Showing posts from March, 2009

Life to the Full

John 10:10 (New International Version) 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. Life " to the full." There are different thoughts on what that means. There is a tension, always, in scripture, that keeps things in balance, like the guy ropes that secure a tent to the ground. I was talking to a young friend recently and he said to me, "I believe God wants to heal all sickness and that we are all to live an abundant life." I hesitated to reply, but he had the look of blind faith of a scary sort and I just had to say something or by my silence assent to what he said. So I gently plunged in with another perspective, not meaning to discourage, but to broaden his thoughts. "If that is true," I asked, "How do you explain the suffering of people such as the apostle Paul? Or my father in law, who died of cancer at the age of 62, having faithfully ministered the Word of God all of his ad

Fool's Gold

2 Corinthians 4:18 (New International Version) 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Curled up beneath a cosy blanket in a wing-backed chair, in the early morning, I listened to the waves of rain pelting the windows and roof, while meditating on the beauty and perfection of God, who made this earth and incredible universe. I thought of how he demonstrated his love for us in servanthood, sacrifice and humility. I thanked God that today I am here. Hard though it is for me to imagine, there was a time when I wasn't, and there will be a time when I am not any longer. Today though, I am here, and I treasure being alive, enjoying all that he has made and ready to be what and whom he planned that I should be. One night recently, I held Mum's hand and said, "This life is not what it's all about really, is it?" We were so aware in those moments of spiritual intimacy, of the transience

Just Saturday

The Saturday afternoon fresh air and sunshine beckoned irresistably, and as soon as I could, I put on my walking shoes, stocked my pockets with biodegradable bags for clean ups on the way, and tried to find a dog that wanted to go for a walk. I didn't have to look far! Ever since returning from England late on Tuesday evening, I have been adjusting to a world that is still just emerging from winter, having left behind spring in full swing. The grass there was green, but here in Ontario the fields and lawns are still the colour of corn husks, the green still hiding in the roots of the golden grass. Molson trotted beside me with a spring in his paws, so happy to be outside. Eager brown eyes glanced up at me now and again, while his pink tongue lolled from the side of his smiling mouth. My Walkman was playing some of my favourite north African music--a CD titled, From Cairo to Casablanca-- and while an observer would have seen a tall woman, striding along, long blond hair streaming be

Fires in our Inmost Being

I am pondering a lot on pain and grief these days, as I witness the pain of others, whether celebrities or friends, or try to cope with my own. Pain and grief come in many forms, and for the most part are usually unbearable or hard to comprehend. We know so well of those who turn away from God because of the sorrow that has come upon them. And we can all mouth the plain and obvious truth that it is by far the better thing to turn to God in our pain, and grow closer to Him because of it. Some schools of Christian thought would say that the abundant life should be one where we are able to live without pain. Much confusion has come from such thinking, I believe, for pain is a great motivator and teacher. But we must all be wary of not becoming bitter in our pain, or tempted to despair. And how often we know of how hard it is to console others, and also ourselves, with God's incomparable truth when they are in the midst of the fire. In my pain this week I have turned again to timeless

Thursday As It Should Be.

It started this morning with an email. I knew it was Thursday. Cell group night. But Belinda was barely home from England. It was a lot to expect. "It will start next week," I told myself. But this morning, there was the email. The subject line said, "Tonight", and the email itself read: Hi Every one, I am back from England and have supper prepared for anyone who would like to come for a meal and fellowship tonight. I haven't heard yet whether the new books on Emotionally Healthy Spirituality have arrived, but if so, we will commence the study next week. Meanwhile, I hope to see those who can come, tonight! Love, Belinda Oh joy! Cell group tonight! Sometimes you don't fully realize how much you miss someone until you suddenly find out you are going to see them again very soon. I fired an email back... "I am so excited about this being Thursday and you being home and supper being on the table for whoever comes... I feel like I'm coming "home&quo

Defending the Faith

1 Peter 3:15 (New International Version) 15But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, It is so good to be home--to have slept in my own bed last night. I got back at about 8.00 p.m. Tuesday evening, although my luggage didn't (someone else took mine home by mistake.) The plane was delayed in take off, and then with my long and fruitless search at the baggage carousel, Paul had been waiting for me for a while when I emerged into the Arrivals area. Then I needed to buy make up as mine was in the suitcase, so he patiently took me to Shopper's Drug Mart on the way home. No worries--the case is on its way back to me as I type this and is promised to arrive by midnight tonight. The man behind the check in desk in Birmingham at the start of my journey, told me that my connecting flight from Amsterdam was overbooked in Economy, but that

