Tag Archives: Relationships

Mysteries (some thoughts for Trinity Sunday)

I vividly remember the days when I was younger and discovered  Sherlock Holmes and then Agatha Christie, to these days with an Inspector Morse or a Rebus whodunit or a Taggart or (best of all) “Sherlock” with Benedict Cumberbatch

 It’s pure enjoyable escapism to lose myself in the clues and the back-tracking and the twists and turns until the mystery is finally solved.

Besides the “whodunit” mystery stories we read or watch on television, there are many other mysteries that I know I can’t explain—like how a TV works. How is an image captured and transferred to a signal that travels invisibly through the air, only to be displayed in thousands of living rooms across the world?

Or how does an aeroplane that weighs several tons fly off into the wild blue yonder? Or how does a doctor diagnose and treat a cancer growing deep within someone’s body, giving them hope for a full life, when only a few years ago that cancer was a certain death sentence?

Even our relationships with each other can be quite a mystery—there is always the potential for miscommunication, offence, inequality, and misunderstanding—it only takes two people and a minute of time, and the relationship is off in a brand new direction.

There are many mysteries in life. Some of them can be explained by science. Some of them can’t— there are mysteries that simply cannot be explained.

Shortly before Jesus died, he prayed for his disciples and told them many things that would help them through the next troubling days. But there were some things, Jesus said, that they could simply not understand—nor bear to hear—right then.

The Holy Spirit would guide them, Jesus promised, and give them a power beyond their imagination—the power of Jesus’ love and grace.

This kind of talk was a mystery to the disciples—and it remains a mystery to us today.

The very nature of faith challenges us to see the mystery, to grapple with it, to dig deep within the Scriptures to find clues, to back-track to our basic belief that Jesus loves us, and to trust the Spirit to guide us through life—with all its twists and turns.

In the Great Commission,   Jesus ends this Charge to his apostles – to make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father & of the Son & of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them all that he had commanded them – he ends this with these words:

And, behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age

And, you know, it is the Holy Spirit that  brings Christ to us throughout the ages

How? It’s a mystery! But Christ’s Spirit of love, mercy and redemption is in our lives.

To have the Spirit is to have God in us, in our hearts, minds and persons.

So we need to be committed to have the Spirit, to have God within us, to have the Spirit within us. Then we can fulfil that Great Commission to tell others about the Spirit who is within us.

The kind of relationship God wants from us can be demonstrated in this story:

During a Sunday service in a little church near Falkirk years ago, as the elders were returning to the table with the offering plates, a little boy sitting next to the aisle tugged at the sleeve of one of the men and whispered, “Please put the plate down on the floor.”

Bewildered, the elder obeyed.

Then the boy proceeded to step into the plate. This was his way of saying to Jesus “I  give my whole self to you, not only the money in my pocket, but my time, my strength, my whole life.”

This boy was Robert Moffat, the great missionary to Africa and the father-in-law of David Livingstone.”

Are we willing to step into the offering plate so to speak? To give ourselves so that the Spirit of God can rest in us and then we can proclaim that Spirit to the world? 

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Isolation (Beth Britton’s Blog)

Beth Britton

Freelance writer and blogger, campaigner and consultant

Isolation – The Greatest Barrier to Health and Happiness?
Posted: 29/04/2013 0

 When we think about our wellbeing, we think of avoiding major diseases, being financially comfortable, enjoying our daily lives and achieving our goals. Often we never stop to consider those invisible yet vital qualities of support, understanding and love that are provided by the people we keep close to us.

You cannot measure the contribution those individuals make to our lives, but without them the impact can be the greatest unseen risk to our long-term health and happiness. Isolation is no respecter of age or status, nor does it come without side-effects. Changes in our lives, or even just the passage of time, can result in losing that feeling of being needed, wanted and valued, and if you develop a physical or mental health problem, mobility issues or a fear of social interaction, isolation can set in even faster.

