Second Sunday after the Epiphany
Isaiah 62:1- 5
I will be 60 in 2022.
TIM @ 40 sparks many memories for me using those given passages, seemingly unconnected. People paving the way to my name being put forward, without me even knowing. Being asked to describe myself, my character – and having no words or language to do that at 21.
A deep total immersion into multi-cultural, multi-racial life and issues, as a white girl who had never been abroad. Thrown into culture shock, having to admit to prejudices, racism, unconscious bias, stereotypes, whilst also recognising that, as a white person with history and baggage from a colonial English past, I still had worthy characteristics and skills to give.
Into that storm, ascribing glory to God, (and thanks to Helen Lidgett and Rev. John Slow) I was led through steep learning curves with a wonderful group who sang together, supported each other and grew together in understanding different ways and views.
Outside the group I met my husband. More turmoil and learning curves, more gracious glory and amazing experiences. With God.
At times it was so hard, but I heard the still small voice of God in prayer: fear not, for I have redeemed you. Just think how much your husband loves you – and yet I love you more. 8000 miles away from family and friends – and yet I have provided family and friends who love you unconditionally just because you are you. Learning so much from the students being taught.
I have given you a beautiful country, Guyana, as home and space and birth place of your son. Beautiful, fragile strength of Guyana – with God in every corner.
Plunged back into grey, bleak U.K, I juggled my job, a struggling child, and ill health. But with God and the support of church and family, friends, I was baptised with understanding, compassion and self knowledge. Into the depths with God and renewed, re-educated, resurrected, strengthened and sent forth to education, social care, to be honest, patient, to be with and of that community and the still quiet voice of prayer.
Do not be afraid, I am drawing all daughters and sons to me, from all the corners, by name – these were, empowering words from God to His family.
To retirement and beginning new voyages, parents as children, children as adults, moving on the journey with this world’s family, with God in her family, in mission still.
Let us pray
-Cheryl Bradshaw, United Reformed Church
Our Mother Father,
In perfect harmony
With Son and Holy Spirit I
n perfect harmony
With self and creation
We stand in awe
At your perfection And in disbelief
That you still draw Us to you
From all the corners Of the earth,
A grain of sand
Amongst the others
But individually One and known.
We praise your name
In overwhelming awe
And a simple