His Hands

The birds were up in Alvechurch and singing lustily at 4.30 a.m., I can attest to it! Perhaps they started even earlier, but that, at least, was when their songs first penetrated my sleepy brain. I lay in the dark for a while. My alarm was set for 5.00 a.m. and I decided that I could afford a few more minutes to think and to listen. The birds deserved an appreciative audience. I sent scattered thanksgivings to God, wondering how I could possibly cover everything. There was so much to be grateful for. So began my day of leaving England on Tuesday. A short time later, I was dressed and my suitcase closed. I had 30 precious minutes to spend with Mum before Robert took me to Birmingham Airport. Her room was still in darkness, with the curtains closed, when I gently entered. She was lying there awake already though. “Oh,” she said, in apparent amazement, “How did you get here?” We soon sorted out the source of the temporary confusion. Mum thought that I’d left the night before and that our

Final Evening

After a week of mild spring weather, a chill descended over Britain on this, my final day here. All day a gusty wind spun leaves into the air and sprayed us with rain. It didn't dampen my heart one bit though, I just have too much to be grateful for. Sleep seemed to have infused Mum with fresh energy and she woke up ready to get dressed and get going. Her appetite made its return today and she tackled the basic things she needs to be able to do, and did them. I clapped and cheered each victory! In the morning I popped over to the Sycamore Club to give her friends the latest news. I knew that they would want to know, they all love her over there. Her 94 year old friend, Trudy, said, "She doesn't say much, but we all miss her," and she gave me one of Mum's favourite magazines--the ones that have wildly bizarre "true life" stories--and a Cadbury's Easter egg filled with mini eggs, which she had won in the weekly raffle, saying, "I know she will lik

Friendly Visitor

Dido, Mum's friendly visitor, dropped by this morning to check on her!
Paul's Uncle John and cousin Stephen--great friends as well as family. Uncle John, who will be 80 on July 5th, got back from a 3 week preaching tour of India just three weeks ago. He traveled with another, younger man from his church in Worcester by train and plane from the north to the south and spoke to hundreds, and at least once, over a thousand, pastors and lay people.

Mothering Sunday

This September it will be 40 years since I left England as a bride of 19, with Paul, for the fair land of Canada. Although the years have found Mum and I crossing the Atlantic countless times, to be together; in 40 years, this is the first Mothering Sunday that I have spent with my Mum. It was a priceless gift to be here for this special day and to spend it lavishing love on Mum--doing my own bit (but not too much) of mothering of her. Over the past couple of weeks I have told her countless times how much I love her. I have held her hand and sat beside her for hours, happy just to be with her. Yesterday our prayers were answered and Mum came home by ambulance, two days earlier than originally planned, in response to begging from all of us for no delay. She did not contract any nasty bugs in the hospital and she recieved good care. While she was gone, two new pieces of equipment arrived that will make life easier for her, so she is all set up for now. Her Helping Hands ladies don't

A Hope of Heaven

Her eyes were wide and chocolate brown; gentle and vulnerable as a child’s. Soft, white hair framed her face and stood out behind her as if caught in a perpetual breeze. I couldn’t help stealing glances at her as she slept and imagining her young. She would have been beautiful, I thought. Even now the lines of her face were like a beautiful faded old photograph and her softly wrinkled skin was like cream brushed with a dusting of rose petal pink. Her name was Edith, and when I asked her how old she was she told me, “Ninety nine.” She said that she lived alone but that she had been married for seventy seven years. “He died,” she said, “That was the trouble." She was slightly built, but amazingly wiry and energetic, and when I first met her, on the same ward as my mum in the hospital, her restlessness and requests for help from nurses, patients and visitors, every five minutes or so, seemed disruptive. She repeatedly got up from her bedside chair to wander out to the hallway, dete

"Sometimes there's God so quickly"

