Desert Places…

For today a poem for Lent, on the loneliness of our desert places:

Snow falling and night falling fast, oh, fast
In a field I looked into going past,
And the ground almost covered smooth in snow,
But a few weeds and stubble showing last.

The woods around it have it – it is theirs.
All animals are smothered in their lairs.
I am too absent-spirited to count;
The loneliness includes me unawares.

And lonely as it is that loneliness
Will be more lonely ere it will be less –
A blanker whiteness of benighted snow
With no expression, nothing to express.

They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars – on stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.

Robert Frost (1936).

Lenten Spirit

Today one of my favourite Lenten liturgies from Roddy (once at Mucky Paws… now Listening to the stones)

Ah the Spirit
we know not where she blows
as a breath of wind
she goes wherever she wills

in the gravel of the journey she leaves her footprints

in the cross on the horizon she directs the journey

in the deepening colours of the season she moves between us

in the fading of the light she calls us into the darkness

in the word of foretelling she promises life

in the wilderness of Lent she takes us through.

The Spirit’s flux
we know not where she flows
but may she shift in us
and set our journey once more.

Picture is of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro – more wonderful images found here.

Holding on to faith

This meditation from Cheryl at hold this space reflects my mood today. I am still coughing and the doctor has signed me off for another week – bah! This has a strange start to Lent – I haven’t led worship for three weeks now. It feels like I have lost all my usual markers – the desert is very dry!

The promise echoes through history
whispered by angels and shouted by prophets
But did they know how dry this desert could be?

How do we hold faith
when the cracks in our reality are deeper than ever before
when the pressures add up relentlessly.

You are making all things new?
We are trying to hold faith.

We need a glimpse, God
a moment
something to carry us beyond what we know

So we pray
with no faith
and with all faith

give us eyes to see
faith to believe
courage to live

Prayer for first Sunday in Lent

How often have I lived through these weeks without paying much attention to penance, fasting, and prayer? How often have I missed the spiritual fruits of the season without even being aware of it? But how can I ever really celebrate Easter without observing Lent? How can I rejoice fully in your Resurrection when I have avoided participating in your death?

Yes, Lord, I have to die – with you, through you, and in you – and thus become ready to recognize you when you appear to me in your Resurrection. There is so much in me that needs to die: false attachments, greed and anger, impatience and stinginess…. I see clearly now how little I have died with you, really gone your way and been faithful to it.

O Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again. Amen.

(Henri Nouwen from A Cry for Mercy: Prayers from the Genesee,  found on this Lenten blog)

Signs of spring?

This is the  snowdrop fairy from Mary Cecily Barker’s flower fairies book. And this is her song:

Deep sleeps the winter, Cold, wet, and
grey; Surely all the world is
dead; Spring is far away.
Wait! The world shall waken;
It is not dead, for lo,
The Fair Maids of February
Stand in the snow!

Ok so it’s not exactly snowing today, in fact it is pretty mild for the time of year, but it certainly is wet and grey.

Wet and grey has been my mood for the last few weeks, and I decided it was definitely time for some signs of spring. So I have changed my blog background in the hope that my mood will follow – small steps! 🙂

Lent – emerging from the fog?

How can it be Lent already?

I wasn’t prepared for it at all.  Mainly because I haven’t been too well lately – due to a persistent dry hacking cough which is (among other things) keeping me awake at night and playing havoc with the essentials of ministry such as preaching and talking! I feel as if I have been cast adrift for a while in that haze which comes from far too many sleepless nights and aimless days.

Hopefully now I am on the mend and will be back at work on Monday. So as a way out of the fog I am planning to post something everyday through lent – I think I just about managed this last year – so here goes again just one day late!