Tuesday 4 August Post 28/2020 Bubble #1 has morphed into Bubble and Squeak #2. I’ll try to use the name of that English dish to good effect as I muse on things past, present and future during this time of face coverings, handwashing, social distancing, and testing. In these occasional posts, I hope to hit at least one of these three objectives: to be brief, pointed and upbeat. At least upbeat.
Bubble and Squeak is made with cold boiled potatoes and any variety of greens fried up together. The potatoes first bubbled in water when boiled; afterwards the mixture hissed or squeaked in the frying pan. Simple. Tasty. Makes me smile.
On Friday (31/7), I started to write this blog: “I’m sitting on our patio, listening to the drone of a nearby factory, the whistle of a train a mile away, the chirps of birds and the tuneful ring of our windchime. It’s late afternoon, sunny. A brown squirrel hops across the yard, toward the oak. I’m rereading Reimagining Britain: Foundations for Hope by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (Bloomsbury Continuum, 2018). Just now Marty calls, ‘The corn is ready.'”
We enjoyed dinner on the patio. Sweet corn, grown and gifted by a neighbor, a spicy dish of Rockin’ Moroccan, sweet cherries on the stem, and a Klondike ice-cream bar.
From the flyleaf: “When so many are immobilized by political turmoil, this book builds on our past to offer hope for the future, identifying practical ways to achieve a more equitable society.”
In the Introduction, Welby writes, ” The opportunity, necessity and challenge to reimagine our society come rarely. Events, which so often drive us before their wind, very occasionally seem to throw up a choice of ways forward, in which our practices and values can direct where we go. The moment is not only rare but requires society-wide leadership and imagination to grasp it. It is not achieved by ample resources, but by a change of mood, a decision or a historic change. It cannot be forced but may be seized, or missed.”
That’s for starters, written in the world of 2017, but with application to the starkly altered world facing a pandemic in 2020. The book deals with reimaging the “great and historic building blocks of housing, health, education, and the household/family–together with other factors that have always existed but which have new force and significance–immigration and integration, the environment, economics and finances, and foreign policy.”
It’s a full, healthy, satisfying, many-coursed meal of a book, that puts hope, before optimism, at the forefront. It sets out a radical vision for 21st century Britain. Paula Vennells, chief executive of the Post Office calls the book, “Bigger than politics and broader than religion–a timely and inspiring read that requires response.”
ZOOM and in-person worship
On Sunday morning we joined a ZOOM worship service with The United Benefice of Carbis Bay & Lelant, Cornwall, UK, led by Revd Etienne van Blerk, Priest-in Charge. The service included a carefully orchestrated in-person component and at its conclusion we were able to heartfeltedly exchange waves and air kisses with friends as they were ushered out.
Later Sunday morning we joined a ZOOM Sunday school meeting with the Sojourners class of College Mennonite Church. David Boshart, president of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Indiana, gave a fine comprehensive overview of how this international graduate school continues to underscore Anabaptist identity as it builds capability for vitality and resilience. I was impressed and gratified at the school’s combination of online and on-campus learning opportunities.
Scenes from where we’ve walked
Scenes from a Lake Michigan foray
More on The Human Condition
“The spiritual journey,” Thomas Keating wrote, “is not a career or a success story. It is a series of humiliations of the false self that becomes more and more profound. These make room inside us for the Holy Spirit to come in and heal. What prevents us from being available to God is gradually evacuated. We keep getting closer and closer to our center. Every now and then God lifts a corner of the veil and enters into our awareness through various channels, as if to say, ‘Here I am. Where are you? Come and join me.'”
Thomas Keating (1923-2018) was an American Catholic monk and priest of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance. He was one of the developers of Centering Prayer.
Bouquets from Dean and Gwen
Celebration of Mennonite Central Committee’s 100th Anniversary
MCC Great Lakes was one of the regions in 2020 marking the centennial of the relief, development and peace work of an organization born in July 1920 to bring aid to communities in the Ukraine in dire suffering in the aftermath of WW I.
This regional celebration was a livestream only event, with some segments prerecorded, broadcast from Prairie Street Mennonite Church, Elkhart, Indiana, Sunday evening, July 26. The church was the site of an important first meeting in the formation of MCC in July 1920.
Prairie Street co-pastors Cyneatha Millsaps and Quinn Brenneke were worship leaders. MCC Executive Director Ron Byler shared from MCC’s global history, followed by an address by Dr. Sibonokuhle Ncube, executive director/national coordinator of the Brethren in Christ Compassionate and Development Services in Zimbabwe, an MCC partner. Musicians from Faith Mennonite Church, Goshen, Indiana, provided music.
Photos from the TV screen in our home.
Scenes around Greencroft Goshen
Justin Welby: “A happy family life, lived out amid difficulty and challenge, is among the deepest satisfactions of human existence, and when it is prevalent in a society it lays the foundations for hope and national character in a way that is impossible to replicate in any other form of human institution. . . . It is a gift of God in any society, bearing burdens, supporting the vulnerable and stabilizing both those who believe themselves autonomous and those who feel themselves to be failures.”
Hope that points the way to a bubble-free, happy. essential family/household tomorrow, as in the past, is capsulized in a prayer found on a Crofter’s Door in Wales, reprinted from 600 Blessings and Prayers from around the world, compiled by Geoffrey Duncan (Twenty-Third Publications, Mystic, CT, 2000, 2002).