Moving on…

I found this picture with the CS Lewis quote here when I was blog hopping the other day. It sums up quite neatly where I am at the moment.

As regular readers will know, the future for my congregation is very uncertain. Uncertainty increased this week when I received the surveyor’s report on our halls complex with attendant costings.

The rest of the month holds meetings and discussions about the future. I have spent the past few days organising reports and paperwork, writing letters and addressing envelopes (as you do when you are off sick!!).

Please pray for us, for strength and wisdom, for patience and grace as we consider our options.

But mostly pray that we will hold on to the hope that there are indeed “far far better things ahead than any we leave behind”.

Heart matters…

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,
Amen

Picture found here when blog hopping

The Sun on Sunday…

Today was gloriously sunny 🙂

So in the hope that this is a sign of days to come, I thought I would post this poem by Mary Oliver:

Have you ever seen
anything
in your life
more wonderful

than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon

and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone –
and how it slides again

out of the blackness,
every morning,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower

streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance –
and have you ever felt for anything

such wild love –
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a world billowing enough
for the pleasure

that fills you,
as the sun
reaches out,
as it warms you

as you stand there,
empty-handed –
or have you too
turned from this world-

or have you too
gone crazy
for power,
for things?

(picture is the sun setting over Troon Harbour… an everyday miracle)

Ordinary miracles

Ok, so I have now been signed off work until 13th March! It feels as if Lent is rushing by in a blur of coughing and sleepless nights, so I am hanging on to my Lenten discipline of posting every day. It is giving some much needed focus and structure to my days – days which, at the moment, are completely devoid of either.

On a cheerier note here is a poem for Saturday – The Bright Field by the wonderful RS Thomas.

Here we are reminded how very precious are the moments of our days – all those ordinary every day miracles which so often pass us by as we rush on through our lives.

In Lent we need to slow down and ponder these ordinary miracles – like sunlight on a small field – which give us glimpses of the eternity that awaits us. Ordinary miracles which put into the perspective the regrets of the past and the pressures of the future.

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying

on to a receeding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

Picture is ‘frosty morning’ by Jonny Baker on Flickr

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! 🙂

Timing…

Oh God, grant us a sense of your timing.

In this season of short days and long nights,
of grey and white and cold,
teach us the lessons of beginnings;
that such waitings and endings may be the starting place,
a planting of seeds which bring to birth what is ready to be born–
something right and just and different,
a new song, a deeper relationship, a fuller love–
in the fullness of your time.

O God, grant us the sense of your timing.

(Ted Loder from inward/outward )

My prayer for today… seemed appropriate.

Photograph is ‘knowing what time it is’ by Jonny Baker on Flickr

… this is all it takes?

A wonderful reflection from Cheryl at holdthisspace for Christmas in the prison where she works. She notes that “  it’s still a bit rough, but you get the idea…”.

Rough or not, it is certainly worth sharing as we make our way on to Bethlehem… as we wait “for love to be born”.

The story (Luke 2: 1-20) tells us that this is all it takes for love to be born:

you listen to the voice of improbable angels
you dare to believe you might have a part to play in their story

you say yes to the idea of the impossible
you give up the future you thought was inevitable

you defy the protocols and social mores of the day
when they get in the way of what you know is true

you dare to say to those who would deny your value and your role
that you just might have what’s needed, in this moment

you search for your allies and trust them with your dream
you devour the moments of joy when they come

you demand truth from yourself and those around you
you give up the things you are comfortable with

you travel long journeys in inhospitable conditions
you stand up to be counted

you take whatever shelter you can get
you aren’t afraid of darkness or dirt

you do whatever it takes, even if you’re lonely, scared,
a laughing stock, intimidated, overwhelmed, lost, uncomfortable

you accept gifts of wisdom from strangers
you honour those who put their gifts of love, however small, alongside yours

you risk everything, even your life, to give it breath
that’s all it takes for love to be born.

Picture is: Henry Ossawa Tanner – The Annunciation

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

Between …

Liminal space is disorienting and disturbing because you are not fully in control. This is true faith and it can be frightening. Yet whenever you risk following Christ’s call, astonishing things occur. We know the One who calls is the one who saves. The life of faith means at least this: living in liminal space-cultivating the capacity of heart to hear Christ’s invitation and stepping out of comfortable, yet unsatisfying structures toward a future that only God knows. Once we grasp that Peter did not drown and neither will we, then a wild freedom begins.

Roy Howard (from inward/outward)

I read this the day after our last Kirk Session meeting. It really captures the mood of that meeting as we are a congregation in a liminal space.

It really is disturbing when the future is not in your hands, when things are out of control with no resolution in sight.

But the call is the same for us –  to trust the one who saves, to listen for his call to leave the old things behind and to step forward in faith towards the new, towards a future that is in God’s hands now.

Picture is ‘still’ by Jonny Baker on Flickr

Impossible things become possible

Jesus didn’t send the hungry away. He never does. Undaunted by the magnitude of the need, he does the compassionate deed with what is at hand. This is the miracle of compassion that his followers are invited to repeat. Take what is at hand-a little of this and a little of that-and give it away to God’s hungry people, believing that God will do wonders with our offerings.

Jesus takes the small things, like a cup of water and loaf of bread, and does what compassion calls for at the precise moment. He refuses to be overwhelmed, either by his own need for comfort or the urgent needs of the people. Instead of anxiety about not having enough, he looks upon the face of human hunger and does the next right thing…

Albert Einstein famously said, “The way I see it, you have two ways to live your life: one, as if no miracles exist and the other, as though everything is a miracle.” To be open to the miraculous is to be open to impossible things becoming possible. It is a stance toward life that is fundamentally hopeful, one that places confidence in God always, and is especially confident when all other sources have run out.

Roy Howard (found on  inward/outward)