In a society that offers more than it has ever offered its citizens, it is a shame on us all that so many people feel cut off from their communities and networks, frequently as a result of becoming very vulnerable through no fault of their own. Neighbours, colleagues and even family and friends can abandon someone who is labelled as having problems that are too difficult to understand or support, just because it’s easier to ignore them than to become involved.

We turn the other cheek and expect someone else to help. Often, however, there is no one else. Many family carers are left to look after their loved one in isolation, without even a shoulder to cry on. For single people of all ages with health conditions that confine them to their homes, paid carers may be the only people that they see in a day, week, month or even a year. Yet those carers may not always arrive, and when they do they are unlikely to have time to chat.

If you are living with a condition like dementia, the stigma alone can see you shunned by those who you thought you could rely on, at the very time when being isolated is likely to make your symptoms worse and your future very bleak. For many people who are isolated, depression and lack of self-worth can see them give up on the basic elements required to get through each day. Without quality of life, purpose and passion, it is easy to see why people who are isolated can lose the will to live, and in the case of many older people with numerous health problems, that is exactly what does happen.

I found it incredibly sad to learn that some residents in one of my dad’s care homes had a social worker or solicitor as their next of kin. So basically not a soul in the world who would want to be notified if they fell ill in the night, or would come to hold their hand and comfort them. Just someone to be notified when they had died so that their affairs could be finalised. Yet at least these people were within the warm and supportive environment of a care home where they were loved by staff, residents and visitors. Imagine the isolation for someone in those circumstances living alone.

These days of course we don’t need to leave our homes to feel solidarity and support in our lives – access to social media can bring friendship and understanding, regardless of how difficult your circumstances are. Like most methods of combatting isolation, however, people need to seek it for themselves, and often those who are the most seriously isolated don’t have the means or the ability to do that.

Isolation is something that can creep up on you very easily, and yet it is incredibly difficult – and in some cases impossible – to escape from. Us humans are wonderful at segregating our fellow citizens, putting them into a particular demographic and leaving them there. Yet extending a welcome, showing an interest in someone’s life and being kind cost nothing except our time. After all, one day we might just need that ourselves.

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Love

“Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.” ~Louis de Bernieres (Captain Corelli’s Mandolin)

 

  remember the context: it’s a father talking to his daughter about his love for her mother, his wife): Essentially it’s about that reckless “volcanic” love that we initially feel. Then the couple start to grow together – they don’t “fall out of love” ; rather it becomes more subtle. They begin to complement each other.
It’s not the wild passion of youth – that’s not deep true eternal love which develops through the good and bad times together in a true partnership. They grow together through shared experience and become a “unit” – no longer two but one.
This is true enduring love real love – after the passion of first love stops and becomes something deeper, almost mystical.

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February 22, 2013 · 09:16

For Better; For Worse

The Meenister’s Log

This was a strange one: I was helping out a neighbouring minister who was on holiday by conducting a wedding ceremony for him at his church.

First of all, the Registrar (whom I knew well) phoned me to say that she herself would  deliver the official paperwork to me half an hour before the service (it is the usual practice for the couple themselves, one or both to collect the marriage schedule in person).  It was also  a Saturday afternoon when she and her staff shouldn’t have been working.  No reason was given.

They were a pretty rough crowd who looked (and smelled) as if they had made record profits for a local hostelry.  Two large, burly guys with polis sized black shoes were standing at the back watching everything left right and centre.

The bride arrived fashionably half an hour late.  Her mother had a face on her that would freeze boiling water in an instant.

The couple barely looked at one another.  When it came to the vows, she hesitated then eventually said “I suppose so – I do”

After completing the paperwork, with the Registrar hanging around to collect it (!)  they tramped sullenly up the aisle, the plainclothes gents with the size fourteens following.

Amazingly, there was no violence, physical or verbal……… they reserved the big punch up for the reception!

I still don’t know what that was all about but I’ve a sneaky suspicion that my colleague, for whom I was covering, had deliberately timed his holidays to avoid that one.

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