New life…

God of spring time

as the frost melts

and the trees bud

may I cross over

from darkness to light

from grumbling to appreciation

from hesitating to striding

from boredom to creativity

from looking down to gazing up

from indifference to your Passion

from chill to warmth and love

in this world and the next.

(found here on beautyfromchaos)

Picture is ‘new life’ by Jonny Baker on Flickr

Being nice is not enough

This wonderful picture from Jonny Baker on Flickr reminded me of this piece by Alan Jones called “Being nice and other barriers to love” (Inward Outward):

“One of the most damaging things about the popular view of love is that it requires being nice all the time. I don’t think that I am a particularly nice person. In fact, one of the reasons that I count myself among the believers is that I cannot rely on my being nice to pull me through.

Being nice is closely allied, of course, to being liked. The two go together. If I’m not nice you won’t like me, and if you don’t like me then there is no chance of love springing up between us. This kind of reasoning breeds dishonesty because it means that “love” becomes a code word for avoiding confrontation or disagreement.

True love requires a strict and accurate regard for truth. We live in an age that would prefer the smooth lie to the hard truth. The result is that we are very poor at honouring genuine feelings and hard-won convictions. In the name of caring for each other we often do everything we can to diffuse one another’s passion. We are embarrassed by strong expressions of emotion… Love is reduced to niceness and the passion and the grief are driven underground….”

We cannot be ‘nice’ all the time and I know for sure that niceness isn’t going to get me through. I can’t sustain it. And anyway being nice does not necessarily = love!

Being nice is on the bland side of love. Niceness is the easy route – saying things that other people want to hear. Sliding over the truth.

Niceness is superficial. But love is something way beyond superficial. Love has depth, conviction and passion. Yet the passion is something we want to ignore, especially when it comes to faith.

Christians should not just be nice people (although it is a start :)). We should also love with passion the God who first loved us, the God who revealed the depths of his passion for us in Christ and on the cross.

And then we should share this love with those around us.

… the intimacy of things

“In the early evening we see the stars begin to appear as the sun disappears over the horizon. The light of day gives way to the darkness of night. A stillness, a healing quiet comes over the landscape. It’s a moment when some other world makes itself known, a numinous presence beyond human understanding. We experience the vast realms of space overwhelming the limitations of our human minds. As the sky turns golden and the clouds reflect the blazing colors of evening, we participate for a moment in the forgiveness, the peace, the intimacy of things with each other.” (Thomas Berry)

Picture is ‘sunset from grizzly peak’ by Jonny Baker on Flickr

 

Ignite or be gone…

For Sunday a wonderful poem by Mary Oliver called “What I have learned so far”.

My interpretation? Sunday worship (or meditation on a beautiful hill side) is all well and good, but it needs to ignite into actions of love, light and kindness in this world or it is as dust in our hands.

Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world? Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause? I don’t think so.

All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of
light is the crossroads of – indolence, or action.

Be ignited, or be gone.

Photos are by Jonny Baker on Flickr

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

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

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

Fall in Love…

Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.

Attributed to Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ (1907–1991)

I found this wonderful poem on ignatianspirituality.com (a blog well worth visiting) and it really moved me. So I thought I would post it just in case it moves you too 🙂

Picture is ‘thought for the day’ by Jonny Baker on Flickr