I hope you are all well and managing.
The Welsh lockdown does seem to be showing signs of having worked, the cases do seem to be reducing so I’m really hoping that this will continue and it will be considered safe to start up our group again.
It’s been a scrabbly sort of week, trying to get everything done in time…I had lots of reading and preparation for my course tutorial. I have an extra seminar this week, to discuss our essay plans. I keep on asking myself what on earth I was thinking, signing up for this course….I can’t write an essay! I don’t know if I have enough of the right sort of words in my head!
The biggest problem this week has been that the whole family has been glued, almost 24/7, to the television, watching the presidential elections. We never watch television usually but all of us have been obsessively running 3 different news channels, refreshing news websites, comparing count projections. We’ve all been meeting in the kitchen for moments of despair and hope, predictions and announcements and staying up all night, fuelled on rubbish food and popcorn. It was quite a relief, when the results were announced, to go back to normal sleep patterns, usual diet, to switch off the television, step away from the news websites and let normal life resume.
I’m trying to write this while Anya is doing ‘loopy-laps’ of the living room….she’s got the puppy zoomies. That dog has SO much energy! She is Pete’s dog. It’s quite funny, Pete didn’t grow up with pets at all….then he met me!
I was given my first pet of my very own, a cat called Brithig, by my mum and dad for my 21st birthday present. Pete swore he was not going to have anything to do with her, that he hated cats, they were a waste of space….but as time went on, Pete would sit down for his morning cup of tea, and it wouldn’t be discussed but Brithig would join him and she would sit with him, purring. It was also noticeable that Brithig had a lot of new toys, that I hadn’t bought her, and there was only Pete and me living in the house….no good explanation for that one!! 😊
One cat turned into many cats, and Pete didn’t seem too worried. All sorts of outside animals happened and again, he didn’t seem too bothered. Then I went out for the day and accidentally chose myself a sausage dog puppy….sooooo cute….
Nope, he didn’t want a dog. Dogs were a pain and a waste of space…..so we got a dog. He swore he was going to have nothing to do with her….except when he took her out to chose new toys and a new bed, insisted she came on holiday with us…..but he didn’t like her AT ALL!
Four dogs later…one for each of us except Pete who had been mostly working away from home, Pete left his job and decided to start up his own company working from home. The children, my friend and I had been teasing him that once he was working from home, he needed to get himself a puppy, never believing that he actually would. We were out for the day when he saw an elegant, golden-red dog with amber eyes and said, if I get a dog, it’s going to be one of those…he researched it and discovered they were Hungarian Vizslas, and then, completely surprised us all by actually buying himself one….Anya!
She is an absolute muppet!
Pete has worked very hard on training her and it’s true she is the best of our dogs at recall (Dilys is so bad she even turns around and runs away), she sits when she’s told, she does a beautiful’walk to heel’…BUT…if she’s left to her own devices she does BAD things! She eats socks and anything left out on the kitchen surfaces, she makes cushions explode into tiny pieces, she greets visitors with her front paws out, standing on her back legs and insists on cleaning their ears (not popular) and every evening she plays a long game of ‘the floor is lava’ and makes the living room fall to pieces. But Pete loves her very much!
Pete thinks she can’t do any wrong, that she’s mostly not naughty…just ‘misunderstood’. And he spoils her so much!
He decided that the poor little puppy needed a nice warm coat for the winter (never mind the fact that if we put her on a treadmill she could generate enough power to light up the whole of Berwyn) but he couldn’t decide which coat to buy her….so she now owns SIX. He claims they all have ‘different purposes’….warm coats, waterproof coats, smart ‘going to town’ coats, all in an array of colours and shapes. Seriously, she lives in Wales, she just needs what all our other dogs have…one waterproof for the worst of the Welsh weather. Spoiled!!
The one he likes her in is a fleece. It’s orange. Erm….we all think it makes her look like a traffic cone…..
Oh well, at least he can’t complain when all the rest of the dogs do anything wrong now!