These words from Tennesee Williams' play, A Streetcar Named Desire ,were quoted in the Toronto Star this week as an epitaph to the life and death of Natasha Richardson, exquisite actress of the Redgrave clan, and beloved wife of the wonderful actor, Liam Neeson. Her sudden and tragic death captured much sadness for my daughters and me, recognizing the beauty of the love in her marriage and the intensity and authenticity with which both she and her husband have acted their screen and stage roles. We are not much given to ogling famous personalities, and we don't watch TV, but we are touched by all kinds of people and I appreciate our profound conversations. We pondered in a similarly honest way about the tragic death of a local high profile person in Muskoka, who died with her daughter when her ATV drove off the ice into open water on a large Muskoka lake at the beginning of March break. I had heard this impressive woman speak, spoken with her once at a women's luncheon, and

Breaking News

Mum got the wonderful news today, that she is coming home tomorrow (March 21st). It was supposed to be Monday, so that all of the paperwork could be in place for her care package, but Robert managed to arrange to break her out sooner. She is with our friends Chris and Eileen in this photo. Eileen and I first met at 12 years old, when we were in the same class at school. That means we have been friends for, ahem, 47 years!

A Faithful Servant

Wandering the ancient churchyard that surrounds St. Laurence Church in Alvechurch, I read the inscription on an old grave that stands close to the church doors. I always find myself wondering who the people were and about their stories. This grave holds five members of the Tibbatts family: William and Martha, and three daughters: Martha, Sarah and Betsy. The inscription reads: In affectionate remembrance of William Tibbatts of the Wasthills Farm, born February 17th 1806, died April 16th 1877 And of Martha, his wife, born June 11th 1819, died March 3rd 1903 In loving memory of Sarah, second daughter of William and Martha Tibbatts, born September 26th 1853 and died March 26th 1898 Also Martha, eldest daughter of William and Martha Tibbatts, born May 28th 1851, died November 20th 1934 Also Betsy, third daughter of the above, born May 15th 1856, died November 12th 1936 I was surprised to find a sixth person is buried there--someone not a member of the family; a man who was their servant. T

Winter’s End

Nahum1:7 (New International Version) 7 The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, I left the land of Canada emerging slowly and tentatively from the deep, cold winter. Her brown warrior earth carried shields of frozen silver when I saw her last. I came to England and found the gentle spring had arrived too: blossom, buds and blackbird song; daffodils nodding and daisies gazing up from fine green beds. A gauzy haze hung over the land today; and quietness, as if the world had paused in its roar of busyness. A thousand memories still live on the village streets I know so well. The church clock chimes in the Norman bell tower that overlooks the village, as it chimed through the years of my childhood in quarter hours. Time moves more slowly here it seems. Besides the privilege of being with and serving Mum during a period of illness; the reason for my sudden visit; there has been a time for reflection and quietness. Today she was bri

Counting Blessings and Continuing Prayers

Psalm 48:9 (New International Version) 9 Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. Mum is in hospital being assessed. She seems a little brighter today (Tuesday)but was so happy when we arrived as soon as visiting hours started. She looked so lost, sitting beside her bed in a chair, waiting. I was given permission to stay beyond visiting hours, for which I was so grateful as I had three extra hours with her. Our hope is that she will get the treatment she needs to get better, but the hospital staff are thin on the ground and are very rushed and my worst fear is that her care there might be less. There are horror stories on the news about the hospitals here, and I see first hand how understaffed they are. I mustn't go there, so instead I will focus on the blessings for the past day or so. I thank God for: Carers who truly live up to their name; who touch Mum with gentle hands and speak to her in soft tones. Dr. Potter, who kindly and seriously listened to my “di

The Dance

The birds sing me awake with their morning chorus of trills, chirps and exultant, full throated songs. It is still early and I burrow deeper into the duvet. I am more night owl than lark, and my first waking moments normally consist of groping for the alarm clock that has already gone off while my fuzzy brain calculates whether I absolutely must get up. Strange—because at the end of each day I feel that I could go on forever and going to bed at a reasonable hour is something I find hard to do. I listen for stirring in the next room, and several times a soft bump or bang has brought my brain to full alert as I jump from the bed to help Mum. The steps in the dance of our relationship have changed and I find my feet stepping awkwardly, unsure. I try hard to convince her to stay safe, while aware that she is not a child. I try to imagine putting up a bedrail for her safety, and I can’t. As Robert says, that would be crossing a line, and yet her legs are frail, weak and unsteady and she wea

