Today I was helping to set up the stations in the sanctuary of our church for our week of prayer. There is a path that leads from confession, leaving our fears and worries, offering up whatever we are and have, being silent before God, praising through our expressions of prayer and finally accepting the gift of God’s affirmation of who he has made us to be.
When we had finished our preparations this afternoon it felt as if we were in God’s presence, that he will be meeting us in a special way as we come to him this week. Sometimes God’s presence is so close – as if we are truely walking on Holy ground. This afternoon was one of those moments for me – and this is just the preparation!
Psalm 63: 1 to 8
O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better to me than life itself;
how I praise you!
I will honor you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest of foods.
I will praise you with songs of joy.
I lie awake thinking of you,
meditating on you through the night.
I think how much you have helped me;
I sing for joy in the shadow of your protecting wings
I follow close behind you;
your strong right hand holds me securely.
In preparing for a week of prayer at the church, I came across this poem. It is one that I have read before and it touches me each time with an awareness of Jesus’s incredible love for our fallen world.
R. S. Thomas, Wales, 1913 –.
And God held in his hand
A small globe. Look, he said,
The son looked. Far off,
As through water, he saw
A scorched land of fierce
Colour. The light burned
There; crusted buildings
Cast their shadows; a bright
Serpent, a river
Uncoiled itself, radiant
On a bare
Hill a bare tree saddened
The sky. Many people
Held out their thin arms
To it, as though waiting
For a vanished April
To return to its crossed
Boughs. The son watched
Them. Let me go there, he said.
R. Atwan, G. Dardess, P. Rosenthal, (eds) Divine Inspiration The Life of Jesus in World Poetry, Oxford University Press, 1998 , p. 7
Last week we got news that the brother and sisters of our boys, Patrick and Christian, have been refused visa’s to join us here in Canada. All we and their parents would like is for them to be able to get a good education. It is hard to do that in the Congo, even though their father makes big sacrifices to provide for the best education he can. This is especially true for the girls and I believe the girls are the biggest worry for Jacques now. The boy can possibly make it through school, but for girls – getting an education is frought with huge risks – all the demands that can be made on young women in a sexually promiscuous society.
The news we were afraid would throw the brothers into despair has been taken in stride so far. But we know that they are disappointed and frustrated by the seeming injustices that are heaped upon those from Africa who apply for any sort of entry into Canada – even if it is just for a visit. The judgement is usually made that there is not enough reason for the person to return to Africa. Sometimes they are right but in this case, we feel they are deciding the case based on presuppositions.
So we have about two months to ask for an appeal. I guess we will do that. More paper work ahead!
For those of you who would like to see what kept me so busy last week, I have posted some wedding pictures down in the photos section. Enjoy!
Pretty good when the “old guy” makes the front page again – this time twice on the same front page. Two different topics but both health related. One on a new strain of flu and the other on the Smoking Bylaw committee. Check it out here. At least the story on the flu so far.
Not only that but in the same issue my brother makes the sports news – named to the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame.
Update: Well, Leo isn’t too pleased with the stacked committee he has been named to to draft a smoke free bylaw. At least four of the 7 or 8 committee members are adamantly against making Prince Albert smoke free. Seems our new mayor’s true colours are showing. Leo spent a good deal of his evening drafting a protest letter.
And on a better note – thought you might like to see my illustrious brother as pictured in our city paper.
This was one of the squares made for the wedding. I promised to put the recipe for it on this site so here goes:
It is basically a shortbread to which chocolate chunks and orange zest ahs been added. You could probably adapt this to any favorite shortbread recipe.
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp orange zest or orange peel
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips
Beat the butter till smooth, add the sugar and orange peel and beat till light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and salt.
Stir in the flour and the chocolate chunks
Bake in an ungreased baking pan at 300 for about 30 to 40 minutes – till light golden brown.
News today really knocked me for a loop. We have been waiting on something for a long time and got news today that it was not going to be possible. I knew this was likely to happen but still when the news came it seemed so wrong, so unjust and unfair. And the news has made my day simply a miserable one. It was hard to work keeping the bad news inside. The news still had not been passed on to the people who will be hurt by it the most, so I couldn’t even share my feelings with people around me.
Life goes on around me but it seems like it shouldn’t. It makes me want to scream, but I am an adult so I can’t act out my outrage too vocally – so it has been stored inside all day. I am not one of those people who find it easy to cry but this is one of the times I would appreciate the relief that a good cry would bring. This is one of the times I wish I felt free enough to call up a friend and just go talk – and then I probably would cry and get it out. But I’m also one of those people who doesn’t like to impose because everyone else has busy schedules too.
So the internet sits just waiting for such moments and you guys, if you read this will probably just wonder what on earth is the matter with me. I will tell more later and have a good rant about certain injustices in this world, but for now, I want to break this bad news to the ones who need to know in a more personal and gentler way. Just have to figure out how to do that.
Prayers would be gratefully accepted!