mylodon: (whaletail)
2017-04-14 10:30 am
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Lent 44

I was delighted to find this joyful story to finish my contributions to good news stories this Lent. The joy of a Christian-Muslim marriage.

This week's reflection comes from the prayers I wrote for Palm Sunday:
"We are Peter, frightened and weak. Scared to stand up for what we believe, afraid to turn the other cheek or to go the extra mile. Give your church and its members—all who call themselves Christian—the strength and courage to do the right thing, especially when it’s not the expected or accepted thing. Help us not to put reputation before justice or power before loving-kindness. Help us to be a serving community, a welcoming community, and open minded community, a questioning community. And we hold before you this evening all those who have been harmed by church members and in church institutions, secure in the knowledge that you love and care for them even if people have failed them."
mylodon: (whaletail)
2017-04-12 11:44 am
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Lent 42

Am struggling to find a good news story today so maybe the one I chose is cheating a bit, but I don't care. I'm feeling even less enamoured than normal with the media. See, I was trying to find a story I was telling my daughter about - the rail clerk who was sacked for 'removing a trolley from the line'. Only it turned out, of course, that there probably never was a shopping trolley on the line - but that hadn't stopped the tabloids reporting everything in the original story as fact, ranting on about health and safety, and lots of people being taken in by what turned out to be lies. It's annoying enough that the media jumps on bandwagons, but even more annoying that the follow up story - the truth - seemed to get very little coverage. I wonder what the tabloids would have reported about Holy week events had they been there?

While I try to calm down, have a lovely little - very important - Scottish fossil.
mylodon: (whaletail)
2017-04-10 12:15 pm
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Lent 41

Following on from [livejournal.com profile] nodbear's great story about the autism-friendly hairdressers, here's another example of a local, small scale initiative to make a difference.

Bus to be revamped into Portsmouth homeless shelter
.
mylodon: (whaletail)
2017-04-07 12:14 pm
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Lent 38

Sometimes we think, "There are so many problems - what can one person do to make a difference?" At least, I hope we think that, rather than just ignoring the fact that other people might be in need. My response would be, "Do what you can where you can. You can't do everything, but take up opportunities."

A simple google search can turn up all sorts of ways individuals can help; this site about helping refugees at a local level struck a chord as I out on a charity delivery/pick up van on Wednesday morning, helping families in hardship by redistributing good quality second hand furniture and providing essential white goods where needed. Samll in the greater scheme of things but invaluable to those people being helped.

Reflection: We are the crowd. Our Sunday shouts of Hosanna turn to Monday indifference to our neighbours’ needs, and by Tuesday we call out to crucify those who are different to us, the people we don’t approve of. Lord, give us hearts as wide and open as your arms on the cross, compassion as deep as your wounds. Help us to truly love our neighbours, especially those we find hard to get on with or hard to understand.
mylodon: (whaletail)
2017-04-05 12:29 pm
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Lent 36

Bradley Lowery has been a bit of an icon in sporting circles - football has taken him to their hearts (especially the lovely Jermaine Defoe) and now the Grand National will honour him.

Having a child fighting cancer is a huge challenge. So wonderful to see such spirit!
mylodon: (whaletail)
2017-04-03 10:00 am
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Lent 34

Hankie warning for this one. I saw it first on Nigel Owens's twitter feed and it had me sniffling. This is what life should be about.

mylodon: (whaletail)
2017-03-31 02:02 pm
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Lent 31

I was pottering on the Church of England website because I'm standing in at short notice for somebody else doing the prayers on Sunday evening, and decided to just copy and paste rather than create. They have some cool stuff there, including such topical items as 'A prayer for reconciliation after the EU Referendum', which is jolly apt. (And actually a jolly good prayer for many a tricky situation.)

