Facing up to Bereavement

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                               Rev. David Womersley

FACING UP TO BEREAVEMENT

David Womersley

NO. 8   MISSING MUCH

There are many times when I think: “If only Bronwen was here!” I’ve just had visitors staying. I took for granted all the work involved. Efficient Bronwen just got on with it!

She was a great asset in my work.  When I was editor of our Mission paper, I could not have done it without her input – she corrected my spelling (before spell checks), improved my sentence construction and did all the typing. My writing is inclined to be ‘bread and butter’ stuff, hers was arresting, colourful, bright. I guess it was the artist coming out in her words.

She was a good critic, in the best sense.  If I had not been too clear in my preaching, or went on too long, I was glad of her comments. She herself was a very good speaker though sometimes a bit long! Yet I often had to persuade her to speak.  She really knew the Scriptures.  About two years before she died, we were invited to a church where we hadn’t been for 20 years.  People remembered what she spoke on the last time but no one remembered what I had said!  Maybe the Lord wanted to keep me humble!

I miss her laughter, her humour. Only this week someone reminded me of it.  Sometimes when she was watching something on TV, I would hear a sudden peal of laughter, even from my study.  She loved music and singing and formed a little choir at the church.  When pressed to take on the group she agreed providing they let her bully them! Only one could read music besides herself yet she produced some great singing. When practising around our piano I often heard gales of mirth so it couldn’t have been all bad.   She was due to sing a solo with the London Crusader Choir in Maidstone prison one furlough. Her father Garfield Vale unexpectedly died of a heart attack when preaching in Wales, but she insisted on carrying out her booking.

She had other gifts.  She loved sewing, knitting, appliqué work etc.  She turned some of her students in Congo into very accomplished sewers. She specialised in painting African flowers. She was good at photography.  When it came to choosing colour schemes for the house, she took over. Occasionally, we chose together. Today while shaving, I remembered how we had gone to a number of shops before we finally saw a big mirror that pleased us both.  You will find certain things trigger a memory.  It is so different being alone.

She had a very strong character and once her mind was made up, she stuck to it what ever others said. She could be very outspoken and rubbed some people up the wrong way.  We clashed, too, from time to time.  Never a dull moment!  She was always sorry afterwards. Now life is too quiet!  I miss the occasional spark!  Yes, I miss much but am thankful to the Lord for giving me someone with so many talents.  If you have recently lost a loved one it will help you to remember the way in which your partner’s gifts complimented yours.  God sometimes brings opposites together for a purpose.

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Dave’s Snippets

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                                         Dr. David Allen

BROKEN ARTS

From time to time the tabloid press attacks the monstrosities and the ridiculous prices paid in auctions for so-called Modern Art. I don’t often read the tabloids, unless I’m waiting for a haircut, but I have some sympathy with them in this case. As a historian and I look back on the last thousand years, it strikes me that the greatest masterpieces have been inspired by the Christian faith. Dante’s Divine Comedy, Milton’s trilogy of Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes are outstanding examples. Goethe’s Faust is another; and more recently I regard Gerard Manley Hopkins’ The Wreck of the Deutschland as the greatest poem in modern times. Still in Victorian times, the novels of Dickens are imbued with the Christian ethos: The Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist and the miniature  masterpiece A Christmas Carol.

Looking back again, the great galleries are full of masterpieces inspired by biblical scenes and the great Gothic cathedrals are mute testimony   to the sacrificial labours of their architects and builders. Durham Cathedral and St. Paul’s are marvels built to the glory of God, among many others throughout Europe.

Theologian Henri Nouwen, so moved by Rembrandt’s painting of The Return of the Prodigal, abandoned his academic career, and began to work amongst those suffering from Down’s Syndrome. Marc Chagall’s series on canvases based on Old Testament scenes are devoted to a   gallery in Nice and are amongst his best later works.

Sadly, because of the inroads of secularism and the consequent marginalisation of the Christian faith, virtually all the arts have suffered badly. Millions are paid in auctions for   pickled sheep and unmade beds and the detritus of debauchery.

I lament  these “broken arts”; but though I have some sympathy with the complaints of the  popular press, I fear that they are blatantly hypocritical because their pages are  full of soft porn and  lurid stories  that trumpet  immorality  whilst pretending to condemn it. 

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Word Studies

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                                 Rev. K. W. Munday

WORD STUDIES

Word Studies is presented by Rev. K. W. Munday, retired minister and former General Secretary of Assemblies of God for many years. He has served the body of Christ with grace and distinction, is an excellent, quality preacher and speaker, broadcaster, writer of books and still active in Christian service. His contributions here on Word Studies should prove a great means of blessing, inspiration and instruction.

NOTICES

Nothing seems to multiply as quickly as notices. They are everywhere- on the media, hoardings, stuck on telephone poles. Somebody’s always wanting to say something! Cereals, patent medicines, fast cars, coming meetings, pop concerts. Take your pick!

And the highways are not exempt. Road signs have multiplied even more quickly. There’s a movement now to minimise them because they are spoiling the countryside. Speed limits, keep left, don’t turn rights, watch out for workmen etc.

I don’t know whether we’ve grown up with them, but they have managed to almost dominate the scene. I recently visited a Church that just simply loves notices. There were at least a dozen outside, and well over 50 in the foyer and the Church. It gave the impression of some sort of exhibition: charity and missionary appeals, slimming clubs, special seminars etc,’ etc. The thing was, in the attempt to bring attention to so many activities, the sheer number of them put one reading them and so the purpose was lost.

I suppose one could divide notices into two categories. There are the important ones, and the less important ones. For instance if a notice advertises a cure for  a disease that you do not have, it’s somewhat irrelevant. Other notices are badly designed and do not grab our attention. There are, however, some notices we cannot afford to miss. If you are a keen voter, you will want to ascertain the place of your local polling station. It’s better also not to ignore speed limit signs, and notices of ‘floods ahead’ or ‘ice on road’ should be treated with respect.

The Bible has plenty of notices as ones as well! Take for instance the warning ones. Noah was told to build an ark because God was going to flood the world in judgment of man’s sin. He wisely obeyed and he and his family were saved from a watery grave. Then there was a man called Lot, he too was given a warning notice that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were going to be destroyed and it would be in his interests to get out . . . and quickly, and he did.

His sons-in-law didn’t believe all  that religious stuff and they perished. It was pretty obvious that you can’t play around with a no-nonsense God!

But there’s some super welcoming notices too in the Bible. John 3:16 “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten on that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting-Life” And Jesus said, ”Come to Me all you who labour an: are heavy laden and I will give you rest”. ITS WORTH MAKING A NOTE OF THE NOTICES!

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