His Garment of Love

Colossians 3:12-14 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. I pull over my hands and arms the twin sleeves of compassion and kindness. May these sister virtues flow through the embrace of my arms and the touch of my hands in this good day. Over my shoulders may the garment of Christ be a cloak of humility. His back stooped to wash dirt encrusted feet, and endured the cruel sting of Pilate’s flail. His shoulders bore the cross for me; shall my shoulders not bend too, in service and sacrifice? Around me I gather the warmth of his gentleness, patience and forgiveness; may my heart be filled with his grace and forbearance, always remembering that I have received these gifts in unlimited meas

Travel Tales

On Wednesday Brenda and I got up early as she was leaving at 7.00 a.m. for Birmingham airport to catch a flight to Amsterdam where she would connect with a flight to Toronto. Brenda gets anxious when she travels and building in a comfort zone of time helps reduce her stress. Robert drove her to the airport and Peter went along to see her off and they were two thirds of the way to the airport when she suddenly turned to Robert and said, “Uncle Bob, did you put the case in the car?” Robert’s face fell and soberly he said, “No.” Both of them said they had the same tingly feeling come over them at that moment. Robert was calculating the time it would take to go back, when Peter finally revealed, after allowing just the right amount of tension that he had put it in. I stayed home in Alvechurch with Mum, and it was some time later, when Robert and Peter would have been on their way back from the airport, that Mum asked the time of Brenda’s flight from Amsterdam. “I’ll just go and check,” I s

Learning to Bear the Beams of Love

"And we are put on earth a little space That we may learn to bear the beams of love." William Blake Songs of Innocence and Experience I have always loved these words, ever since I first met them in my class on the Romantic poets in my second year of studying English Literature at university. They were like pools of water in the dry land of cynicism and godlessness among many writers through the centuries. Those words, along with other noble sentiments from some of the few Christian or Christianized poets, playwrights, essayists and novelists that one can find among the pages of history, helped me to hear God's voice when I wasn't regularly feeding on His Word. But I believe the words themselves are timeless, even for devout Christians. We can struggle, even in our devotion, to discern what life is all about. The cacophony of demands upon our time, the confusion and terror in the global village, the ever increasing war upon our inner peace and joy - all of these add up

Can it Really be Day Six?

March 11/09 It hardly seems possible that I have been here in England for six days. Brenda flew back today, and Peter has been here for two days already.My days are spent with Mum, tempting her with small light meals and a couple of times giving in to her longing for a small piece of fish and a few chips—which gives my Dutch cousin Rob, much cause for mirth. “Belinda,” he laughs over the phone, “usually you start with chicken soup—but--fish and chips?” Every banana, bowl of soup, or sip of the food supplement the doctor ordered, is ground gained, but Mum is still weak and spends most of her time in bed, resting. Dr. Potter says that her eyes look brighter and her tongue looks better and that is encouraging--he has last week to compare with.Sometimes she coughs and then her body is wracked by vomiting, and what little she has eaten comes back until she has only the dry heaves. It hurts to see her frail frame go through that, and I rub her back gently and pray that it will stop soon. I d

The Lord of Sea and Sky

Susan was right--I'm in an internet cafe in Redditch, with Peter, and after a few glitches with the laptop, I am going to schedule four posts: two for today and then Sunday and Monday. Thank you SO much, Meg and Susan, for keeping up with posting to WHS! It means more than you can know! Thank you, dear readers, for your faithful prayers for Mum. She is so much better than when we arrived. She has far to go, and we don't know what tomorrow will bring, but this is the day the Lord has made--and we are being glad and rejoicing in it! Here is the first of my journal/updates: March 5-6/09 It was the day of my flight to England with Brenda and soon we would be on our way to Mum, but the pre-flight hours were filled with steady plodding through the many things to be done before leaving. In the morning I met with a co-worker, and something in the conversation caused me to reach for the small bible that I carry in my briefcase. I opened the domed fastener of the tiny, dark blue, leather

With us in spirit...

