Guess who’s coming to dinner

I was raised at the time when families still had a regular pattern of eating together at the kitchen or dining table. Growing up we ate together in the evenings and in my earlier childhood my mother still, kept to the custom of a roast Sunday lunch, although this was something that began to fall by the wayside as my sisters and I grew older. Yet, the experience of family meals forms a significant template in my upbringing.

It was important for my mother that her children had good table manners and knew how to use a knife and fork properly so that we would neither shame her nor ourselves in public.  Recognizing differences in national custom – for instance- in British table etiquette we use both knife and fork together, placing the knife to one side only to invert the fork and transfer it to the right hand for foods that require scooping rather than spearing. But I notice among Americans the knife is only used for cutting and then placed aside to use the fork alone. 

In the lexicon of tongue-in-cheek Episcopalian jokes there’s the one about the rabbi, the RC priest and the Episcopal priest confessing dietary transgressions. The rabbi can’t resist the smell of fried bacon. The RC priest secretly eats meat on Friday. But the Episcopalian confesses having been mortified when he inadvertently found himself using his salad fork while eating his entree.

To this day I can’t resist casting my eye around restaurants to note how oddly some people manipulate their eating utensils. Al and I took on the heavy responsibility of ensuring our granddaughter would know how to avoid public shame at the dinner table. Among many other injunctions was the oft repeated grandfatherly exhortation: Claire, remember spoon to the mouth not mouth to the spoon!

These are the strange associations that come to mind as I hear Luke’s account of Jesus’ behavior at the dinner party of an important Pharisee. Luke reports that

as Jesus was going to the house of a leading Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.

It seems that at these dinner parties, Jesus was subjected to close surveillance. As someone who always feels my table manners are under scrutiny, I know the feeling. However, here the close surveillance seems to have been two-way. With a critical eye Jesus was also watching the host and other guests closely – noticing how the dinner party was used as an occasion to reflect and reinforce the inequalities built into wider social values. 

Luke is the writer who gives us the clearest picture of the importance of table fellowship in Jesus’ ministry. For Jesus, eating together was never about the food or the wine – it was not about what you ate, but who you ate with. Who we eat with and who we would not be seen dead eating with, reveals much about our social values. Social values lay at the heart of Paul’s accusation against the Corinthians, among whom the Eucharist had degenerated into an occasion that reinforced factionalism and the importance of wealth and prestige. In 1 Cor 11:21-22 he writes:

So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry, and another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!

Worship table manners are a distinguishing characteristic of Episcopalian life. For well over 100 years now, the Episcopal Church has tortured itself with its ambivalence to social status. While the church of the privileged struggled hard to expand inclusion and to champion the processes of social and political reform in American society, it nevertheless secretly, and at times not so secretly, re enforced the boundaries of its elite exclusivity. Today, all Episcopal Churches display the sign: The Episcopal Church welcomes you! At one level the message is sincere. At another level there’s an unstated proviso – hidden in the need to make such a bold proclamation in the first place. The Episcopal Church welcomes you –as long as you are one of us.

There’s nothing like complex table manners to communicate social inclusion and reenforce social exclusion. The message is – only those who know the rules of the table will feel comfortable eating together. That the eucharist lies at the heart of Episcopal-Anglican worship of God is one of our strengths.

The complexity of our Eucharistic table manners – the how we celebrate the Eucharist – is another matter entirely. You see the how, dictates the who – meaning, the way we celebrate the Eucharist is not unconnected to who we would rather, or rather not, share it with.

Jesus was welcome to break bread in Pharisee homes. It seems likely that his own religious formation owed much to the network of Pharisee scribes responsible for the education of village boys.

The anti-Pharisee polemic of the gospel writers is indicative of a later worsening of relations between church and synagogue. Therefore, it comes as a surprise for us to learn that at the time of his ministry, Jesus and the Pharisees were natural if at times contentious, allies. Among the competing factions of Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots, and Herodians that contended for power under the Roman occupation – the Pharisees and Jesus broadly shared a religious and political worldview. Jesus was welcome at their tables because – at one level he was almost one of them. He knew the rules of good Pharisee table etiquette. What made the Pharisees nervous however, was that Jesus knowing the rules was as likely to break them as to follow them.

