“Now do you have time for me?”

“… In the busy times of the months and the years that have preceded self-isolation and social distancing, many things have been tucked onto the back shelves of my consciousness, some of them neatly in filing boxes, and others less tidily, just kind of jammed into bags and tied shut.
I am finding some of those things are opening in the silence and stillness. Some of them are calling to be attended to now, asking the question:
“Now do you have time for me?”
Many of these things are me-and-Creator projects … they are not things a family member or friend or partner or therapist can help with. They are things that can only be attended with in divine presence. They are only manageable when I open them with an infinite, omniscient, omnipresence alongside me.
Sometimes the call of those back shelves things feels a little bit like madness. Like insanity and overwhelmation knocking at the doors of my consciousness.
But I trust that it is not.
And I trust that when these back shelf things are attended with, social distancing will not equate to emotional or psychological distancing … and perhaps we might all emerge able to be more of our authentic selves than we ever were before ūüôā At a safe distance apart, but more honest, more vulnerable, more self-loving, more self-compassionate than we ever were before.
It is not easy.
The distraction of trying to re-establish pre COVID norms using online means is a strong distraction. Also the distraction of numbing myself with food, Netflix or news binges.
But, at the end of the day, the voices of back shelf things will keep calling out in the night and the day …
“Now do you have time for me?”
I know Creator is ready … and I pray that I be equipped with the courage and honesty to spend some of this precious time with my back shelf things. I pray that you give me what I need to be kind to myself in this time of close proximity with back shelf things.
Amen.¬† “
Above is an FB  post by Janaki Bandara Рthe daughter of a friend  which really touched me.
Despite all the time that is now available to me … I am ashamed of how I would have to answer the question my Lord is posing.
Time to pull.into still waters and drop anchorūüôŹ

So Sri Lanka we are in lockdown …

My last post was just prior to the Presidential elections “The Devil is at the gate” I said.

Well, I did not vote for the President whom the masses finally favoured, but truth be told, at this particular point in time, I am beginning to think that there is much to say for autocracy and dictator-style governments.

It is early days yet, but the very qualities and policies that I decried – firm, ruthless military style rule, curtailment of personal freedom, suppression of dissent- seem to be effective weapons in containing the Covid 19 virus.

Measures taken when the first local case was confirmed on 11th March::

  • The Chief of Defence /Commander of the Army is put in charge of Covid 19 Task Force.
  • All flight arrivals stopped except for special flights bringing back citizens from China, South Korea and Italy. .
  • Three days public and bank holidays declared in the first week. We used the time to prepare. There was no run on supermarkets, no fights for toiletries or food though some did overstock on essential items.
  • Holidays immediately followed by island wide curfew: 3 days in rural areas and 4 days in Metropolitan and bigger districts.
  • Thereafter 6 hour window was given – for purchasing goods, banking etc
  • Unfortunately, the 6 hour window resulted in massive crowds pouring into stores and market places. BAD MOVE.
  • Infected case count rose.
  • Metropolitan areas where cases were highest declared high risk and put under indefinite curfew.
  • People breaking curfew are arrested and vehicles seized.
  • And finally – any area where an infection is discovered is IMMEDIATELY encircled by military personnel – almost like a high risk military zone. The Military moves in. The police join. The medics arrive and the Public Health Inspectors do house to house testing.

Watching on TV you are left in absolutely no doubt that war has been declared. The man who was in charge of Defence when we ended the 30 year civil war and is now in charge of the country is determined to win this war too.¬† With military precision, ‘Intelligence’¬† is immediately gathered on all with whom a confirmed case has come into contact and they are sent to one of the many quarantine centers or home quarantined under supervision. .

Of course there were a few blips at the beginning. A kind of late start.

Inter-school cricket matches which draw thousands of alumni from all over the world went ahead without cancellation. Nobody dared to stop tradition and nobody wanted to stay home and be safe – ie the men … or should I say “boys” cause this is something I can never understand. They coordinate family events and trips to Sri Lanka around the BIG MATCH – ie the game between two traditional rivals.¬† One such game has a tradition of 141 years and was played even during world war.¬† Covid war had not yet started.¬† the game went on despite a few protests.