Today (Friday) Belinda is hoping to take the train from Alvechurch into Redditch. If she is able to make it, then she will do some posting on Whatever He Says from an Internet cafe. She says she has some posts ready. With that in mind, and sure that there will be something forthcoming from her later today, (but just in case there isn't!) I'm going to share just a bit of scripture. I read it one day this week and heard it in her voice, not St. Paul's... :) I know these words could easily have come from her own heart... 5For though I am away from you in body, yet I am with you in spirit, delighted at the sight of your [standing shoulder to shoulder in such] orderly array and the firmness and the solid front and steadfastness of your faith in Christ [that leaning of the entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness]. 6As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yo

Violent Changes

"We are all in the process of becoming who we will eventually be..." These are the words I used to start my father's eulogy. I was eventually getting to the point that my Dad, though he had a rough start, had turned out to be a pretty amazing man by the time he reached the end of his life. We were blessed to have him around long enough to find out who he eventually ended up to be. I've been thinking about that alot these last few days. Another quote which I picked up this week from a book called "Fierce Conversations" by Susan Scott says, "You get what you tolerate." The author is empahsizing here that whatever behaviour in our co-workers which we don't want and we don't confront, will never change. We end up getting whatever we ignore. If someone is late all the time, and we don't have a conversation pointing that out, they will continue to be late all the time. People will not tend to change on their own without some kind of confront

Shame - A Checklist

I don't know how Belinda does this almost every day! I am devoid of the energy to write anything meaningful tonight. But I'd like to share something interesting that I ran across today. Please note that I didn't write the following. Credit is given to the author at the end of this short excerpt. I could see myself in this list of rules -sometimes as the shame-er, and sometimes as the shame-ee. Shame is something far from God's heart and something he doesn't want us to experience in any way - either as the victim or the perpetrator. I know some of the power of shame. It can debilitate and destroy. "Shame is a common problem in Christian homes. Feelings of shame keep us from walking in freedom and hinder us in conquering problems. The dictionary defines shame as: the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper." The identifying factor in shame is not if you feel you have done something wrong, but the feeling that who yo

News From Alvechurch

Monday evening, March 9, 8:00 p.m. I couldn't stand it anymore! I've had dozens of requests for news of how things were going in England. I finally broke down after work today and called Paul, at home here in Bond Head, for an update. I knew he would have talked to Belinda since her arrival in England. It was too late at 6 o'clock for me to call Belinda in England as it would be past 11:00 over there. But Paul gave me the happy news that the time difference would be only four hours, not five, for a few weeks and that if I called right away, I would probably be able to reach her before everything and everyone was battened down for the night. So call I did. It was wonderful to hear Belinda's voice at the other end of the phone. Half a world away and she sounded like she was in the next room. (Sorry, but I still can't get over the miracle of transatlantic phone calls!) It was even more wonderful to hear that Mum started to do better immediately upon Belinda's and B

Saturday Morning Gastfreundschaft (German Hospitality)

My navigation skills hadn't kicked in yet on Saturday morning and as a result, we missed taking the correct turn which would lead us back onto the freeway across Kitchener-Waterloo and then up the 401 to our hotel in Cambridge. Instead, sister Brenda and I found ourselves on King St., heading towards Waterloo's downtown area. It wasn't a disaster - we could still take University Avenue, or Bridgeport Road north to 85, but another idea popped into my mind. We had just had breakfast with our brother Dave and his wife Heather at The Stone Crock in St. Jacob's and were feeling more than a little nostalgic after celebrating our Dad's birthday together the evening before. "Want to go see 103 Alexandra?" I asked Bren. She asked if was very far, and when I said it would be only about 10 minutes, she was happy to agree. Our grandparents had bought the house at 103 Alexandra Avenue in Waterloo in 1943 when our Mom was just 17, and they had lived there for all of our

No shortcuts to fulfilling God's vision

I saw Slumdog Millionaire this week. I hadn't planned to; my daughter and I just went on the spur of the moment. It's hard to talk about its impact. Yes, it had a happy ending, but it was a rough fairy tale. For someone who has seen a lot of roughness in Uganda, it was hard for me. I have sat on the floor in front of thugs pointing an AK47 at me and my family. In a sense I have never fully recovered from the trauma of that incident. Yet it was mild in comparison with what goes on every day all over the world: Christian martyrdoms, about 500 a day, terrible tortures, horrendous crimes. Even regarding the production and follow up of this movie there have been concerns about fairness in the treatment of the child stars from the real slums of India. Throughout the movie I kept my head down a lot, not wanting to imprint on my brain scenes of horror and violence. But above and beyond all that I have to agree that this story is a powerful one about vision. It was the sense of destiny

