An offering … not an Execution!!

Today Maundy Thursday, I offer an extract from Scott Hahn which I mentioned previously in The New Covenant – 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.

 

Betrayed by more than a kiss.

Betrayed

Betrayed   … shouts out from the roofs, the hill tops and vales today.

Betrayed with a kiss for 30 pieces of silver.  Open, upfront  pre-meditated, caving into confusion.  Misled.  Then despair.  30 pieces betrayal price and then burial price.

Betrayed – let’s not stick around to see what happens.  Let’s flee.   Then in guilt and shame they meet again; strength in numbers and strengthened in Spirit they go out. Then they make things happen.

Betrayed – One stayed close but the coals were too hot:  ‘I know not the man’.  Fear confusion … an unplanned fall.  Then weeping, remorse and gathering of resolve.  Never again to fall.

Betrayed – self righteous arrogance, fearing a change in status quo points to a ‘blasphemer’.  Then smug satisfaction at having ‘saved’ the nation.

Betrayed – a conscience niggles, this man is innocent.  Then expediency prevails – washing of hands.  I won’t do it – do it yourself.  A good man caves in.  Archetypal politician.  He could have stopped it.

Betrayed – miracles, healing, words of wisdom and saving grace  – yet no one springs to his defence. Did they return to Him?  The Books are silent.

Friend, disciple, leader, high priest, ruler, beneficiary of uncountable grace – I see myself in all of them.   But I have the benefit of hindsight – of a Resurrection,  a Pentecost and a 2000+year old faith.   Despite this …. it continues ….

Betrayed – unless I take the road less travelled; The road, the Way of the Cross.

Posted in response to Daily Prompt, Betrayed

Image Credit: http://truthbook.com/urantia-book/paper-183-the-betrayal-and-arrest-of-jesus

Can you feel the love tonight ?

Uncannily, as I was reflecting on the Last Supper of our Lord, I heard a station playing “Can you feel the love tonight” (From the Lion King.)  Listening to the words, I thought of the love that must have been present on Jesus’ final night on earth; that (Maundy Thursday) night when he commanded his apostles to love and instituted the sacrament of Love.

The song echoes in the background – Can you feel the love tonight? How its laid to rest.  It seems so appropriate .. a love hymn of worship.

Jesus knew his life and mission will soon end. He loves his friends so dearly but the hour has come to return to His Father.  It is time to say goodbye.

It is the most momentous farewell in the history of man. God became man and dwelt among us.  And now he is leaving us.

The success of Jesus’ entire mission  could hinge on what memories, message and instructions he leaves behind.   What is the single most important instruction or act in the final hours of his life as he bids farewell to his beloved friends?

I try to imagine his feelings in that  Upper Room, to understand the extraordinary chain of events and His command  “Love one another as I have loved you”.

He has worked with these disciples, loves each in a different way . He has planned a very special ‘passover’ meal, made preparations well in advance.  It will also be his own ‘passover’.

Judas:  who he knows will betray him – yet he does not leave him out of the farewell meal. Rather, looks at him with love and understanding – “Go and do what you have to do.”

Peter:  Jesus knows that Peter is weak and cannot be relied on as a friend in times of trouble, yet He draws him close for the final hours in the garden;  looks  with compassion on his weakness.  Peter, you will deny me three times. Left unspoken – I still love you. I have still chosen you to lead my flock.

Power hungry “materialistic” apostles:  who just before the meal were arguing about who would hold the most favoured position.  Perhaps they were following Jesus for some personal benefits.  Yet He loved them and gathered them close in those final hours.

Perhaps the only ones not included in that circle of love that night were the “self righteous ones” – the Pharisees who followed the letter of the law.  All the others were there:

  • Simon the Zealot – the political agitator against Rome.
  • The tax collector who betrayed his people to the Roman authorities;
  • The apostles on the periphery , those we do not hear much about;
  • Also Thomas – the one who was forever doubting and wanting proof  – someone much like me who wants to see and touch with my own eyes and hands.

What a motley crowd Jesus chose to love and impart his mission to 🙂

How could he express his love for them before he leaves? On the morrow,  they will be confused, empty, frightened.  How could he reassure them of his continuing love? How would we react if we were with our loved ones in our final hour?

Acts of love, words of love, pour out of Him that night. Surely it should be called the night of love?

