Admitting weakness

  Newsletter 03 August 2021  

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Lent MeetPrayLove Newsletter  

My Nan & Grandpy had a set of placemats that featured beautiful paintings of pieces of fruit:  two pears; an apple; four strawberries and so on.  I remember my Grandfather talking to me about why he liked the mats so much.  He said that if I studied the paintings I would notice that none of the fruit was perfect – each piece was blemished in some way.  He said that’s why he liked the mats.  It was quite a different take to the desire to airbrush and perfect.    

Does attraction and magic lie in our imperfections?    As we journey through the year, inspired by the life of Nelson Mandela, we reflect this month on his challenge to acknowledge weakness.

“If you come across as a saint, people can become very discouraged.  I was once a young man and I did all the things young men do,” Mandela told the Christian Science Monitor.

“In his twilight, Mandela was at pains to publish and acknowledge his weaknesses and shortcomings in his family life, in his relationships with women and his first wife, Evelyn,” John Battersby wrote for CNN. “He was keen to dispel any notion of sainthood that might be bestowed on him.  To this day, Mandela’s weaknesses, his turbulent youth and his sometimes tempestuous relationships with women can still detract from the iconic status that Mandela achieved in his lifetime.  But the responsible airing of his weaknesses in fact humanized Mandela and focused on his extraordinary strength of character and commitment in overcoming both his weaknesses and adversity in his own lifetime.   It augmented Mandela’s greatness.”

So how do we struggle with that contradiction – that in order to be the best we can be we need to acknowledge, not cover up, our weakness?   Maybe I’ll start by acknowledging that the pancake that I’ll inevitably flip onto the floor on Shrove Tuesday wasn’t actually intended for the dog.  Maybe I’ll give up virtual airbrushing.  

During Lent this year MeetPrayLove is joining in with the daily reflections  offered by Christian Aid and the Church of Scotland.    Each day the website will feature a link to Christian Aid's Count your Blessings diary.   As you click on the Count your Blessings icon it will lead you to a short reflection which expands on the theme for the day. Within the expanded reflection there will be a further hyperlink and, for those who are interested, this will lead to one of Christian Aid's in-depth theological articles.  

Practical Idea:   
Take a piece of air drying clay and make a symbol of yourself and add in a mirror so you can look at yourself.  The clay can change shape, so symbolising hope for us as we look at who we are and perhaps resolve to grow in some areas.  

Air drying clay
Simple shape cutters or a knife
Rolling pin
Wooden board
Small dish of water

Take a ball of clay
Either form it into a shape that represents you or use a rolling pin to flatten and roll out
Choose a cutter or knife and cut a shape
Dip your fingers in the water to smooth the edges
Decide where you want to place your mirror
Press it into the soft clay
Decorate the clay – press objects in while soft or paint when dry
Take time to look at yourself in the mirror

mirror 2mirror craftmirrror image

.. .or simply have fun making your own Morph!  Remember him?


Charity of the Month:  The Salvation Army   
This year marks the 150th anniversary of The Salvation Army.   When the Salvation Army’s founder William Booth was told by his son about all the homeless people sleeping on the banks of the Thames, his response was simple: “Go and do something.”  The Salvation Army offered then and continues to offer practical support to people in need, including serving three million meals a year and reuniting around 1,780 families a year.   £30 could pay for two nights’ stay at a rehabilitation centre to help someone break free from alcohol or drug addiction.

All best wishes

Sally Robertson
MeetPrayLove Editor
MeetPrayLove is part of the Methodist Church and is open to all

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