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.
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…