Why is it that nothing in life ever goes according to plan? Someone once said Its not the difficulties that arise, in life that shape us . Its how we deal with these difficulties. My immediate discomfort , disappointment, deflation, started last Friday morning. I was returning home from South Africa passing through Edinburgh Airport when my leather Peruvian hand luggage, let's say was misplaced.
The incident is the subject of a police inquiry so I don't wish to go into great detail as to how this happened. The unfortunate thing was that it contained the moderatorial ring and the millenium cross, along with other personal belongings . To say that I have been pariod about the security of the cross and the ring is an understatement. So when it happened that they were no longer in my possession you can imagine how I felt and still do feel.
I've been describing my feelings to the media by referring to the U2 song."I'm stuck in a moment and i can't get out of it. " However every day I wake up I pray for the person or persons who have the ring and the cross. I'm realising that the cross is still there, I may not see it, but it is in the world. Its going on a journey. Passing through hands. I wonder who is carrying the cross today. I believe it will be returned along with the ring. There will be stories to be told.The ring with the burning bush symbol speaks of God's commitment to his people. His presence can be discovered in the bleakest of places. Bushes can still burn and men and woman can still hear the call of God even when they least expect it.
So how am I going to get out of the moment ? I guess its by thinking on something else. Two things have touched me again this week one good and the other has helped me put a lot into perspective. Let me start with the latter.
A few days ago I received information that one of my ministertial colleagues who I have known and admired for many years had just received news that his son who had recently taken ill had died. He was a young man just turned 30. What sorrow must my friend and his dear wife and family feel. It put my experience into perspective. It jogged me out of the moment to pray and uphold this family in my prayers. We are called to bear one anothers burdens. Sometimes the burdens can only be shared with a special few. The rest of us need to travel often in silence but still travel.
I have also noticed in life that nothing ever stays the same. each day each moment brings a change of perspective. In the midst of sorrow we often encounter moments of amazing elation and happiness.
This morning both Martha and I are so excited we have been touched with joy. We're preparing to welcome our daughter home because she will be married tomorrow. I wish you could see the spring in Martha's step this morning. She is a woman with a mission. "You can eat the cakes in the kitchen now!" she said, "the party has started" So I've tasted a legendary Martha muffin and started to finish off the final details of my speech for tomorrow.
It was with great delight I started to write the father of the bride speech last night. I realised how blessed I am having such a fantastic daughter to cherish. Tomorrow will be among the proudest days of my life. Yet I will be thinking of others who have crosses to bear that are taking them on a journey they never intended or wished to experience.
This has truly been a strange week for me. A true roller coaster of emotions.
You know everthing
You truly are acquainted with everything in our lives
The Psalmist was right to reflect
You know when we sit down and when we rise
I'm glad we're not on our own
I'm strengthened by your presence
Your promise and your power.
Draw close to all this day who are broken hearted
Grant them strength to carry their cross
Give me courage to bear it with them
Give me grace to walk in silence
Wisdom to speak in season
And Joy to encounter through living
Draw us all into the ring of the cross
Light the fire in our land that the bush may burn brightly
And your voice heard clearly
For we are all standing on holy ground