The Talmud saying goes: two Jews, three opinions. Family disagreements are often the fiercest around the dinner table. That Jesus ate with Pharisees and that they welcomed him to their tables reveals that more was shared between them than divided them.

For the Pharisees, table fellowship was a way to maintain ritual-spiritual exclusivity. In a tainted world of secular and political accommodation and compromise, the exclusivity of table fellowship offered a place to share the hope for the coming of God’s kingdom. Table fellowship was where they disputed with one another about textual interpretation, and Jesus seems to have entered into this process with gusto.

What aroused Pharisee suspicion of Jesus was that for him, table fellowship expressed the open-ended inclusive invitation at the heart of the kingdom’s coming. For Jesus, God’s kingdom was not something to prepare for through guarding one’s spiritual identity as a member of a pure Israel. It was rather an invitation to welcome a wider inclusion. The kingdom’s coming demanded embracing the prophetic dream of God’s inclusion of all-in sundry within the scope of Israel’s salvation.

Despite all they shared, the central point of contention between Jesus and the Pharisees revolves around the issues of who’s welcome and who is not. It’s not just who is included and who is not but what are the terms for inclusion? Who will and who will not get an invitation to dinner? This is a universal tension – resurfacing again and again throughout religious history. It remains a tension we are still contending with today.

Jesus’ message to his fellow diners is that humility rather than certainty; a tolerance for diversity rather than a need for uniformity is what should shape our attitudes to table fellowship with one another and with God.

For Jesus, table fellowship is a place where connection is forged, brokenness is healed, and all are invited to participate in God’s rich blessings, regardless of the state of their table manners.

Jesus encourages us to take our seat at the bottom of the table, where we will find ourselves sitting beside persons who are not like us and whose table manners may well not come up to our standards, but with whom we have the potential to be surprised by the richness of new connection.

We now find ourselves in a society where eating together around the common table with family or friends is an increasingly unfamiliar experience. In a world of fast food instantly consumed on the run as it were – table fellowship withers as eating becomes an individual activity performed while attending to the endlessness of other demands. Despite the many alures of social networking, table fellowship is not among them.

For Christians and especially for Episcopalians, the Eucharist is the primary expression of our need for table fellowship with one another. Luke’s story about Jesus at the dinner party of a notable Pharisee spotlights the issue of who do we eat with and who do we never eat with? To become a community where Eucharistic table fellowship becomes the place where connection is forged, brokenness is healed, and all are invited to participate in God’s rich blessings, regardless of the state of their table manners, requires more from us than placing a sign outside proclaiming an invitation to dine in the vaguest of terms. For the way we celebrate may be saying more than we care to admit about the who it is we want to invite.

If all of this has your head spinning, then maybe we should return to basics and value what many of us still know how to do best. Before inviting others to Jesus, we should invite them to dinner first.


Image: Tissot- The women with an infirmity of 18 years

In religious tradition and institutions, evil is to be found in the hardening of the human heart which privileges the protection of human power – a universal tendency to resist the continual reshaping by the demands of divine justice and mercy. If there is a judgment to be borne, then it’s that we are all found wanting when faced with the judgement of God’s justice and mercy.

Revisiting the story of the healing of the woman bent double from Luke 13 triggered memory for me. In an episode of the iconic series The West Wing, now alas, a faint whisper from a long-gone age, the issue of capital punishment is explored in the context of a request for a Presidential pardon for a man waiting on death row. Toby Ziegler, who is White House head of communications questions his Rabbi after Shabbat Service during which the Rabbi stated that vengeance is un-Jewish. Toby counters citing the Torah’s prescription of the death penalty for countless offences and infringements of the religious code.

The Rabbi replies that the Torah represented the best teaching in an historical context that saw the death penalty as the ultimate expression of reparation, i.e., sacrifice to God. He goes on to remind Toby of how over the following centuries the Rabbi’s in their commentaries on the Torah texts go to great lengths to confine and restrict the application of the death penalty by redefining reparation in ways that avoided the execution of the offender. Vengeance became un-Jewish – resulting from a deepening – a gradual evolution in Jewish understanding of divine justice.

In Luke 13:10-17 Jesus performs a healing on the Sabbath provoking a hostile response from the synagogue leader who objects to this as an infringement of the Sabbath work prohibition.

