Fences

Is there anything unique about the neighbourhood in which you live ?

Rural Newfoundland is characterized by white picket fences.

These were created, originally, to keep wandering sheep from entering people’s yards .The fences also protected the vegetable gardens, which Newfoundland housewives maintained. The potatoes, carrots, beets and onions grown by the women supplemented the local diet of cod, along with delicious home-made bread which they baked for their families. Families of the rural fishing villages were often large. My friend Veronica is one of eleven children, while her husband had fourteen siblings.

I went for a walk today, and I admired the fences in our neighbourhood.

The local carillon in our church bell tower was playing !

The song I heard was appropriate for these days of isolation.

It was : ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’. You are probably familiar with this hymn. The words of the chorus are :

Glory, glory, Hallelujah !

Glory, glory, Hallelujah !

Glory, glory, Hallelujah, God’s truth is marching on !

We will trust, and not be afraid.

Lessons From a Tunic

Have you ever had a dangerous shopping experience ?

In the Jerusalem Old City Market, our group was walking along briskly.

I was lagging behind, because I was shopping for a white tunic made of Egyptian cotton. This type of cotton has long fibres and makes a beautiful, durable fabric.

Because of my intense focus on my shopping, I found myself separated from the group!

Suddenly I felt two strong arms grab me from behind. My ‘kidnapper’ pulled me into the back of one of the shops, and quickly fastened a silver necklace around my neck. He demanded that I pay him three hundred American dollars for the item.

I knew I was in danger, and so I bartered with the man, hoping someone would figure out where I had disappeared to.

The minutes dragged by, and then I heard a loud baritone voice yell : ‘Leave her alone !’ It was Father Matthew, the leader of our group. As a good shepherd, he realized that one of his sheep was missing, and he came looking for me.

When he asked how I had gotten lost, I explained that I was shopping for a tunic. Father Matthew came with me then, and waited while I bought one. He then carried my shopping bag, and we walked to rejoin our group.

Spiritual sheep need to be together. We are vulnerable, and unhappy when separated from our groups. This is the time when we are unable to gather in public, and so we cling even more closely to the words and the guidance of Jesus, our Great High Priest. We believe what the scripture has taught us, and we know that we are continually in the hands of The Good Shepherd.

The Last Roses

Are you confident in sharing the good about Jesus with strangers ?

I confess that although I enjoy writing about the Lord, I am less comfortable sharing the life-saving message of Salvation person to person.

I realized that with the Holy Spirit’s help, I could do so much better in this area. I learned this today when I was driving to my friend Bonnie’s flower shop to pick up some roses.

A man was riding a bicycle down the middle of the road . I had to slow down, and it gave me time to carefully study the message that he had written on the back of his blue jacket.

It was : ‘JESUS IS THE ANSWER. I TRUST HIM FOR EVERYTHING.’.

There, on the back of his jacket, this evangelist had written a summary of the message of Christianity !

These will be the last roses sold for awhile in our town, as shops are closing.

I thought of the women in Columbia who grow these beautiful flowers. They often work under very difficult conditions to support their families. I prayed for them, and for the people facing job loss globally, as this virus crisis continues.

The bicycle rider taught me the importance of sharing the Gospel in its simplest form : Jesus is the answer. Let us trust him for everything. Let us trust, and not be afraid.

Royalty

Are you comfortable when you are alone ?

These days, we have many fewer distractions, and how we feel about ourselves becomes evident. Christians have no need to compare themselves with anyone, for the Bible tells us that we are God’s chosen people, and Royalty.

(1 Peter 2:9)

When we receive Christ’s gift of inner peace, nothing frightens us. Unbelievers are watching us now, more than they ever have. Will we show them the calm that a genuine relationship with Jesus brings us?

For hundreds of years, some Christians have felt the need to bicker, and to divide themselves into little groups, hurling insults at each other, in particular, at Catholics, like me.

Churches are closed now, including the eight, (yes, eight !) In our tiny village on the sea.

Do you think God might be trying to tell us something ?

The picture is of me, and my first-born, on the day of his baptism.

Logophile ?

I have a confession to make ; I am a logophile.

I suspect that you may be a logophile too. Don’t worry, though, this is nothing ‘bad’. ‘Logophile’ means a lover of words !

Writers are , by their nature, logophiles, because we love and appreciate the power of words. Jesus himself is known as ‘The Word made Flesh.’

Because we understand the great influence of words, we know how important it is to use our written and spoken words to encourage people. At the same time, it is beautiful to be encouraged by the words of others, and to train ourselves to listen carefully to people when they speak.

Being a logophile, I am also fascinated by other languages. Canada is officially bilingual in English and French. I also study Italian, Swedish, Arabic, Spanish, Tagalog, and German, which is closely related to English.

There is also another reason why I study other languages.

Numerous research studies have indicated that studying and speaking more than one language is an excellent way of preventing the development of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. This is another healthy aging tip !

Pictured is the present view from my window. The sea ice has come in. Once it retreats, the majestic icebergs will come !

Sea ice in Newfoundland is a sign of approaching Spring !

The Ducks Will Not Be Going

Do you agree that God is pleased when countries help each other ?

The plague of locusts that has devastated crops in countries of Eastern Africa also has also spread to areas of Pakistan.

The billions of locusts are voracious eaters, and are creating fears of widespread famine.

Everyone these days is aware of “protecting the environment”, and pesticides are often frowned upon.

Therefore, China graciously offered to deploy an army of 100,000 ducks to Pakistan, to treat the locust plague the natural way. Ducks are capable of eating many locusts in a day.

However, academics, studying the situation more carefully, realized that the ducks, who require water, would not do well in the dry areas of Pakistan, and thus their deployment was stopped. Pesticides were offered instead to stop the destructive insects.

Plagues, famines, and deadly viruses are reminders to personkind, formerly known as mankind, that we are all members of the human family, and we need to work together.

May God bless the ducks, who reminded us of that.

High Expectations !

Are you familiar with the term : ‘Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched ‘?

It means don’t make plans when something hasn’t happened yet.

Last year there was a frenzy of excitement in a neighbouring outport when the business operators ‘Bradley Brothers’ held a media conference in town ! They said that they were turning the former run-down shrimp processing plant into a marijuana growing operation ! Yes, marijuana growth, use and sales are legal in Canada !

In typical outport fashion, the residents made immediate plans. Dozens of high-paying jobs were anticipated to be shortly available at the plant.

People told their relatives, working in western Canada, that work would soon be available locally, and they could come home to their families.

As some outdoor work started on the old shrimp plant, the local credit union received applications from people applying for loans for trucks to drive to their new jobs.

When the huge letters ‘Bradley Brothers’ appeared on the run-down shrimp plant, it seemed like the deal was done.

Alas, the new business failed to materialize, the Bradley Brothers disappeared, and the loan applications were cancelled. No explanation was given, and rural Newfoundlanders did not ask any questions.

The long term studies of how ‘weed ‘affects the brain have not yet been completed.

The large sign : BRADLEY BROTHERS was never removed.

Pictured is a marijuana plant, artistically photographed, courtesy of Unsplash.