Slowly We Breathe The Change

Please read like a psalm and pause at each selah (asterisk) *

Slowly we breathe,

  1. We support a space, singing an ode to “we,” men and women * and however we identify.

Slowly we breathe

  1. We support a space where we can be open, be imagined by the best in all of us * to do the most for those with the least.

Slowly we breathe

  1. We support a space safe of no accusation, of no oppression * where anger can arise and blossom into inspiration.

Slowly we breathe

  1. We support a space for the feminine voice * and for voices to be heard that have not been heard, and for those who have been silenced.

Slowly we breathe,

  1. We support a space for those who did not hear or could not listen * or would not listen.

Slowly we breathe,

  1. We support a space for deep and loving reconciliation * for feminine and masculine voices to sing in unison again.

Slowly we breathe,

  1. We support a space for words that will inspire a thousand years of deeds * that will make a difference.

Slowly we breathe,

  1. We support a space for faith that enables us to change who we are * and be the loving transformation the greater “we” wants us to be. 

Slowly we breathe,

  1. We support a space to feel the curiosity, to give our names, to add our effort * to leave a loving impression for millennia to come.

Slowly we breathe,

We are the change.

I am grateful to Lillie Allen of Be Present for creating and holding a space where I could write this psalm.

Slowly We Breathe the Change is offered to those who have signed The Mary Manifesto as a way to guide our work.

Posted in Episcopal, Nature, Poems, Prayer | 1 Response

Will you sign the Mary Manifesto?

At the root of my work on ending poverty is knowing that we are all equal as humans and, in my faith, all equally loved by God. This leads to justice. Justice calls us to provide opportunity for all.

At a time when it is important to speak up and be counted for equality, justice and opportunity for all, I have written the Mary Manifesto. It calls for men, especially, and women to support 318 WOMEN to gather in 2025 to review the Christian notion of God and the Creed, 1,700 years after 318 MEN met in Nicaea to do the same.

Why? Because for 1,700 years the very notion of God in Christianity has been defined with a male dominant image by a group of men in the year 325. This impacts and impedes our sense of equality, justice, and opportunity. When one portion of world see itself as superior to another there is less opportunity for those who are put down.

I am launching the Mary Manifesto to spark a conversation and to join conversations underway #genderequality, the UN #heforshe movement, #sustainabledevelopment #NiUnaMenos #metoo #OrangeTheWorld #endgenderbasedviolence #GenerationEquality.

A man said to me that he was not sure he would sign the Manifesto, as it calls for an all-women meeting and would it not be better if men and women came together in agreement. My answer is that for 1,700 years we have lived with a men’s male-only version of God. If we cannot first encourage and listen to a women’s version, we will never get to a synthesis that gives us a sense of God that speaks to equality, justice and opportunity and ending poverty for all.

Let me know of leading Christian women theologians, clergy, artists and leaders, especially those committed to ending poverty, who want to come together.

Click to read the Mary Manifesto

Thank you,
Jamie Coats

Posted in Episcopal, Grief & Wonder, Horror & Terror, Love | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Tiger & Sophia

I stride out,
Padding softly,
Focus bright.

My keen eyes,
The obstacles of man
Blighting her hope.

If I need to, I roar.
If I need to, I snarl.
If I need to, I bite.

Mostly I pad
Along in love,
Sniffing out the mighty,

I hunt them.
Charge into
The back of their legs.

Together we kneel
Before poverty herself,
Offering healing hands.

Will we count
On our fingers
Reasons to smile?

Will we count
Hearts not bleeding,
But beating to rejoice?

Will we count
Clapping hands
Celebrating success?

This is my daily hunt,
A charging fight of love
For wisdom herself.

Jamie Coats
January 2020

See Songs of Sophia

Posted in Nature, Poems, Theme for 2020, Theme for the Year | 3 Responses

The King of Kings

In a large bleak field
Stands a radiant man.

Announcing I am the King of Kings,
The only Son of God.

I approach the man,
The light is so strong

I have can hardly make out
Any human features.

Drawing near
I see he holds a long handled shovel.

He has just dug
A minuscule grave.

He says to me, “I am your King.
Kneel. Obey my every word.”

Then I notice in the grave
Is a dead dove.

I hear footsteps
And look round.

A woman, just as herself,
Walks swiftly towards us.

She kisses him on the lips.
He collapses into her arms,

Sobbing deeply,
His radiant light goes out.

I see him as fully human
For the first time.

The dove awakes.
Shakes herself off and takes flight.

