R. I. P. crispness

Let us pause for a moment,

At Lukaya, a few kilometers from the river Katonga,

For just a moment- as we wait for scrumptious, crispy chicken

and mourn the loss of crispness –

the ground strewn with abandoned plastic bottles, paper bags trampled into the earth, chicken feathers floating above the smoke, clogged drains, peeling paint, crumbling walls, flaky plaster, blurred stall boundaries, incorrectly spelt shop names, signposts littered across the landscape.

abirigation!

unhemmed overcoats, scraggly collars, scruffy sandals, unkempt weaves, bad posture, incorrect grammar.

Choooo!

Curvy hems, stained blouses, ill-fitting trousers, uncombed hair, running maidens.

Tsk, Tsk!

Unmarked lanes, uneven humps, no bus stops, no side walks, no green parks, no kids’ play area, old road signs, innumerable traffic police stops, parallel driving, endless armed convoys.

An aroma of roasted chicken wafts by-

I remember in a time gone by, a headmaster keen on white handkerchiefs, firm handshakes, black polished shoes, socks pulled up, shirts tucked in, chin up, straight lines, best foot forward.

Onwards and Upwards!

‘Madam, your chicken is ready,’ he hands me the chicken on a stick.

I smile.

Was that you crispness?

Of pinky promises,kings and empires

So the year has come to an end. It’s the most wonderful time to reflect on 300 days gone by, a time to remember. A nice polite coffee with scrumptious cup cakes to savour – the happiness of fulfillment and celebrate peace and goodwill to all men.

But for promises – The last minute dash to fulfil, to followup. The heart break of unfulfilled promises, of dashed dreams. The many what abouts, probabilities, possibilities that never were because you got caught up, because things spiralled out of control, because there was a fault, a war, a power surge, a scuffle, a loss, a complication, an error, a birth, a wedding, a party, a promotion, just because.

Mary was betrothed to Joseph, mazal tov! Until the Angel Gabriel visited, now Joseph had cold feet. A betrothal was unraveling, a promise shattering.

The Three Wise men followed A Star, they found themselves with an egotistical king who had no idea that the King of Kings had been born. Dashed hopes.

Another King had been given a sign. A virgin would give birth and He would be called Immanuel. Hezekiah did not see the virgin birth. Neither did the Jews in Babylon nor the Babylonians. It happened 700 years later under the Romans. Crushed expectations.

Through the Lord ’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”
Lamentations 3:22‭-24 NKJV

Promises create expectations, they are the stuff from which we derive hope. Hope that each day will be better than the former. Jeremiah reminds us that the firmest expectations are those based on God’s promises. He is faithful. Faithfulness is the lighthouse of our expectations. Jeremiah should know, he ushered the Israelites into Babylon. He even bought a potter’s field as a surety of the return home, a return he would not witness but he trusted the Lord. His compassion would never fail.

So it shall be for you, the faithful lighthouse beckons. The Lord is my portion, I shall hope in Him.

Blindsided?

Well laid out plans crumble within seconds. Our carefully crafted facade melts in minutes. Everything we have spent our lives building is taken away in our hours. Our friends stab us in the back, intimate discussions splashed all over media, dirty linen washed on Oxford street.

God, where were you? You had this all wrapped up to a t! How did this happen on your watch? Everything is spinning out of control. Emotions, negative and ugly emotions, overwhelm you, suck you into deep dark days as you realize, you were an object of a power play. You were left open at the flanks. You were blindsided.

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7 NKJV.

The prophets had foretold the birth, Isaiah actually foretold it in amazing detail. Hundreds of years before He was born. And so far, everything had gone according to plan. Even Micah’s prophecy about Bethlehem, by Augustus’ decree, they were no longer home in Nazareth but home in Bethlehem. How did they find themselves with only a manger as a crib? Yet it had been planned with meticulous detail? The three Kings were on their way, following a star. For two years. Is it possible that God could miss out such an important detail? Mary needed a room at the inn to give birth to her baby or a room at grandmas? Surely, someone should be kind to the expecting mother.

Or was it the beginning of rejection? Of insignificance? Isaiah prophesies that there is nothing attractive about Him. He is so ordinary, we shall miss Him. Micah calls out Bethlehem as the least of the cities. Isn’t He the son of David, the shepherd forgotten in the fields when the Prophet Samuel came to visit? Simeon tells Mary a sword will pierce her heart, is this the sword being positioned? Isaiah describes Him as A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, has the journey to being that man already started?

Paul encourages the Corinthians as he himself was encouraged, when you are weak, God’s strength and power is perfected and complete in you. He reminds the Romans, it is while you were ungodly, without strength that Christ died for you. John describes Jesus as the light that darkness cannot comprehend. When we are blindsided, we are God shielded; God wrapped; In the manger is where we find that light cannot be hidden.

Glory to God in the Highest and peace to all on earth.