|Pen and Ink Reflections||
My wife Penny and I met at theological college. It was certainly not love at first sight. I was quite introverted, not trying to give away much of who I was, and Penny – well, Penny was very nervous and came across as a terrible caricature of an English middle-class blue stocking type of woman: think, those of you who can remember back that far, of Joyce Grenfell in the old St Trinian’s films. Our college was overwhelmingly full of men, with this being only the second year a handful of women had been admitted. So, when I met Penny in the first hour or so after arriving, I thought: ‘well, if this is how the women are here, I am simply not going to survive!’ I guess that was one factor in our initial relationship: sheer survival in an age and culture still trying to come to terms with the equality of women as a whole, never mind wider gender diversity. It was an earlier reminder that, if Penny and I were to minister, it would be as salt. We would be adding fresh flavour to both the Church and the wider world, seeking to provide healing or simply preservation for some of us, and, from time to time, perhaps irritating others into whose wounds we might be placed to aid healing. Maybe some will have views on how well, or otherwise, we have done that so far. Our hope and prayer is, in the words of Jesus in our Gospel reading today, that we, with others, will never lose out saltiness…
A conversational Reflection by Penny Jones, with Josephine Inkpin, on the invitation and challenges of the Beatitudes of Jesus in our contemporary context...
Some very challenging words from the Sermon on the Mount today! How we hear them is critical. If we hear them as a more rigorous set of rules than those the Jewish leaders of Jesus day were imposing, then we might fall into despair. If on the other hand we hear them as an invitation to enter more deeply into the love of God and receive God's grace, then we can be set free.
Epiphany 6 Year A 16 February 2014 by The Revd Dr Jonathan Inkpin
One of my favourite images of reconciliation is that of Uncle Bob Randall, the multi-talented Yankunytjatjara elder from central Australia. ‘Spirituality’, he wrote in his autobiography ‘Songman’:
‘Spirituality is the ultimate answer to reconciliation in Australia and everywhere else in the world. Loving ourselves, our families, our neighbours, our countrymen and every other living thing is the reason we are here on earth. If we follow the ripple in the pond when a stone hits the water, we can easily see that the entire pond is affected by that one little stone. If the stone represents love, and it drops somewhere in our universe, that love will send its ripple through the entire universe. All the peoples, birds, animals, insects, plants, trees and rocks will in some way be affected by it. It is the same with anger and hate. We must choose which ripples we wish to send into the universe.’
- I really love that image. I used it often in my peace and reconciliation work for the National Council of Churches (in Australia): partly for its intrinsic beauty and wisdom; partly as it chimed in with my own approach to peace making and reconciliation; and, not least, because it is a wonderful Australian expression of the spirit of Jesus in what we call ‘the Sermon on the Mount’, another reading from which we hear in our worship this Sunday...