Luke 13:10-17 presents an example of Jesus’ embrace of nonviolent protest – in this instance against a religious tradition that is not evolving towards a deeper understanding of divine justice and mercy but rather the opposite – an interpretation of the tradition reflective of a hardening of the human heart. History reveals that if unchallenged religion – designed to be a conduit for divine grace – will inevitably degrade into an instrument for prevailing human interests – the business as usual of worldly oppression and discrimination.

For modern ears it’s easy to hear this episode as just another example of Jesus’ miraculous ability to heal sickness. Luke describes a woman seriously crippled. Yet, crippled is a rather smooth English rendering of Luke’s Greek synkypto – bent togetheras in doubled over. She appears to be suffering from a form of spondylitis known as Marie-Strümpell Disease.

Noticing her, Jesus stops proceedings and addresses her saying you are released from your weakness. Placing his hand on her, she immediately straightens and gives glory to God causing the leader of the synagogue to accuse Jesus of breaking the Law of Moses by performing an act of work on the Sabbath.

Jesus accuses the religious leadership of hypocrisy. Citing the Sabbath exception to feed and water livestock – he argues that if this is allowed out of necessity then:

... ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham who Satan bound for 18 long years, be set free from this bondage on the Sabbath day?  

For Jesus, the hypocrisy lies in the use religious tradition to imprison and not to liberate – a use of tradition to mask the hardness of the human heart.

The gist of this encounter centers on Jesus’ recognition of the woman’s ailment as satanic binding. According to Jewish understanding of the time illness was either a punishment for sin – illness as moral judgement, or the result of satanic influences – illness as possession. What is significant in this encounter is Jesus’ prompt diagnosis of satanic influence.

This is no ordinary healing – if there is ever such a thing in Jesus’ ministry. His intention here is not to alleviate the woman’s physical suffering but to free her from bondage – an action he proclaims as particularly appropriate on the Sabbath as an action that give glory to God.

From Episcopal pulpits it is unusual – at least these days -to hear mention of Satan and satanic influences. So let me say a little to redress this deficiency.

In The book of Revelation, chapter 12 we read:

Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

This passage has fed the gnostic heresy that pictures humanity caught in an epic struggle between good and evil– between God and the Devil. Today this ancient heresy is very much alive and kicking in conservative and nationalist Christian circles. According to this worldview, any misstep on our part runs the risk of tilting the balance between the competing forces of good and evil. The mechanistic imperative to save souls is the only way to tilt the balance back in God’s favor.

Such a viewpoint is a profound denial of the victory of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a willful turning away from the power of the Easter story of victory and hope in favor of an ancient Middle-eastern  story of the unending struggle between good and evil – which is neither Jewish or Christian.

That this heresy of cosmic battle between good and evil, between God and the devil is embraced among conspiracy minded Christians should come as no surprise. However, the imagery of Revelation is clear. Lucifer-Satan is defeated. His fall to earth is a metaphor for evil as something to be found only on earth – rooted in the human heart and enshrined in social systems of control and oppression.

The French philosopher, Rene Girard, states it neatly -Satan exists, [only] because we exist. By this he means that evil is an anthropological – a human, cultural construction, not a cosmic rival to the victory of God.

In religious tradition and institutions, evil is to be found in the hardening of the human heart which privileges the protection of human power – a universal tendency to resist the continual reshaping by the demands of divine justice and mercy. If there is a judgment to be borne, then it’s that we are all found wanting when faced with the judgement of God’s justice and mercy.

Here, we come back to heart of the matter in Luke 13: 10-17 where we find in Jesus’ confrontation with the synagogue leadership a foretaste of both later New Testament and rabbinic traditions that came to understand that it is compassion and mercy not vengeance that lies at the heart of divine justice.

Resistance Costs!

You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

Luke 12

A powerful accusation coming at the end of a difficult passage. Luke 12:49-56 seems to fly in the face of our preferred image of Jesus as the advocate of peace.

Within the overall context of his ministry, Jesus preaches a message of peace. But in Luke 12 he recognizes that peace does not come without cost. Peace is never peace at any price. Jesus is recognizing that conflict – which may even spur some to violence – is an unavoidable outcome of the kingdom’s coming.

