Firstly, I feel I need to say something about the tragedy in Paris. Not, thank goodness, a tragedy involving loss of life – although reports are that one firefighter has been seriously injured – but rather the tragedy of the fire blazing through Notre Dame last night
Suggestions are that the start of the fire might be linked to the restoration work going on – rather ironic, one can’t help feeling. I wonder what exactly : a faulty extension lead, a spark from a welder’s tool, a cigarette butt from a sneaky cigarette smoked behind a gargoyle… I ask myself if there is one workman (or many) who is thinking “Could it have been me that started it…?”
But the building is still standing – although the spire has collapsed – and Macron is pledging that it will be rebuilt. I hope that it is still structurally sound, and that at least some of the many treasures within have been saved. It looks as though the stained glass windows have mostly survived – the Rose window seemed to be still intact when shown on the news.
It is a tragedy, yes, but it could have been so much worse…
ACT 35: I-SPY
PROMPT: By now you’ve probably caught on – a startling amount of living generously is simply noticing people. We often only realise people are lonely when they actually tell us. But there are plenty of lonely people who never say a word. Today, put those people-watching skills to good use.
REFLECTION: Link here
ACTS: Green: Watch for lonely people this week. At church, look for those at the sidelines. At work, look for those who eat lunch alone.
Amber: Make a point of connecting with someone you know, but have avoided spending time with because they’re a bit socially awkward.
Red: Strike up a chat with someone you don’t know – at the bus stop or café maybe – who looks a little sad.
When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’” (Luke 13:12 NIV)
For reasons I don’t need to go into 40 Acts was off the table yesterday. And possibly today too… I’m not sure how engaged I’m going to be able to be this last week, due to personal circumstances.
But I will try and bear it in mind for future reference AND I’m not excusing myself from acts of generosity, however small. (I did the washing up at work – over 20 cups & mugs needed washing!!) It’s just that I might not be able to manage the big ones that 40 Acts is ramping up to.
ACT 36: COMPASSION
PROMPT: The word ‘compassion’ simply means coming alongside suffering – co-suffering with someone. That can sound a bit daunting, but when you think about it, what a gift to be able to offer someone your presence and the feeling that you’re with them.
REFLECTION: Link here
ACTS: Think of areas where you’ve suffered in the past, and find a way to share time with someone who’s suffering similarly today.
When I first opened this act on my email, I’m sure there were 3 options of Acts…Now there’s only one. How bizarre.
I suppose this is another time I use my “wiggle room” card, the one that says “I’ve already done this” or “I’m doing this”. We’re already supporting someone through the loss of her husband. Due to her dependency problems, it’s a bit of a hard slog, and there are times when, quite frankly, I could do without it. But there you go.
But there is also the Challenge (that I was sure was there earlier!) which is to commit to pray for those who are suffering – my boss has just lost her mother, my friend has lost her husband, other friends going through cancer treatment…I will continue to hold these people, and others, in the living, loving light that is God.