Love in the midst

Love amidst . . .

Life is such a mix: the everyday good and bad; the moments of joy and pain.

I am a Christian. With many other Christians around the world I am once again exploring the Easter story. Wow there is pain in the story. Wow there is joy in the story.

In the midst, there is love. It is love that makes sense of the pain and the joy. It’s a story of God giving his precious son (pain). Why? Because of love. And what for? For life (joy).

Regardless of whether we profess a faith or not, we may sense a truth in how love – mysteriously – makes sense of the joy and the pain. Somethings are beyond words – and mine are clumsy. In the midst, may you know love.

Love divine

cross

A blue-sky bank holiday weekend! Stunning! Unexpected! Glorious!

I bumped into a friend this Easter weekend. She is grieving for her mother who died a few months ago. She shared how lonely the grieving process can be, as we each grieve in our own time and ways – and therefore out of kilter with others in our families or friendship group who are also grieving.

It is sunny but the weather inside us may be very different.

For me Good Friday and then Easter Sunday are of great significance. They remind me of love, a depth of love in fact beyond my imagining so I catch just a glimpse. Good Friday when a Father and a Son were separated – death. Easter Sunday when grieving friends of Jesus were afraid and then amazed – life. A story of love, a powerful love, with as many different emotions in it as we have weathers!

Easter may or may not be significant for you. But love, I am sure, is.

As we each recall, seek out and show love, we all share in something stunning, often unexpected and glorious.

Whatever the weather inside, allow yourself to remember those who have loved you, seek out those who love you now, and show love to others, the stranger and the friend.

For me, as we each do this, we experience something of the divine among us. Love divine.

This is Mindful Monday on 22 April 2019.

Join Julie Hill and Sara Shailer for an evening of mindfulness on the theme of growing in self-control at the Oasis in Cheltenham on Tuesday 14 May. Book your place ahead so we can prepare the space appropriately!

Recognising – and laying down – our hopes

Recognising and layout down our hopes

Sometimes we hope for something so strongly that we almost ache with that hope.

Our hopes come in as many shapes and sizes as there are people. It might be we hope that someone we love is well again, the hope of a broken relationship restored, the hope of a solution in difficult financial times, the hope of a bright future for our children.

We watch for signs that our hope could be realised – and if it comes to pass as we imagined, we move from an aching to a joy!

Sometimes we become so focused on what we hope for that we miss what is happening. We know exactly what we want to happen, when and where. And we miss ‘a variant’ on that hope that is coming into being, something that might perhaps even be better than the shape we gave to our hope.

Yesterday I celebrated Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, with Christians everywhere.

Whether you have a Christian faith or not, it’s a great story – and goes something like this. Go back over two thousand years in time. A middle-eastern Jewish man called Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey at a time of celebration for the Jewish people. The crowd hear that Jesus is coming and get very excited. They are excited because they hope Jesus is going to rescue them from the Roman soldiers who rule their country, giving them their country back. Some of the crowd spread branches – possibly palm branches – on the path in front of Jesus by way of welcoming him.

The story unfolds further and I will be remembering the events as the days pass in the coming week leading up to Easter. Things didn’t turn out for the Jerusalem crowd in our story as they hoped – Jesus didn’t rescue the country from the Romans but actually something even better and bigger happens.

Let’s recognise the hopes that we have. Then let’s be open to our hopes sometimes being realised in a different way to what we thought. And journey on . . .

This is Mindful Monday on 26 March 2018.

If you live in or near Cheltenham, join us for an evening of mindfulness on Monday 16 April.