Jamie Coats
February 2018

Posted in Poems | 2 Responses


Dedicated to the Co-Founders of OPHI
Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative:
Sabina Alkire & John Hammock

(En español haga clic aquí: LAS CANCIONES DE sOPHIa)


  1. Wisdom

Sophia, wisdom, she comes to us *
And gently holds our hands.

With your hands *
Count and number things,

Shake hands to make friends, *
Make things that create a better world.

She places her hand on our hearts *
Feeling the number that pulses our life.

Live in your hearts *
And see the lines

That make out the lives *
Of the rich and poor alike.

  1.  The Poor

Accompany me to be welcomed *
Into the home of the poor.

One room with a kitchen behind *
One seat, set aside for you.

You’re offered more food *
Than you can eat,

Wondering how to say “enough” *
Without being rude,

Wondering if you’ve been offered *
The family’s food for a week.

Sophia asks our host to tell her story *
A farmer’s daughter whose

Grandfather gave her *
Her dowry for her education.

She now supports the education *
Of a hundred young women.

How she can afford that? *
You wonder, and she in joy replies

It is the great happiness of her life *
To share what she has.

  1. The Rich

Come into the place of the rich *
Who are blessed

To live by a number *
The amount of money that they have.

They desire to make a difference *
And are measured in their response.

Asking,  “How can I know *
How to make a difference?”

  1. When We Are Blind

Know when you are blind *
And cannot see

You have your hands to count *
And ears to listen.

You don’t know what it is like *
So you are in the dark,

Like Justice you are blindfolded, *
So live like the blind,

Use your hands *
To count your surroundings.

Gently feel around. *
What do your fingers find?

  1. Know Your Poverty

Do you find walls in front of you *
Or are you living outside?

When you kneel and touch your floor, *
Do you touch dirt, concrete, planks or carpet?

What food are you preparing?  *
Do you have enough for the day?

For the week? For your family? *
Careful! Don’t burn your hands,

Are you cooking with dung? *
Or wood or fuel of another kind?

You eat a palmful, *
Are you still hungry?

Checking your child’s head for fever. *
How far is the hospital?

In your pocket you feel for your money. *
Can you pay the bill?

How much schooling do you have? *
Does your work speak of learning?

Can you fumble around to find some tools. *
Do you have any for earning?

Thirsty, feeling for a tap, *
Do you have running water?

Is it safe to drink? *
Or you are reaching for your kettle?

Do you boil the hottest tea *
Your mouth can bear?

You need to go so bad.
Do you have a latrine?

Or do you go outside? *
Or pay to go to the village loo?

Outside you stumble on something *
A piece of rubbish,

Rubbish that is never collected *
And is strewn everywhere.

Blind, you know you’ll trip *
Whichever way you turn.

  1. Know Your Un-Wellness

Even in places where more money grows *
Other forms of poverty emerge,

Is there sickness of the mind? *
Is there sickness of work?

Is there crippling over-indebtedness? *
Is there growing futility

Numbing the senses with despair? *
Is the rage doped up,

Or intermittently lashing out *
In growing cycles of violence?

And know that there are hands *
That measure this lack of wellness too.

  1. See and Make Progress

When you have counted all these things *
The blindfold will fall from your eyes.

Light will fill your vision *
You will see all the things

That count towards poverty. *
The number Sophia counts

That paints a vivid picture *
For the rich to see the poor,

That says that there is much to do *
And many ways to help.

Sophia returns again and again, *
Counting again and again

For all to see progress *
That delights rich and poor alike.

  1. Who Comes to Help?

Now the rich can see, *
They wonder how to help.

Sophia kneels in the dirt *
At the unshod feet of

The poorest of the poor *
And with her numbers

She holds the hands of the rich to be there too. *
The rich come as rulers,

People of trade, *
People of medicine,

People of learning, *
And people of building,

All united by Sophia’s number *
That captures the demons of poverty.

  1.  How Can We Help?

First remember, don’t even count *
Unless you plan to make a difference.

Find ways for poor and rich to sit together *
With the numbers as they sink in.

Ask how are our minds opened? *
Do we have space to play with new solutions?

Ask what does Sophia’s counting *
Say about our priorities?

Are we ready for her to come back in *
To measure the difference we’ve tried to make?

As leaders do we give weight *
To Sophia’s equal measure?

  1. An Alliance of Rich and Poor

Now there’s an alliance of rich and poor *
Who understand one another

To ensure that there is enough *
To make a difference.

