Saturday, 4 April 2020

Staying faithful


Mark 14:32-36
Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.” And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.”

Being faithful
is exhausting
Weighing up the cost 
of commitment
and change
when loss seems 
more prevalent than gain
Balancing the books
of uncertainty and agitation
with tentative peace
Not much of a relief
but  some kind of resolution
around which
life can begin to flow 
Like a sandbank in a river
Still there
but navigable
But the energy it takes
just to get that far
never mind what’s next
necessitates withdrawal
lying low
taking time
to reclaim 
all that has been eroded
in the struggle 
to be faithful
and to remain available
to possibility.
Healing
may creep in slowly
not to anaesthetise the pain
but to massage and soothe
so that tenderness
openness
and sensitivity
remain the foundation
of future growth

and continued faithfulness.

Friday, 3 April 2020

Forty

Matthew 4:1-2
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished.


Forty
Days of fasting for Jesus
Years in the wilderness
for the Israelites
Days of rain
for Noah and co 
Days of prophesying
for Jonah in Nineveh...
Days originally set apart
for those in quarantine
Times of healing and growth
Times of creativity and innovation
Times of learning and consolidation 
In this “Lentiest Lent that’s ever been Lented”
where have we borne witness to
and where have we contributed to
Healing
Growth
Creativity
Innovation
Learning
Consolidation
And how might we emerge
into the light
forever changed
and renewed
by our experience?
For the love of God.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

This is faith

Habakkuk 3:17-19
Though the fig tree does not blossom,
and no fruit is on the vines;
though the produce of the olive fails,
and the fields yield no food;
though the flock is cut off from the fold,
and there is no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will exult in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
and makes me tread upon the heights.
This is faith:
To look around
and see light in the darkness
To listen carefully 
for sounds of laughter in the tears
To keep watch
for signs of hope amidst despair
To sit with grief
knowing resurrection is promised
We may not be able
to access the empty tomb 
But we know how the story ends
So
Even when...
We can’t see the woods
for the trees
The clouds obscure the sun
We can’t see God
through the mist of confusion
we can’t hear God
for the cacophony around
This I know
God is present
in the midst of deafening silence
God is present 
and emerging from the darkness
God is present
when everything else conspires
to convince us otherwise
God is present
And that is enough.


Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Rent a crowd

Matthew 21:6-11
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

This is the time
to work out
who we are
without a crowd.
We, who are so fickle 
often drawn in by popular opinion
often dragged along for the ride
have a unique opportunity
to question
who we are
and what we believe.
In our enforced isolation
will we still cry out
Hosanna!
Lord save us!
And will religious leaders today
have any more clue
about the needs of the people?
Or will we keep on colluding
with political forces
that go with the flow
to save the economy?
This Palm Sunday
away from the crowd,
whose name is on your lips
and whose creed
is written on your heart?
Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna!

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Gethsemane

Matthew 26:36-41
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Lord, when you were troubled
you took your friends
to keep watch with you.
You needed them close
Not for their scintillating conversation
Not even for their innate wisdom
You wanted them
for basic human companionship
So, even though they slept
Even though they couldn’t comprehend
the depth of your suffering,
their nearness was enough.
Today, when our lives are disrupted,
when we cannot be physically present
with those we need and love
show us how to support one another
Awaken in us
a new spirit of connection
that drills deep
that goes beyond what we can see
to the agony that lies beneath
And in this season,
when we linger with you
in the garden
may our Gethsemane
our place of refuge
forge in us the resolve
to deepen and sustain
the connections that we need
to see us through
this time of trial.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Solidarity

Luke 22:14-20
When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

Bread of life
Broken, torn, shared 
Equipping
Nourishing
Sustaining
Cup of salvation
Poured, supped, ingested 
Flowing
Quenching
Freeing
Bread and cup 
Filling
Releasing
Making new
Replenishing the body 
Infusing all of life
with sacred meaning
and connectedness 
Blurring the lines
Uniting heaven and earth
Past, present and eternity
in a great cloud of witnesses
Overflowing
out of our sanctuaries
onto the streets
marking time
until all can be fed again
with the life of the world.
Maranatha!

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Coming out


John 11:38-44
Jesus Raises Lazarus to Life
Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

Coming out
Not an end -
there is still a great unravelling
to be encountered
Unravelling that can only be completed
in stages
alone
and
in community
Nor is it a beginning -
All that has gone before remains
craving attention
imploring sifting
demanding confrontation
Neither an ending
nor a beginning
but a stage
on the road to healing
And the miracle in healing
is the capacity
the temerity
and the resilience
to examine the past
to greet the future
and to stay well in the present.
Coming out
one stage
on the road to wholeness.

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