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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Friday, August 20, 2010


Do children practise their times tables these days? I can remember being drilled by my dad, mostly it was my dad; my mother was likely busy finishing up the dishes or ironing. So in my family it was my dad who administered these drills and I and my siblings, one after the other, became proficient in the “twos, the threes, the eights, the nines” and, because my dad was a hard task-master (it generally wasn’t required by the teacher) even “the twelves”!

Maybe it’s all this “back to school” chatter on the television and in the bushels of paper ads coming into my house that I’ve been reflecting a bit on old school memories. Most of that kind of grunt work now seems to be handled by whatever version of smart electronic device the young scholar is able to wheedle out of parents for that return to class. Surely, though, someone, somewhere still learns their tables?

I recall another occasion from the dark recesses of my memory. Actually quite a lot more recent than the one I just described. I was singing a familiar hymn. Had sung it many, many times but didn’t really realize what I was singing. Have you had those moments? The hymn was number 171 in Hymns of the Saints: Help Us Accept Each Other. Maybe it was the very familiarity of the song and the totally uncontroversial nature of the theme that sent me into auto-pilot on verse three. I can’t explain why it never struck me before. But then it did.

Let your acceptance change us, so that we may be moved
in living situations to do the truth in love;
to practise your acceptance until we know by heart
the table of forgiveness and laughter’s healing art.

There it is. Even harder than “the twelves” is the “table of forgiveness” that really can only be learned by practising acceptance! I remember being so struck by those words, words I’d never even noticed before. There is no calculator, no software, no “app” that will do it for us. Just allowing ourselves to be changed, to be moved enough to begin, and then to practise, practise, practise—until we know it by heart.

The “table of forgiveness.” Maybe another day we’ll look at the rest of it.

Posted by Marion

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