Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Rekindling

2 Timothy 1:6-7
For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline 


Rekindling gifts
buried by put downs
or smothered by condescension
Reclaiming power
diminished by fear
and by the tiredness
of the ever pressing need
to be seen.
Cowardice is the easier option
Undemanding
Compliant
Submissive
Yet, God of love
and power
and self discipline 
you call us
to the way of courage
and compassion
A way that demands
that we move out of the shadows
escaping the confines
in which others might prefer we stay
You call us to embrace the spark
to fan into flame
to unleash
all that you made us to be 
Created in your divine image
with the breath of your Spirit
coursing through our marrow
Your summons 
is a call to witness 
to the power of one
whom death could not defeat
whose light
and love
will not be diminished 
You compel us to re-imagine
your creative spirit
at work in us
and in the world
You enable us to be
Co-creators with you
May the fire of your Spirit flow through 
all that you task us to do this day 
rekindling your gifts in us
for the good of all creation.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Too deep for words


Romans 8:26
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.

Fears, hopes, dreams
All jumbled up
in a tangled mess
I want to separate
and compartmentalise
make things neat
and presentable
instead of the bourach it is
I want to focus
on one thing at a time
and then move onto the next
But you, God
know me better than I know myself
You keep me grounded
reliant on your transformative love
You counter my
“I’ve got this”
with your “Really?”
You make me laugh out loud
at the absurdity
And, when I catch myself,
you remind me gently 
that your love
is unconditional.
And, on those days
when I don’t even know how to pray
Your Spirit intercedes
with sighs too deep for words
And that is enough
More than enough

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Communion on the beach

Luke 5:15-16
But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.


The beach after dark
may be even more wondrous
than in daylight
The roar of the breakers
speaks of power
The noise of the shingle
being dragged by the tide
speaks of tenacity
The smell of salt and seaweed
speaks of healing freshness
And the flash of lighthouses
along the coast
speaks of safety and home
And I like to think of you, O Christ
inhaling the scents
and savouring the sounds of the beach
as you sought to escape and recharge
Just as I know you
walking with me
in the dark
dodging the incoming tide
stepping over jellyfish
slipping on patches of seaweed
breathing in
the energy of love and healing
found in communion
with the divine
Creator
Redeemer
Sustainer
God.

Friday, 4 October 2019

Signs of the kingdom


A reflection on time spent with colleagues, sharing, resourcing and equipping one another, holding out hope for renewal as we respond to the invitation to be involved in the mission of God.

Luke 17:20-21
The Coming of the Kingdom
Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.”


We gathered around a table
and told our stories
of change and challenge
of blessing and breakthrough
we shared our hopes and dreams
and our hurts and disappointments
We gave thanks for companions on the road
and mourned those who had dropped out along the way
And as we dredged below the surface
and reached depths that we seldom visit
we offered our brokenness
with trepidation
fearing how it would be received
But what we encountered
was support
and what we discovered 
was community
Community forged around
one who was broken for us
one who poured himself out for us
We experienced 
the kingdom among us
celebrated in fresh bread
and good wine
Communion
that will nurture and sustain
as we go back
to all the places we’re called to serve
taking our brokenness
and the possibility of redemption
Our brokenness held
in the brokenness of the One
who holds and shares
and assures us
that the kingdom is here.




Wednesday, 2 October 2019

You anoint my head with oil

Reflecting on another part of Ps 23 from Dallas Willard’s paraphrase - You anoint my head with oil is paraphrased as:

You give me hot showers
and warm fluffy towels
joyful experiences
and deep relationships
to make me feel clean, special and powerful


Your anointing, O Lord
does not compare 
with that time we knelt at the altar
and had oil dabbed on our foreheads
Or even the time
when we passed around the nard
carefully rubbing it
on one another’s palm
Your anointing
is full on
extravagant
luxurious 
It takes us to a depth
almost unimaginable
A soul connection
that transcends boundaries
in which there is no holding back
 - but quite simply 
unmitigated love
Our Spirit leaps within us
in response
Knowing ourselves
held in your esteem
how can we ever play small
or eschew our power
or turn away
from the joy
and the depth
that you freely give?
May we be open to receiving
the more that you give
when you anoint our head with oil.


Sunday, 29 September 2019

There’s a woman in the pulpit


Mark 14:9
Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”


“Do you have a desire to preach?” The question posed by 11  men seated around a manse lounge as they explored with me my sense of vocation to full time ministry in the church. “Do you have a desire to preach?”
My voice left me that night - both literally and metaphorically. I was unable to answer affirmatively the one question that mattered to them. 
This was not the first time and, sadly, would not be the last time I was silenced by men.
Now, some 30 years on, despite going forward for selection without their blessing, I dare to call myself a preacher! A preacher in a great long line of women who preach. Women who take the Word, give it flesh, embody and share it wherever life takes them. Be it in Zumba class or belly dancing, in the supermarket or nursery. In the pub or coffee shop, school or shipyard. Sometimes, even, in the pulpit. Occasionally with words, more often in action.
Standing on the shoulders of a great line of mouthy women, women like:
Sarah
Hagar
Shiphrah
Puah
Hulda 
Deborah
Vashti
Esther
Ruth
Mary
Martha
Photene
Phoebe
Dorcas
Julie
Kathryn
Amy
Rachel
Sally-Lodge


... And countless others who have persisted in finding their voice and enabling others to do so too so that, history becomes herstory as the word is spoken and lived out wherever it needs to be seen and heard (Everywhere!)  
I give thanks for those women who discovered their desire to preach, not as defined by men, but as a response to the action of God in all of life and I take my place in that company, beloved of God today. 

Saturday, 28 September 2019

The Lord restores my soul

 

He heals and reintegrates my broken depths in his eternal life

Reflecting today on Dallas Willard’s paraphrase of “He restores my soul” from Psalm 23. (Life Without Lack; Thomas Nelson 2019)



He heals and reintegrates my broken depths in his eternal life

There are days when it feels
as though I am fragmented
So many pieces of myself
being given
in so many directions 
And not all who demand
are careful with the pieces offered
or appreciative of the gift received
Yet to withhold
would diminish me
And, after a while
I am left
to gather up the discarded shards
and try to fit them together
to make a whole
But as I sit there
with my complex jigsaw puzzle
I become aware
of God
at my shoulder
Isn’t that always the way
when we’re trying to complete a jigsaw
that someone will appear
to help or advise
But God just stands beside me
not interfering
or directing
just patiently 
and companionably waiting
until I’m satisfied
that all the pieces are slotted 
back into place
albeit that some are now
a bit tarnished
a bit rough round the edges
God waits
And I feel God’s hand in mine
as I smooth my hands over
the incomplete picture
and as I poke my fingers
where pieces are missing
And God does not join me
in a frantic search
to recover the missing pieces
or to fill in the gaps 
God continues to sit with me
gazing in love
at a less than pristine picture
that shows all the signs
of wounds 
and scars
gaping holes
toned down hues
that once were vibrant
and even some still shiny fragments
and in God’s loving gaze
I am reminded
I am loved
just the way I am
and in God’s eyes
all of those pieces
speak of a journey
into wholeness
accompanied by the rhythm
of the beating heart of God
And when I sit back
and listen
I hear God whisper
and know
I am enough 

(Liz Crumlish 2019)

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