MY SISTER AND I in 1930
With our mother (top left) and our father and three of his sisters Isa, Jean and Lizzie
WHO’S AFRAID OF THE BOGEYMAN?
There’s a wicked spirit
Watching round you still,
And he tries to tempt you
To all harm and ill.
(from an old children’s hymn)
I suppose I thought it normal for a small child to have bad dreams. Looking back, I remember that during the night I often woke up crying, and one of my parents had to comfort me.
I know I had a vivid imagination and suspected that ghosts lived among the coats hanging in the dark hall of our tenement house. During winter nights, with the living room lit only by one gas mantle, my sister and I would often glance up at the window above the door leading to the hall, half-expecting to see horrible faces watching us.
Perhaps much of my fear sprang from the fact that I was really afraid of God, and believed that, if I misbehaved, he would punish me there and then. The words of another children’s hymn were very real to me -
God is always near me
Hearing what I say,
Knowing all my thoughts and deeds,
All my work and play.
Children had to be especially good on Sundays, for it appeared that God didn’t like unnecessary noise on his holy day. We went to church of course, and after the service our parents would go home, while my sister and I stayed on for Sunday school. In the afternoon, if the weather was fine, we might all go for a walk to the cemetery or perhaps along the canal bank.
Where we lived, children didn’t play outside on Sundays. In the public parks the swings were all chained up and no ball games were allowed. I suppose that the only shops open were newsagents early in the morning, and perhaps an ice cream shop later in the day. I must mention that in those days motor cars were used mainly for pleasure, and on Sundays would stay in the garage. I knew of car-owning families who would walk to and from church - in some cases a round trip of four miles.
At home we could play the piano, provided the music was “suitable”, and what we listened to on the wireless was vetted by our mother.
The war of course was to change all that, and from 1939 onwards, even in our family, the concept of keeping the Sabbath holy lost much of its importance.
FROM CHURCH NEWSLETTERS
Life groups meet on Wednesday evening at 7 pm for food, fun and fellowwhipping.
Next Sunday: 11 am - “Jesus Walks on the Water”. 7 pm - “Searching for Jesus”
At the evening service Miss Charlene Moxon sang "I Will Not Pass This Way Again," giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
Next Sunday the minister will preach his farewell sermon, after which the choir will sing “Break Forth Into Joy."
I like this colourful Chinese Painting -
“Lotus Flower Breaking the Surface” by Yun Shouping 1633-1690
A QUOTE FOR TODAY -
The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.
(Baron Pierre De Coubertin 1863-1937, founder of the modern Olympics)
In Wednesday’s Daily Mail Geoffrey Wheatcroft described the modern Olympic Games as “polluted by politics, consumed by professionalism, swamped by nationalism, tainted by doping and overwhelmed by an impossible giganticism”. Today the opening ceremony takes place in Beijing, and the hope is that, despite the controversy surrounding these Games, everything will go off without any trouble.
In the West we find it difficult to understand China’s leaders and their attitude to many issues. This is the nation whose ancestors are credited with the invention of gunpowder, silk, porcelain, lacquer, paper, paper banknotes, toilet paper, cast iron, printing, the plough, the compass - the list is endless. And six hundred years before the birth of Christianity, China had great philosophers like Confucius and Lao-Tzu.
This video is called “Beijing Welcomes You”. It lasts almost 7 minutes, but it’s worth watching.
ONE LAST THOUGHT - In the end, it's not the years in your life that count.
It's the life in your years.(Abraham Lincoln)