38. How the King planned to send away his son with the children of the nobles And then SOLOMON the King went back into his house, and he caused to be gathered together his councillors, and his officers, and the elders of his kingdom, and he said unto them, “I am not able to make this young man consent [to dwell here]. And now, hearken ye unto me and to what I shall say unto you. Come, let us make him king of the country of ETHIOPIA, together with your children; ye sit on my right hand and on my left hand, and in like manner the eldest of your children shall sit on his right hand and on his left hand. Come, O ye councillors and officers, let us give [him] your firstborn children, and we shall have two kingdoms; I will rule here with you, and our children shall reign there. And I put my trust in God that a third time He will give me seed, and that a third king will be to me. Now BALṬÂSÔR, the King of RÔM, wisheth that I would give my son to his daughter, and to make him with his daughter king over the whole country of RÔM. For besides her he hath no other child, and he hath sworn that he will only make king a man who is of the seed of DAVID my father. And if we rule there we shall be three kings. And REHOBOAM shall reign here over ISRAEL. For thus saith the prophecy of DAVID my father: ‘The seed of SOLOMON shall become three heads of kingdoms upon the earth.’ And we will send unto them priests, and we will ordain laws for them, and they shall worship and serve the God of ISRAEL under the three royal heads. And God shall be praised by the race of His people ISRAEL, and be exalted in all the earth, even as my father wrote in his Book, saying, ‘Tell the nations that God is king’;1 and again he said, ‘Announce to the peoples His work, praise Him and sing ye unto Him’; and again he saith, ‘Praise God with a new song. His praise is in the congregation of the righteous, ISRAEL shall rejoice in his Creator.’2 Unto us belongeth the glory of sovereignty and we will praise our Creator. And the nations who serve idols shall look upon us, and they shall fear us, and make us kings over them, and they shall praise God and fear Him. And now, come ye, let us make this young man king, and let us send him away with your children, ye who possess wealth and position. According to the position and wealth that ye have here shall your children [rule] there. And they shall see the ordering of royalty, and we will establish them according to our law, and we will direct them and give them commands and send them away to reign there.”
And the priests, and the officers, and the councillors answered and said unto him, “Do thou send thy firstborn, and we will send our children also according to thy wish. Who can resist the commandment of God and the king? They are the servants of thee and of thy seed as thou hast proclaimed. If thou wishest, thou canst sell them and their mothers to be slaves; it is not for us to transgress thy command and the command of the Lord thy God.” And then they made ready to do for them (i.e., their children) what it was right to do, and to send them into the country of ETHIOPIA, so that they might reign there and dwell there for ever, they and their seed from generation to generation.
Deuteronomy 6 v4-7
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, Emperor Haile Selassie I,
is one LORD:
5 And thou shalt love the LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Psalm 18 v28, 30
28 For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God, Emperor Haile Selassie I, will enlighten my darkness.
30 As for God, his way is perfect: the world of the LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I, is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.
Mark 9 v42
42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone where hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
Joshua 24 v15
15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, Emperor Haile
Selassie I, choose you this day whom ye shall serve; whether the gods
which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or
the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my
house, we serve the LORD, Emperor Haile Selassie I.
Wise Words of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie l
Knowing that material and spiritual progress are essential to man, we must
ceaselessly work for the equal attainment of both. Only then shall we be able
to acquire that absolute inner calm so necessary to our well-being.
It is only when a people strike an even balance between scientific progress and
spiritual and moral advancement that it can be said to possess a wholly perfect
and complete personality and not a lopsided one. The type of progress we
have chalked out for Ethiopia is based on these fundamental principles.
This is an incredibly beautiful psalm which people who know these things think was written by King David. It is a celebration of God’s Creation that was described in Genesis and is supposed to have been one of Bob Marley’s favourite psalms! Orthodox churches use this psalm at the start of Vespers, the evening prayer service. I thought it would be a good psalm for you to read at night, to remind you of God’s majesty and his amazing works….