This alliance knows that there are *
Three great measures of mankind,

A measure called your heartbeat, *
Counting how we are all equal.

A measure called money *
Counting how we go up in the world

And a measure of Sophia *
Counting how we go down into poverty.

With these three numbers *
We grow in compassion

Together counting *
What truly matters.

  1. The Balance Scale Breaks

People love to compete *
With one another

To tip the balance with money *
Up in their favour.

Does the other end of the balance *
Tip down?

Showing a decrease in poverty? *
If not what do we see?

A balance scale tipped up with money *
Just for the rich

And the other end that measures poverty *
Not tipped down for the poor.

We see the balance scale is broken *
And Justice weeps.

  1. The Balance Scale Pivots

Sophia asks those with money *
To set aside enough

To always be able to count poverty *
And ensure the balance scale measures

Increased wealth *
With decreased poverty.

So in the cathedrals of learning *
Sophia invites the rich

To sets aside money *
To keep the brightest minds

Finding counting ways *
To hold the poorest of the poor

In the minds of the richest of the rich *
And to create an alliance between them

To celebrate *
That we all have a heartbeat.

Theme for 2018

Jamie Coats

Posted in Grief & Wonder, Love, Poems, Prayer, Theme for 2018 | 4 Responses


Dedicado a los Co-Fundadores de OPHI
Iniciativa de Oxford Pobreza y Desarrollo Humano:
Sabina Alkire y John Hammock

1.- Sabiduría

Sophia, Sabiduría, viene a nosotros
y gentilmente toma nuestras manos.

Con tus manos,
puedes contar y numerar cosas.

Estrecha manos para hacer amistades,
Haz cosas que creen un mejor mundo.

Ella posa sus manos en nuestros corazones,
Sintiendo el numero que hace vibrar nuestras vidas.

Vive en nuestros corazones,
conoce las directrices,

Hace que la vida,
De ricos y pobres, sean lo mismo.

2.- Los pobres

Acompáñame a ser bienvenido
En el hogar de los pobres.

Una sola habitación con la cocina detrás.
Un solo asiento, reservado para ti.

Te ofrecen más comida
De la que puedes comer.

Te preguntarás ¿cómo decir “suficiente”?
Sin ser grosero.

Te preguntarás también si te han ofrecido
su sustento familiar de una semana entera.

Sophia pide a su anfitriona que cuenten su historia.
Es hija de un granjero,

Cuyo abuelo dio
su dote para educarla.

Ahora, ella apoya la educación
de un centenar de jóvenes mujeres.

¿Cómo puede permitirse ese lujo?
Te lo preguntarás, pero ella con gran entusiasmo responde:

Que es la mayor alegría de su vida,
poder compartir lo que tiene.

3.- Los ricos

Vamos al lugar de los ricos,
quienes son bendecidos.

Quienes viven bajo un numero,
la del dinero que poseen.

Ellos desean hacer una diferencia,
Se preguntan ¿cómo puedo saber

cómo se hace esta diferencia?

4.- Cuando somos ciegos

Debes reconocer cuando eres ciego
y no puedes ver.

Tienes tus manos para contar,
y tus oídos para escuchar.

Como no sabes cómo es en realidad,
estás en la oscuridad.

Como la Justicia, tienes los ojos vendados.
Por eso vive como un ciego.

Usa tus manos,
para contar tu alrededor.

Suavemente, siente tu entorno.
¿Qué encuentran tus dedos?

5.- Conoce tu pobreza

¿Encuentras murallas delante de ti,
o vives fuera de ellas?

Cuando te arrodillas y tocas el suelo,
¿tocas suciedad, concreto, tablones o alfombra?

¿Qué comida estas preparando?
¿Tienes suficiente para el resto del día?

¿Para la semana? ¿Para toda tu familia?
¡Cuidado! No quemes tus manos!

¿Estás cocinando con estiércol,
madera, combustible o algo diferente?

Comes un puñado.
Revisas la cabeza de tu hijo por si tiene fiebre,

¿Qué tan lejos está el hospital?
Buscas dinero en tus bolsillos,

¿alcanza para pagar las cuentas?
¿Cuál es tu nivel de educación?

¿Tu trabajo muestra aprendizaje?
Cerca de ti, ¿puedes conseguir herramientas?

¿tienes alguna para producir?
Sediento, buscando un grifo,

¿tienes agua potable?
¿Es seguro beberla

o debes buscar una tetera para hervirla?
¿Hierves el té más caliente

que tu boca puede soportar?
Necesitas ir,

¿tienes un baño?
¿O vas afuera?

