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God is love - Again!

I went out for a walk and a pray a few days ago; praying gradually seemed to become thinking - or perhaps God speaking to me - that can be a pretty grey area in my head. I’m going to share my thoughts, or at least some of the dry, dusty, bones of them, and hope that it provokes worship rather than questions. It may not be obvious, at least to begin with, where I’m going with my thoughts - but please bear with me - hopefully, eventually, we’ll arrive somewhere edifying.

Some time ago, I wanted a new lens for my camera. I found myself lacking what photographers euphemistically refer to as ‘reach’: it was impossible to photograph small things (like dragonflies) at a distance, and I felt as though I needed to (you can’t get any closer when dragonflies are over water, unless you take lessons in walking on water or buy a boat!). I could get more reach by buying a new lens. Good quality lenses with a lot of reach are expensive; significantly expensive. My system is essentially ‘compact’ and long lenses, whilst very expensive, are not eye-wateringly so (unlike for some other systems). Not that I felt I could justify buying one; I’d have felt guilty from then until the cows come home (I do now own said lens, thanks to a very generous gift).

The True Cross?

A few things have happened over the past few days which have made me stop and think. One, in particular, seems as though it’s worth writing about.

Whilst doing some ‘housekeeping’ on my Mac on Monday, I found an unpublished blog post - telling a story I’d completely forgotten about. And then, on Tuesday evening, at our church’s occasional ‘contemplative’ prayer meeting, something struck me (though perhaps it was just the result of indigestion from eating too many pancakes!). This post is a sort of ‘amalgam' of the two...

Sunday, 13th July, 2015 was an extraordinary day. Why? In a lot of ways it was a fairly ordinary Sunday. No, it was odd because God spoke to me - or at least, at the time I thought He might have.

The idea of hearing voices fills my mind with images of mad men clad in hair shirts, sat on top of rocks in the desert in the blazing sun, eating locusts, smoking strange herbs and babbling nonsense… I hope no-one thinks of me like that - but, you know, if they do - so what?

Minion

It happened during our 7:00pm service. I was minding my own business when a sentence ‘popped', quite unbidden, into my mind. I don’t think the context of the service was important - worship, Holy Communion, and a sermon on the second chapter of James.

Bullying

I didn’t think, yesterday when I ‘restarted’ this blog, that I was going to be plunged into anything ‘heavy’ so soon... But here we are; it is what it is, and maybe I was ‘meant’ to restart it yesterday because of today...

Yesterday a friend innocently posted a ‘viral’ video on her Facebook timeline. I happened to see it - it ‘auto-played’ as I was scrolling. That moment was, possibly, the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced ‘on-line’. I can’t bear to hunt down a link to the video myself - if you want to see it, I suspect it’s not hard to find. Here’s a link to the story (but not the video) on the BBC website.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-51590984

It was so painful to watch because it was like watching myself in the mirror - seeing the anguish of the poor little scrap - induced entirely by the way he has been treated by his peers - and all simply because he is ‘different’ - is not, for me, bearable in any way. I can’t watch it. I recognise all of it: the writhing agony, which is practically physical; the words of utter despair. I haven’t seen the whole thing - I can’t watch - I had to shut it down almost as soon as I saw it.

Another New Beginning?

Some of you will never have seen a blog post from me before; others may have thought I’d given up. To be truthful, I stopped posting because I was afraid. People said things about one of my more recent posts which made me regret writing it - I didn’t regret the content at all, but I regretted sharing it, because some folk didn’t seem ready, willing, or able, to accept what I was saying. I felt as though I didn’t have anything to say which wasn’t in some way connected to the post which had received such opprobrium, and that left me feeling unable to continue. I was, and am, afraid of censure, and disapproval - but most of all, of ostracism.

Why am I afraid of ostracism? Quite simply because when I was young I was bullied, and spent most of my early years living in fear and feeling as though I had no friends. The notion that my writing might bring about what felt as though it might be a similar rejection and isolation by those in my own ‘family' was more than I could bear to contemplate, so I stopped. I didn’t stop writing though - I have screeds of ‘stuff’ on my various hard-drives, on my iPad, and in the cloud. I just haven’t dared to publish it - and I probably won't.

Copyright Phil Hendry, 2020