Eternal God, Light of the nations, in Christ you make all things new:
guide our nation in the coming days through the inspiration of your Spirit,
that understanding may put an end to discord and all bitterness.
Give us grace to rebuild bonds of trust that together we may work for the dignity and flourishing of all;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
mylodon: (whaletail)
2017-03-29 09:21 am
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Lent 29

One of the positive things to come out of the Westminster attack is the stories of bravery as people tried to help those affected, of care for them and their families at the time and afterwards. I've also been impressed with those Muslims speaking out and saying that violence has no place in their religion - or indeed in any true religion. The human chain across Westminster Bridge was particularly moving.
mylodon: (whaletail)
2017-03-27 10:33 am
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Lent 27

Friday didn't happen. By which I don't mean the day itself didn't happen, just my Lent post. I lay the blame on very poor hotel wifi - we were away for a family wedding weekend and I couldn't get into the internet from my room.

I offer you as compensation a beautiful trio of black swans

2017-03-25 09.50.24

and a Lenten reflection that's triply appropriate. Old Will Shakespeare had a way with words, as this sonnet shows. It can be taken as a reflection on marriage, on the love seen in friendship and on God's love for us.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love ’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error, and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
mylodon: (whaletail)
2017-03-22 09:28 am
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Lent 22

I had a terrible dream last night, that I'd posted on [livejournal.com profile] nodbear's days and would have to apologise again! Luckily I haven't and I don't.

Today's good (ish) news concerns the Kick it Out campaign. I used to love football, but it's one of my least favourite sports now, blighted with all sorts of antics on and off the field, including a terrible attitude on the terraces towards diversity. Guides on tackling homophobia have been issued to stewards, which is a positive step in a campaign which has stuttered along - hard hitting adverts never used, and still no Premiership players 'out', although that's no surprise given the recent survey showing 8% of supporters would stop supporting their club if one of the players was gay.

Not all dinosaurs became extinct. There are plenty on the terraces...
mylodon: (whaletail)
2017-03-20 12:17 pm
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Lent 20

There have been some really heartening stories in our local news recently, including the cookery club for widowers where they can learn all the basic skills they never acquired because their mums or wives cooked for them. Doesn't seem possible in this day and age, does it? Although maybe parts of this country aren't as modern in their attitudes as we assume they are.
mylodon: (whaletail)
2017-03-17 10:23 am
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Lent 17

Today's post combines animals, their kindness, a response to [livejournal.com profile] amaraal's thoughtful comment on the Lent 15 post, and the Friday reflection. It's technically a Christmas poem by the amazing U A Fanthorpe, but it applies as much to Lent, with the run up to Easter Friday. Imagine this read in a Gloucestershire accent (think of Sam Gamgee in the LOTR films because Sean Astin's pretty close).

THE INVITATION

THE FOXES HAVE HOLES… Matt. 8 20

The Gloucestershire foxes’ message
To the child beyond our sea:
We’d hear thee was born in a stable.
Us dreams uneasy of thee.

Us knows the pack be after thee
Us knows how that du end,
The chase, the kill, the cheering,
Dying wi’out a friend.

So, lover, us makes this suggestion
To thee and thy fam’ly tu:
Come live wi we under Westridge
Where the huntin folk be few.

Thee’ll play wi cubs in the sunshine,
Sleep in our snuggest den,
And feed on – well, us’ll see to that –
Forget they beastly men.

Maybe thee thinks tis too far off,
Our language strange to thee,
But remember us foxes of Westridge
When thou tires of humanity.
mylodon: (whaletail)
2017-03-15 12:22 pm
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Lent 15

I must not inadvertently steal [livejournal.com profile] nodbear's story.
I must not inadvertently steal [livejournal.com profile] nodbear's story.
I must not inadvertently steal [livejournal.com profile] nodbear's story.
Repeat another 47 times...

Today I'm featuring a dog who likes to foster other baby animals. Blakely (himself a rescue dog) seems to have wide experiences with many species, including tigers, cheetahs and an adorable ocelot.



