Saturday, 5 July 2008

Weekly summary - signs of the kingdom

Reflecting on the week and on what I'm beginning to perceive about where God may be at work in my life and the life of the communites I am part of. (If you read the instructions here you will notice that I am not quite following them properly yet - perhaps next week.)

Personally, thinking more consciously about kingdom signs, small flutters of something new happening, helps me stay in touch with some of the emotions and contradictions of being a believer who would like to be more of a disciple. I'm not comfortable always speaking or writing about the personal ways I perceive God - after all why should God be over concerned about a rich, fat, forty-something woman worrying about the meaning of life. At sometime this week - maybe around my birthday - I briefly recognised that being down on myself is not a sign of the kingdom - but perhaps that recognition was a tiny flutter! Meanwhile I started the week by preaching about how precious each of us is for God. Occasionally I should perhaps listen!
Sometimes at work we joke as to whether Protestant or Catholic guilt is more difficult to cope with. Reflecting on looking for signs of the kingdom I realise I spend alot of time feeling guilty - that I haven't done enough to save the world, be a better person, follow the way ... Be my guilt confessional or ecumenical it's not a great motivator or energiser and can make me over-judgemental of myself and others. Christ's message is pure grace and acceptance and I find it hard to receive that sometimes.
But thinking about things from a kingdom perspective has made me realise also that the continual weaving of stories of hope is essential to my being. Hope has been planted deep within me and I give profound thanks for that.
As I reflect on kingdom signs more communally, I see hope - in church and civil society pressure leading the German printing company to finally stop supplying Mugabe's government with more and more worthless paper money; in the colleagues gathering week in week out to share about what is happening in Zimbabwe itself; in the small groups which meet for prayer in the congregation; in the person who has taken in the 17 year-old son of a friend who has died; in the music-makers gathering to sing even when their voices are not many; in the letter writers who try to assure prisoners of conscience they are not forgotten ...
And as a work team we came together to celebrate community in the pouring rain in a cold tent and one colleague who couldn't be there carefully prepared lollypops for all the children, that spoke of warmth even as the wind blew and the rain streamed and the barbecue took forever to heat up.