Monday, September 7, 2009
Blessing Blackburn ~ The Sequel ~ Installment 6
“‘For the bread of God is He Who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, give us this bread always.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.’” (John 6:33-35)
2:15 pm in Blackburn, Scotland
Yesterday was Sunday, another busy day spent mostly outside of Blackburn. We purposely limited our non-Blackburn days to only 2 out of the 6 that we have been here, but wanted to see some of the main attractions in the central region of Scotland – places probably very familiar to Susan. Before our trek to Edinburgh for the day, Marie followed through on the special gift for Susan’s church. Here is her report as a guest blogger.
Guest Blogger ~ Marie Sheahan Brown
The Gift Economy And The Bread Of Life
A couple of years ago, I read Lewis Hyde’s remarkable book about the gift economy. Its beginning chapters describe the Native American understanding of property as something to be given away, from one person or tribe to another, to foster expanding circles of good will, appreciation, and care for others. In this gift economy, a chief was considered rich according to how much he could give away rather than accumulate for himself. The appeal of this practice must be encoded in Leslie’s and my Chinook Indian genes and in the cultures of countless other Susan Boyle fans worldwide.
Sister Suzanne Toolan’s gift, of which I was the West Lothian courier, perpetuates the gift economy. Susan Boyle’s family, village, and church first nurtured and appreciated the gift that has embraced the planet. People who have been inexplicably touched by Susan’s voice and authenticity want to give back in the ways they can.
I attended Mass on Sunday morning at Susan’s church. Sure enough, accompanied by an organist, the whole assembly sings. I had told Father about The Gift on Friday, and he spotted me carrying a brown-paper-wrapped flat package to a forward pew. He had thoughtfully arranged for the assembly to sing I Am The Bread Of Life after Communion both Saturday night and Sunday morning. Blackburn is blessed by many good voices!
At the end of Mass, Father announced The Gift from Sister Suzanne. “News of singing in this area has reached the shores of America,” he began.,,,, , khkj
(How cute. I stepped away from my table in the Blackburn Connected library and came back to find a blond-haired, blue-eyed toddler in my chair, typing away on my laptop; hence, the hieroglyphics. An aspiring author!)
Back to Sunday Mass. After Father spoke, I went forward and handed him Sister Suzanne’s gift for the community. He told the people it would be placed in the entryway. I would like to think that parishioners and pilgrims will be reminded of the world’s appreciation, conveyed through I Am The Bread Of Life.
“‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.’” (John 6:51)