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PROCESSING


Dear Friends
 
On Thanksgiving Sunday I gave thanks for our son and daughter-in-law Paul and Burnette expecting the arrival of a baby, our first grandchild, in May next year. Subsequent news has been tough for all of us as scans show a failure of the heart to form and lymphatic problems. It seems there is very little chance of this baby surviving full term, though we continue to trust the Lord for the outcome. We have had to do a lot of processing of this deeply saddening news over the last week.
 
This set me to thinking about this distinctly human characteristic of “processing”. Computers have central processing units (CPU) and the more information they can process and the faster they do it, determines the effectiveness of the computer. So, what about human beings? In volatile times such as we are in these days, we are assailed by challenges and uncertainties from many sides. I have been writing about some of these challenges in previous letters. We in CCK, whether individually or together, have been asked to do a lot of processing. Computers sometimes freeze when they are unable to process information. People can do the same. When we stop processing we lock into resentment, unforgiveness, prejudice, blame, self-pity, and a host of other zero-possibility states of heart and mind.
 
I am sure we have all had experience of having had a conversation with someone where they are powerfully in one or another bind, and then encountering them some time later and they are in a very different place of heart and mind. What has happened? They have been creatively processing things. When that is done in openness to God, processing becomes very redemptive.
 
Not only individuals, but communities also process, and we can help each other find new perspectives and openness that help us not get stuck, or “frozen”, to use the computer analogy. With Donald Trump winning the USA presidential election, the whole world is thrown into a season of considerable processing, because the ripple effects will be widely felt. A great pastoral gift we give one another is help and wisdom in communal processing.
 
Processing keeps us moving forward, it releases our resources of creativity, opens new possibilities and enables us to keep hold of the precious gift of hope. One of the most striking statements of a commitment to keep moving forward even in the grim days of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Babylonian exile, is found in the prophet Habakkuk. All three chapters of the book are an insight into a man of God seeking to process a season of grim disappointment and to help his community to do the same. He ends with the amazing assertion: “
 
The example of Habakkuk is one which is often seen in men and women of faith. Knowing God and being assured of his ultimate faithfulness enables us to keep processing and holding on to grace and hope even in the toughest times. Who knows what the next years are going to deliver and how much they will ask of us. What we do know is that, in the Lord, we are enabled to keep processing, maintaining hearts that are open to him and to one another. I already see that happening in many people involved in our university crisis and I am hugely heartened by it.
 
The writer of Hebrews encourages us, saying, “Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” We are part of a long tradition of resilient faith, and we are all in this together; let’s keep processing!
 
Warm blessings
 Rob

ROB TAYLOR, 16/11/2016

 
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Christ Church Kenilworth  |  Cnr Summerley & Richmond Road  |  Tel: +27 (021) 797 6332  | E-mail: reception@cck.org.za
Service Times: Sunday Worship  8.00am, 10.00am & 6.30pm  |  Wednesday Service: 10am   | Thursday Refresh: 9.15am

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