And then the inevitable. One spectator was found to be Covid 19 positive ūüėĪ.¬† The blame game started. The horse had bolted. Could he be reined in?

Search launched to identify and isolate all those in the pavilion the patient had been in. News channels kept requesting all tbose who would have been exposed to self quarantine. This was just before the curfew.

Another blip.

We arranged special flights to bring back students and citizens from epi-centers South Korea and Italy. Around 1500 from these flights who came in before 15 March went back into their communities un- checked and un-tested and became the main source for the spread.

Again, major search operation and public notices identifying those arrivals and requesting them to report to the nearest police station for quarantine.

All international arrivals up to 15th March requested to notify there location to nearest police station.   All arrivals after that date are taken to one of the many quarantine centers established throughout the country.  2 weeks quarantine in semi luxury  entirely at government expense/

Credit has to go where credit is due.. Government seems to be in control of the situation –¬† fingers crossed and prayers winging heavenwardūüôŹūüôŹ – and Sri Lanka may even end up being the exemplar for the crisis.

I am locked in, but like many others in high risk zones have reason to count blessings of special arrangements made:

  • The nearby Supermarkets are delivering packs of essentials at greatly discounted prices.
  • The truck with coconuts – an essential ingredient in our cuisine -came by and our purchases were rolled into our garden. Social distancingūü§ó
  • Another truck brought cooking gas refills.
  • The bread van with his all too familiar ring tone alerts us he is on his daily rounds
  • Water dispenser refills delivered as usual..
  • Vegetable vendor came by but he did not have much.¬† We got a few more onions and potatoes. Others come by under special permission but we restrict contact.
  • Thankfully a friend in the business sent a very generous gift pack of fresh veggies.
  • Mobile banking came to our doorstep though I missed it.

The situation for us is totally well managed.

I realise this is not the situation throughout the country. Solutions have still to be found for distribution in rural and far flung areas.  Until then farmers are suffering heavy losses. The poor and daily paid are unable to purchase rations to stock up for the long haul. The allowances the government has granted will take a few more days to trickle down.  Quite a few more blips to be cleared but for now the curve is rather flat.

And unlike the rest of the world, Sri Lanka already had a dedicated infections diseases hospital  IDH  so all Covid 19 positive patients are sent there.  Of the 150 cases so far 27 have recovered and been sent home.  We have unfortunately had 4 deaths but these were patients with other complications as well.

And so, despite the blips, despite the crisis and despite the concerns we have reason to¬† be thankful – friends giving vegetables … vendors making home deliveries. Streets quiet. No blaring horns.¬† Life has truly slowed down.

Mother earth is smiling thankful too. Look at the logic: One delivery truck circulating in the area saves so many hundreds driving to the super to pick up their basics. It’s different from on line deliveries¬† and Uber eats.¬† This is ole’ time living.¬† Less gasoline, less fumes, less pollution, more time.

Maybe when this is all over we should go back to this way of life- but without the military shadow …. ..

I invite readers to write about your own experiences in lock down or social distancing. And your opinions on whether the democratic model is working or whether certain circumstances demand authoritarian type action.

What would you prefer to keep you safe?

I can’t help but feel glad that the ‘devil at the gate was let in. I have to admit that I doubt anyone else would have contained this with quite the success he has.

So … Kudos to you Mr. President.

Ps  Getting used to the new WordPress format. Will.post some pics when I get used to the change.

The Devil is at the gate !!

Truth be told, I have been very un-civic minded, totally unconcerned about the forthcoming Presidential elections. Did not want to waste my time.

The UNP that I have traditionally backed has failed to deliver.  They have failed to deliver justice for crimes of previous regime as promised and have created their own.  Ranil is intent on hanging onto power with no compunction whatsoever.

The imncumbent President is intent on making the most of his position.  He cannot decide which camp he falls into, or which horse to place his fortunes on. Although elected with much hope, he has turned out to be devious and scheming.  We realise now that he showed his true colours in ousting/betraying the President of his own party.

