Church of England · Churches Together in Britain · Felixstowe · Lent · Sermon · The Velveteen Rabbit

Becoming Real – Day 34

Becoming Real: 40 Days with the Velveteen Rabbit

Day 34 – Saturday after Passion Sunday – 27th March2010

 

To Read:

He thought of the Skin Horse, so wise and gentle, and all that he had told him.  Of what use was it to be loved and lose one’s beauty and become Real if it all ended like this?  And a tear, a real tear, trickled down his little shabby velvet nose and fell to the ground.

from The Velveteen Rabbit
by Margery Williams

 

To Reflect:

‘What’s the use?’  The rabbit’s question echoes in the lives of those around us and even perhaps our own. What was the point of giving yourself away to the love of another if you ended up on the rubbish heap of life? Would it not have been better to have not gone on the journey to begin with?  That way at least we would still be attractive and have our own life safe in the nursery.  That way we would not be threadbare and dog eared.  That way we would never catch any diseases – Scarlet Fever or others – and we would live to be unloved another day.

Remember the conversation with the Skin Horse about being real?

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

         “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 

         “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt”.  I’m not so sure……

I am content to pay the price of the journey, to be hurt in the name of love, but I do mind it quite a lot especially at the times when I find myself sitting in a bag of rubbish waiting for the dawn and the bonfire.

I remember sitting on the floor of a colleague’s lounge absolutely devastated when things had gone wrong in the work I had been doing.  I wept intensely for over an hour or more about the waste of time and ministry.  Sad to say this was not the only occasion this has happened – one of the consequences of giving yourself away is that not everyone says ‘thank you’.  Once in a while it may even be our experience that the hand which reaches out to help is bitten.

There are many reasons for this.  Perhaps because of some failure and unfaithfulness on our part – or that of another?  A change of circumstances which brings a sudden end to a lifelong plan?  Maybe a hurtful action by someone whose own dis-ease brought pain to those around them? Who knows what may bring us to the place of saying, with our lonely rabbit, “What’s the use?”

At times like this Amy Grant speaks to me in the words of her song “Raining on the Inside” *

God sees my heart, the deepest part,
Inside this lonely me, and reachin’ in,
His love begins to heal the heart in me.

When the tears are fierce, when the loneliness is intense, when the flames of the bonfire are near at hand, when all we can do is wonder why we ever started on the pilgrimage remember this.  The love of God sees right inside our loneliness and, on seeing reaches in and heals.

 

To Pray:

God of Mercy,
I feel my heart overflowing with your tenderness.
I sense your loving touch deep within my soul.
I ask for your help in my weakness
that I might be faithful to your word
and I am so gratefulthat your mercy for my failings
is as strong as your unbounded love for me.

 

*Raining on the Inside – Amy Grant

When all goodbyes are said and done,
And night time finds you home,
Are you all right to spend a night of being all alone?
And do you hide between the lines of conversations past?
A wall of words, a heart unheard, that hides behind a mask?

                           I’m raining on the inside;
My heart wells up with tears that start to pour.
I’m raining on the inside,
But then Your cries of love break through,
And I fall in love with You once more.

When friends who care can’t be there
To ease away my pain, and peace of mind,
It’s hard to find, like sunlight in the rain.
God sees my heart, the deepest part,
Inside this lonely me, and reachin’ in,
His love begins to heal the heart in me.

                           I’m raining on the inside…

 

© Andrew Dotchin – 2018

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