¿O debes pagar por el retrete del pueblo?

Al salir, te tropiezas con algo,
un pedazo de basura.

Basura que nunca se recoge
y que está desparramada por todos lados.

Incluso ciego, sabrás tu camino
por donde sea que gires.

6.- Conoce tu Mal-Estar

Incluso en lugares donde hay mucho dinero,
aparece otra forma de pobreza.

¿existen enfermedades de la mente?
¿Hay enfermedades del trabajo?

¿Hay sobreendeudamiento paralizante?
¿Crece la inutilidad?

¿Se entumecen los sentidos con desesperación?
Es la rabia dopada,

O arremetiendo intermitentemente
¿En ciclos crecientes de violencia?

Y saber que hay manos
Eso mide esta falta de bienestar también.

7. Ver y hacer progreso

Cuando hayas contado todas estas cosas
La venda caerá de tus ojos.

La luz llenará tu visión
Veras todas las cosas

Que cuenta para la pobreza.
El número que cuenta Sophia

Eso pinta una imagen vívida
Para que los ricos vean a los pobres,

Eso dice que hay mucho por hacer
Y muchas formas de ayudar.

Sofía vuelve una y otra vez,
Contando una y otra vez

Para que todos vean el progreso
Que deleita a ricos y pobres por igual.

8. ¿Quién viene a ayudar?

Ahora los ricos pueden ver,
Se preguntan cómo ayudar.

Sophia se arrodilla en la tierra
A los pies de los descalzados.

Los más pobres de los pobres
Y con sus números

Ella sostiene las manos de los ricos para estar allí también.
Los ricos vienen como gobernantes.

Gente de comercio,
Gente de medicina,

Gente de aprendizaje,
Gente de construcción,

Todos unidos por el número de Sofía
Que captura los demonios de la pobreza.

9. ¿Cómo podemos ayudar?

Primero recuerda, ni siquiera cuentes
A menos que planees hacer una diferencia.

Encuentra formas para que los pobres y los ricos se sienten juntos
Con los números a medida que se hunden.

Pregunte cómo se abren nuestras mentes?
¿Tenemos espacio para jugar con nuevas soluciones?

Pregunta qué cuenta Sophia
¿Qué dice sobre nuestras prioridades?

¿Estamos listos para que ella regrese?
¿Para medir la diferencia que hemos tratado de hacer?

Como líderes damos importancia
¿A la medida igual de Sofía?

10. Una alianza de ricos y pobres

Ahora hay una alianza de ricos y pobres
Que se entiendan unos a otros

Para asegurarse de que hay suficiente
Para marcar la diferencia.

Esta alianza sabe que hay
Tres grandes medidas de la humanidad,

Una medida llamada latido de tu corazón,
Contando cómo todos somos iguales.

Una medida llamada dinero
Contando cómo subimos en el mundo.

Y una medida de Sofía
Contando cómo bajamos a la pobreza.

Con estos tres números
Crecemos en compasión

Juntos contando
Lo que realmente importa.

11. La escala de equilibrio se rompe

A la gente le encanta competir
Uno con el otro

Para inclinar el saldo con dinero
A su favor.

¿Se inclina el otro extremo del
Balance hacia abajo?

¿Mostrando una disminución de la pobreza?
Si no, ¿qué vemos?

Una balanza balanceada con dinero
Solo para los ricos

Y el otro extremo que mide la pobreza.
No se inclinó por los pobres.

Vemos que la balanza está rota
Y la justicia llora.

12. Los pivotes de la balanza

Sofía pregunta a los que tienen dinero
Dejar de lado lo suficiente

Para poder contar siempre la pobreza
Y asegurar las medidas de la balanza.

Mayor riqueza
Con disminución de la pobreza.

Así, en las catedrales del aprendizaje.
Sofía invita a los ricos

Para destinar dinero
Para mantener las mentes más brillantes.

Encontrando formas de contar
Sostener a los más pobres de los pobres.

En las mentes de los más ricos de los ricos
Y para crear una alianza entre ellos.

Que todos tenemos un latido del corazón.

