Hello everyone! I have had a good week at work; still keeping well up with my work as the scanning was still being done for me, by our secretary’s student son. I enjoyed a jog each afternoon at work just for 15 minutes or so; it makes me feel more alert and improves my concentration for the rest of the day; I no longer have to drink to keep me awake in the afternoon. I enjoy a gentle jog down to the river and round and back to work. Cathy told me that would help me with my work and give me a little exercise in the day rather than early in the morning before work. When I did early morning exercise I found I kept getting ill and not coping as well; now the afternoon break is more beneficial. I now I find I miss that jog when I am at home! I never thought it would be so much a part of my day as it is now and that it would be so beneficial.
I enjoyed tackling more jobs of tidying up in our garden. Everything seems to be growing so vigorously this year, especially the brambles. We have however already had a good crop of blackberries and the first apples are falling from our trees. I have already been baking some apple and blackberry sponges, some of which I took to a garden party today in aid of the PPR foundation for brain tumour research; a charity close to my heart, after Cathy’s best friend Kate died last September. Apparently they made more than £600 this afternoon. We won one or two things on the tombola and even a bottle of champagne from the raffle, as well as buying a few things!! I also had a head and neck massage which was very relaxing. Cathy had just arrived back from her time in America for most of August with the children she is a nanny for on Friday and was glad she was able to come to help raise money for the cause she supports above all others. She found the head and neck massage extremely beneficial to cope with her jet lag!! Fortunately although it was very windy this afternoon the rain kept off and we were able to relax in Irene’s garden, going leisurely from stall to stall.
This month it has been good too to spend more time with my beloved as I am free on Fridays during the holidays; the computer course is a 10 week course during term time. It does not start until September 16th and it is good to have that extra time off, especially as I have been preaching more this month.
On Wednesday I was busy completing a service for today as I led worship at Woodlands Methodist Church. The theme of the service was not to take revenge no matter how you are treated. I spoke of the light of the witness of Haroon’s father Tariq Jahan, who spoke out after his son and two other brothers, Shazard Ali and Abdul Musavir were deliberately mown down by a car and murdered as they tried to protect local shops from being looted by the rioters in Birmingham, to ask the people not to seek revenge for their deaths. He realised that such action would lead to an escalation of the riots, but he encouraged the people rather to work to rebuild their communities. His stance led to others in the communities devastated by riots, to start working to help those whose homes or businesses had been targeted clear up the mess and begin again. People of different faiths spoke with one voice to rebuild their communities. In Birmingham on the Sunday there was a peace rally in a nearby park attended by approximately 5000 people from different faiths to show unity and express their condolences to the families. Revenge was not the way. Jeremiah had a conversation with Yahweh about his desire for revenge for the way he suffered as he spoke the words of God he loved to the people. He was rejected and abused for his trouble, but as he talked with God he sensed God’s disappointment in his attitude. He realised that revenge was wrong and was reminded that God would be with him and strengthen him as he continued to serve those around him; he would not be abandoned by Yahweh, nor would he lose his support and protection. This was probably the first person in the Old Testament to pray for his enemies.
Paul in his letter to the Romans also told his readers to ask God to bless those who persecute them, not to curse them. He urged them to treat their enemies with kindness so that they might feel ashamed and be changed in their attitudes. They were not to let evil defeat them but instead conquer evil with good. I can see that being revengeful hurts the one who takes revenge almost more than the one targeted. Such action continues the cycle of pain and hatred. People who love and put others before themselves give a positive message to our society, where there is such an emphasis on what people can get for themselves. In proclaiming the different way that Jesus taught us and continues to show us, we can show people a better way whereby we care for our world and vulnerable other people and play our part in building a better world, as Tariq Jahan also advocated. Let us indeed work to build a less selfish society, which cares for our world. Remember Jesus was sent to show us how God’s love knows no bounds of race, class, language, ideology or even religion. May we like Jesus break down barriers we erect and live as God’s children should? This is the day that the Lord has made and I rejoice and am glad in it.