Let your love play…

Been neglecting the blog a little lately mainly due to preparing to go on holiday… being on holiday (in Sunny Spain)… coming back and catching up after holiday!

Thanks to Paul for this amazing prayer which lifted my spirits today 🙂

Let Your love play upon my voice and rest on my silence.

Let it pass through my heart into all my movements.

Let your love, like stars, shine in the darkness of my sleep and dawn in my awakening.

Let it burn in the flame of my desires and flow in all currents of my own love.

Let me carry Your love in my life as a harp does its music, and give it back to You at last with my life.

 Rabindranath Tagore [1861-1941]

Picture is: clouds over Calpe (Spain).

God of the messes…


If you feel you can’t tolerate the mess, the only advice I can give to you is this: choose what for you is a better mess, if you can find it. But wherever you go, you go to the next mess. You may take a couple of years to find out how messy it is, but you will find it to be a mess. God has tolerated many messes for many eons.

Source: sermon by N. Gordon Cosby (found at inward/outward)

This made me smile today… an interesting slant (but oh so true) on ‘the grass is always greener…’  

As well as making me smile it reminded me that God is with me in the midst of the mess of the moment …and this is how I get through.

… ride the river

“I baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:8)…

I was ‘playing away’ today… doing a pulpit swap with the Presbytery Clerk (who is a Reader). I was celebrating a baptism in the church where he is interim moderator and he was preaching in mine.

Celebrating a baptism (for only the second time this year) made me think again about the liturgies we use and the complex theology behind them.

Baptism is initiation. It is the outward symbol of our inner newness of life in Christ… of our becoming part of the eternal community of God’s people. It is a meeting of heaven and earth in one profound sacramental moment. And when the baptism is of an infant, it also speaks of all the potential that is wrapped up in one young life at the beginning of faith.

So in honour of this morning’s baptism…I thought I would post this snatch of liturgy from Hold this Space. It is from an interactive worship event which had water as an underpinning theme.

We baptise with water … Jesus with the Spirit. And this liturgy captures the dynamic power of water and (for me anyway) symbolises the roller coaster nature of life lived in the guiding power of God’s Spirit:

Water has the power to carve valleys out of mountains.
It has the force to shape the landscape of the world.
It’s terrifying and exhilarating, fierce and beautiful.

If we have the courage to ride this particular river
– to jump into this faith that we’ve talked about this week –
then at times it’s going to feel like we’re tumbling,
like we’re being pummelled and shaped;
like we are at the mercy of the water.

It can be a wild ride, an adventure
or it can feel like it’s dragging us under,
that we are no longer able to breathe.

So, if you need it, here’s a branch…

In this space – and in every moment – you have a choice:

grab the branch, pull yourself out of the river
climb to the side and get re-oriented;

grab the branch, take a breath,
launch back in and let the river take you where it will.

I liked the change of emphasis in the middle… from the wild flow of water to the option of calm. The idea of being able to grab on to a branch and to rest a while. This is so important… taking time out… drawing breath… resting in the stillness of God.

So at the beginning of another week on your particular roller coaster, I hope you manage some moments of calm in the heart of the chaos 🙂

(Picture is no1 son on the beach in Galle, Portugal.)

The impossible possibility…

For everyone preparing to preach tomorrow:

‘Sunday’s Hour’ by Arnold Kenseth,

Comes Sunday’s hour, and speech hangs itself
On God’s red tree. Preacher, word-monger, I
Defy the interdict, naming dark Yahweh, taking Him
And His fire in vain. O havoc, cry havoc! Sigh
His deep blue breath into phrases and praises.
Still, it is impossible. He will not dwell half
Or anywhere in my capture. Yet I must draw home
The net, try to catch somehow His graces.

For it is by grace we live, and all the people
Must be told. So I could wish my body more
Contained Him, that my walks more shaped, here
And there, His amble. How ill beneath a steeple
I incarnate! Despite me, then, come now,
Let His enlightening strike us row by row.

Found here (with added Barthian comment).

Picture is of the pulpit in Barony St John’s Church, Ardrossan.

Logos

Why wonder about the loaves and the fishes?
If you say the right words, the wine expands.
If you say them with love
and the felt ferocity of that love
and the felt necessity of that love,
the fish explode into the many.
Imagine him, speaking,
and don’t worry about what is reality,
or what is plain, or what is mysterious.
If you were there, it was all those things.
If you can imagine it, it was all those things.
Eat, drink, be happy.
Accept the miracle.
Accept, too, each spoken word
spoken with love.

(Mary Oliver  from Why I Wake Early)

I love this poem -the exuberance and the acceptance of the miraculous. It captures beautifully the love and compassion of Jesus – his words bursting into action in these most ordinary of miracles.

Picture is ‘bread’ by Jonny Baker on flickr