Above Shame

Dear God,

Thank you for your gospel.  Your message of good news.  The message of the grace that was given us in Jesus our saviour who has destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light.  Father may I never be ashamed of your gospel about Jesus or about Paul or any others who have been taken captive and held prisoner because they have proclaimed it.

Lord, thank you for the reminder today that your Spirit doesn’t make us timid.  Thank you for the reminder that your Spirit gives power, love, and self-discipline.  May your Spirit keep me from any sense of shame as I speak with Joel no matter how he belittles your word, your followers and how he accuses your people of lies.

Father I pray for Hamish this morning.  May his faith remain anchored firmly in you.  May your Spirit be at work in him making him bold and not timid, that he will persevere and not be ashamed of your gospel.  Strengthen him with the power,  love and self-discipline that comes from you.  Lord, the burden of a ten-year old’s love for his father’s disapproval of his faith is a heavy load to carry.  Please soften Joel’s heart toward you.  For his own sake as well as Hamish’s.

Father, if Hamish is to suffer even in a small way for his faith, may you convict him of the reason for which he holds firmly to your truth.  Help him to remember that he has no cause for shame, regardless of what his father might imply about his beliefs.

Thank you Lord that I am free to follow you without opposition.  May I never take that for granted or act as though my faith were an embarrassment.

May I bring you honour all of my days.

Amen.

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Musical Requests

Dear God,

I started the morning singing to the tune of Mr Denver and will close, I believe with Amazing Grace.  What a day …

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go,

I’m standing here just by the door

I had to wake them up to say good bye …

Bags in the boot with a promise to be back tomorrow with groceries after Hamish’s drum lesson.

Paul cringes.

I bite my tongue and flinch.

The mystery 10-year-old sheep station …

“Oh no!”

“Don’t worry.  You can have yours tomorrow too.  I’ll come here.”

“But I haven’t practiced all week!”

“Well, you can have an extra lesson this week to help make up for it.”

“Really?”

“Really.  And…” I look over her head at Paul with a cautious grin.  I kiss Jasmine on the tip of the nose and rub the tip of mine against the tip of hers – ‘eskimo’ style.  “… Just think … ” I perform the same ritual with Emily; “… You’ll have all next week to catch up practice time while Hamish is at school.”

Paul’s jaw drops.

“Better get rid of those Possums, eh, Paul!” and I gave him a peck on the cheek as I bolted.

Phone beeped as I was on the way to work.  I grinned.  Got to work and read.  “You’ll pay for that!”

Do I need to ask forgiveness for that one, Lord?

“Who’s this grinning like the Cheshire Cat?”  This from Gina.

So I tell her my morning’s tale.

“Hang on?  You?  A drummer?”

I tap out a rhythm and roll the pencils I’ve been twirling and fiddling with since I sat down, then twirl on my chair as I watch a switch click over..

“Drums and Cello.”

“How did I miss that?” she asks herself, shaking her head and staring at the pencils.  “You’re always doing that …”  She looks up.  “Cello? and drums?  weird mix.”

I shrug.

“I love the feel, the sound of the cello.  Its so rich – its like caramel or fudge or some warm, thick, rich sauce.  Jazzie wants to learn, but she’s not ready yet.”

“Teach me?”  Who me – give Gina music lessons – this was getting weird, Lord.

“Seriously?”

“Absolutely!”

“I don’t know.  Teaching friends can be a minefield … ”

“So if it’s not working you can send me to someone else … I sing – I can read music and I’ve always wanted to learn to play a musical instrument.  My aunt used to play cello.  Mum had it.  Its about the only thing my sisters left me after trawling her stuff when she died.  My aunt was cool – even if she was a bit of a misfit.  I’d like to play her cello.  It’s too beautiful to be silent.”

“I’m pretty strict about practice.  Most of my students are kids.”

“Alciana, I can commit to this.  I get it.  It takes work.  My voice teacher used to have me doing scale work forever – that stuff is boring but it helps.”  I relax.  She has some idea what she’s asking for.

“Well … I guess we can give it a shot then.  What kind of time would work?”

We work out small details like time, cost etc then pack up our stuff for the end of week staff meeting (yip-pee)

“Is that really all they left you?” I asked carefully

“Yeah.” Quietly.  Pensive.

“Your mother dies and your sisters take every one of her personal items but your aunt’s cello?”

“I’m glad somebody other than me notices the small piece of irony in there.”

Father, its like this family have just cast her out – and like this cello will acknowledge only a passing recognition of her place in their family.  Even her brother seems to get sucked into their ways at times, although probably blind to it.  It doesn’t sound fair.  It’s not loving.

Today I come across in James his addressing his readers about how they treat one group of people well and another poorly – for religious and/or status sake in their case however the outcome remains the same.  Who are we to judge one another before you?  You told us to love our neighbour as ourselves.

Lord that’s harder to do than it sounds.  Thanks for the warning that I should speak and act as one who is going to be judged by your grace – for such a warning means that there is only one option for how I deal with people.  With grace, with mercy, with love.

Please help me to do that.

Right now I think I shall go and draw up a draft practice schedule for Emily to finalise with Paul so that she has some limits or she’ll be at it 24/7.

Please look after and heal the non-possums out in that house, Lord.  Most of all, please heal their relationships with you that they might really know how good a God you are.  Thank you Father for your amazing grace.

Amen