All posts tagged: grace

These 33-year-old hands

I’m looking at my hands in the shower as the water runs over them, filling up the liminal lines, smoothing the ridges, the whorls that make up the unique geography of my skin. These 33-year-old hands. I’m thinking that 33 is how old Jesus was when he died. It’s a sobering thought. Who he is, who I am. What he was prepared to die for, what I am prepared to die for. His ministry, my ministry. His relationship with Father, my relationship with Father. His body, my body. And our hands. My hands; they smooth out sheets… spread peanut butter sandwiches… stick Star Wars bandaids on knees… tap-tap-tap on computer keys… swipe hair from eyes… stir soup… grip steering wheel… cup faces. His hands; they gestured in emphasis of teachings… washed dusty feet… brushed tears from eyes… rubbed forehead and temples… clasped tight under a murmuring mouth… stroked the fetlock of a donkey… turned tables over… ripped bread in two… comforted. His hands invited brute nails through flesh and bone. I look at my own pale …

Sorry, No Inspiring Words For You Here Today

I am a husk. Empty of imaginings, hollowed of epiphany. I don’t have any words for you. Whatever inspiration once resident between the ears took leave when this family started barking like dogs and ripping tissues from the box with abandon. The van Ryn household is in lockdown, quarantined by the common cold. Motivation has leeched from me, energy sapped, and it’s been effort enough to keep the kids from starvation, let alone write something erudite for publication. Gah, erudite; I didn’t mean that to sound so hoity toity. Give me coffee! Thankfully, there’s been sun. Everything is about 25 per cent better when the sun is shining. Fact. Even sickness is that much more tolerable when the sun’s out. So, this morning I sat on the deck in full sunstream with the pages of my Bible rustling as I asked God to plonk something ‘erudite’ into my head. Through a labyrinthine process of looking up this passage, researching that concept and following another train of thought, Paul’s monologue in 2 Corinthians, chapters 11 and 12 found lodging where …

Where Chan & Sukumaran Found Grace

Do you know the words of the hymn that Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran sang before gunfire quieted their voices? It was Amazing Grace, penned by John Newton in 1748. Amazing grace! How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see. Grace is a characteristic of such exquisite beauty. When you know people who clothe themselves in grace, you want some for yourself. These people seem to live on a different plane. The blows don’t bruise, the hooks don’t snag. They are quick to forgive, they refuse to take offence, they love first (not only in response) and they can quickly navigate to the core of a person – the reason for their behaviour and attitudes. They are like a long exposure image of water running over rocks and branches: all soft and fluid lines, the sharp edges blunted. ’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear The hour …

Why Chan and Sukumaran Deserve Mercy

Better to know your hour of death, or not? Great dinner party conversation starter there, albeit macabre. Generally the consensus is in the negative. With knowledge, we can make a controlled exit; one without loose ends, skeletons in closets or untended grievances. Without knowledge, we can slip away blissfully unaware. Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will know the date, hour, place and method of their death. It’s looking less and less likely that the two Australians of the Bali Nine drug smugglers will receive clemency from the Indonesian government and judiciary, meaning their executions will be carried out in coming weeks. They have languished in prison since their arrest in 2005 – since they made the mother-of-all stupid decisions. “Mercy!” the international community has cried. But letters and petitions and events and pleas have fallen on the deaf ears of president Joko Widodo who is intent on upholding the death-by-firing-squad sentence for their crimes. It’s the way things have been done since 1964. I wonder if they will need to be woken. Seventy-two hours after they have …

Design Your Own Family Traditions

My dad has a pretty warped sense of humour. Case in point: I’m going to title this example The Vegemite Assassin. At some point in my teens Father Comedy thought it would be a funny prank to creep up behind his unsuspecting victim (one of his three offspring) and smear vegemite across their face, usually leaving a brown smudge that travelled from the bottom lip to the opposite cheek, allowing for an unexpected punch of salty goop in our mouths. Aussie or no, this is not something you can prepare for. As we groaned and rolled our eyes, licking our lips and heading to the bathroom to clean up, the not-so-covert Vegemite Assassin could be heard practically choking on his own laughter. Tears, holding his sides, the works. It began to happen more often – dad’s courage being fuelled by our reactions. He even did it to a friend once. Mortifying. It wasn’t long before The Vegemite Assassin got a taste of his own… gag, and that, my friends, was the start of a decades-long family tradition that is …