Ordinary Times – a thought before Advent

Concrete Heart logo Concrete Hearts (C) TAW 2015

The atrocities of the world lay heavy on the heart. And so they should. We are powerless on a global level but we can be so much more on an individual basis by promoting peace and reconciliation within ourselves first, then our families, then our communities.

Christ taught us to love one another, one of three instructions he gave to us. Peace and reconciliation must first begin within before it will naturally radiate out and begin to touch our families and our neighbours; albeit for some this is almost an impossibility but it is a start nonetheless. Forgive yourself first and ask for Christ’s intercession in your healing. That’s how I try to do it.

Sadly, I find myself misunderstood, not always being the good communicator, Then I think, ‘I must be okay’ because I managed to communicate okay within academia, having recently graduated. We are all our own worst critics, our minds become our battlefield both mentally and spiritually; it is a learned behaviour somehow but one we must try and train ourselves away from. We receive our teaching from the world outside ourselves and it can be such a cruel place. It does hold beauty and it takes a lot sometimes to see that beauty.

And yet, the biggest brick wall I face is my own church. This is a place where the foundations must be built upon love. I am at odds at time with the church, I listen to some upcoming ordinands in my diocese and shudder at the image some portray to their social media audiences; one recently so blatantly misogynistic that they did not understand why I challenged a recent posting of a picture they thought best represented temptation… a woman in red holding out a red apple. The insinuations in one so small an image were huge, monumental. He only responded to the question why did he use the image … “because I liked it”.

If we do not overcome such attitudes within the church now (and for goodness sake, it is the 21st century) it will fail. This I do not want to see in my lifetime. Christ has endured so much abuse these past two thousand years and still he is abused and misunderstood even by a small number of those chosen to represent him. HOWEVER, there are those ordained out there that DO represent love and humility and peace and acceptance and I have met ones that have shone (and still shine) very brightly, true representatives of Christ. They cannot be replaced by those who do not look deeper to within themselves, to ask themselves, ‘do I honestly represent Him?’

I am criticised by my own parishes in a way that does not embrace Christ’s love. I am representative of the lamb that is left under a thorny bush to weather the storm whilst the others are herded into the barn. Those barn doors are shut firmly and the lamb left unnoticed until one bravely cries for its presence, if at all.

Please, for the sake of the children of today, let not your concrete hearts be a wall built up of false images and misguidance. If you display a cold heart, reveal the one that beats inside and for some of us, we hide our beating hearts, we hide the Christ within. Let Him Out. Let Him Shine. I’m still dusting down the cracks and letting the light out, albeit not enough in some peoples’ eyes but I am trying to be more like Him even though I still fail.

Put your lamps up on the wall and open the barn doors. Crack open the concrete hearts. Live the love in the Gospels.

Concrete Hearts The story of this image of mine is that, the night before I had scrubbed the conservatory concrete floor and this morning the one patch that had not dried was this single concrete heart shape. I took a picture and overlaid different filters – I guess in a way these represent the veils we hide under, too frightened to reveal our hearts. Then I photographed the photograph over and over and ended up with a wall of hearts. Here it is.




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