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Shrove Tuesday spring St David's Day

1st March – St David’s Day

Today is St David’s Day – the patron saint of Wales. It is also Shrove Tuesday or Pancake day – the start of Lent in the Christian calendar, at least in the West. And it is the start of Spring. I have also decided that I am going to try my hardest and post one blog post every month. I had read in WordPress’ newsletter that there had been a Bloganuary, which I’d missed. But then I have never been good at doing things when other people did. I never do my month of non-alcoholic drinking during SoberOctober but pick another time period. When I was young and my friends were all going to see some film that was raved about I wouldn’t go, just because it was popular!!! So starting yesterday I’m going to attempt daily postings for a month. I do have 12 prompts all ready to go.

So today’s key days – St David, Shrove Tuesday and 1st day of Spring – are a mix of joy and grief days, especially Shrove Tuesday. This was a day when any of the good food stuffs were still in the store cupboard after a long winter would be made into a meal and eaten in preparation for the fasting of Lent. So it was a celebratory day knowing that for the next 40 days [excluding Sundays and Saint’s days] there would be fasting so hearts would be sorted to remember the crucifixion of Jesus.

As I typed that I was wondering how much easier things would be if we could prepare ourselves for a time of grief or conflict. What if we’d knowing just over 2 years ago that there would be this world shattering pandemic? What would we have done in preparation? How would we have sorted out our hearts? With this with the Russian invasion – which some say was coming for a while – how should we have prepared our hearts?

Do we ever think to prepare our hearts or do we just rushing into things reacting? Did people take life slower in some bygone age? With the times of Lent and Advent one does wonder if they did. I know with both Lent and Advent that is a time of remembering rather than and event happening so that is the difference. That at the time when these periods of mourning were set in place much of Europe was tearing itself apart with war after war after war.

Pick any period in history and some country was invading some other country, some people group was fighting some other people group. This that we are enduring is NOT new. It is just that we have been able to ignore it for a long time because, apart from the Balkan war in the 1990s there has been no fighting in European soil since 1945. But if one looks across the rest of the world even during the 22 years of this century someone is fighting someone whether governments or so called rebel forces or whatever. Sadly also today in 1954 the US tested a 15 megatonne bomb – 15 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima – in the Pacific archipelago of Bikini. So may be we should be preparing our hearts more.

But also this is the time to celebrate the legend of St David. He was pretty amazing, pretty fearless and I do wonder if, even though he did not know what would happen next,he had his heart always prepared, facing towards God and the mighty power the being aligned with the Creator of the Universe.

So how do we do that? I’ve got some prompt that I’ll hopefully get to over the next month but I think firstly it is to slow things down, to wait and not react – whether that is to what we read in the news, in personal affairs, in the things we do – so that when we do move we can move wholeheartedly trusting in ourselves and that we are in alignment with the Universe and not – as Putin seems to be doing – working against the good of mankind as a whole.

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The Wall #MuslimBan

At church yesterday our vicar asked “What side of the wall would Jesus have been on?” You 31447faccd0d731d92860fe22a947c6dknow what I think? I think he would have been on both sides. Yes both sides. Both sides are hurting and in pain – ok the refugees and those with green cards, etc stuck in airports have a noticeable need but the side behind the wall also have a need.

Those who want the wall built, want Muslims ban, are scared. Not just slightly scared but terrified. They have believed the media hype that all Muslims are terrorists and that we need to beware of them. I’m not sure what they America equivalent of the Daily Mail is but these people are Daily Mail readers. Mind you I often think the Guardian readers only see one side too.

I found it interesting too that there has been this big fuss here in the UK about the wall to stop Mexicans coming into the US and Trumps Muslim ban, but not so much has stayed in18666794_303 the news about the fences and walls being built across Europe to stop the refugees entering the UK. Yes this includes those fences that have now been torn down in Calais.

There was a post on Facebook that said “If you’re a Christian and you support #MuslimBan, you might be a lot of things but you’re not a frigging Christian”. I can see the sentiment behind this but I don’t think it’s true. I think there are Christians who are scared of Muslims, scared of dying, and not fully putting their faith in God. For some it comes out noticeably in saying they support #MuslimBan but for others it comes out in different ways; not believing this they do can be forgiven, not forgiving others, not giving to the poor, gossiping, keeping boundaries in their hearts that keep others out, not doing things that God asks of them. I go on. Yes supporting it shows an uncaring side, a side that is misguided but also a heart that is scared of things, lives in fear. You know I think Jesus would be with these people wanting to change their hearts and wanting them to let go of their fear and to trust him and to love others.

Recently I attended a course about the connection between Judaism and Christianity led by some lovely Christian people. It did reach a point where I could not go any more because they were talking of how the Jews reclaimed Palestine/Israel and I said that I felt we also ought to look at the awful things the Jews had done against the Palestinians. Well I was told that it was prophesied in the Bible so this made it ok, that actually these people (the wave of refugees that I had said were like the Jews prior to WWII) only wanted to come over here to kill us all, and that the Jews ways of dealing with the Arabs were ok because “the end justified the means”!!!. These were not bad unloving Christians but they had got caught up in a side of things that said that if one does not honour the Jews one will not be blessed. And they wanted to be blessed. So I am sure they would be very pro the #MuslimBan but also very caring and loving towards homeless people, people with needs, Jewish people. But they live in a mix of fear of Arabs/Muslims and a desire to claim major mountain-298999_1280-crop-fear-quote-1024x398blessings from God.

I didn’t want to do the comparison between now and Nazi Germany but I’m going to. Back in the 1930’s there were some good Christians who went along with what Hitler was saying about the reasons why Germany was failing. They supported him to begin with. And even, to save their own skins, they turned a blind eye to what was going on. Not every person who let things happen in Nazi Germany was a bad person. Many were scared and wanting to look after themselves.

So what side would Jesus be on? Again I believe he would be on both sides, wanting to give the refugees the peace and freedom they deserve, but also wanting those who think they should be banned/walls built peace and freedom in their hearts so they can also have the freedom they deserve. When one is fearful or angry or prejudice there is no freedom to truly live. One is always wanting to look after oneself, keep an eye out for those who might take away the blessing/the job/the destiny. freedom

In the next few days I’m doing to look and blog on words from one of Josh Luke Smith’s songs – “Come as you are not as you should be” – because I think it says an awful lot about how we need to think and pray for the who are being oppressed, for the bigots who are doing the oppression and for ourselves and how we should be reacting; how we should be living in peace and in true freedom