A few extracts from the ramblings of a 50-something battling with his fears, failings and frustrations:
Out to work. Which means not going out. I work from home. I try and start the day with some quiet reflection. Some people do really well in their quiet times sitting still with a serene smile on. I’m not so good at that. When I try and meditate like that I get
1. Helicopters flying through my head
2. Snatches of old Monty Python scripts
3. Choruses of punk classics
4. Bad memories about embarrassing moments
So I go for a walk. And the bright fresh warm mornings, even when they’re dark, cold and stale, bring me to life a bit. And I do a bit of praying as I wander about looking lost. I still see helicopters but only half of them are in my head now….
I’m currently at war. Firstly with the ageing process. A battle I’m not sure I’ll win. Secondly with the cats who litter our back garden with things unspeakable. You know that thing mentioned in Mark’s gospel called the abomination of desolation? Well this stuff isn’t far behind. It never sets, no matter how long you wait. It’s always like clearing up a strange coagulation of super glue and Angel Delight. And it flatly refuses to leave its secure home on my lawn. No amount of
- Getting depressed about it
- Or shouting at it
will clean it up properly. I’m seriously thinking about laying a trail of explosives…
I’m no great consumer of fruit and veg. My five a day would consist of
1. Custard tarts
2. Bacon sarnies
3. Beef, roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding (I know that’s 3 things, but they go together like a horse and carriage and manure)
4. Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate and chocolate
That is admittedly a strange concoction and light years away from the territory known as healthy eating. But in heaven, I’m sure, it’ll be allowed. In heaven chocolate will grow on trees, be loaded with vitamins and devoid of calories.
The Bible is strewn with food, littered with the stuff, more so than Henry the 8th’s midriff. It’s symbolic and powerful and memorable. And no doubt very tasty. Moses takes 70 leaders up a mountain to meet God. they’re terrified because meeting the Almighty could mean annihilation. But once they realise they’re going to live, they then also realise they’re a bit peckish and lo and behold they eat a feast up there. Food with God as the host.
Jesus continues the culinary stuff. He cooks breakfast on a beach, provides a flashmob style picnic for thousands, and leaves behind food and drink as our way of celebrating his life. When he knocks at the door of our being he isn’t waiting to come in so he can conduct Evensong with us, according to Revelation chapter 3, he’s come round for a meal.
I hate conflict. I’ll do anything to avoid it.
1. Smile benignly
2. Agree with everything you say
3. Be enthusiastic about things I secretly know nothing about
4. Be unenthusiastic about things I’m secretly passionate about
if I do get into arguments I feel gloriously justified and het up at the time, then very quickly my self-righteous bubble bursts and I start to berate myself for
1. Being so belligerent
2. Being so honest
3. Hating conflict
4. Talking to myself about it (especially if I do it out loud)
Jesus lived with so much conflict it’s easy to get used to it and overlook the problem. So much of what he said and did met with opposition. Day after day after day. It must have been so wearing for him. Even his birth caused conflict for
1. His mum Mary
2. His dad Joseph
3. The wise men, who put in a lot of time and effort to come and see him (you could say they were the first Christmas visitors who turned up for the holiday out of the blue, and thereby started a trend of family and friends pitching up on our holly-decked doorsteps)
4. Herod the Great – although it must be pointed out that he brought it all on himself and caused a fistful of conflict for other people, including Mary, Joe and the wise men. Plus calling yourself ‘the Great’ is a little over-optimistic, don’t you think?
D Hopwood 2015
Diary of a Wimpy Christian will be in print soon