Tema para el 2018

Jamie Coats                  

En inglés

Posted in Grief & Wonder, Poems | 1 Response

The Candle Trilogy published in “Untamed Gospel”

Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church College, Oxford writes, “It is good to be able to welcome and introduce the poetry of Jamie Coats in this anthology. Jamie is a layperson working for the Society of St John the Evangelist (SSJE) in the United States − an Anglican religious order of brothers. Jamie writes on contemporary monastic wisdom, and his work draws on Buddhist, Hindu and Christian traditions of meditation and silence. We reproduce his ‘Candle Trilogy’ towards the close of this volume.” Kindle version of Untamed Gospel

The Candle Trilogy: Unlit Betrayal | Lit Faithfulness | Faithful Betrayal – Holy Fire

Posted in Horror & Terror, Love, Poems, Theme for 2017 | Leave a comment

The Dove

I fly and land where needed,
Where Justice finds her heart hurting,
And we hold the gods accountable,
Opening eyes to her love,
To the love of her,

A Prayer of Oblation

(c)  Jamie Coats

24th July 2017



Posted in Horror & Terror, Love, Poems, Prayer | Leave a comment

Faithful Betrayal – Holy Fire

First of the Trinity

God does not

If God had raped Mary
Do you think we’d have her joy
So magnificently described?

God sends Gabriel.
He appears as the most
Gorgeous of men.

She hugs him saying,
“You are so beautiful.”
Places her head on his chest,

Looks up
And tentatively
They kiss on the lips.

He moves to kiss her again.
“No,” she says,
“My betrothal is arranged.

My father is making me marry.
I cannot defy him,
My blood-line, my tribe.”

Gabriel steps back.
“You get to decide.
God’s love is consensual.

Any other story
Is a lie made up
By man.”

Mary tremors at the idea.
A woman freed to choose
Love over tribe,

A woman no longer
Property of man
With the right to decide.

Knowing that this right is
The centre of God’s love
For all mankind.

She chooses love.
She defies her dad,
She faithfully betrays her blood.

“Be it unto me
According to
Thy word…”

Gabriel, Mary
As man
As woman

Fully alive

Through each other

To be

To and from
Now one

With God
Now spiralling
In a greater orbit

Knowing they are
Saying yes to life,
To Jesus.

She gives birth to a boy,
Who grows to be a man
Who in time understands,

But before,
His tribe raises him
As their man.

Like all of us
He learns the normal
Basis of hate:

Who’s in?
Who’s out?
How is my blood superior?

I am a boy,
I am this belief and religion,
I am of my tribe.


Second of the Trinity
The Syrophoenician Woman

He grows into a prophet,
Limited at first,
He prays to the Father,

And says he is just a man for
The lost sheep of his tribe.
One day he meets a woman,

A woman who says, “No,
That is not good enough.”
She prays as a Mother,

The Mother who is
For her sick child.

She is foreign,
Annoying, cloying
And totally persistent.

She is not of his blood,
Gender, race, tribe
Caste, class or God.

He denies her,
He reviles her,
Finally calls her a dog.

She faithfully sees past
The hate he’s been taught
She knows his heart.

She stands her ground,
Tells him,
“Even dogs get scraps.”

Like flint
She strikes him,
Sparks his love.

She breaks the clasp that holds
His cultural coat of hate,
It falls away,

Revealing the loving heart
Given him
By his mother and God.

His mutual love flows,
He loves her daughter
As his own.

He heals
Into the Messiah.


Third of the Trinity
Mary Magdalene

He is now on the path
To be crucified
By those so superior.

Now he honours every woman,
Every foreigner,
Every other.

Now he’s got it,
Are you surprised
Why he is such a hit

With all the women
Of the Gospels

Are you surprised
That those of power,
Still dressed in hate,

Come after him
For such betrayal
With bloodshed in mind?

Betrayed by a kiss,
Led through the crowds,
They kill him on a tree.

Mary Magdalene
She watches him die.
His agony consumes her,

She struggles to stop
The terror
From petrifying her.

He dies. Is it over?
The light is fading fast
When his body is released.

She follows
As they take his body
To the tomb.

A new one carved into rock
With a circular stone
That rolls back into a slot.

They haul his body
Down into the antechamber
Onto the preparation table,

No time
To put him into
One of the burial slots.

It is Sabbath,
She’ll return when allowed.

On the third day
She comes early,
Still in darkness

With enough myrrh
To stop the retching
That celebrates

The victory of those
Who kill those who
Put love before blood.

The stone is sitting
In its slot
Rolled back.

No stench,
No body,
Another humiliating loss.

The rock-carved tomb,
The ultimate dead end,
Is emptiness.

Have the men of bloodshed
Desecrated his body
And hidden their evil deed?