Jesus lived in a context riven by political and religious violence. The question of whether violence should be used as a tool to achieve social reform – let alone something that could hasten the coming of the kingdom – was a very poignant one for Jesus.

As it was for Jesus, so it remains for us to live in a world riven by conflict that feeds violence. The question remains – what is the appropriate Christian response when in the face of endless social conflict political violence is increasingly taken by some as a justifiable option while waving a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other.

In Jesus’ life and teaching we detect a complex interleaving of two related strands of nonresistance and nonviolence – two forms of protest against systemic evil.

Nonresistance not only rejects acts of violence but also rejects confronting those responsible for existing evils – seeking solidarity with the victims and offering no defense even if we ourselves become subjected to violence at the hands of the powerful. Practitioners on the path of nonresistance seek to change the world around them through sacrificial example.

By contrast, nonviolence seeks change through directly confronting the social evils of injustice and oppression. Nonviolence is the demand for change through confrontation that stops short of resorting to violence to win the argument. When faced with the prospect of violence, the path of nonviolence merges into the path of nonresistance.

In the larger frame we see both nonresistance and nonviolence as essential elements in the Christian path. Jesus’ journey from death to new life shows God taking the ultimate path of nonresistance. The new thing God does through Jesus is to bring about profound change through self-sacrifice. But in his teaching and ministry Jesus follows the path of nonviolence in his confrontation with the systemic evils of injustice and oppression.

The meaning of Jesus words in Luke 12:49-56 seem to be that conflict is the inevitable outcome of the kingdom’s coming. The kingdom’s message of peace and love will also require a nonviolent confrontation with systemic evil. For the kingdom’s peace is not peace at any price. As Christians we are called to engage in the conflicts of the present time while refuting the use of violence as an instrument of change.

Violence takes many forms. Which brings us to Jesus’ stinging rebuke – you hypocrites! We Christians are hypocrites when our pretense to peace and love is a fig leaf that conceals the violence we claim to reject.

For instance, as a gay man I experience it as the height of hypocrisy when the church teaches that members of the LGBT community are to be loved and welcomed while denying us the same God given rights to love and fulfilment enjoyed by heterosexual persons. Love the person hate the sin is a form of pseudo acceptance that continues to give aid and comfort to the forces of homophobic violence.

August 14th is the commemoration of Jonathan Myrick Daniels, civil rights martyr, 1965. When Calendar commemorations coincide with a Sunday, they normally transfer to the nearest weekday following. However, it seems consistent with Jesus’ message in Luke 12 to specifically honor Jonathan Daniels today.

Robert Tobin (son of parishioners Bob and Maureen Tobin) in his recently published book Privilege and Prophecy provides a narrative of the Episcopal Church’s evolving identity and social activism during the period 1945-1979. Drawing extensively on archival materials and periodicals from multiple sources, he provides an intimate picture of how Episcopal leaders understood their role and responsibilities during a time of upheaval in American religious and social life.

He places Jonathan Daniels (pp 125-127) against a background of Northern white Christian hypocrisy in the civil rights era. Tobin notes the white liberal romantic identification with Southern black suffering – as an avoidance of the violence of racial discrimination on their own doorsteps. So much Northern white Christian advocacy for racial equality was conducted from the safety and protection of positions of white privilege. As John Butler, a prominent Episcopal churchman of the time noted – demonstrating publicly in the South had required less personal courage that confronting the genteel racism of his parishioners while a rector in Princeton, New Jersey.

Tobin cites the great William Stringfellow who commented:

that they (Northern white liberals) do not despise or hate Negroes, but they also do not know that paternalism and condescension are forms of alienation as much as enmity.

Tobin p125-6

You hypocrates! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

Jonathan Daniels was a young Episcopal seminarian at Harvard’s Episcopal Theological Seminary (ETS) struggling with the paradoxes and ironies of his horror of racial oppression from his position of white privilege. Like many others of his ilk, he joined the Selma marches. But unlike many, he took to heart Strongfellow’s rebuke.  He not only marched but also felt compelled to remain afterward to register black voters, tutor children, and help integrate the local Episcopal church.

In so doing, he explained:

I could not stand by in benevolent dispassion any longer without compromising everything I know and love and value …. as the price that a Yankee Christian had better be prepared to pay if he goes to Alabama.

