Yesterday I was given a rather fine Jack donkey - about four inches high - 'to go in your new home'. It's of course a hand-painted model. Thanks, Jill. We're beginning to think about our move, though not, as some people suggest, as far as packing. Wow, this is an incredibly busy time in a church's life even without preparing for a change of vicar, and I am lucky just to keep up with the current week's agenda without some slippage. I am aware, though, of the sagacity of a good friend's advice to allow myself space in the next two months. It would be foolish to be so driven that we don't enjoy either Christmas or our last months in a place where we have been so happy.
We now have a lift installed in our new house, one of those smart through the floor jobbies, which by the way is monstrous. My first journey in it was... well, it didn't inspire confidence. We had a builder in to quote for a wet room; so I went with Jane to the house and tried it out. Going up was fine, once I got into the compartment. And it was fine when it came down, until it reached three foot off the floor, and then it stopped. Up and down I went but each time the same. Jane and the builder pushed buttons and knobs, and tried all the safety procedures Jane could remember. I thought I'd be going down the stairs on my backside, but by then the lift really had the heeby-jeebies, and the door wouldn't open. However then we discovered that if you kept the down button continually depressed the lift would move a couple of inches at a time, have a breather, and then move again. So I sat there with my finger on the button, while Jane and Jim went outside to talk about the ramp to the door. By the time they returned they could see halfway up my shins!
It was going to be a long descent. And then suddenly for no apparent reason it moved smoothly and I landed. It had taken about half an hour! I did consider naming and shaming the manufacturers in my widely read blog, if they didn't sort it. Instead we withheld payment, which seemed to have the desired effect. The engineers came out and fixed the wrinkles, and I'm looking forward to rising and falling with more discipline than the stock market.
Talking of which, today is Advent Sunday when we look forward to the return of Jesus Christ. (IFASCO.*) In a world of scarey events like the Mumbai terrorist attacks, global financial chaos and climate change, the promise is that things may fall apart but they are not out of control. Ultimately God has a plan, which is for a new creation where justice, harmony, health and life are uninterrupted and permanent. When Jesus talked about history, his predictions have proved extraordinarily accurate. And his prediction about universal terror was that it would end with his return and then the new order would start. Meanwhile he tells us not to drown our fears but to love (care for) each other - which sounds like getting in practice for the new world.
(*IFASCO. I'm indebted to my friend, Charles Patterson, for this timely warning: I Feel A Sermon Coming On, alerting listeners to switch off or on according to preference. Observant readers will notice it's an anagram of fiasco.)