Hello. Welcome back. It has been a week of very little happening. I have turned up for work on a regular basis as it seems to be expected and I have watched a lot of football, with varying degrees of satisfaction.
Valentine’s Day came and went without comment at Martha Towers – which is how we like it. I listened to a lady telling how she does a full Valentine’s Tea for her small children, including Valentine’s cards, chocolate hearts, streamers, fairy lights etc. Not for the first time, I wonder if I was a neglectful mother as, again not for the first time, I come across something that would never have occured to me. I considered telling you that the rather lovely heart shaped crumpets above were my gift to the long suffering HOH but my highly developed Christian scruples make me tell you that they were a gift to me from a company I have worked with. They were delicious and I even let HOH have two. He ate his with baked beans. Is that normal? Either way, I don’t think it is particularly romantic
Hurrah! Endeavour is back! He is very welcome but I’m not so sure about the moustache. I expect it is meant to signify something. It puts about 20 years on Morse. I hope he is still ok solving crimes. That moustache looks like one of those things you find in alien movies that are actually secretly plugged into people’s brains which they are then secretly sucking the life out of. Too much? I do like Endeavour but I spend every episode waiting for something nasty to happen to his beloved boss Fred Thursday. I feel like they have been signposting it for about three series now. The thing with Morse is that we know how it is going to end for him. We know he’s not going to die horribly because he’s going to turn into John Thaw later and, as is the way in these things, someone usually has to leave us in a particularly nasty way.
To turn on a sixpence – Shamima Begum has given everyone pause for thought this week. The possible return of someone who has spent time as a willing and enthusiastic member of ISIS has prompted much soul searching and it is far more complicated that anything this blog can sort. However just a few thoughts
It was truly shocking to hear that she has no remorse for her involvement in ISIS. For her the biggest disappointment is that the caliphate has failed. She claims to be unaffected by the atrocities she witnessed
There are facts that cannot be disputed. A cursory glance at the history of the Yazidis in this region shows countless stories of violence, sexual slavery and mass murder. The individual stories are heatbreaking. Men watching their wives and daughters sold as sexual slaves – treated as less than nothing. There was a selling process and people were made to pose with their price. Fathers and sons were executed en masse. And children. There is little doubt that Shamima Begum knew all about this before she set off. It was common knowledge on the sites that she followed. She wants to come back to Britain because her baby needs to be looked after. She does not want to return to atone for anything.
Much has been made of her age when she left and the fact that she is a woman. There is little doubt that grooming took place. However, I think we have to take her at her word. It is perhaps patronising and sexist to say that she didn’t know her own mind. Women have said, in my opinion quite rightly, that they wish to be treated as equals. We can’t hide behind our sex when it is time to take responsibility for our actions. She is not a schoolgirl any more.
And yet. The thing is, the next thing that should follow is forgiveness and a chance for rehabilitation. Although maybe not in that order. Or at least that’s what I think. We witter on about love and forgiveness as if it is as natural as breathing when, in fact, it is the most difficult thing in the world. And annoyingly enough, the people who need our forgiveness sometimes don’t intially show any interest in being found and rescued. But those of us who know about God and redemption know that isn’t really the point.
Romans 5 v 6-8
Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.