Rajapaksa himself is always tainted by scandals whilst in and out of office¬† by continues blithely in his own bubble. Appointed PM in a questionable action by a scheming President, and then ignominiously taken out by the Courts, Mahinda continues to hold onto his grin and his red scarf, biding his time to return his family to power to operate the money machine of this country.¬† Actually, he does not even have to return to power to siphon resources and ignore laws. Witness fiasco of naval appointments to his offspring whilst members of the family jostle to ascend the throne.¬† Which one would be nominated ‚Äď sons or brothers?¬† Which brother?¬† Gotabaya seemed the logical heir apparent but how MR was going to dupe party members and voters to get his brother nominated beats me.

With so many pending criminal charges and investigations against him both here and in the USA, would he be nominated?  The question rather was, how could a man with such a record be nominated under the Election laws and Constitution of the country? Well it appears that either our laws our flawed, or the people deciphering the laws are deaf and dumb and blind Рor bought over Рfor no man should be allowed to contest the highest office in the land until he is cleared of all criminal and bribery charges Р and until it is an undisputed fact that he holds the required citizenship of our country.

But that‚Äôs only my opinion.¬† It seems that he has ‚Äėbypassed‚Äô all such obstacles and is a nominated Presidential Candidate.¬† For now at least.

And what of the opposition?  The man in green was wavering and dithering, unable to decide,  and nominated Sajith at the eleventh hour. was nominated.  Anyone would think that RW was trying to scuttle his own man or his own party.

If he had not nominated Sajith, I would have moved from Green.  They have been given too many chances.  Numerous other worthy candidates have come forward.  Any one of them would be preferable to the power-hungry, money grabbing Rajapaksa family who are a law unto themselves.

Still, even after hearing of Sajith’s nomination,  I was apathetic.  I would vote for him and let the chips fall.  The country after all deserved the President they chose. If they had no more sense than to place their fortunes in the hands of those who would transfer it to their own pockets, that was the problem they would have to live with.  My fortunes are not of this world, so I was listless.  The country has gone to the dogs anyway.

And then this morning, when I looked at my phone, the news article with the You-tube clip was right on top.¬† Again, truth be told, I did not even recognise the speaker – I am that disinterested in party politics !!! ‚Äď but since I could not go back to sleep (jet lag) I watched the video. His words set off alarm bells.¬† The death knell would ring for Sri- Lanka if we do not watch and pray.

The devil was indeed at the gate. Knocking with empty promises to the economic elite; the same genre of promises that Satan tempted our Lord with … I will give you all the riches of the world, I will develop your country, I will make your businesses flourish …

We seem to be in danger of forgetting that you cannot serve two Masters.  You cannot serve God and Mammon.  You have to choose.  It is black or white. It is that simple.

The Devil offered Prosperity, Power and Prestige.  We cannot fall for these promises; we have to stand for what is right: for truth, justice, honour and integrity;  for genuine concern for the widow and orphan; compassion for the homeless, the economically deprived rather than the economic elite.  That is the only way to start to build a better Sri -Lanka.

Sajith has apparently challenged anyone who can accuse him of taking a bribe or influencing a contract or tender to come forward. Given the massive corruption that prevails, this level of integrity is a qualification of the highest order.  Beyond that, he is a worker.  He rolls up his sleeves and works for the people without vested interest in filling his own pockets. These two are enough qualification for me.

Whilst there may be others too on the nomination list, the words of the speaker in the YouTube hit home. The devil is indeed at the gate and there is only one option to save our Country.

Many choices but only one option.   That option is Sajith.

…PS.¬† the video that jolted me awake was a news report Youtube clip titled :¬† United Left Front to support Sajith Premadasa.

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Led to Christ by ISIS ‚ÄĒ A Lawyer’s Prayers

I pass along to you an amazing story by Yuliya Talmazan of NBC News about how ISIS is ‚Äď inadvertently ‚Äď leading Syrian Muslims to Christ. Praise God! ‚ÄúFour years have passed since the Islamic State group‚Äôs fighters were run out of Kobani, a strategic city on the Syrian-Turkish border [northeast of Aleppo], but the militants‚Äô¬†[‚Ķ]

via Led to Christ by ISIS ‚ÄĒ A Lawyer’s Prayers

This post by Anna Waldherr strengthens and encourages a community reeling and grieving from horrific bombings – three churches and three hotels targeting those celebrating the Easter message.

“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not put it out.” John 1.5

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka I cry for you

Fairest of lands

Graced with azure skies and¬† tranquil seas –¬†Rolling hills and green gold – tea.

Leopard, elephant, whales blue –¬†fauna of every hue;

Tainted now with shades of red, where innocent blood was shed.

Pearl of the Indian Ocean, you were just beginning to raise your head

after the civil war drained you of your very life

with bullets and bombs filled with lead

over foolish egoist ethnic strife.

Pearl of the Indian Ocean, you were just beginning to raise your head,

to shine to glow to beckon –

“2019 Destination”¬† Lonely Planet said.

with¬†rave reviews from far and wide,¬†well deserved oh Land of mine –¬†

for peace brought out the best of you, paradise isle by God’s design.

And one cruel morn was all it took to dash our hopes and smite our hearts;

8.45 am one sacred Easter morn our very souls were torn apart

For with vicious taint unknown in a land that had seen it all –

Evil exploded heinous bombs for my Christian brothers and neighbours to fall,

In pools of blood, their breaths stilled, or breathing still with loss of limb.

The dead, the wounded intermingled

Along with the blood of the perpetrator.

Sacred space profaned as you entered to test the faith.

Grieving souls, holding on, letting go.

What were your thoughts I wonder as you tousled the head of the little girl?

Humanity unwittingly slipped through your zombie like action

that left destruction in your wake

as you pursued your brainwashed ideology.

A nation mourns for we have lost our children

and once again we have lost

Our innocence, our peace, our hopes and dreams

I cry for you Sri Lanka.   Do you cry with me ??

I pray for you Sri Lanka, that you may overcome;

that you will meet hate with love and understanding

to turn back the tide of evil snatching our youth and our lives;

I pray for you Sri Lanka,  that you will not again

traverse the road we travelled before.

and that our children may continue to dream, and hope, and build.

I pray for you Sri Lanka, that¬†we will “fight to maintain the peace”

if there be such an expression ….

Fight within our inner beings to rise above judgement

of the misguided youth who let zeal overthrow love.

I pray for you Sri Lanka, that you guard your children well

so¬† they will not stray into the folds of evil ones –

but will choose good over evil, peace over war and love above hate.

If this too be your prayer, will you pray with me Sri Lanka?

Easter carnage in my land

We are shattered, numb with shock.  The spectre of hate and war has raised its head again in my land and on this holy of holy days. Easter Sunday, when thousands were gathered in churches to worship the Risen Lord,  bombs exploded in three of the most visited Shrines Рand in three hotels celebrating Easter brunch.

The death toll in the first 3 hours has risen to 180 and hundreds more injured.

The day started off as a day of peace and promise as we had a simple traditional meal around the breakfast table.  We had participated in a beautiful vigil service last night.  Since we do all seven readings in our church,  it is a long service but we did not even feel the passing of time so absorbed and elevated were we in the history and wondrous mystery of our salvation.

We had fellowship after service and then quite spontaneously, invited Clifford and Anne¬† who were celebrating their wedding anniversary for Pizza.¬† Cliffy’s brother had just retired from the Sri Lankan army.¬† As a General in the front line, he had been the target of many attacks and was seriously wounded by shrapnel and mortar on four occasions. And so very very uncannily- after ten years of peace – we found ourselves discussing the repercussions of the war and our¬†deliverance from the 30 year ethnic conflict that had ravaged our land and our people.¬†

We also heard how Cliff’s family had found the 91st Psalm inside his mother’s pillow when¬†clearing up her belongings on her demise.¬† She had unfailingly and unwavering prayed Psalm 91 for close on 26 years on behalf of her son, inscribing his name on all the prayers.¬† We were reminded of the Psalmists words¬† .. “though many fall all around me no evil shall touch me”¬†¬†… a mother’s plea that had saved her son.¬† And we thanked God that the horrible war that claimed so many sons and daughters of our soil was behind us.

And then today the shattering news.

And the questions.¬† ¬†Is it the LTTE again? …We thought they had been defeated ??

More questions. This does not tie in with an ethnic hate attack.  Easter Sunday ???  It seems from all indications at present to be targeted towards Catholics and Christians?

I surprised myself by being relieved when I heard that.¬† Yes … relief !!¬† for we Catholics and Christians are in the minority.¬† It cannot – and with the Christian spirit of forbearance – will not, be a massive blood shed.¬† We won’t retaliate or be drawn in like the general population was in the ethnic conflict.¬† Even if all Christians in our land have to die … the¬† general populace of around 20 m will be spared.

Am I a masochist seeking persecution? Of course not.¬† But you cannot help breathing a sigh of relief that the ugly spectre of LTTE terrorism may not be behind this. Our earnest prayer for our country is that God will not take us down that road again ūüôŹ.

It is also timely that this happened on Easter Sunday when we are filled with the Resurrection hope and can hang onto the words of our Lord :

‚ÄúIf the world hates you,¬†keep in mind that it hated me first.¬†…

If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also…”

John 15.20

God give us the strength, the wisdom and the discernment to act as you did and to follow your lead and the example of love you set in your life and in your death.   Amen.

An offering … not an Execution!!

Today Maundy Thursday, I offer an extract from Scott Hahn which I mentioned previously in¬†The New Covenant ‚Äď sealed with the blood of the Lamb.

It is a timely reminder that in focusing on the sacrificial part of the passion of Jesus as if it was a sacrifice willed by God,¬† we forget the free ‘offering’.¬† Scott Hahn puts it¬† so eloquently :

At our remove of two thousand years, it seems natural for us to look upon Jesus’ crucifixion as a sacrifice. ¬†Christians are heirs to a long tradition of talking that way, praying that way, thinking that way. ¬†But first century Jews who witnessed the event would not and could not have seen the crucifixion as a sacrifice. ¬†It bore none of the marks of a sacrifice in the ancient world. On Calvary there was no altar and no credentialed priest. ¬†There was indeed a death, but it took place apart from the Temple, which was the only valid place of sacrifice in Judaism, and even outside the walls of the holy city.

St Paul, however, made the connections for his generation and especially for his fellow Jews. ¬†In first Corinthians, after introducing the word of the cross (1.18) he calls Christ “our paschal lamb” who “has been sacrificed” (5.7). ¬†Thus he makes the connection between the Passover celebrated as the Last Supper and the crucifixion on Calvary.

Indeed, it was that first Eucharist that transformed Jesus’ death from an execution to AN OFFERING.¬† At the Last supper he GAVE his body to be broken, his blood to be poured out, as if on an altar.

As Paul retold the story of the Last Supper (1 Corinthians ¬†11:23-25) ¬†he spoke of the event in sacrificial terms. ¬†He quotes Jesus as calling it “the new covenant in my blood”, an evocation of Moses words as he made a sacrificial offering of oxen: “Behold (the blood of the covenant” (Exodus 24.8). ¬†It was the sacrificial blood that ratified the covenant, because Moses said so, in one instance, and because Jesus said so in the other. ¬†

Opening paras in Foreword by Scott Hahn in “JESUS and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist. Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper” ¬†– Brant Pitre

Sealed by the blood of the Lamb

Sealed with the blood of the Lamb

Today, Maundy Thursday, ¬†the words ‘sealed with the blood of the Lamb’¬†takes on a new meaning – not as a sacrifice willed by a merciless God¬†who wanted a scapegoat offering, but as blood willingly shed to seal the new covenant of love and reconciliation between God and man.

LOVE transforms suffering into sacrifice!!

Picture Credit: Internet.  Origin or copyright unknown.