Makes me think of the lion lying down with the lamb.
mylodon: (whaletail)
2017-03-13 11:33 am
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Lent 13

Our inspiring stories shift this week to cover the part of the living world which isn't human but still can display courage, love, patience and other traits which we too often appropriate just for our species. The four canine finalists in the Cruft's Friends for Life category .

The MWD made me think of the very bored bomb sniffer dog we saw last year at Wentworth!
mylodon: (whaletail)
2017-03-10 12:20 pm
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Lent 10

Have just realised that the numbering of the days in Lent this year match up to the day of the month, at least for March. No more counting on fingers for a while...

Today's happy story is about 10 year olds and a stunning act of kindness. So it's appropriate to have the Friday reflection focussed on young people:

Father,
You are the source of a river of love and grace that transforms the world.
We offer you our young hearts, minds and bodies.
Help us to grow in the goodness of your kingdom.
May we shine out in times of darkness,
Stand safely upon the truth and not be shaken,
And see your vision for the world and follow you.

Come use our energy to care the lost
Come take our creativity to meet with the brokenhearted,
Come use our youthfulness to bring joy and peace,
And your hope to bring light to everyone.
Amen.
mylodon: (whaletail)
2017-03-08 12:15 pm
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Lent 8

Fair trade fortnight has just started. I can remember when fairly traded goods were a novelty - mainly bananas and the odd bit of coffee. Some of the early examples weren't great in terms of quality (some Fairtrade chocolate tasted like cardboard) but that's not an issue now. Buying fairly traded products is another small way in which we can all make a difference to the world. Excuse me while I go off and get some dried mango...
mylodon: (whaletail)
2017-03-06 11:04 am
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Lent 6

And just to clarify, there was no Lent 5 as [livejournal.com profile] nodbear and I have Sundays 'off'.

Following on from her story on Saturday of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, I saw this on the news earlier this week. Southampton scouts collected footballs to send to children on the Turkey/Syria border.

I know a lot of people feel disempowered at times, when it comes to larger world issues. I'd encourage them to do something to make their bit of the world (or another bit of the world) a better place.
mylodon: (whaletail)
2017-03-03 10:43 am
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Lent 3

"In 2007 he became one of the first high-profile sports professionals to come out as gay - a courageous move in a sport which often defines the word macho. He has spoken about this decision as being the biggest challenge he has ever faced - even more so than officiating an international match under intense scrutiny in front of 95,000 spectators and a global TV audience. The severe depression he experienced coming to terms with his sexuality culminated in an attempt to take his own life in his twenties."

Nigel Owens, of course - if you haven't listened to his extremely moving contribution to Desert Island Discs, do try to. Acknowledging the truth really did help to set him free.

And a prayer, from last year's UK Meet's act of reflection.

Living God,
Creator and Lover of the world, we offer our lives to you this day,
all our words and deeds, our hopes and fears, and our friendship
Accept us as we are, with all our stumbling and with all our courage.
Guide us into what you have us to be.
And in the power of your Spirit enable us to be a sign of your presence in the world,
after the pattern and in the name of Jesus your true and well Beloved.
mylodon: (whaletail)
2017-03-01 11:19 am
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Lent 1

Yesterday, when [livejournal.com profile] nodbear and I were doing a last minute plan for this Lent, I thought of the verse "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." I don't know about you but I feel laden with a media diet of sad news, bad news, fake news, anger and hatred. So we're concentrating on the positive this year, even though some of those positives may have a darker and adder angle within them. As is the case in this first story, about Keegan Hirst and the pain of coming out after living life in denial. I've read so many similar stories of deep despair turning to some sort of light when the truth is allowed to emerge.
mylodon: (whaletail)
2017-02-28 04:47 pm
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Lent 2017

This year [livejournal.com profile] nodbear and I will be doing our usual lent posts, but with a difference. We're going to try to share positive news stories all the way through, with some reflections related to them, particularly on Fridays. Monday, Wednesday and Friday posts will be here, with Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at [livejournal.com profile] nodbear's.

And for those of you who are observing Shrove Tuesday in the traditional way, enjoy your pancakes!