Lent 2021 sample reflection - to give you an idea of what we did last year ...
This is a sample from last year's series. Please note that I plan to make this year's reflections a little shorter than this.
“The One I’ve trusted in can take care of what he’s trusted me to do right to the end … So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you... Guard this precious thing placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us...” (1Timothy1.14-16 MSG)
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Taylor Swift's song 'Epiphany' prompted my wife and I to think of our grandparents' generation; the tumult of the world they were part of during the war, and what they passed down. Her maternal grandfather survived the sinking of his warship (and three days clinging to a raft) in Arctic waters. I never met him, but I love to think I meet him, and his resilience, in Katharine, and her mum.
When I was about ten, my dad's dad gave me something I’ve treasured ever since, a copper Spitfire which was given to him by a German prisoner of war. The PoW had whittled it from an old penny piece while doing manual labour on a farm close by.
Things get handed down, don't they, and sometimes very movingly. A family Bible with underlinings. A locket. A lock of hair, even.
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My own keepsake makes me think of all sorts, from the careful craft of the hands who made it, to the microcosm of one friendship within a war that speaks of the possibility of reconciliation between peoples, countries...
It makes me think of how we value what we own (what would you save, if your house was on fire?). It’s so often the simple things we treasure, the less that speaks of more; the 'stuff' that money can't buy.
But for me, the greatest gift was to be entrusted with a treasure in the first place. And it makes me think of how, and what, I've been entrusted with, by God. The 'precious thing placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit', as Paul tells Timothy.
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Because anything we receive, we must also pass on, when the time is right. Not as a memorial to ego, but as the blessing of one soul to another.
It's timely as we pause, tomorrow, to mark the one-year anniversary of our first lockdown in the UK. We've learned a lot since then, haven't we, about what we value. We've had to let so much go, but there'll be things to treasure, that each of us, uniquely, can pass on, because of our experience.
It might even be a lovingly tended object. I think of my daughter one day handing on her pandemic Bible journal. What story will it tell of who she was becoming, and what she learned through these times of testing?
And what about you, and me? What speaks of how we keep these unloved days, in 'faith and love', for the sake of Jesus? And how good to think that others may yet meet 'the One', in us, who trusts us with his treasure.
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May you be 'rooted in Christ', today.
If you have a little time, now or later:
* Be still, be here, be inspired, be aware, be open.
* Here's a musical rendition of St Patrick's Prayer by the Brilliance. It's called Christ Be With Me. Several of you have said how good it was to connect with this ancient prayer again last week. This is a helpful musical way to reconnect, as well.
* Here's a short film my hugely talented brother-in-law Jon Richards made me with about the soul, a few years ago. It's called Soul Runner, and I think it stands the test of time. Why not use it as a meditation, today ...