 

Jesus and the Cross

Jesus and the Cross

My post¬†WHY THE CROSS?¬†is my most read post with relatively the least number of comments,¬† making me somewhat uneasy on my message¬† which is a bit controversial¬† – starting off as it does with a heretical questioning of the meaning of the statement “Jesus died to save us from our sins.” and my reflections on what I think it means.¬†

I’ve had concerns whether I was propounding a heretical view which few wished to comment on,¬† or maybe reader just moved on leaving me to my idiosyncratic beliefs without engaging in dialogue on this one. ūü§Ē

I was thus happy to read Richard Rohr’s reflection on “Jesus and the Cross – Substitutionary Atonement”¬† which threw some light on my seemingly heretical thinking.¬† Rohr, a reputed Jesuit priest lucidly answers the questions I had :

For most of church history, no single consensus prevailed on what Christians mean when we say, ‚ÄúJesus died for our sins.‚ÄĚ But in recent centuries, one theory did become mainstream. It is often referred to as the ‚Äúpenal substitutionary atonement theory,‚ÄĚ especially once it was further developed during the Reformation. [1] Substitutionary atonement is the theory that Christ, by his own sacrificial choice, was punished in the place of humans, thus satisfying the ‚Äúdemands of justice‚ÄĚ so that God could forgive our sins.

and takes up the subject with

both excitement and trepidation because I know that substitutionary atonement is central to many Christians’ faith. But the questions of why Jesus died and what is the meaning and message of his death have dominated the Christian narrative, often much more than his life and teaching. As some have said, if this theory is true, all we needed were the last three days or even three hours of Jesus’ life. In my opinion, this interpretation has kept us from a deep and truly transformative understanding of both Jesus and Christ.

Read Richard Rohr’s¬† full reflection on Jesus and the Cross, the theology of substitutionary atonement (direct link) or post copied below.¬†¬† He speaks with authority of knowledge and wisdom and his reflections on his website Center for Action and Contemplation – are wonderful spiritual insights.

I am sure you will find plenty to reflect on as we enter into this holiest of weeks.

May you be blessed with the peace and love of Christ.

Image:  Various sources on the internet.  No clear copyright owner. No intention to violate copyright laws.

Jesus and the Cross

Substitutionary Atonement
Sunday, February 3, 2019

For most of church history, no single consensus prevailed on what Christians mean when we say, ‚ÄúJesus died for our sins.‚ÄĚ But in recent centuries, one theory did become mainstream. It is often referred to as the ‚Äúpenal substitutionary atonement theory,‚ÄĚ especially once it was further developed during the Reformation. [1] Substitutionary atonement is the theory that Christ, by his own sacrificial choice, was punished in the place of humans, thus satisfying the ‚Äúdemands of justice‚ÄĚ so that God could forgive our sins.

This theory of atonement ultimately relies on another commonly accepted notion‚ÄĒthe ‚Äúoriginal sin‚ÄĚ of Adam and Eve, which, we were told, taints all human beings. But much like original sin (a concept not found in the Bible but developed by Augustine in the fifth century), most Christians have never been told how recent and regional this explanation is or that it relies upon a retributive notion of justice. Nor are they told that it was honest enough to call itself a ‚Äútheory,‚ÄĚ even though some groups take it as long-standing dogma.

Unfortunately, this theory has held captive our vision of Jesus, making our view very limited and punitive. The commonly accepted atonement theory led to some serious misunderstandings of Jesus‚Äô role and Christ‚Äôs eternal purpose, reaffirmed our narrow notion of retributive justice, and legitimated a notion of ‚Äúgood and necessary violence.‚ÄĚ It implied that God the Father was petty, offended in the way that humans are, and unfree to love and forgive of God‚Äôs own volition. This is a very untrustworthy image of God which undercuts everything else.

I take up this subject with both excitement and trepidation because I know that substitutionary atonement is central to many Christians’ faith. But the questions of why Jesus died and what is the meaning and message of his death have dominated the Christian narrative, often much more than his life and teaching. As some have said, if this theory is true, all we needed were the last three days or even three hours of Jesus’ life. In my opinion, this interpretation has kept us from a deep and truly transformative understanding of both Jesus and Christ.

