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 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 🙏.

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 :

“If 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.

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.

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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.”