20.9.09

Jesus Army Life - Birthdays

It was my birthday this week. Not that I'm looking for blessings from well wishers, but birthdays in a shared-community are shall we say... interesting.

It's a great opportunity to appreciate the person concerned (in this case me - hooray!) We all gather together and the honorary individual is given a huge cake plus a home-made card signed by everyone. The great thing about this is that the card also includes thoughts, appreciations, encouraging words and perhaps even exhortations. There's usually just one main gift, though many contribute a few smaller ones, usually treats in the form of food. As the cake is brought in a very embarrassing song is sung (it's always the same 'we love you' song, it's awful!) There's a lot of whooping and clapping and finally some prayer with prophecy for the year ahead.

This year (and I'm kind of saying this here so I can remember), the words for me were about a pearl (beauty from suffering) a sugar cube dissolving (individual self denial sweetening the whole) and a city of lights (vision for Worcester coming into fruition).

The important thing is that the individual is honoured, and I know I always come out of these situations feeling loved and favoured.

I can think of some pretty special birthdays we've celebrated lately, like the time we shipped off to the coast for a midnight swim and beach breakfast, or another time where we marked a 21st birthday with the brothers cooking sausages over a bonfire, just singing and seeking God together.

I guess birthdays for us aren't supposed to be self-indulgent so it's useful to cut against the 'my important day' approach and the go-out-and-get-wasted tradition. Hopefully it's used as a time to value the individual as a family and encourage them in the life they have chosen. For me, I try to use it as a time to review how I'm doing spiritually, a time to give the life I've been given back to the One who made me in the first place.