Monday, May 29, 2006

What are Sunday afternoons for?

This is what I've spent most of my Sunday afternoons doing for the last 9 months. Services in old peoples homes. Its not glamourous, and its not usually very exciting, but it as taught me a lot about God and the desperateness of life withouth Him. Walking into the homes each week you get struck by the overwhelming heat and stench which is a gross mix of wee and maybe whatevers being cooked for tea. I always get the same kick in my stomach, a combination of feelings of 'here we go again' and 'what are we going to find this time, I hope no-ones died....' Homes are such depressing places, where people who've had hard lives (who hasn't..?) go to die. And so many people in there are just a shadow of the people they used to be. Tessa, the women on the left of the photo, tears up our 'hymn book' and tries to eat it, whilst in her louder moments, shouting and sometimes hitting, pulling and crushing your hand. But, on more placid occasions, she can be lovely, and I've seen joy on her face when she sees her daughters come to visit her. What was she like before? Yesterday, I spent quite some time talking to Daphne, whose 97 and whose daughter is in the home with her, in a a far worse off state than she is. How heartbreaking that must be for her. Homes are places that are full of pain. What can we offer, how can we identify? Well, the only thing we can offer is the gospel. Jesus Christ, God become human, a man of sorrows, familiar with suffering. Jesus is the one who can identify with these people. He knows what loneliness is in a far greater sense than anyone else - abandoned by his earthly friends, and, far worse, abandoned by his Father. And because he was abandoned, we can have eternal hope. Finding Christian old people in homes is so refreshing, they have hope, they know where they're going. But heartbreakingly, they are in the minority. So many people have to deal with the day to day depressing reality of Homes, without knowing their Creator and Friend, without knowing eternal sercurity. So we go on, preaching, and loving, and praying, and although we've seen little outward fruit so far, who knows whats going on insdie people who can't communicate, who knows what changes of eternal signifcance may be taking place.

Sound of Musoc - whats the deal?

Right well its a rainy bank holiday and for the first time in my life I sat down to watch 'The Sound of Music' (I know the fact that I've never sen it before distrubs some people (I seemed to be constantly mocked and ridiculed for that fact during Relay (though I suppose it was only Kath and Sharon inflicting that on me) but to be honest I can't see what all the fuss is about. I've wandered away bored about 2/3 of the way through. I know pretty much all the songs (how can you escape them) but I find them all quite boring. Maria should be a loveable character, and I like the idea of her, but I just can't seem to get past her irritaing posh accent, or the American-ness of the children (I know how shallow I'm sounding!) I just didn't care what happened to them (which I suppose is a good thing as nothing much seemed to be happening to them except learning to sing... and stuff about relating to their dad I suppose) Maybe I'm just used to faster paced modern films where stuff actually happens, or some kind of childhood fondness of the older films where not much does (although saing that, loads of stuff happens in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!!) Or maybe I'm just not cultured enough!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

More lessons from small children

I love learning lessons about God from small children. After Little Rockers today, one of the mums was patiently waiting while her 3 year old child helpfully helped us load up all the stuff. Suddenly, Jasmine lost her never, went running over to her mum shouting 'Mummy, mummy, don't go without me!' As if she ever would, she'd never done in the past, and the thought would have been the furtherst thing from her mind. I remember a similar incident when I was a small child. My whole family were driving back from seeing my grandparents, I 'd been playing with my brotehr on the swings at a service station, we wre just walking back to the car when we saw our parents drive past (they were coming to pick us up) I got really upset, coz I thought they were driving off without us. No loving parent would even consider abandoing their child, but children still seem to have the fear that they will. Although they never have in the past this time... this time their patience has just run out. I know I'm like that with God, I know he's been faithful to me time and time again, I know he's my loving father who has promised never to leave me or forsake me, but still sometimes the fear grips me. Not this time. This time his patience will run out. This time he'll leave without me, he'll forsake me and leave me alone. Well, its just not true - I need to stop thinking like a 3 year old!! God is faithful, and he will keep to his promise of never leaving or forsaking me - why do I doubt it?!