Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Running out of words

Luke 4:42
Jesus Preaches in the Synagogues
At daybreak he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowds were looking for him; and when they reached him, they wanted to prevent him from leaving them.

On a day filled with words
Mostly good words
Although a few did rankle 
And clearly - some words were sent by God
On this word-filled day
I crave a moment of blankness -
(Even as I produce more words)
On a day lived under fluorescent lights
Lights of the meeting room
Lights of the lunch time venue
Lights of the train journey home
I crave darkness
On a day filled with voices
Encouraging voices
Gentle voices
Wise voices
I crave silence
On a day filled with reports and deadlines
and opinions and responses
and all manner of requirements
I crave the undemanding, 
silent night
in which to dwell in God
who has been present 
in every aspect of the day
and who will be present
in every facet of the night.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Christmas Spirit

Joel 2:28
God’s Spirit Poured Out
Then afterward
I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.

I met with some colleagues today, a wonderfully supportive group who have been meeting together for some time. We met in a local visitor centre coffee shop surrounded by Christmas decor. Santa even made an appearance.
In the midst of this winter wonderland, we were discussing the Spirit of Christmas, asking: What is it? And when and how does it arrive?
I described the years when I'd been concerned that it wasn't actually going to reach me, this seasonal accessory but, somehow, there was a point in the Christmas Watchnight service where God stepped in, bringing warmth and joy.
If Christmas Spirit is to be in any way meaningful, it must become more than an accompaniment to the season. It must affect the way we care for one another, the way we reach out to others, it must involve fulfilling the Jesus manifesto - bringing good news to the poor, sight to the blind, release for the captive, 
We celebrate the birth of a baby who came into the world over 2000 years ago. Surely God with us should make a difference all the time, not just at Christmas.
We may wait in vain for some Christmas Spirit - but God's Spirit is upon us. Our call is to make a difference by letting that Spirit infect us and affect all that we do - at Chrismas time and all the year round.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Glimpses of God

The train
in the early morning light
filled with folk commuting
to work
to school
setting out on business trips
settling back into routine
after a weekend
of who knows what.
Early Monday morning- 
not as busy
as late Saturday night
on the train
and a lot more subdued-
No carriage clowns
attempting to entertain
their travelling companions.
No loud discussions
and banter.
No sharing of food and drink.
I'm not sure they would be welcome
on a Monday morning
when in the half light
there is the quiet rustling of newspapers
the unapologetic application of make up
the low murmur of hoarse voices
even some catching up of sleep-
passengers beginning their week
perhaps reluctantly
Car headlights punctuate the dark
of the road that runs alongside the rail track
And streetlights illuminate
the frost covered verges between
and I can't help wondering:
Is God more present
in these quiet, tired commuters
Or in the raucous Saturday night passengers?
I think God has harder work to do on a Monday morning
when folks have their heads down
preparing for the week ahead
than in the Saturday night crowd
who are up for a party
and open to something new (or old).
But I also know 
that God is up for both
And God is in both.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

With us, always with us

Luke 11:12-13
Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

God we thank you 
that you didn't just tell us what to do
You came to earth and showed us
And, when you left,
you sent the Spirit
who nudges us
when we forget
and stays within us
a part of you.
And so we are caught up
in the Divine dance
of Father, Son and Spirit
with us always
Speaking, acting, prompting
With us all the way
Thank you for the dance
that keeps us close to you.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

From the inside out

Joel 2:12-13
Yet even now, says the Lord,
return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the Lord, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love

Longing for change
Not superficial
Not minor afjustments
But deep, penetrating change
Change that will last
Change that will come about
through journeying
through silence
through meditating
Change that will not be swift
but will seep in 
Changing the heart

Friday, 2 December 2016

Already here

John 1:9-12
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God,

Already here
Loitering in the shadows
with the poor
and the outcasts
the downtrodden
and the marginalised
Already here
bringing light into darkness
and hope into fear
And we do not see him
God with us now
God's kingdom
not some future hope
but here, now
as Christ lives among us
always showing up
bringing light and love
revealing the kingdom here now.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

World AIDS Day

Matthew 10:8
Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.

In a world where tachnology
and in particular
medical technology
has come so far
but where love 
and hope
and humanity
are often withheld from the vulnerable
We pray this day:
For the misused
the stigmatised
the marginalised
the bereaved
the unrecognised
the rejected
the frightened
the lonely 
For those cast aside
left out
For those denied hope
whose voices are not heard
whose pleas are played down
whose needs go unmet in a world of plenty
Lord, forgive us
for we know just what we do.
Forgive us
and break our hearts
for those for whom your heart is breaking.

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