Dear Inner Circle,

Here’s a ripper of a story for you. A couple of weeks ago two little kids asked their Mum if they could go for a quick spin on their bikes. At this time when restrictions weren’t so tight, the shops were still open and their plan was to buy some lollies and then head back home. Mum didn’t mind the plan but the smallest amount of cash she had was a twenty-dollar note. She expected change – lots of it. They returned home in due course, with no cash. They told their mother what they had bought and showed her the evidence. “We gave all the change to our homeless friend,” they explained. “What did he say when you gave him the money?” Mum asked. “He was so happy, he told us that he could now afford to wash his clothes at the laundromat.” Mum wanted the kids to know the value of money and that twenty dollars was a lot of money. On the other hand, Mum was filled with pride that her kids naturally wanted to share their money and that even though they’re just kids, they’re learning the truth that the wellbeing of all, depends on the wellbeing of the least. We know the fellow who was the object of this kindness. We’ve expended many hours doing all we can to engage and help him towards life. He is a fellow who fights off the very thing he needs the most. He may not be the only example in the world. Sometimes sparks of life can be ignited in the tiniest acts by the people you’d least expect.

Recently, in my role as Pastor, I was called to a hospital death bed. It’s a place where if someone is still lucid, the honesty is arresting, revelatory and important. This lady told me how as a young child, she’d been literally sold off to a friend of her father for his unrestrained satisfaction. Her words were not delivered in the pain you’d expect but in a factual, unemotional way. She continued to tell me how she suffered at the hands of her husband. It was a story of physical and emotional damage. She said that she’d escaped this nightmare only to learn that there were worse men in the world and each relationship sunk her life into deeper hopelessness. Her only comfort had been booze and pills and by the time she found the strength to break these habits, she was already terminal. By the end of the story, she’d moved out of her monotone voice and was now weeping. I held her face in my hands and through my mask, I spoke an ancient blessing of love. It brought a weary but deep smile to her frail little face. How I wish I had a magic wand to give this woman a peaceful death. I realise however that the best I have is the opposite of magic. This lady was the embodiment of tension like a tightly stretched E string on a guitar. But from this tension, beautiful music had come. I saw her. I met her. I saw what was beneath all the damage. I saw something of the beauty that was more strongly present on the day she was born, but today on the day she died, I listened to her song and I was with her.

Thanks for being an important part of what we do, our Inner Circle,

Jon

Jon Owen
Pastor and CEO
Wayside Chapel

PS. For those who are looking for some weekly inspiration, you can tune in online live to Wayside Chapel’s Sunday Service every Sunday at 11am here.

We often say that we’re not much like a church, which might work for you if you’re not much like a Christian. All are welcome.

Jon Owen

Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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