Monthly Message

when I see you again

I will trace the tears on your face

with a wondering finger

as we both weep

when I see you again

I will hold you close and long

as if we were lovers

and I would never let you go

when I see you again

I will marvel at your fragile form

and imagine holding your precious life

in the palms of my hands

when I see you again

we will laugh like thirsty travellers

finding water in the desert

flinging gouts of joy into the sky

when I see you again

I will be grateful for all I took for granted..

and by God’s grace

we will live fresh-eyed and wondering in the world

like creatures newly born


Author Tina Hodgett 3 January 2021 

On pinpricks of Hope

I remember as a child hiding under a blanket and not being able to see out. Yet with patience I discovered that, as my eyes adjusted, I could see through the weave of the blanket.

Last year I've sometimes wanted to hide under a blanket! However,  as the vaccination programme has rolled out and I’ve heard that someone has had their jab it has been a pinprick of hope giving me courage and hope.

I’m so impressed with people, who are scared of needles or for some reason or other nervous of vaccinations, going ahead and rolling up their sleeves to let this happen to them.  I also understand why for some communities the histories around HeLa cells mean that there can be genuine ethical dilemmas around accepting vaccination.

HeLa cells are so named for the African-American woman Henrietta Lacks, who died in 1951 aged 31. A tissue sample, was taken and used without her consent. Since that time that tissue sample has been the origin for cell lines used in many areas of medical research, including those involved with Covid-19 vaccination.  I am delighted that medical research can bring us these advances but I am saddened at they way this was done. Her family, among them her grandson Alfred Lacks Carter show enormous wisdom and compassion. For, in spite of the racism and systematic failings that lead to this happening, he says: “They were taken in a bad way but they are doing good for the world”

When I had my first vaccination recently I said a prayer of thanksgiving for Henrietta Lacks who has done good for me. And as Easter approaches I am reminded that my faith is rooted in the story of Jesus, a man who also laid down his life for his friends and even his enemies. In images of Jesus Christ after the resurrection of Easter Day I see not simply pinpricks of hope, but the nailmarks that remind me that suffering can indeed lead to and bring the renewal of Hope.

May this Easter bring us confidence and trust in the renewal of hope and patience to wait for the full glory of this to unfold.

Information about Henrietta Lacks can be found (among other places) in this issue of Nature

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