Book reviews,  Theological musings/personal reflections

Crumbs of hope

The following entry has been written by Nancy Lively, who together with her husband Bill works in the Library and also teaches our CAT students English (progress already visible!). Nancy and Bill have been coming to IBTS as volunteers for a number of years already and have become very dear friends of this place.

Here we were seated on a very nice, brand new train heading home to IBTS from a beautiful day in a medieval town in the Czech Republic.  Then the conductor made a rather long, very interesting announcement (which I told Bill sounded like – “You are all going to have to get off the train.”), the train pulled into a small station and lo and behold, everyone stood up and exited the train.  Bewildered at this turn of events, we stood with the milling crowd perplexed and quite ill at ease.  We showed our ticket with Praha on it to the conductor and she shook her head.  So, we waited with everyone.  Then the sorting started to happen and folks were sent to different tracks for trains to ‘somewhere’.  The conductor pointed to us and motioned for us to get back on the same train.  As we were walking up the aisle still confused, a woman heard us and said, “Didn’t you understand?” Well, those were words from Heaven to our ears!  She quickly explained about an accident on the train line, multiple changes we would have to make to skirt the ruined tracks and more or less took us under her wing all the way back to Prague.  Her adorable 5 year old daughter entertained us with her kitty cat (toy) and various games all the through train changes and hours of travel back to Prague where she did me the honor of allowing me to hold her hand as we hurried to catch the subway train back to Dejvicka stop. Yes, they were even going ALL the way to our subway stop. A freak accident, God’s loving care?

Another of those odd ‘coincidences’ happened to me again today and has me thinking, as I often have before, that this term is perhaps overrated along with words like serendipity, chance and accident which are often used to explain things that seem to happen exactly at the right time. 

Two weeks ago I noticed an unusual looking book waiting to be returned to the shelves in the library.  I checked it out and thought I’d get to it sometime.  I started to read the poems this morning and found several of them near the beginning of the book were about the earth as God’s creation and the responsibility we humans have for care of this creation.  Since this month is one of extra special emphasis on our IBTS campus on the topic of Creation Care, I was so pleased the book had caught my eye.  Interestingly the authors of the book, Clare McBeath and Tim Presswood  are not Christians living in some rural setting with forests and farms, streams and wild animals surrounding them.  They are part of a small Christian community serving in that very un-Eden-like spot called Mersey Street.  Still glimpses of God’s good creation, human, plant, animal, air, water and all manner of things are always present to those who keep the eyes of their souls open.  All the poems in this unusual book have been and are being used in Christian community worship.

I really suspect this book will become another of those in our wonderful library which I find I ‘must’ own. 

Crumbs of Hope: Prayers from the City by Clare McBeath and Tim Presswood

In this City
In this city we gather together
Your people together
We gather in this city
Far away from the fields and the mountains
Far away from nature
We gather but we do not sow
We gather from shops from shelves
We gather but we do not sow
We gather together
We gather in your presence
We gather broken and cut off
For we have broken the connection
Between us and you
Between ourselves and your creation.
We gather in this morning
To share our lives with one another
To share our lives with you.
We gather this morning to celebrate our connectedness
To share and look forward
Resurrection and new life
New creation
We gather in this city
We gather together and know that
You are with us.

One Comment

  • Keith

    Nancy, had you realised Clare McBeath studied at IBTS ? She had at least a year at IBTS in Ruschlikon then completed her ministerial formation at Northern Baptist College, Manchester, my alma mater. So you see what good seminaries can do !

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