Saturday, February 2, 2008

A lesson in Grace

Last year, I was privileged to be able to see some of The Salvation Army's work in Kenya. I was met with wonderful hospitality everywhere I went and learnt much from many incredible people. This week I have been reading a book, "More Than Eyes Can See", by Rhidian Brook who spent 9 months with his family observing the work of The Salvation Army amongst communities that are being devastated by AIDS. The book begins in Kithituni, a small rural village in Kenya, where I also stayed. Brook tells about a number of spontaneous and (for him) unexpected expressions of grateful prayer at what seemed at first to be relatively small things:

The thanking-of-God continued way beyond my own capacity for thanking Him but I was fast having to recalibrate my sense of what to be grateful for and with it my capacity for thankfulness. We were beginning to learn that here, each day got through was something to be celebrated and a person could find in the smallest provision - milk from a cow, a soda, a glass of water - something to be grateful for.

I came back with a similar story, thinking of all the half-hearted murmurings of grace I had shared before dinner. I am reminded of how easy it seems to be for us to slip into ritual, to lose sight of the real meaning of religious observances, and at the same time, how we have a responsibility to ensure that our planet's resources are distributed more evenly.

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