Zeph Daily 61

I miss collective Zeph Team Rants in the office so indulge me! Which UK supermarket annoys you the most???

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, text that says "Welcome to adulthood. You get mad when they rearrange the grocery store now. ifunny.co"

Many people are familiar with my answer to this question. I have a legendary Aldi rant about the highly stressful time I got trapped in their vestibule with a basket over-full of shopping, unable either to re-enter the store or leave, while an employee unhelpfully shouted at me that I wasn’t allowed to take my basket with me. (I didn’t want to. I just wanted to exit the store!) Julia particularly loves it and her little eyes light up everytime the subject comes up. Which is often. Not that I bear a grudge, you understand…

You may not have noticed, but I do have a bit of a tendency to store unfortunate experiences in my internal encyclopedia of Things That Make Me Angry. I think it’s because the storyteller in me is always looking out for potential good rants or funny anecdotes. But it also means I’m not always very good at letting go of my frustrations and moving on.

Side-step coming up… Last summer, I went to Orkney for the first time and it was wonderful! I have spent many a time during lockdown wishing I was back there, among the history and the scenery and the wildlife and the beautiful, beautiful ocean. I like to collect stories wherever I go, and Orkney was no exception – there are lots of good tales there.

A rainy weather forecast sent us to Kirkwall one day, where we visited St Magnus Cathedral, a beautiful place – and again, full of hidden stories among the stones…

One of the pillars has this little gold plaque on it. In case you can’t read it, it says:
“Within this pillar lie the remains of Magnus, Erlend’s Son, Earl of Orkney, who on 16th April 1115 was slain on the island of Egilsay. Canonised on 13th Dec 1133. To his memory Rognvald built this Cathedral.”


“Oo, there’s a story there!” I thought. And so there was!

Magnus shared the Earldom of Orkney with his cousin, Haakon. In 1115, following discord and the threat of violence between their followers, Magnus and Haakon agreed to meet at Egilsay at Easter, to broker peace. Each agreed that they would only bring two ships; but Haakon broke his word and turned up with eight. Magnus claimed sanctuary in the island’s church overnight, but the following day he was captured. An assembly of chieftains, tired of the conflict of joint rule, ordered that one of the Earls must die. When his standard bearer refused to kill Magnus, Haakon made his cook strike him on the head with an axe, and Magnus died. They buried him on Egilsay.

Thora, Magnus’ mother and Haakon’s aunt, was expecting both Earls to return to Kirkwall to celebrate the brokered peace. She’d prepared a feast to celebrate – but only Haakon returned – and had to explain to her what he’d done. Thora’s heartbreak must have been as immense as it was unexpected. Her peace-loving son was dead; and her nephew had killed him…

According to the story though, Thora was quite a person. She listened to Haakon, then claimed him as her family – “you must be my kin now.” He had killed her son – and she forgave him, continuing with the feast in his honour. Afterwards, she pleaded with him to let her give Magnus a proper burial, and that’s how his remains ended up in Kirkwall.
Whether she forgave him primarily for his benefit or for her own (so she could reclaim her son’s remains), it is still a huge act.

It’s a tricky thing, forgiveness. When we get hurt, we can find ourselves wanting to cling on to the anger, to the pain. Letting go of it can feel weak. But there is such power in stories like that of Thora. We all know of other, similar, testimonies – the power of forgiveness and peace…

Forgiveness is all about restoration. God offers that to us freely and fully. “Forgive us our sins…” Spend a few moments with God, allowing him to give you that restoration, to let go of the things you know you got wrong, the things you didn’t do, the things you should have done better or differently…

“As we forgive those who sin against us.” There is something incredibly healing about choosing to let go, to give up the things that burden us and weigh us down. Follow Thora’s lead and allow God to lift your burdens of anger and resentment. Allow him to give you THAT restoration too.

May your days be free of the burden of resentment and anger – and Aldi! – Zephyrs! Amen.

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