Hello dear Readers. Once more, thank you for your comments, both here and on FB posts. I hope that people who are following 40 Acts are finding it inspiring and helpful, as well as challenging!
As an update, I have sent a letter of support to la Grande Mosquée de Roanne (the big Mosque in Roanne?!) as part of Act 7 “Undivided”. I hope my French is okay – when I put the text into Google Translate it seemed to say what I wanted to say, so hopefully it will be accepted in the spirit in which it was sent.
Messieurs, Mesdames – mes frères et mes sœurs
J’écris à vous pour exprimer que, malgré que je sois Chrétienne, je me considère comme votre sœur. Nous sommes tous « enfants de la Livre » Je sais qu’Islam est une religion de la paix et de la charité, et je veux dire merci pour tous que vous faites pour les gens dans le besoin.
Je voudrais dire que j’ai honte que plusieurs gens qui dire qu’ils croire en Jésus Christ sont Islamophobe et raciste, et qu’ils sèment la peur et la haine. Il me semble qu’ici en France, et autour du monde, il y a une atmosphère du désespoir et la peur. Les gens sont méfiant, l’un de l’autre, et nous devenons seul, et isolés.
Je n’ai pas les solutions (bien sûr !) mais je voudrais commencer d’être la solution ; je crois que c’est à nous tous de commencer avec les petits choses, et, pas-à-pas, nous pouvons changer le monde.
Actuellement je participe dans un mouvement qui s’appelle « 40 Acts » ; le principe est que, pendant les 40 journées de Carême, avant la Pâques, on fait des actions de générosité et de l’amour. Donc, j’étends la main d’amitié aux tous à votre mosquée, et j’espère que vous seriez vraiment bénissez dans vos prières.
Je m’excuse si j’ai fait des bêtises. Je suis anglaise, et vraiment je n’ai pas l’intention de vous moquer ou faire un affront à vous. C’est simplement de vous souhaite les bénisses de Dieu.
I sent it with one of our church postcards as well.
Another update – not so positive this time! I’m rather ashamed to admit that on the very day when we had been reminded to think about what we are saying, I ended up screeching at Mr FD. 😿
We were trying to get Jasper the cat to bed – because he is a very “lively” cat (that’s a veiled comment if ever I saw one!) we put him into my study for the night. That way the other cats get an undisturbed night. At first Jasper was happy to trot to the room, as he got fed, but he’s becoming slightly less willing (once he’s there he’s fine, but he doesn’t go quite so easily) We’d tried to lure him up with bowls of food, but he kept running away. Finally I had hold of him, but he was twisting and turning; I grabbed his scruff to calm him down, but at that moment, he sank his razor sharp teeth into me.
“Grab the scruff of his neck”, Mr FD helpfully suggested.
In quite some pain, and in very unpleasant tones, I told Mr FD exactly what I thought of his helpful suggestion, using a tone and words that no Good Girl should use. He replied in kind, and there was some door slamming. I did apologise soon after, and Jasper got put away, but it wasn’t very edifying on the very day that I was supposed to be carefully considering my words. Hey ho.
So onto yesterday’s Act: This too ended up being a bit of a Fail
ACT N°9: LEAN
The prompt reads: No one likes to admit to needing help but we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t need a helping hand from time-to-time. Whether our struggles are big or small, having someone to lean on can make all the difference. So, today, you’re looking out to be someone’s leaning post.
The Challenges were:
Go through your day as you would normally. But look out for someone going through a moment’s trouble: offer to carry a heavy bag, unpack shopping, finish off chores.
Who do you know who would appreciate a hand this evening? Show you’re shoulder-to-shoulder with them by promising an hour or two of your time.
Know someone who’s flagging and needs some real ‘get stuck in’ kind of help? Put your shoulder to the proverbial wheel and do what it takes to give them a break/a hand/a day off. Or schedule a time this week, and let them know you’ll be there to help them.
You can read the full meditation over here
As an ordinary work day, I thought I would just keep my eyes open for opportunities to help – escorting old ladies across roads, doing some chores, helping rabbits carry other rabbits, that sort of thing. But nothing. TBH, I felt fairly scuzzy, as I have a rather horrid head cold at the moment, so maybe I wasn’t being very aware, but I saw no opportinities to wade in to help.
I did share my tuiles though – it was the last lesson with a group, and Nadine brought in a box of tuiles (recipe here, should you wish to make them!)
We ate a fair few, but she gave me the rest (about 12) to take home. I was going on to another lesson at the language school where I work, so decided to share them with the other teachers, rather than gorge them myself! I think they were a welcome pick-me-up on a Friday afternoon!
I offered to help an old lady with her bags today, but she refused.
Still, I know that, sometime, I will see a need, or be asked to help, and that’s when this is going to come back to me. This is all about changing attitudes for a lifetime, not just helping rabbits on one day!
ACT N° 10: SHARED SPACES
The prompt today reads: God gave us the earth to cultivate for community. And in many places, we’ve done a solid job of it: parks, town centres, playgrounds. But whether it’s graffiti, litter, or just misuse, people often muck them up. The thing is though, if it’s true that Jesus will get glory from all things, then our actions to clean and fix up our community spaces can be profound. So today, take ownership of the shared spaces around you.
And the Challenges are:
Go for a walk and take in your area’s shared community spaces. Go with the planning bit of your mind switched on. What do you see to clear up, or to benefit the community? Share the idea with your church or home group.
Litter-pick. Either on your own, or grab a group of friends. You can mix this up: scrubbing graffiti and guerrilla gardening (if you’ve a green thumb) are options. Chat with your neighbours, your home group, the school-run/coffee mums, the guys on the rugby team, and see who you can gather together to help you out.
Do today’s green task. Then see if you can get permission from your council to do something with a disused space, or a neglected area. Could you create a community allotment, or spruce up an area to put an event on, like a pop-up coffee stall? Cleaning up a known messy area for an event is a good way to grab people’s attention.
You can read the full meditation over here
Actually this is quite a tricky one – in our small village, the local council is really good at keeping the flower borders, and most areas in good condition. There is a couple of men who “entretenir” (service?) the village spaces, and there isn’t a lot of litter. Even dog poo isn’t much of a problem – all of which is lovely.
So, I will simply remember this as another act, and, when I see litter – either here in the village, or when I’m out in Clermont or Roanne – actually pick it up. I suppose it could be quite useful to keep some small plastic bags in my handbag so that they are handy for picking up scuzzy stuff. I’ll try and remember to pick some extra compostable ones from the supermarket on Monday.
In lieu of the Challenge I have donated to today’s “crowdfunding” page, which is A Rocha UK which is a charity committed to conservation, and whowant to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth. The particular focus is to sponsor places for children to attend A Rocha’s After-school eco club, where they learn about God’s creation and how to care for it.
So there we are. Up-to-date with the Challenges (sort of) with some successes and some Epic Fails.