Wikio - Top Blogs - Religion and belief

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Start:Stop - Blessings found in set-backs, disappointments and difficulties

Bible reading

‘… a thorn was given me in the flesh … Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.’ (2 Corinthians 12. 7 - 10)


‘In the early 1980s, after decades of steady deterioration, writer and academic John Hull lost his sight. To help him make sense of the ensuing upheaval in his life, he began to keep an audio diary. Across three years, he created over 16 hours of material; these recordings would form a unique testimony of loss, rebirth and renewal, excavating the interior world of blindness.’

‘Based on these original recordings and his published diaries ‘Touching the Rock’, [the film] Notes on Blindness recreates Hull’s fascinating and deeply moving experiences through an immersive hybrid of documentary, dramatic reconstruction and highly sensory cinematic techniques and sound design. Sensitive, poetic and thought-provoking, the film charts Hull’s journey through emotional turmoil and spiritual crisis to a renewed perception of the world and the discovery of ‘a world beyond sight’.’ ‘In a John Newton moment of amazing grace, an overwhelmed Hull stands among towering pillars to full organ accompaniment. He tells Marilyn of an intense feeling that God was approaching him. “It’s a gift. Not a gift I want but it is a gift. Not why I got it but what am I going to do with it?”’

‘We travel with Hull farther and farther into the world, or non-world, of blindness, until finally he comes to a point where he can no longer summon up memories of faces, of places, even memories of the light. This is the bend in the tunnel: beyond this is “deep blindness.” And yet at this deepest, darkest, most despairing point, there comes a mysterious change—no longer an agonized sense of loss, of bereftness, of hopelessness, of mourning, but a new sense of life and creativity and identity. “One must recreate one’s life or be destroyed,” Hull writes, and it is precisely re-creation, the creation of an entirely new organization and identity, which is described in the closing pages of his astonishing book. At this point, then, Hull wonders if blindness is not “a dark, paradoxical gift” and an entry—unsought … but to be received—into a new and deep form of being.’

In reflecting on the nature of that gift, John Hull said that, ‘After living with it and meditating on it for some time, I realized that blindness is not just a loss but it is one of the great human states which have characteristics of its own.’

‘My works, are, in a way, a yearning to overcome the abyss which divides blind people from sighted people. In seeking to overcome that abyss I've emphasized the uniqueness of the blind condition—blindness is a world. I've also sought to show that it's one of a number of human worlds. That sight is also a world. And that to gain our full humanity, blind people and sighted people need each other.’

St Paul and John Hull challenge us to search for the gifts and blessings to be found in set-backs, disappointments and difficulties.


God of grace, you know our weaknesses and failings, and that without your help we can accomplish nothing for the good of souls, our own and others. Grant us, therefore, the help of your grace. Grant it according to our particular needs this day. Enable us to see the tasks you will set before us in the daily routine of our lives, and help us work hard at our appointed tasks. Teach us to bear patiently all the trials of suffering or failure that may come to us today. May we know your grace is sufficient for us, for power is made perfect in weakness.

Enable us to find the gifts and blessings that you share in set-backs, disappointments and difficulties.

Eternal God, Light of the nations, in Christ you make all things new: guide our nation in the coming General Election through the inspiration of your Spirit, that understanding may put an end to discord and all bitterness. Give us grace to rebuild bonds of trust that together we may work for the dignity and flourishing of all. Grant Your gifts of wisdom and compassion to those who are standing as candidates, giving them a commitment to seek the good of all people and a desire to protect people who are weak and vulnerable. Free us from all bitterness and recrimination and in all things grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can and wisdom to know the difference.

Enable us to find the gifts and blessings that you share in set-backs, disappointments and difficulties.

Almighty God, through your Holy Spirit you created unity in the midst of diversity; we acknowledge that human diversity is an expression of your manifold love for your creation; we confess that in our brokenness as human beings we turn diversity into a source of alienation, injustice, oppression, and wounding. Empower us to recognize and celebrate differences as your great gift to the human family. Enable us to be the architects of understanding, of respect and love.

Enable us to find the gifts and blessings that you share in set-backs, disappointments and difficulties.


May Christ, who out of defeat brings new hope and a new future, fill you with his new life; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.


No comments: