual reminder that I have done it before and can do it again! I now have hope in an area of my life where I have had very little – I thank God for that.