14th September 2014 – 14th Sunday After Pentecost A

As a little girl, growing up in country New South Wales, sharing a cup of tea was the regular form of hospitality offered to neighbours. Growing up on a sheep farm, out in the bush, we met some real characters. There were many (seemingly) big men with gnarled hands, which would wrap around the biggest cup we could find. There would be biscuits dunked in the tea, but, often, if the tea were hot, a little would be pored into the saucer to cool more quickly. I confess I struggled with both the biscuit dunking and the saucer pouring and could never bring myself to do either, however, the following poem puts the latter in a different perspective. I don’t know who wrote this but thanks to David Forward for sharing.

 

DRINKING FROM MY SAUCER

I’ve never made a fortune, and it’s probably too late now.

But I don’t worry about that much, I’m happy anyhow.

And as I go along life’s way, I’m reaping better than I sowed.

I’m drinking from my saucer, ‘Cause my cup has overflowed.

 

Haven’t got a lot of riches; And sometimes the going’s tough,

But I’ve got loving ones all around me, And that makes me rich enough.

I thank GOD for his Blessings, And the Mercies He’s bestowed.

I’m drinking from my saucer, ‘Cause my cup has overflowed.

 

I remember times when things went wrong, My faith wore somewhat thin.

But all at once the dark clouds broke, And the sun peeped through again.

So LORD, help me not to gripe About the tough rows I have hoed.

I’m drinking from my saucer, ‘Cause my cup has overflowed.

 

If GOD gives me strength and courage, When the way grows steep and rough.

I’ll not ask for other blessings, I’m already blessed enough.

And may I never be too busy, To help others bear their loads..

Then I’ll keep drinking from my saucer, ‘Cause my cup has overflowed.

 

So my friends … I am now drinking from my saucer, ‘cause my cup has overflowed!

Many blessings

Reverend Shan

The Ice Bucket Challenge and Taking up Your Cross

This week I read another very interesting article on “taking up your cross” which really moved me.

The person writing was talking about the “Ice Bucket Challenge”, which is going on in the media at the present, to raise awareness and funds for research into Motor Neuron Disease (also referred to as ALSA). Sadly, I have lost a very close friend to this dreadful disease… and another is going through the same sad experience right now.

The author of this article (whose name I do not know) said that he had all sorts of excuses for avoiding getting caught up in the challenge. Things like uncertainty about where the funds would actually end up, and not wanting to show of (or blow his own trumpet) as our almsgiving should be in secret. There were many more reasons but in the end it came down to the fact that he really thought the whole thing looked uncomfortable and undignified. Eventually he took the challenge anyway…

But what was really important is that we are confronted by many crosses each and everyday. As followers of Christ we are called to ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:9b-10)

We meet people who are lonely, or sick and needing someone to just sit and share the pain. We hear of injustices, close to home and overseas. We are asked to give to this cause or that campaign. Some crosses we pick up and others we turn from. Quite seriously there are human limitations on what we can give in time and resources. It is impossible to fill all needs but the author of this article says I’m not challenging you with a bucket if ice water. Most likely someone else will do that. However, I would challenge all of us to give, if not to this cause then to another. I have used this example as a way to consider why it is that sometimes we don’t ‘pick up our crosses’ to follow after Jesus. Can you think of other excuses we might use? Jesus reminds us that we only live by dying. Again, a bucket of ice water is a paltry example, but it is something which may get us moving in the right direction. Indeed, this ‘viral experience’ has me remembering the suffering of one I had not thought of in years and I find it turns me towards the suffering of others even now. In a way that does deepen and enrich my living. When have you also known this to be so?

May Christ be on our lips, and in our hearts and hands as we seek to be His Body in the world.

Blessings

Reverend Shan