In Cambridge ‘Week 5 blues’ is a thing. Our terms are 8 weeks long and week 5 is notorious for people having reached the point of utter tiredness whilst also being a long way off from the end of term.
But for me, the past weekend has been really wonderful. On Friday I got to spend lots of time with Naomi, who came over and worked with me in the morning and then cooked me dinner in the evening. She’s at Jesus College, and a ‘Blues+Chill’ event was being held that evening in the chapel. So we went along (and Umang, Lucy, and Lucy’s cousin Helena all joined us there too) and got to lie on beanbags under duvets and blankets for an hour, whilst wonderful musicians serenaded us (with ‘Pure Imagination’ and ‘You’ve got a friend in me’ amongst others). I love music, being round lots of people, and being comfy – so this was an ideal evening!
Saturday morning involved my putting way tooo much liquid detergent in my washing, but also a lovely time with Katherine (her blog). We walked in the Granchester Meadows, talked, prayed, had a stand off with a cow blocking our way, and I got to enjoy both the chocolate pastries and the hilarious story of a fruit-fly infestation that Katherine brought along with her. My friendship with her is a very treasured one, and it’s been such a privilege getting to know her over the past year. Last year when I put her number in my phone, I misheard her surname and typed it in accordingly, but I’ve left it as it is – it takes me back to the fun of being a fresher when you didn’t even know other people’s surnames, and reminds me how much a friendship can develop in a short space of time and the blessing of that.
In the afternoon, I went to a women’s event at church. The talk was about comparison and taught me such a lot. I had been very judgemental about the topic (thinking that it wouldn’t be relevant to where I was at), but Fiona really convicted me of some areas that I need to work on (and she used her prophetic gifting to bless people in the room).
She explained how both favourable and unfavourable comparison with others is destructive, and that both are rooted in pride (either comparison distracts from our weaknesses, or makes us resent our weaknesses and feel discontent at the strengths we’ve been given). Both undermine the unity that the church is gifted with. When we compare ourselves favourably, we reveal our values (what qualities in a person we favour) and it leads to our loving others inadequately. Many people have missed out on meeting with angels this way (Hebrews 13:2).
When we compare ourselves unfavourably, we reveal our dreams (what qualities we desire). Too often, these dreams centre around us, and on things which don’t matter. We are to trust Jesus for his provision of all we need, and to ask for bigger and better dreams. Dreams not of wealth or power or fame, but dreams to reach out to the lost, to bring about justice and to see the kingdom of God come through our actions. Our weaknesses are our saving grace, they remind us of our dependency on God and through them we are made perfect (2 Corinthians, and see here).
After this, came hot-dogs and then fireworks on Midsummer Common!! I am a big fireworks fan 🙂
One of the best parts of the fireworks this year was being stood by a little boy (light sabre in hand) sat on his father’s shoulders. His wonder was a beautiful, beautiful thing.
As the fireworks went up he would go ‘ooooooooo…. BOOM!’, and then ‘oooooo….YIYIYI!’ and ‘Oooh that was a giant one!’. That sense of wonder is one I want to be imitating as I go around the ordinary everyday.
Actually, that ordinary everyday beauty was very clear to me today. This morning I woke up to glorious sunshine and went to make baguettes for students to eat after the second morning service. This was really good because I got to chat with the other people there and learn new things about them and it was also a test of patience for me and reminder of how bad I am at serving (only about ten baguettes in did I feel myself wanting to complain about having to butter for so long).
I then went to the Union to see KT Tunstall speak. I got the low-down on ‘Suddenly I see’ being written as a response to the album cover of Patti Smith’s ‘Horses’, and even got to shake her hand and have a photo with her. She was a fascinating speaker. I found it really interesting how she talked about ‘success’ and her journey with it. She spoke about how fame can become a little like a drug, with the effect of winning an award being like a high which wears off after a couple of weeks. She said to counter this, “there has to be this foundation beneath achievements, which are basically superficial”. This was interesting to me, coming as it did a couple of days after reading 1 Corinthians 3 which proclaims Jesus to be a foundation. I really appreciated her generosity and openness. She even performed the song ‘It took me so long to get here, but here I am‘ from her new album (a whole 4 metres away from me, major fangirling).
Today I also got to Skype Siân and I did the review of October in my journal. I was so astonished by reading the tales of blessing and joy recorded by what I’ve written over the course of those 31 days. I can so clearly see the ways God is at work in my life and teaching me things (and I have church in 30 minutes where I will be taught even more!). That is a wonderful thing.