Today, another amazing picture by Brian Johnstone – skimming stones all the way to Ailsa Craig.
“Honour your being, release each and every struggle, gather strength from life’s storms, relax into the arms of spirit”
Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Today a Lenten Prayer by St. Ambrose of Milan (AD 339-397) with Echoes of Ezekiel 36: 26-7:
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
O Lord, who hast mercy upon all,
take away from me my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me the fire of thy Holy Spirit.
Take away from me the heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore Thee,
a heart to delight in Thee,
to follow and enjoy Thee,
for Christ’s sake,
Picture found here when blog hopping
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.
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.)
And then breathe your spirit into all
For ever and ever
A header from Cheryl’s blog which scrolled up today. I think I may have posted it before… but it is well worth a repeat.
I like the idea of being clay.
There is so much potential for creativity… for shaping and reshaping.
Clay is source material… dynamic not static… brought to life by the Spirit of God.
(Photo: copyright free image)
The church is not going to be different until someone in it is different. God waits for each of us to hear, “Behold, I do a new thing…through you!” The question is always: Can we open our lives so that the Holy Spirit may descend and new power break that we may be the kind of person around whom renewal begins?
A great quote for Pentecost … imagine what the Spirit could achieve if we were open and willing to change … and be changed?
Picture is: Pentecost Quilt by Linda Schmidt from here
“Come Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit,
and they shall be created.
And You shall renew the face of the earth”.
Amen to that!
Picture is ‘pentecost at ground level’ by Dave at visualtheology
Still on a ‘travel’ theme, here is a wonderful creed written by Australian writer and theologian Dorothy McRae-McMahon (and found in this book” by Peter Millar):
We believe in God
who takes our smallest moment of hope
and grows it forth like a tree
with spreading branches
for the sheltering of new life.
We believe in Jesus Christ
who walks tall amongst us,
seen in our faces, felt in our hearts,
bedded deep in the longing of our souls
for all that is true, just and full of hope.
We believe in the Holy Spirit
who waits on our moments of openness
and springs into the unknowns
with joy and delight,
that we may be called on
beyond where we thought we could go
where every step is walked on holy ground.
A creed for the journey which reminds us that whatever we face in life we can draw on the amazing grace of the God who travels with us into the unknown… the God of life and hope… the God of joy and delight.
Picture is ‘walk through the shadows and into the light’ by Mike Lockie on Flickr
Some people travel in straight lines:
Sat in metal boxes, eyes ahead,
Always mindful of the target,
Moving in obedience to the coloured lights and white lines,
Mission accomplished at the journey’s end.
Some people travel round in circles:
Trudging in drudgery, eyes looking down,
Knowing only too well their daily unchanging round,
Moving in response to clock and habit,
Journey never finished yet never begun.
I want to travel in patterns of God’s making:
Walking in wonder, gazing all around,
Knowing my destiny, though not my destination,
Moving to the rhythm of the surging of his spirit,
A journey which when life ends, in Christ has just begun
I hope today you walked in wonder 🙂
Picture is ‘one step at a time’ by Jonny Baker on Flickr
A prayer for Monday from Mucky Paws … this covers most eventualities for the week ahead:
May your love grasp us when we feel we are only just holding on
May your voice call us when we seek other pleasures or pain
May your story heal us when ours is too sore to tell
May your patience wait for us when we are not yet ready to hear you
May your spirit fill us when we have been emptied by life
And may all our living find its source in you.
To this I say… Amen!
Photo is: ‘touch’ by Jonny Baker on Flickr