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Thursday, April 5, 2012

In Search of Meaning-from the Wayside Chapel

Dear Inner Circle,
I once helped a woman with seven children escape domestic violence. She'd had years
 of beatings without mercy but in more recent times the children were also beaten to
the point where the woman chose to escape for their sake. On the day that I arrived
to enable the escape, two of the children were missing. The woman decided that the
 best course of action was to escape and seek to retrieve the other two children as
soon as possible. The husband was so enraged by the action of his wife that he took
 his five year old daughter to a river, put her in a bag that was weighted and he lowered
 the bag into the river. The little girl was drowned. I blamed myself. The bottom fell
out of my world. I'd been brought up to believe in God and my deepest, most pressing
 question was, "Where was God when this little girl was being lowered into that water?"
I spent some years being pretty cranky with the lack of answers that Christianity
 could provide whenever I faced unspeakable injustice. It was in a Good Friday service
when a massive penny dropped for me. I saw an image of a crucified man and
 wondered where was God. Bingo; I got it. I was looking at it. Suddenly I knew
where God was when the little girl was being lowered into that water.
God was in the bag. 
After my son died, quite a few people took me to lunch and provided an opportunity
 for me to confess that my faith had failed me. But at the centre of my faith is a
 dying son and a father, breaking his heart. My faith didn't give me my son back.
When my little grand daughter asked me if I could bring her daddy back,
 I had nothing for her. All I had was meaning. Meaning that required no reflection
 but only realisation. Meaning that empowered me to live as if every day since then
 was my last day. It loosened my grip on many things that I'd always held too tightly.
 I no longer cared where I lived or if people around me thought that I was doing a good job.
 I wear two watches. On my right arm, I wear my son's watch which, somewhere in the
first year after his death, stopped at one minute to midnight. I never replaced the battery
and yet the watch is always accurate. It reminds me that we only live for five minutes
and that I've only got one minute left. When I'm tempted to eat too much, drink too much,
 spend too much or if I'm invited to another talk fest, I look at that watch and ask myself
if this is how I want to spend the last minute of my life. 
So now I meet God every day in people whose world has collapsed; in those defeated
 by addictions; those who are mad after years of solitary life; in those who one way or
 another, are "in the bag". Sometimes it's a homeless person, sometimes it's a staff member
 and sometimes it's me. What appears to be God forsaken; that whose appearance is
judged and condemned; that which looks like desolate suffering, can be and is transformed
by love into the powerful presence of the Divine. The power to love is the power to
 overcome power.
Good Friday service at Wayside is at 10am and then all the local churches will 
combine in a procession through the main drag that we call, "the stations of Kings Cross". 
Also, Sunday, Resurrection Day, will be a hoot at 10am. 
I'm expecting hundreds of "out of office" replies as many will off on a break. 
Enjoy your Easter, rest up and stay safe.
Thanks for being part of our inner circle, 

Rev Graham L

The Wayside Chapel
Kings Cross

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