They have walked in to the party with dusty feet yet no-one volunteered to wash their feet, as traditionally done by the servant of the household.  Here is an opportunity to express love instead of bickering about prestige and position. Jesus takes up a basin and tenderly washes their feet. Then he gently advises them :

No slave is greater than his master; and no messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know this truth how happy you will be if you practice it.

 “Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.

There are other words he speaks – all of them are words of guidance, direction, comfort, hope, consolation. He can’t give them enough.  They are words spoken by someone bidding farewell.  Listen carefully :

You cannot go where I am going.  Later you will follow me. 

Do not be worried and upset. 

Believe in God and believe in me also.  

There are many rooms in my Fathers house.

But Lord – We do not know how to get there ?

I am the Way the Truth and the life.  No one goes to the Father except by me.

If you love me you will obey my commandments.

His final words all carried nuances of love. 

 Love one another as I have loved you. 

A branch cannot bear fruit by itself; It can only do so if it remains on the vine.

 My Father’s glory is shown by you bearing much fruit.

 The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them.

 You did not choose me, I chose you and appointed you to go and bear much fruit, the fruit that endures.

His prayer was filled with love.

Father I want them to be ONE JUST AS YOU AND I ARE ONE. 

 He knew it was not going to be easy and so he promised to send the Helper to stay with the.  (With us!).  And he went one step further to assure them he would not abandon them : whatever you ask of the Father in my name he will grant you.

 And he yet again entreated : Remain in me; remain in my love.

The group of twelve amazingly managed  to remain in his love; to let the world know that they were disciples of love by the love that they showed one another.  They went out from that Upper Room and changed the world with that one commandment – “Love one another as I have loved you.”

It is not easy.  It takes practice. But it has to be done.  Jesus did not issue an invitation to love.  He issued a command.  “Love as I have done.” Dying so that others might live is another consequence of following this Man who set crazy, impossible standards.

The question is : Do we follow him in this manner?

The test of discipleship is hard if not impossible.  Yet, if you ask almost anyone how to become a good pianist, seamstress, painter, or tennis player, the answer is always the same: PRACTICE!

Similarly with discipleship  We have to work at it, practice and nurture it by means of grace until we learn to love one another as he has loved us.

The ‘night of love’, and the Sacrament of Love, has made this possible.

Can you feel the love 5

Credit: picture extracted and modified from utube video link above.

Bible quotes : majority from John 13 – 17.

 

“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 🙂 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 – the 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 anchor🙏

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 😱.  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 heavenward🙏🙏 – 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 distancing🤗
  • 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 …. ..

It would be interesting to hear about your own experiences in lock down or social distancing …. what measure 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 incumbent 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.

Rajapaksha himself is always tainted by scandals whilst in and out of office  but continues blithely in his own bubble. Appointed PM in a questionable action Continue reading

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Led to Christ by ISIS — A Lawyer’s Prayers

I pass along to you an amazing story by Yuliya Talmazan of NBC News about how ISIS is – inadvertently – leading Syrian Muslims to Christ. Praise God! “Four years have passed since the Islamic State group’s fighters were run out of Kobani, a strategic city on the Syrian-Turkish border [northeast of Aleppo], but the militants’ […]

via Led to Christ by ISIS — 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 – and 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 Continue reading

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. 🤔

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, “Jesus died for our sins.” But in recent centuries, one theory did become mainstream. It is often referred to as the “penal substitutionary atonement theory,” 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 “demands of justice” 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, “Jesus died for our sins.” But in recent centuries, one theory did become mainstream. It is often referred to as the “penal substitutionary atonement theory,” 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 “demands of justice” so that God could forgive our sins.

This theory of atonement ultimately relies on another commonly accepted notion—the “original sin” 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 “theory,” 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’ role and Christ’s eternal purpose, reaffirmed our narrow notion of retributive justice, and legitimated a notion of “good and necessary violence.” It implied that God the Father was petty, offended in the way that humans are, and unfree to love and forgive of God’s 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 “substitutionary atonement” 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’s Cur Deus Homo? (Why Did God Become Human?) at the end of the 11th century. Anselm’s 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’ crucifixion as a substitute for human sin) and paralleled criminal law. Today, the phrase “substitutionary atonement” is often (correctly or incorrectly) used to refer to the penal theory of atonement. This week’s 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 😇

Funny I did not realise my Creator could be talking to me through FB😱 that is one hell of a thought… or one heaven of a thought😍 ….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!!

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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.”