Carefully, she picked her way through the reeds. At last she had learned; at last her mother believed she had learned. At last, she was allowed to go down to the river on her own.

What her mother didn’t know was that she had become very good at finding dry land. Where others stayed by the banks, Miriam explored the channels. She’d realised that if you watched where the water was still and where it rippled, where the reeds were bent and where they danced, the paths went well out into the water. There was dry land everywhere, if only you knew where to look. And Miriam had found it.

She pushed her way into a clearing and thanked the deer who had slept there. If she settled right on the edge, she could dip her toes in the water and not be seen. She smoothed her skirts and took the ribbon from her pocket. The ribbon was her most prized possession. Another secret. She had found it one day, caught in the reed bed, lost by a careless princess. It was dyed with azure and woven with gold, and she had never seen anything so beautiful.  But more importantly, the dragonflies loved it. Miriam had learned that if she was very patient and let the bright ribbon trail across her tan skirts, blue would be drawn to blue. The dragonflies would rest on her lap, and she would feel richer than any queen.

Miriam stared at the water and watched them dart back and forth. She loved it here — dragonflies and sunbirds, deer and frogs. She imagined the reed bed was an ark, and all the animals were hers.

The ark. Now there was a troublesome story. She had been told it all her days as a sign of God’s goodness, but she wasn’t sure. If there were to be a great flood, then she liked the thought that God would take time to make sure the animals were safe. But if God sent the flood, then that was another matter all together.

‘What about you, little one? Were you on the ark?’ She whispered to the dragonfly who had at last settled on her skirts. She barely breathed lest she disturb him, but she asked again: ‘did you sit Naamah’s knee, or did you find your own way through the waters?’

For this was her newest theory. Some of the animals were indeed kept safe on the ark. Burrowing creatures, and grazers who were particularly vulnerable to flood. Voles and fox, cats and dogs, deer and milk-yielding goats. But some — like Miriam herself — would have known were the paths were, and ran fast to dry land.  And others — like her dragonfly — could find their own means of escape. God did not need to trap everyone in a boat.  God would let each one find their own way, and the ark was there for those who needed help and safety. 

‘I wish I had an ark for Moseh,’ she thought, and she began plaiting reeds.


Strength and tenderness

This blog was co-written by my brother, his part is the blue type font.

Lent 4.

Halfway through the struggle of Lent, how’s the non chocolate time going?

When I was thinking about today’s post I looked up on-line for what the readings were and found that the Old Testament reading was meant to be Samuel going to anoint David, great passage I thought.
However when I turned up in church this morning in Hamilton after getting wrong directions, I came in to hear the reading from Exodus of Moses being placed in the reed basket. Ah, Mothering Sunday. Good call.
That’s one thing I have noticed about this Lent period, a lot of things have been impinged upon, main events like Valentines Day, Mothering Sunday replacing Lent 4 but also smaller things.

Today’s reading reminded me of a line in the Creed we use at St Paul’s Dundee, “with a father’s tenderness & mother’s strength”, which seems strange as normally the mother is usually given the tenderness attribute & the father the strength.

However what strength it must haven taken Moses’ mother to give up her son.

What strength it must have taken Jesus mother to live with the knowledge that a spear would pierce her side also.

So considering these the line no longer seems surprising, in fact it seems that mothers are not given the recognition for their strength.

I propose that this Mothering Sunday we consider the strength of Mothers, particularly the strength of Mary as the shadow of The Cross is cast over this second half of Lent.

Doug & Gordon Aitken