Salvation became a one-time transactional affair between Jesus and his Father, instead of an ongoing transformational lesson for the human soul and for all of history. I believe that Jesus’ death on the cross is a revelation of the infinite and participatory love of God, not some bloody payment required by God’s offended justice to rectify the problem of sin. Such a story line is way too small and problem-oriented.

References:
[1] This week I will use the phrase ‚Äúsubstitutionary atonement‚ÄĚ to indicate the most current version of the theory. Throughout Christian history, there have been multiple theories of substitutionary atonement. One of the earliest, the ransom theory, originated with Origen and the early church. Closely related to this was the Christus Victor theory. The ransom view of atonement was the dominant theory until the publication of Anselm‚Äôs¬†Cur Deus Homo?¬†(Why Did God Become Human?) at the end of the 11th century. Anselm‚Äôs satisfaction theory of atonement then became dominant until the Reformed tradition introduced penal substitution in the 16th century. This new view of substitutionary atonement emphasized punishment over satisfaction (Jesus‚Äô crucifixion as a substitute for human sin) and paralleled criminal law. Today, the phrase ‚Äúsubstitutionary atonement‚ÄĚ is often (correctly or incorrectly) used to refer to the penal theory of atonement. This week‚Äôs meditations touch the surface of 2,000 years of complex theological process.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent: 2019), 139-141.

God, FB … and me ūüėá

Funny I did not realise my Creator could be talking to me through FBūüėĪ¬†that is one hell of a thought… or one heaven of a thoughtūüė欆….but when you think about it … why not? Here’s how it happened.

Only yesterday I looked at my Cherry blossom tree which is just bursting into flower and asked God “Please,¬† can you let me keep this tree without it toppling over.¬† I know it seems foolhardy,¬† but I really love these flowers. So ,¬† should I cut it or trust you to hold it up for me? I can trim it a bit more maybe …? ”¬† ¬†and I left my conversation open ended. I thought that I would have to take a decision soon.

I should explain that the tree next to it –¬† an older and¬† much more solid Ficus of double the girth¬† – came crashing down in heavy rains in November 2017.¬† We usually park our cars beneath them, but that evening a guardian angel nudged my brother to step out in the down-pour and move both cars further up the road to where there were no trees.¬† ¬†He had hardly returned when he heard a prolonged creaking sound … and whilst he watched, the Ficus slowly and carefully pulled away from its roots and fell right across the road.¬†

Writing this I realise,  why oh why did I  not see before that the tree,  guided by its Creator,  was gently untangling its roots to keep the boundary wall (which was just one foot away)  intact?   We all said it was a miracle but the more I think of it the more it astounds me.  You will see from the pictures below how close the tree was to the boundary wall and the house- and how huge!!  And yet it fell without even an inch of damage!!

wp 2017-11-30 007

Roots gently untangled to save boundary wall

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The Girth. Had to be split in two to be hauled away. A part still remains.

wp 36 ft 2017-11-30 013

Spanned a 40 ft road without downing high voltage wires!!.

And the connection between God and FB ?

Well after I whispered the prayer for my tree yesterday,¬† FB reminds me today about a post written three years ago to the very day : –¬† a post I had totally forgotten about titled¬†Earth’s crammed with heaven¬†and referring to – you guessed it – my Cherry Blossom tree.

And what is so uncanny is that FB never EVER has reminded me of posts on my WordPress blog,¬† but “chose” to¬†remind me of this less than 24 hours after my whispered my prayer/question to God.

I had trimmed¬† the branches when brother Ficus came down as ‘Sherry’ was more exposed to heavy gusts but was still not sure if to take her down completely¬† ¬†?

So through FB’s reminder¬† – incredible as it sounds – I believe God was reminding me that Sherry had been saved before and I should not worry.¬† ¬†I believe I can now keep her around some more to give glory to her Maker with the most beautiful and fragile of flowers that makes your heart sing.

Indeed as Elizabeth Barrett Browning¬† wrote ..¬† “Earth’s is crammed with heaven and every common bush afire with God.”¬† ¬†