Tobin p126

In mid-August 1965, Daniels was shot dead as he shielded a young black activist, Ruby Sales from the deadly aim of Tom Coleman – an unpaid special deputy -subsequently acquitted on the grounds of self-defense by an all-white jury.

John Coburn then Dean of ETS later confessed:

It took a long time to realize that Jon was a martyr. He was just a typical, questioning, struggling student, trying to make sense out of the issues, conflicts, and injustices of our society.

Tobin notes that over time, Daniels came to be revered in the wider church as a Christian martyr who gave his life in the cause of human dignity. (127)

In the memory of Jonathan Daniels, we honor an exemplar of the interleaving of Christian nonviolence and nonresistance. Daniels embraced nonviolent protest in the face of the evil of racism – and accepted the ultimacy of nonresistance because he had come to the realization that his possible death was the price that a Yankee Christian had better be prepared to pay if he goes to Alabama.

Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, no but rather division.

Luke 12

Once again, our nation roils in the tumult of inflamed hatred and manufactured grievance. The abolition of slavery, the emancipation of women, and the recognition of a varied and richly human LGBT+ experience are milestones of achievement along a long and conflict riven march towards a future that will be better than our past. For progressives like myself, I count these milestones as signs of the kingdom’s coming. But as Jesus so rightly recognized not everyone does – bringing urgent poignancy to his words: Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.

We are living through another period when five in one household will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.

In his 1838 Young Men’s Lyceum speech, in which he warned about mob violence and people who disrespected America’s laws and courts, Abraham Lincoln said:

As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

Time to do more than interpret the appearance of the earth and sky – we must learn how to accurately interpret the present time!


Al and I returned to Providence, arriving at 10pm Thursday evening from our month in the country. Well, it was a little over a month but who’s counting. I return with a renewed sense of the importance of change – change in habitat.

After five days in London, catching up with friends and binging on theatre while staying on a yacht moored on the Thames – not quite Russian oligarch and more James Bond 007 circa 1982, we returned to the region in Southwest France where we have vacationed for some 40 years.

If you picture Bordeaux on a map of France and follow a line eastward through the famous viticulture landscapes of the grand cru Bordeaux wineries – St Emilion comes to mind – you come to Bergerac – whose most famous son, Cyrano is immortalized in a rather bad statue in the old town. Bergerac lies on the banks of the Dordogne River – a town of quaint half-timbered houses along winding cobbled streets. Bergerac gives its name of the specific wine region – producing both crisp sauvignon whites and reds but especially famous for the sweet wines of Monbazillac– the perfect accompaniment to the local cuisine which features duck and duck and more duck occasionally supplemented with goose. Here you find the famous Foie Gras, and a cuisine that incorporates a multiverse of woodland fungi – including the famous and illusive black truffle.

This is a very agricultural region of vines, plums orchards, corn, and sunflower fields. Of ancient bastides – fortified villages dating back to the 100 years war between England and France with names ending in ac – a vestige of the original Occitan language of southern France.  

Eleanor of Poitiers brought the duchy of Aquitaine as dowry to her marriage to the English king, Henry II. Aquitaine remained under the English occupancy between 1362 and 1451. Today the region hosts a large English expat community; a region famous for its rugby prowess and the Bordeaux wine so loved by the English they christened it Claret. The novels of Martin Walker, centered on his hero Bruno, chef de police in the small fictitious town of St Denis, capture the essence of contemporary life in this region.

Over the years we’ve stayed in many gites, small farmhouses and barn conversions. We try a new one each time and enjoy tootling past the places we’ve stayed before. We’ve learned that traditional barn conversions that keep the original construction are best rather than more modern adaptations because – as was sorely tested this summer – in a region where air conditioning is unusual, it’s the 3 ft thick stone walls and heavy terracotta tiled roofs the provide the best respite from the heat.

