Jesus in Milton Keynes

To meet H in Milton Keynes. Can Christ encounter a trans woman?

It’s 2 1/2 hours on the bus, but I have Audre Lorde’s poetry to read:

it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive

A woman at a bus stop had left her husband after 22 years. Will you go back to him? asked the man emptying the bin. No, he beat her up. I congratulate her, and she says her family are helping her get stronger. Though he still lives in the town, and when he sees her gives her a dirty look as if she had wronged him. That’s worrying.

Milton Keynes has some really poor public art, I say. For example,

“What’s it meant to be?” H asks. An abstract sculpture. I suppose it is best in bright sunshine like today, with those contrasts between bright and dark. It would look different from hour to hour. (But I am writing after my encounter- I was sniffier before.)

After the Paula Rego exhibition we go into the park. I am still mocking, but beginning to take an interest. This is the Milton Keynes rose:

This, though, does not seem worth its prominent position:

But then we read that the Light Pyramid is sometimes lit to commemorate local or national events. On the way there we see the amphitheatre:

We sit in the shade of the beacon, talking of the good life and looking out over this heavily landscaped park.

I noticed the woman before I heard what they were saying. I got out my phone to take notes. Each chants a phrase several times, and sometimes in another language:

I cover this diamond in the name of Jesus.
This diamond is causing people sickness.
MK is covered in the name of Jesus.
Walk around in praise.
I soak this place with the blood of Jesus seven times.
Break every chain.
Holy Spirit have mercy on MK.
Grey Grace and Jeremy are praying to save Milton Keynes from Satan. I ask them for a photograph, and they ask why I want it. I pause for a moment. I want to say, because I too am a follower of Jesus. I wonder if this will mislead them, then decide to say it. They high-five me.

After, Grace prays over me. It is powerfully affirming. Though people gossip about me or I am confused, Jesus is with me. She speaks urgently, her hand on my shoulder.

We go back to the Rose, and notice the inscriptions. Some monoliths are blank, others inscribed. The stone is beautiful.

May 24th is Heartwarming Day, when John Wesley recorded “I felt my heart strangely warmed”. The second Saturday in June is Knit in Public day.

I find the art gallery beautiful, inside and out:

I love the primary colours, the steel, concrete and breeze blocks, the detail of it.

I am a little sad that Grace might not recognise my way of following Jesus, but do not want her to change hers, but to grow in it.

In the bus back I read a little, and practise my presence meditation:

I am here. This is. I am.

Paula Rego was wonderful. On the bus I read Richard Rohr quoting Peter: “He has given us something very great and wonderful . . . you are able to share the divine nature!”

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