In Jesus Name

Tonight I am in Cambridge, Ontario, staying at a hotel, sharing a small suite with my dear sister Brenda. In characteristic unselfish form, she is taking the foldout couch and leaving the bed for me. She doesn't want to waken me when she wakes up early for her Sacred Hour. I will be having my own sacred hour before I sleep tonight. (God and I have this deal, you see. I don't talk to him before my first coffee of the day, and he doesn't talk to me! :) Don't worry. He knows I'm not a morning person and I think he's pretty okay with that!) Our brother Dave, and his wife Heather, are in a room two floors above us. It is our dad's birthday today - it would have been his 85th (on March 6th). We decided to celebrate together, and I'm really glad we did. We went out to The Keg for dinner, and afterwards, while Heather went shopping, the three of us siblings came back to our hotel room just to hang out. A short time before my dad passed away, he had a special tal

The Lord's Prayer according to me

This is a version of the Lord's prayer that I wrote for a reflection session at our church in May of 2007. It was subsequently published in the church newsletter. It was a very helpful exercise for me, and others, to put my own words and thoughts into the structure of the Lord's Prayer. I could have edited it and made it shorter, but somehow it seems appropriate to share it as I wrote it then. I suggest it as an exercise for you, especially in this season of Lent. The Lord's Prayer According to Meg Our Father, who art in Heaven.... Daddy God, my heavenly father, shared with all who live, creator of the universe, father of all, who dwells on high in heaven, as well as in my heart, who dwells in me and in the hearts of all who seek you, who want to be with you now and in heaven, Hallowed be your name..... You are holy to me...I call your name holy to all...may I always do so...may I always keep your name holy...may I always call others to do so too...may I see your name hallo

Second Birth

My brother arrived only two years and ten months after me, but his arrival is ingrained in my memory. I had the measles and was banished to what felt like the farthest corner of our small cottage in Romsley; separated from everyone else. I remember the intensity of my feeling of resentment. Terrible as it sounds now, in my mind, there was only one word for this interloper--poop. Poor Robert did nothing to deserve this. Throughout my childhood, he was my partner in endless battles, unless someone dared to pick on him. If that happened, although I was the victim of bullying myself at school, Tiger Girl took over, with a fury that banished all fear. I once chased an older boy around a field with a dog leash swirling over my head like a medieval flail because he was threatening Robert. A while ago Robert described how important it is to him to make sure Mum's clothing is clean and not stained in any way and we remembered how she always kept us “spotless” (her word). We laughed as we re

Birth Story

Proverbs 31:31 (New International Version) 31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Mum is much on my mind at the moment. I'm thankful that in less than three days I will be with her. Here is a story that I heard every year on the eve of my birthday, which is on June 1st. Mum stopped telling it after her stroke, but the wonderful thing is that the weekend before the stroke happened (in October 2003,) I asked her to tell it to me again. This was because Susan Stewart's daughter Marjorie, was interviewing me for my biography, which she was writing for a school project and I wanted to make sure I had the details of my birth story right. Talking to me about it must have stirred up memories, because Mum wrote a long letter to me that weekend, chronicling the whole thing. It was the last letter she ever wrote, because on that Monday, she collapsed at the post office in the village, where she had just put it into the le

Reflections on the Bush that Burns

By Ian Bedford This reflection comes to us via Magda Wills, one of our blog readers, who shared it with me (Meg) as a result of reading my recent blog post on "dust". It comes out of the recent fires in Australia, and Ian and his wife Judy were among the safe, but knew of many who lost lives or homes. He wrote this reflection at their church retreat, and feels led to share it with others. I feel privileged to be able to present it to all of you. It is one small way we can join in their pain and learn lessons along with them out of this terrible tragedy. Reflections on the Bush that Burns Yahweh God, we gather you know something about the bush that burns We read somewhere that once you spoke through such a bush We struggle to hear what you are saying through the bush that we have seen burning We see lives lost, homes and livelihoods lost, and your creation’s beauty blackened beyond recognition What words are you saying in such events? Once before your words called a man to an