Speaking of heat, we arrived having just missed one heatwave in mid-June to very pleasant temperatures and bright sunny days before the onslaught of the worst heatwave since records began. Beginning in Spain, over the course of 10 days in the middle of July it moved accompanied by temperatures of 100- 106 up through France and into the British Isles, where it broke all temperature records. The local regional authorities from Aquitaine to Perigueux-Dordogne cancelled outside Bastille Day celebrations and banned firework displays. Fortunately, our farmhouse sheltered us comfortably, but for several days we really couldn’t venture outside much. Although except for one evening we did manage to eat out under on the covered patio at around 8pm most other evenings – dreaming of next year in Trondheim.

Everywhere one is aware of the effects of global warming. The vines – until recently regularly clipped of excessive foliage to allow the fruit’s exposure to the sun, are now allowed to retain their foliage to protect the ripening fruits from the increasingly brutal sun. Forest fires were an ever present danger. We awoke one morning to hazy and smoky skies as the winds had blown the smoke from the huge fire at Arcachon – some 80 miles away on the coast. It’s an eerie experience to smell smoke and not know whether its source is far away or closer to home.

Habitat is a wonderful word. The French use this word in ordinary speech to simply refer to the place where someone lives – the space – geographic, environmental, and relational -where the routines of daily life are lived out. In English habitat carries the same meaning as in French, but it has a more technical – less colloquial application- applied more generally to describe non-human environments say for plants and other living species. Habitat evokes an exploration of not so much the location but the patterns and routines of day-to-day life and how these interact and are challenged through the impact of stepping outside of our habits into new settings – in order to experience a shift in head space.

I count myself immensely fortunate to be able to go away and know that the life of the parish continues uninterrupted by my absence. I can take a month to enter a completely different habitat -as in – an emotional and intellectual head space in which a different setting and pace of routine works its different magic. I’m indebted to all of you, and esp. to Linda+ and the staff team – without whom my month away – if it were at all possible – would certainly be a more stressful and worry filled experience.

Transitioning between habitats – is an important pilgrimage experience.  We set out on pilgrimage thinking our goal is a destination. On arrival we find it’s not the destination as much as the experience of the journey that is life enhancing. Habitat signifies more than a place. It signifies a state of mind.

As human beings we have a need for stability. But it’s so easy to confuse stability – consistency of habit with predictability and controllability. These days it feels risky to travel internationally. The scramble for the timely COVID test has been replaced by the increased likelihood of last-minute flight cancellations. Two in our house party found out that their flight back from Bergerac to London was cancelled 12 hours prior to departure. We had to scramble to rebook them on a different flight out of Bordeaux – an hour and half drive away- to make their connecting flights back to the US.  

For anyone embarking on any kind of travel today in the face of so many unforeseeable and uncontrollable factors – airline and airport chaos, lost luggage, pandemic risks, and all the inconveniences of climate pressures, growing economic instabilities, and the erosion of international security require a certain attitude of mind capable of facing the unforeseeable and unpredictable turn of events.

Yet, the risk to step outside of one’s normal habitat is worth it. But to even say this is to make the mistake of assuming that to stay in the familiar and the somewhat predictable is risk free.

In Luke’s Gospel this morning Jesus counsels that life is full of unforeseen events. None of us can know at what time the thief will come, or at what hour the master will return. To live as if we can guard against unforeseen eventualities, is an illusion. Being able to withstand the challenges of the unexpected and unforeseeable involves a quality of heart.  Jesus reminds us that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. If the capacity to take risks is not part of our treasure trove of experience, then fear will be where we find our hearts.

I return to routine life – both with some anticipation for new challenges and opportunities still unforeseen lying over the horizon, and also if I’m being honest, I return with more than a hint of reluctance to jump back too quickly into life as before. Not being anxious to get back into the pressures is a newish experience for me. One I interpret as a sign of emotional maturing. I also return thankful.

Thankful for having had the possibility of stepping outside the familiarity of day-to-day life to experience the way a different habitat – location and setting works its magic on me. I return to my normal habitat with a sense of an enlarged and more trust filled attitude to life. I return thankful for all of you that have made this experience so easy and worry free for me.

We may not know at what hour the thief will break in or at what hour to expect the master’s return. Yet, we live with faith that whatever happens we will be ready to face developments refreshed by a more open and less risk averse attitude of heart and mind. Jesus warns us about being afraid. He reminds us that it is our Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom. In my experience the kingdom comes in different forms and in different ways from anything I might otherwise have expected. The trick is to let it!

Blog at

Up ↑