The Presence of God

After community breakfast yesterday I visited the home of a friend, clambered over belongings 60cm deep and took in his joy at his painting on the wall.

The Presence of GodEarlier he had arrived late for breakfast but we unpacked again so we could chat while he munched on a large bowl of cereal.

We prayed for his parents and he told me that Mary backwards stands for both

You’re Really A Mess
You Really Are Magical

because life isn’t static but we are always coming out of tough times, recovering; or doing better, enjoying life.

I said it reminded me that we are made in the image of God (magical) but fallen and broken and frail (mess) and that Jesus gave his life to forgive and heal our mess and to restore and discover our magical.

My friend thought this was a reasonable interpretation of Mary backwards.

And I still count it a privilege after all these years to be asked for the simple act of brotherhood of a shared meal and to be given the honour of a private artistic viewing and to discuss the profound meaning of words backward.

I know we in the church (and more broadly) argue a lot about the presence/reality/felt existence of God and some say we only need our faith in the Scriptures and others that we find him as we sing or pray and maybe others think that a pilgrimage is required and perhaps all are correct together.

But I remember Jesus said what you do for the least of these you do for me as if he would be intentionally present to renew and reassure us and that’s what I felt after just a few hours sleep, an hour of setup, serving 40 breakfasts including one home delivery, two after we closed, praying with troubled souls and discussing backward anagrams.

Not tired. Renewed, reassured.

And I know whose presence I was experiencing, right where He said He would be all along.

Likewise the day before nursing a baby in the cool of the night waiting for him to settle into sleep. Likewise the next evening being alongside a daughter and her aged  mother as they negotiated the challenges of daily life and shared grief with nobility and tears and laughter.

The presence of God is everywhere when we forget to look at ourself. Life is not one long selfie.

And just as well… I take a terrible selfie…

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Brush with advertising fame

B.W.A.F # 1: The new Pizza Hut ad where four delivery boys hop out of four identical Pizza Hut Morris Minis and walk into houses – filmed on Young St, Annandale a few blocks from home. Passed them making the ad while taking someone to the airport… No free pizza unfortunately.

B.W.A.F # 2: The Kit Kat ad with a guy impersonating an amp while people try out guitars in a guitar store – filmed in Billy Hyde pretty much next to our church, Eternity. They even ‘hired’ our car park while filming for the day. No free guitars and no free Kit Kats unfortunately.

I haven’t had a brush with Old Spice yet, but I’m working on it…

Utterance has no commercial blog for profit arrangements with these companies but all offers considered….

Audio/Photo Post: Art, death & everything on Kensington St

Kensington St Broadway is a handy shortcut if you are heading to Redfern or Cleveland St. Turns out it is more than a little interesting with food, art, education, death and development all delving into this Sydney back street.

Turn off Broadway with the shadow of the UTS tower on your back and walk steadfastly past curious artefacts and digging developers to come face to face with your mortality. Listen to my impromptu description:

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Farm in a bag brings food to the slums

The greatest population  movement in human history is underway as people on all continents leave rural areas and flood into ever-larger cities.

Africa is no exception and one community organisation has devised a way to bring the farm to the city, even the crowded slums of Nairobi, Kenya.

Life is hard in Nairobi’s densely populated slums but thanks to the innovative farm-in-a-sack project, some residents at least are able to return to their agricultural roots.

Poor families in the Mathare slum are given more than 40 seedlings which can be grown into food in just a few weeks. And even though the streets are narrow and garbage is strewn everywhere, mini-farms are cropping up on spare land.

The project was started by the Italian organisation Cooperazione Internazionale  (COOPI), which brought in rural agriculturists to teach community groups how to create vegetable farms in the slums.

COOPI provided each participating household with one sack containing soil mix and 43 seedlings to cultivate: 25 spinach, 15 kale, 2 capsicum and 1 spring onion. 

The vegetables can be harvested many times for at least one year. Capsicum and spring onions provide passive pest control instead of chemicals while the spinach is a rapid growing source of nutrition – sometimes even growing out of the side of the sack before being properly planted.

Claudio Torres, from COOPI, said of the project: ‘There are two effects. First people really have more food,  nutrition and micronutrients. But also, this brings together the community.’

Earlier this year, it was inspiring to meet in Sydney Pastor Evans Mage from Nairobi who is planting churches through the slums. How amazing it would be to join his spiritual planting with this natural planting, to truly change lives. PH (Source: CNN)

No knee caps

“How are you going today, George?” I ask while standing in line for a meal at the Lambert St Lunch, Camperdown.

George is 60ish with long gray hair and unshaven face; is wearing a t-shirt, too-small shorts and joggers and carries his walking stick.

“Oh, not that good. I nearly fell over on the way here.”

“That’s no good,” I reply. “What happened?”

“Have you ever had your leg just slide out, like this, while your walking,” he says while demonstrating a strange sideward leg movement, precariously. A lunch volunteer, plate of food in hand, is watching as our conversation unfolds.

“Maybe George, but have you had that happen?”

“All the time,” he says seriously. “It’s probably because I’ve got no knee caps, so I’ve got to be careful.”Read More »