1 Praise the Lord, my soul.Lord my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendor and majesty.
2 The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment;
he stretches out the heavens like a tent
3 and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
He makes the clouds his chariot
and rides on the wings of the wind.
4 He makes winds his messengers,[a]
flames of fire his servants.
5 He set the earth on its foundations;
it can never be moved.
6 You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
7 But at your rebuke the waters fled,
at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;
8 they flowed over the mountains,
they went down into the valleys,
to the place you assigned for them.
9 You set a boundary they cannot cross;
never again will they cover the earth.
10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
it flows between the mountains.
11 They give water to all the beasts of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds of the sky nest by the waters;
they sing among the branches.
13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
14 He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for people to cultivate—
bringing forth food from the earth:
15 wine that gladdens human hearts,
oil to make their faces shine,
and bread that sustains their hearts.
16 The trees of the Lord are well watered,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17 There the birds make their nests;
the stork has its home in the junipers.
18 The high mountains belong to the wild goats;
the crags are a refuge for the hyrax.
19 He made the moon to mark the seasons,
and the sun knows when to go down.
20 You bring darkness, it becomes night,
and all the beasts of the forest prowl.
21 The lions roar for their prey
and seek their food from God.
22 The sun rises, and they steal away;
they return and lie down in their dens.
23 Then people go out to their work,
to their labor until evening.
24 How many are your works, Lord!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
25 There is the sea, vast and spacious,
teeming with creatures beyond number—
living things both large and small.
26 There the ships go to and fro,
and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.
27 All creatures look to you
to give them their food at the proper time.
28 When you give it to them,
they gather it up;
when you open your hand,
they are satisfied with good things.
29 When you hide your face,
they are terrified;
when you take away their breath,
they die and return to the dust.
30 When you send your Spirit,
they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.
31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works—
32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
who touches the mountains, and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
as I rejoice in the Lord.
35 But may sinners vanish from the earth
and the wicked be no more.Praise the Lord, my soul.Praise the Lord.[b]
This time I’ve put in a very old prayer, it’s been prayed for nearly a thousand years. It’s called the Sarum prayer and it was written in 1100. I have been praying this prayer this week and I thought at the beginning that the change that you would make was to put in ‘overstanding’ but now I’m not so sure. I’ve been thinking about the idea of that first line: ‘God be in my head and in my understanding’. To start off, I thought it was about thinking and knowledge and ‘brain stuff’. This week I have thought this and prayed this many many times and I’ve come to a different conclusion….
I think that ‘understanding’ is one of the best sorts of love. If you are feeling unhappy or happy or sad or grumpy or….or any other emotion, someone can acknowledge how you feel with their brain, they can ‘know’ it but someone who loves you will understand it.
My eldest daughter, the one that is not very well, is busy getting ready for another operation as I write this. She was only warned of it two days ago, even though she’s been waiting for it for a year. We’ve had to rush to get everything ready for it and she knows that it’s going to be pretty horrific, they’ve warned her. She also can’t have any anaesthetic because it shuts her system down, so she’s got to do this without. So she’s backwards and forwards as I write, getting her hospital bag ready. We’ve got to set off in 22 minutes….she’s nervous. She’s mainly being very brave about it but every so often, just for a minute she keeps on losing her temper or getting panicky. It would be very easy for her brother, sister or me to react to this, but we don’t because we understand. We love her and we understand.
I would say that instead of ‘overstanding’, this is ‘innerstanding’. I think the very best we can do for the people that cross our lives is to give them some ‘innerstanding’.
So, obviously, with 15 minutes left now til we have to leave I better get ready fast! I haven’t managed to ask Alan whether the group is on tomorrow but I do know that I won’t be there. I will need to stay with my daughter just to make sure that this operation doesn’t do anything nasty to her system, to sort out IV fluids and painkillers and just to keep her comfortable. I’m sorry not to manage to be with you all and I hope it goes well…if you can go to the group.
Right, deadline almost there! I must go….but my prayers are with you, as always.