Dear Sisters & Brothers,
As I write this the world has twice been covered in a blanket of snow. The snow blanket dampens the sound absorbing and muffling to a hush the insistent vibrations of the world and hinders and hampers our busyness as agendas for many are reshaped as snow days.
I'm reminded of having heard part of Claire Balding's Ramblings as I drove home from an appointment in February 2 years ago. Claire was walking and talking with Jenni Williams and her disabled three year old daughter, Eve on their daily walk on the Surrey Hills. The thing that Jenni said about her walk was that the walk was to her like the instruction on airplanes, in case of emergency remember to fit your own oxygen mask first in order to help others. She has to look after her own self, her mental and physical wellbeing, in order to be in the best possible condition, to give her best to her daughter. Her daughter in turn despite her disability and the concern about her epilepsy, was not defined by her missing chromosome or any of the other things people might identify, but Eve was Eve; the most amazing soul in the universe (Jenni admitted to being biased).
As we continue our journey through Lent let us not forget to care for ourselves, not for our own sake but for the sake of those who we are called to serve in the service of our Servant King. This is not self centred indulgence, or simply "me time", but in wilderness moments recognising that not only are we being saved and transformed in Christ's Kingdom purposes, but that we are, with him and through him, called to help save others. To use the airplane oxygen mask metaphor further, we are all sometimes in an emergency situation and are the cabin crew tasked with the captain to save the lives of others.
To continue with the inspirational nature of Jenni's relationship with Eve, we are, despite all our deficiencies in the sight of others, called as we are, being transformed by the way that life and our Lord shape us, break us and remake us. So we should be wary of our vulnerability to the betrayal of a world of Photoshop perfection, either physical appearance or personality or intellectual, and be happy to be the people we are, as God calls us and shapes us as the basic building material of his kingdom.
During the remainder of Lent and as we enter into holy self-sacrifice and renewal, take time out to grab the oxygen mask of renewal. Recognise yourself for what you are (not what you are not), the most amazing soul in the universe, created in the image of the living God, and called by him through his son to be his child and help save those who need the oxygen of renewal to find their place in his family too.
(I encourage you to listen to the recording www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b070hktk)