Difficulties and friendly forces

Rowley Regis woke up to snow this morning, it’s the 16th April and yesterday white Cherry Blossoms were filling up our senses and putting the spring in our steps. Yesterday, St Giles churchyard was a carpet of daffodils. This morning the daffodils are lost under a white carpet of snow.

Life is like that, one day full of hopeful expectation, the next it brings the unexpected and unanticipated difficulties ~ like the recent one, at St Giles with damaged gas pipe work and loss of heating in church; but with the Lord’s help we got through.

I suppose, with many others, I find sudden, unexpected difficulties irksome at the time but later looking back on them, I can see that in spite of them or maybe because if them(?) something good, something better has come into being.

As a teenager, I shared office duties with a widowed lady in her 50’s with a fascinating hobby. She threw pots, fashioned beautiful objects from lumps of clay and then spent more precious hours painting them by hand. I have always admired those who can create beautiful things for their patience and perseverance, lumps of clay on a wheel, now there’s a challenge.

My own patience is often challenged by difficult, irksome things, I woke up one morning this week to a vivid picture of clay doing its own things in the hands of its potter. Not a pretty sight. A fine mess in fact.

“Someone is throwing a wobbly,” I thought and smiled to myself, sending up a quick arrow prayer that, that person wasn’t going to be me. I knew there was something particularly hard to cope with on my personal agenda that day and that my patience would be tested.

As it turned out, all turned out well for both task and patience.

What is required of us is that we love the difficult and learn to deal with it.
In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us.
(Rainer Maria Rilke)

The Lord’s hands, are potters hands, skilled, adept in fashioning beautiful work in our difficult times. He never, never throws wobblies.



Sixpence to spend

“If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you have gained” ~ Neil Gaiman

I visited Yesterday’s Messy Church Session in Rowley’s Church Hall. The craft activities were centred around the story of the Poor Widows two mites, all she had to live on. Sitting and decorating a small money box bought. Memories of advice received many, many, many years ago on how to deal with a sixpence received as pocket money.

We were told it was sound economic sense to spend twopence, give twopence to help someone and to save twopence.

Not sure how the today’s child would feel about either the advice or just a silver sixpence for pocket money but as a silver surfer I do regret not having saved enough tuppences and giving possibly too few tuppences away, however I remember with pleasure sherbet dabs, and other childish delights purchased from big jars in sweet shop windows.

There were I think, many poor widows with just two mites to live on, back in my childhood days, giving for some would have been a sacrifice, but praise the Lord, give they did. Sitting amongst an opulence of glue, scissors and glitter, the Parable Jesus told of the Talents or bags of gold came to mind. (Matthew 25: 14-28). You may remember that one from Sunday School days; it’s the one where the rich man divided bags of gold between 3 servants – 5 to one, 2 to another and finally 1 to another according to ability. Of course it is always possible to make a bigger return on a bigger investment, the sad part of the tale is the 1 man given 1 bag did not even try….. Clearly then all Christians should at least try… Nothing ventured nothing gained.

(Making Spoon Puppets)

In her summing up, Messy Church Leader, Jane Proud, pointed out that maybe we don’t, like the Poor Widow Lady, have bags of money to offer in our Lord’s service, but we all have been given something by him which we can offer up, that is our gifts our talents. And surely, Jane, I am sure would agree ~ our hearts.