“No!” she screams.
In the place of despair
She is faithful to love,

She feels it envelop her.
She turns, risen he is there,
Betraying death itself

Her love explodes,
It is that mutual love
It feels consensual

Beyond sexual,
Union with God.
No hatred to those who kill,

Compassion for all,
Resurrection love
From her pours forth.


Finally Holy Fire

Yes his act is sacred betrayal.
Yes his reward is death,
Yes he is going to ask you to

Stand with the poor,
Under the stars and
Light the candle of a little child.

You will light her candle
Regardless of who you are.
Free, you will not ask

Of gender
Of race
Of tribe

Of caste
Of class
Of God

You’ll faithfully betray
Your tribe if you answer
Yes to what Jesus and

The Trinity of women ask,
“Are you flint enough
To light Holy Fire?

Biblical References:: Luke 1, 23:26-24:12, Mark 7:24-30, Matthew 15:21-28, & John 20:1-18

The Candle Trilogy: Unlit Betrayal | Lit Faithfulness | Faithful Betrayal – Holy Fire

The Candle Trilogy was published in Untamed Gospel edited by Martyn Percy.

© Jamie Coats February 2017
Theme for the Year 2017

Posted in Horror & Terror, Love, Poems, Theme for 2017, Theme for the Year | 8 Responses

A Close Shave, O Jerusalem

Stories for my Father, Ivor Coats, 25 January 1923- 13 June 2016

When General Secretary Gorbachev emerged from his jet on his arrival irazorn Moscow after the 1991 August Coup, he was trapped in his holiday Dacha in the Crimea for two days, he was unshaved and looked disheveled. I was shocked, I had never seen a world leader, let alone a super-power world leader, looking so undignified. Seeing the Communist Leader’s loss of dignity, I was not surprised that the USSR collapsed in the following days. There must have been a lot people whose dignity had been denied for that empire to collapse.

For some reason Gorbachev’s unshaved image inspired me when I fly long distance to emerge from a plane shaved and wearing a bright floral tie. Maybe this is because I am my father’s son.

Now in his 90s, I find my father recovering from pneumonia in a London hospital and he is most upset, he has not shaved in two days. He is determined to regain his dignity and leave the hospital. He has his artificial leg on. Holding his stick in one hand and my arm with the other we walk up and down the corridor in the ward. He quizzes me, “Are you going to buy me a razor?”

I tell him that Dr. Rohini, the extremely friendly caring doctor, had asked me not to buy him one but instead ask the nurse, Mary, to supply one and watch him shave. She is on her break so we wait. We return to his bed and he sits down on it. The nurse returns, provides a wash basin, no mirror, not that one would have helped much as his eye sight has largely failed, and a cheap disposable razor and small packets of shaving cream. He takes off his sweater and shirt and shaves himself. The woman visiting the patient John opposite says to John “Isn’t he doing well” and they both smile.

Finally my father finishes shaving, with three small bloody nicks on his face. He puts on a clean shirt and smiles proudly.

He was discharged the next day. I bring him home.

At my parents’ flat in Clapham I am in the galley kitchen and he comes and asks “Did you buy new razors, do they have covers on.” “Yes they in the bathroom and there is one out with no cover.” He walks back to sitting room. Later I am sitting with him and he starts to unbutton his shirt. “Do you want to shave?” I ask. “Yes,” he says. He gets up with some difficulty and stick in hand heads to the bathroom. I follow, run hot water into the sink and spray shaving cream on his hand. He shaves with a new multi-blade razor, no nicks today. He returns to the sitting room and I help him on with his shirt. I clean the smeared shaving cream off his glasses.

He sits down and says, “Let’s have a drink.” I get us both a whisky and water. Then I wish him good bye, kiss him on the cheek.

I am heading to Jerusalem on the night flight. I arrive at the airport, shave and wait for the flight to be called.

Thinking of the God Jesus has us know, who loves the dignity of every person and ask us to use our dignity, if we still have it to help others gain and retain theirs, to always build the new Jerusalem.

Thinking of a father, who told stories to us as children, of how in Assisi, Italy in June 1944 after being hit by anti-tank shell in his armoured car, killing his driver and taking his right leg, he was captured, lost his clothes and then fought as a prisoner to regain his dignity and use his rank as a British officer to persuade his captors to help other prisoners. He helped many.

Thinking of a father still fighting to regain his dignity, inspired as his son, clean shaved boarding a plane to Jerusalem.

Originally a post on Facebook April 20th 2016

Postscript: My father died on 13 June 2016 held by my sister and me. The last thing I did for him was to give him a shave.

Posted in For my father Ivor Coats | Leave a comment
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