The Lockdown Mother’s Day Tribute

Her children arise and call her blessed. (Proverbs 31:28)

I had all but forgotten that Sunday is Mother’s Day. Lockdown restriction, news of the pandemic, worries about the economy… these were the thoughts consuming my mind. I’m grateful to the person who reminded me however, because it’s given me time to pause and think about God’s beautiful gift of mothers. Continue reading

Letter to my Future Grandchildren

One day in the distant future I will be napping in a chair, book on my lap and reading glasses perched at the tip of my nose. One of my (hopefully many) grandchildren will sidle up to me and say, “JoJo*, what was it like to live through the pandemic of 2020?” My memory—already a somewhat redundant asset in my late-40’s—will be even hazier then and I might struggle to mutter more than, “a difficult time, my dear…yes, yes, very difficult indeed.” Which is why I have decided to write my grandchildren a letter now … in 2020, the actual time they will one day ask me about.

And this is what I want them to know: Continue reading

Lock-Ups-and-Downs

How are you really feeling in your lockdown life?

In the three weeks since lockdown started, we’ve all done our best to ‘look on the bright side’, ‘keep our chin up’ and ‘stay positive’. I wrote a rousing blog called My Seven Choices going into Lockdown and another one called How to Stay Joyful During Lockdown. All excellent advice—I meant every word. Continue reading

Denial Before Dawn – Peter’s Story

I scramble up the steep path, my heart hammering wildly, a knot of fear tightening my throat. This can’t be happening. It can’t be! Ahead of us, the moving torches of the mob are nearing the crest of Mount Zion. Despite the distance between us, their voices carry far and clear on the cold night air. Theirs is a triumphant procession, punctuated with loud calls and bursts of laughter. Continue reading

How to Stay Joyful During Lockdown

(Article written for Scripture Union,  April 2020)

How do we stay joyful during lockdown? Is it even right to feel joy when the Corona virus has brought such devastation, hardship and grief to so many people? These are the questions I’ve been asking myself ever since my daughter pointed out that the coming period is going to test our joy. I’ve turned to the Bible for answers, trying to uncover why it is important to maintain our joy in these uncertain times, and just how we can do it.

Read Full Scripture Union Article

 

(For more on the theme of JOY watch today’s RUC Lockdown Lookup Devotional)

 

My Seven Choices Going into Lockdown

At midnight my country goes into lockdown. As many other nations have done, South Africa has imposed this radical course of action to minimise the impact of the Covid-19 virus. The Corona virus is almost all we think and talk about. I’ve stocked up on toilet paper and pasta and even some things I don’t normally buy just because they were still available on the nearly empty shelves (does anyone have a good recipe for borlotti beans in brine?)

Everyone I speak to—from a safe distance of course—is on edge.

A scene from Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring comes to mind: Continue reading

Praying Leunig’s Prayer in our Time of Crisis

Last week I thought I was finished with Leunig’s Prayer. Not finished in terms of living it out, of course, but finished in my line-by-line journey through it. Then the world suddenly became a whole lot scarier. The Corona virus (Covid-19) was declared a pandemic. The number of cases in South Africa began a steady and steep climb. Borders were closed. Flights were cancelled. Social distancing became the new catch-phrase. All my networks and groups were flooded with information and advice on the virus, and my most used emoji was the mask face because it was relevant to just about every discussion (Corona being almost the sole topic of conversation). It began to dawn on me then that Leunig’s prayer could be a blessing and an anchor when applied to this time of crisis. So, I’m revisiting it one last time as a springboard to my own prayer in these uncertain times. May we draw out a few more gems of understanding as we face these uncertain times together. Continue reading

And to Let the Heart Create for Us – Leunig Prayer (5)

Our journey through Leunig’s Prayer draws to a close on this, the final line of the prayer: And to let the heart create for us. It’s the line that evokes the most resounding ‘yes!’ in my soul. Yet, I believe it comes at the end of the prayer for a reason, which is that every other line before it enables us to develop and embrace our own creative heart. Continue reading

To Allow Emptiness – Leunig Prayer (4)

Empty. Vacant. Unfilled. Barren. Void. Hollow. The list in my Thesaurus goes on, but I don’t need any more words to tell me that emptiness in any form is one I’d rather avoid. I’d rather have a full stomach, than an empty one; a built house, than a vacant plot; a full room of friends, than an unfilled one; a fertile womb, than a barren one; a life of meaning, than one void of purpose. Continue reading

To Look Softly – Leunig Prayer (3)

To Look Softly. As I take a a journey through Leunig’s simple, 5-line prayer, I come to this slightly obscure line. What would it mean to look softly on the world? Whereas the first line, God, Help me to Live Slowly and the second To Move Simply, were not necessarily easy to put into practice, at least I understood my goals: slow down; simplify. But this—look softly—seems a little baffling when I approach it with my intellect. I see the way I see, don’t I? Is it even possible to change the way one perceives the world? This line of the prayer tells me that not only is it possible, it is also necessary because there are places in my life where I do the opposite of soft-looking.

Too often I look hard. Continue reading