As I sit I type this blog I am at my dining room table, whilst the smell of beef stew and pastry wafts through the entire house. I am off work until Wednesday. And today, I am cooking. I'm actually making food in preparation for a trip to Niseko with some friends over the next few days, and me and Kayoko are doing a pretty cool skill exchange. She's teaching me how to make this phenomenally brilliant beef stew that is like some kind of secret-and-ancient-family-recipe and involves chocolate (?!?) and I'm teaching her how to make treacle tart from scratch. I think it's a fair deal when all is said and done… 😉
…. I finished my essay! On time and within the word limit.
Praise. The. Lord.
Like seriously, there are moments where your own feelings of inability to achieve a task in any strength you possess mean that He is the really the only one you can thank.
On Thursday, slightly overwhelmed by the amount of work I still had left to do, I figured that drastic times called for drastic measures and used one of the private study rooms in my school to lock myself away from the world for the day. Being in my school also meant that it wasn't total isolation. I.e. At breaks some of my friends and colleagues stuck their heads around the door and checked I was still alive, stocked up with iced tea, and not in total need of chocolate.
Thursday was pretty much summed up in the following essay plan…
Yep. Peta's crazy diagram-plans strike again. One of my French friends here was particularly amused trying to interpret the meaning of some of those words! One of my Japanese friends walked in, took one look at the board and said, 'Promise me you'll never speak to me like that…!'
So post essay, I have been and can enjoy the last half of Golden Week (Japan's long May national holiday… Which happens to hit at the same time as cherry blossom viewing in Hokkaido) and now have a few days off. Yesterday I spent a great morning with some friends before teaching my final few classes, today I am baking/cooking/hanami-viewing, tomorrow is filled with church-wonderfulness and Monday/Tuesday I will head to Niseko with some friends.
So this was yesterday….
(Yes, I was informed by a few of my students yesterday that I was wearing all the colours of Spring in one…)
And this is my present day's work…
Yep. That's two treacle tarts and enough stew to feed a small army… (I trusted Kayoko for the quantities and then realised that she feeds me enough for 5 people…)
Ok. So to the serious point of today's blog…. I'm actually going to love you and leave you with an excerpt from the middle of the essay I've just handed in (which is actually mostly a quote from Benjamin Nolot) and get back to the kitchen… 😉
Jesus is beautiful 🙂
Oh, and tomorrow I'm talking and giving an extended version of my testimony at a young adults event at my church… So please pray for that and for me… And please pray for the friend who is translating for me… (We did a deal in which I promised not to use artistic-English, but I discovering that pretty much impossible… ;)) May Holy Spirit have His beautiful way 🙂
A prophet of beauty sees a distinctive, different and altogether hopeful view of the city; despite the apparent darkness of the ruling authorities or systems. A prophet of beauty has a liberated imagination.
Jesus was a prophet of beauty. Rather than find curious fascination in untimely death, He raised the dead. Rather than bemoan the plight of the hungry, He multiplied food for them. Rather than relegate issues of social justice to human rights organisations, He healed the broken hearted, set the captives free, and delivered all who were oppressed by the devil. In the hour of His greatest crisis, when He may have been tempted to turn cynical, to curse rather than bless, He cried out, ‘Father forgive them, they know not what they do’ (Luke23:34). He pointed the way home for all of humanity. Yes, He wept, but He also hoped, believed and called forth beauty in the midst of darkness. The power of Jesus’ life wasn’t that He had a positive outlook, but that He embraced the suffering, absorbed the full scope of human aggression, and shouldered the full penalty due that dark tendency, so that now He can stand triumphantly and call a fractured world out of sin and decay into the glory of His Father, the beautiful God, thus making ‘all things new’ (Rev.21:5, 2Corin. 5:17) (Benjamin Nolot 2012)
Jesus Christ clothed himself in flesh to identify with the lowest. He associated with those who were rejected by or seen as the abandoned of society. He befriended the poor, healed the sick, and challenged the religious. He socialised with women, embraced children and restored sinners. His cross, found in the place of the outcast, is ‘a symbol which leads… out of the church and… into the fellowship of the oppressed and abandoned… it is a symbol which calls the oppressed and the godless into the church and, through the church, into the fellowship of the crucified God’ (Moltmann1974:40). He saw our redemption. He met us in our weakness and our sinfulness and in doing everything to be close to us, gave us the greatest demonstration of how to engage with our cities and with our world.