Hurrah! Blogger have finally added image hosting, so I should be able to upload photos directly onto this blog instead of linking to them elsewhere (I've had nothing but glitches with the software that would have allowed me to do so up till now...)
Today Michal moves out, and tomorrow Kirsty moves in. Michal has been with us since last September (I think), and Kirsty will probably be with us until whatever point in August our house sale completes. We've had a lot of people live with us over the years, and girls have always been easier - and that includes one who didn't speak English (although, to be fair, she only stayed for two week's summer language school; but she cried into her bowl of cornflakes the morning she returned to Japan - Jo wondered if she had had such a terrible time, but it turned out she was crying because she was so moved by our hospitality that she didn't want to leave!), and the one whose mother was dying of cancer while she lived with us. The boys have just used the house, whereas the girls have engaged with us as a family.
I have perhaps four more talks to (prepare and) give before I leave the team here at St Thomas': a 10 minute one on July 10th; a 40 minute one on July 17th; a 20 minute one on July 24th; and possibly a 5 minute one on July 31st - officially my last day. I'm wondering about doing the same thing - edited/expanded - over the 10, 40 and 20 minutes. I'm thinking about Prayer.
It struck me the other morning, while I was praying as I hung out washing on the line, that the phrases of the Lord's Prayer reflect/resonate with the clauses of the 10 Commandments. If Jesus came not to abolish the Law but to fulfil it, and if each is concerned with living life to the full through relationship with God, then this is perhaps not surprising: that together these words should shape not so much our words as our imaginations.
So, to summarise something I shall develop elsewhere:
The phrases of the Lord's Prayer can be seen to relate to the Father's character (both 'daddy' and 'holy'; intimately close and yet 'other'), the Father's kingdom, the Father's provision, the Father's forgiveness, the Father's guidance, and the Father's protection.
The 10 Commandments begin with God revealing something of his character (rescuer, holy); moves on to issues of his kingdom (in conflict with the kingdoms of false gods); and his provision (the sabbath enacting trust in his provision, in contrast to striving to provide for ourselves). It moves on to honouring your father and mother. How do you do that in practice? I'd suggest, by forgiving them their shortcomings, and asking their forgiveness for your own. In other words, the Father's forgiveness. (And, of course, the parent-child relationship is foundational for all successive relationships...) And then there are the words about [life/] murder, [faithfulness/] adultery, [giving/] stealing, [honesty/] false testimony, and [contentment/] coveting. And the reality of navigating relationships well is that we need the Father's guidance and protection to do it...