Monday, 4 August 2008

Sewing and err sowing!

Oh the embarrassment of the situation speared by my own curtain (drapery) pole! We had had some curtain poles made to order (they cost a grand total of 8 Lats each =£9,
 $17.66) and they took a month to make and they have been lying around our house for another month while I got around to making the curtains. I obviously wasn't paying attention and speared myself on the end of the particularly sharp one, fortunately missing my eye but with a definite mark on my forehead. Well after that Ian decided to put a protective cork on it, it is a wonder he didn't think of that before knowing me . I spent most of the week sewing curtains, they seemed to take ages but I managed to work out how to sew on tabs at the top in a way that I can use them to take the curtains on and off the pole - we can't slide anything on and off them.

It struck me this week that I know that the Gospel is the good news of Jesus and that it is not just  confined to "The Cross Story" but a re-reading of Acts in Acts for Everyone by Tom Wright reminded me of this fact. The Gospel is the story of Jesus and his followers and that includes our stories too and the way Jesus has impacted on that story. We don't need to have our prepared five steps to salvation story - that is not the full extent of the Gospel. The Gospel is not just about an event 2000 years ago but the ongoing story of how God is intimately involved in his creation and that is as individual as you and I, yes it has to be understood in the context of Jesus' death and resurrection but it didn't end there! I guess that from time to time I do need to remind myself of some fairly basic facts, it is so easy to make things complicated or to simplify things down so much it looses its individuality - hence the five/seven/ten steps to......, one size fit all, mentality.

Tom Wright's comment on Acts 11:1-18, where Peter has to explain himself to the circumcised believers is very thought provoking  "If we want to understand, and learn from, the complex debates faced by the early church, we would do well to ponder their entire situation, and contemplate the ways in which our own theological debates are more conditioned than we sometimes realise by the swirling currents of political, social and cultural pressure". It tied in nicely with an article I read about harmony on a Pacific island and how easy it was for the missionaries who turned up to tell them about Jesus as it fitted in so well with the Pacific islanders culture, it would have been easy for the missionaries to assume that they have all the answers and to ignore the culture of the Pacific people and ride roughshod over them. Instead they continue to be a harmonious group of people, extending friendship to each other and visitors alike and now with a faith in Jesus too. It led to a chat with my friend Kathleen about gungho evangelism that assumes no previous knowledge and is culturally insensitive. This has caused so much disharmony over the years and subjugates other cultures, it tends to demonise the "others" whoever the others are. How often do we view the arabic nation as zealots and terrorists always flagellating themselves, killing each other and who are always a danger to us, yet the arabic people can also be a very hospitable people who love their families (see pictures 1 & 2). It should make us think when we realise the importance that the Bible places on hospitality and I think we have a long way to go before we show the same kind of hospitality the arabic people can display. 

Continuing on with the theme of wildlife particularly insects a hornet flew into our house this week. Here is a picture of the beast to show you how huge they can be. The hornet seemed to be still kicking slightly despite the death blow it suffered so it was added to some bleach water which was used to dispatch those Colorado beetles from a few weeks ago (well they were proving rather difficult to dispatch). The jar they were in interestingly enough now seems to be growing some crystals which we surmise are protein crystals (but if you have any better ideas then do please let us know)

Thursday we had an urgent email from a friend of ours, her husband was on the way to Latvia and his plane was delayed by two hours, could we relay a message to the people picking him up. Of course we were happy to oblige but it felt odd to be relaying messages to people we haven't actually seen in a few years due to us moving about. Anyway said delayed husband will be coming to our house later on this week and Ian and I are really looking forward to showing our friend of over 20 years around our new home (should take a few minutes). It is amazing to track our path from the days that our friend Tipler, as we affectionately call him (well it is his last name), was an art dealer who used to come to our coffee bar once a week in the church that I attended then. He made it known that he was also a Christian and admired our outreach into the community. Ian and I eventually moved nearer to Tipler and he welcomed us into his own church community where we stayed for around 15 years. 

Friday there was a partial solar eclipse around the middle of the day. It was a weird half light for a good half and hour and if you look carefully at our pinhole picture you can see the shadow of the moon covering about 40% of the sun- okay it is not that obvious but believe me anyway!

Saturday and Sunday we went to watch a bike race in the nearest big town of Madona. There aren't that many routes you can take around the area on tarmac roads (paved roads), so there was no circular routes. It was good fun to watch the guys and a few women race. The police had an exciting day as they went ahead and stopped the traffic - or rather kind of forced you off the road actually so the bunch sprint behind could use all the road. There was an interesting mix of bikes and even a couple of mountain bikes. Having travelled the course to see where they would be riding I wondered if the mountain bikes might have an advantage, some of those road surfaces looked a little rough. 

The bike race also went through a town called Cesvaine 
which has a very picturesque castle or palace in it. Last time I saw it was being restored after a fire. It uses the local stone and you see many buildings in Latvia made of similar small boulders of different pink hues. We would love to have a stone house, I think they would look wonderful when they are done up. Some today just look very atmospheric with trees growing up through the middle of them. We didn't actually go in the castle we will save that for when we have visitors (hint, hint!)

The bakery in Ērgli looks like it is nearly finished - as you can see it is a wonderful bright orange. Hope they have bread and not just pastries but I am sure we will be sampling both if we get the chance. 

Oh yes nearly forgot! I did really do lots of sewing and some sowing. Three pairs of curtains as I mentioned and I sowed a few rows of carrots, lettuces, beans, onions and leeks (to use as spring onions/ green onions)

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