That was the first night since I have been here, that I failed to sleep, or at least it felt like it. Remind me not to listen to the news last thing at night in future. It leaves me feeling so outraged and upset, in contrast to the long succession of peaceful nights I've had in this house, with the moon shining in through the shutters, and the occasional owl or other mysterious spooky bird in the distance.
'Onwards and upwards', as the saying goes. I made an effort to go and do my weekend shopping at 'Es Cuco' before lunch. For the first time I had to queue outside before being admitted. I didn't mind as I had a tiny sliver of shade under the shop's toldo to shield me from the bright hot sun, 26C today. I couldn't find soya milk - probably looking in the wrong place, and I forgot to buy a pack of beer, so after lunch I walked down to Sumo to get these.
In between times I got to work on next week's Acts Chapter 19 bible study. It was very interesting to research, and got me reflecting on aspects of the content of the Acts which Pentecostal theologian Professor Walter Hollenweger taught his mission seminar students about in the Selly Oak Colleges thirty five years ago. He was a remarkable man, having found his faith in a post war Pentecostal church and being blessed with a remarkable inquisitive intellect. His published doctorate reviewed the field-work he'd done investigating third world Pentecostal churches, which contributed to the development of poor communities in an amazing way, through literacy and agricultural education schemes, often branded 'communist by US client states. I first heard him talk about third world Pentecostalism at a student conference in the early seventies.
Maybe my memory is faulty, but I have a recollection that his formation as a theologian was influenced by Karl Barth, one of the great 20th century protestant reformers of thought. He offered students a very different way into thinking about biblical truth, not abstract and idealistic but rooted in the foundations of Hebrew thinking and acting. There's still a lot to learn!
I had a call from a congregation member who's been accompanying the family and friends of a friend suffering from coronavirus, who'd finally succumbed. He's been asked to go with them to the crematorium and 'say a few words'. It's what people often say when they ask a Funeral Director to recruit a parson for them, a trusted role which is a privilege to occupy and which I often do at home willingly. The trauma which the family has experienced seemed to me not to call for a stranger to be inserted into their time of grief, when there was a trusted Christian friend there with them, so I offered some resources from scripture and the Anglican prayer book for use at the crem. At my age, I'm less interested in performing my traditional role than I am in encouraging and supporting others as they are drawn into ministry by the Spirit. If we don't, I think the church will die anyway.