Like reading Thackeray edited by Elmore Leonard

I Can’t Hear What You Say.


I can’t hear what you say, because what you do speaks so loud.  I am full of hope this Easter.  The weather is glorious in this part of northern Scotland.  The air is clear and cool, the sky is cloudless, the sea from my window is dark blue.  

But a hope far deeper than that wakens in me.  I am not Roman Catholic, and I have not listened to much of what the new pope, Francis 1, has said.  However I have seen what he is doing.

He walks humbly in unadorned vestments.  He does not wear the traditional scarlet slippers, perhaps because it seems he doesn’t want to walk the traditional path!  He lives with other Priests, not in a palace; he eats communally not alone.  He does not set himself apart but appears to be happy walking and talking with others.

When he performed the traditional ‘washing of feet’ before Easter he did not chose Cardinals as his subjects but people from a juvenile detention centre, even including two girls, one of them a Muslim.  How effective, how life changing that might be for them.  I hope Cardinals are largely on the right track anyway?

Small things perhaps, but the setting of a pattern.  He seems from this distance, to be a man of God, creating a new mould, humble, generous, very brave.  There will be so many who want to keep everything the same.  Change is frightening!  And exciting!  

Having just come back from Church myself, where the whole Easter Service was given to readings from the New Testament telling the story of the crucifixion and resurrection in the King James version, with the beautiful words in all their haunting familiarity, I am filled with hope.

I am tired of hearing arch bishops speak of their social and political views.  At Easter, at least, may we speak of Christ, of mercy and hope, of faith in an eternal life for all.  If this is not the time for gratitude, then when is?  Of courage not whining, of new strength not criticism, of hope not anger, gratitude not bitterness.

In the news today is a Christian clergy man in Aberdeen who had passed by Muslim men preying outside in the street because their Mosque is too small to hold them all.  He invited them to use his church at appropriate hours and be welcome.

They accepted.

What he does speaks more loudly than words!

Each of us is only one person, but one act of kindness spreads its light very far.

Happy Easter season.