Friday, 27 March 2009

Thorns in the flesh and jewels in the crown

I've been taking morning prayers for most of this week and this morning as we ended the working week I chose a reading from 2 Corinthians 12 which includes, "Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given to me in the flesh"
The form our morning prayers take depends mainly on who is leading them and whether there are enough of us to dare to sing. Often after the Bible reading we simply keep silence. This morning as we looked back at the past working week I remembered our friend Pauline Mackay telling us about Pauline Webb speaking about at the Harare assembly of the WCC in 1998.
Nelson Mandela visited the assembly and the WCC's controversial programme to combat racism was celebrated. Pauline Webb spoke reflectively at a side event about the PCR - as it is known - saying very astutely that what is celebrated now as the jewel in the crown of the WCC's legacy had actually for many years been the thorn in the institution's flesh.
Sometimes it is the things we struggle most with that become the making of us, but of course this is another case of life being lived forwards and understood backwards.