If you want to have an interesting conversation with a friend, try asking a worst and best question.
They can go something like this:
What was the worst holiday or meal or job you ever had and what was the best? My answers might be around Sumatra and Switzerland, chicken claws and Pavlova, delivering newspapers and serving in a congregation.
If I bump into you in the next few weeks, beware, I might ask a worst and best question.
Several years ago, I read about Baroness Caroline Cox, a scientist, former Deputy Speaker in the House of Lords and a committed Christian.
A journalist once asked her one of those worst and best questions. She had recently returned from war-torn Sudan and began to relate one of her worst experiences.
She arrived in a Dinka village just after a band of government soldiers had left. The stench of death was everywhere.
More than a hundred corpses lay where they had been savagely butchered. Straw huts were burning and crops razed, children carried off to slavery; nothing but death, destruction and depravity.
The journalist quickly moved on and asked: “what about one of your best moments?”
Baroness Cox paused and replied, it happened a few minutes later in the same devastated Sudanese village.
There were a few women who had managed to hide and survive. They wiped away their tears and instinctively made tiny crosses out of sticks laying on the ground.
They pushed them into the blood-soaked earth. Why?
The crosses were not primarily grave markers but symbols of hope and acts of faith.
As followers of Jesus of Nazareth, they believed that God entered into their pain and that in the face of evil and loss – they were not alone.
In our worst and best moments, God is invisibly present to comfort, uphold, guild and even teach us.
Jesus was the best God could give and suffered the worst the world could give: crucifixion and death.
My prayer is that the faith that upheld those Dinka women will uphold you and I.
Rev Steve Francis