Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Created for growth

Psalms 139:15-16
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.

The one who beheld my unformed substance 
Is the one who, still today,
calls me into being
The one whose love enables me to grow
and to embrace
the fullness of life
which consists of abundance
and flourishing
leads me
step by step
into new restlessness
new discoveries 
new surrender.
This growth is not passive
but demanding.
It asks for more than acceptance
Rather, wholehearted submission
with abandonment and joy.
Such  is the vulnerability
of  saying yes
to God
intricate 
perpetual
weaver
of the story book
that never ends.

Friday, 17 January 2020

Home

Mark 2:1
Jesus Heals a Paralytic
When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home.

Sometimes, I get caught up in the story
Other times, I notice the detail
Today is about paying attention
Attention to home
One word
Many connotations
Many expressions
This narration
of Jesus at home
lends new meaning
to the concept of home
The Son of God
who once announced
he had nowhere to lay his head
created home
in myriad places
In the quiet
In the midst of crowds
In certain towns
With certain friends
Sometimes home
is physical
Often it is
a state of being
That place
where we know acceptance
where we are nourished
where we practice our craft
where our spirit finds rest
That place
be it physical
or spiritual
where God is
calling on us
to be
our authentic
grounded
beloved
self
Just as we were created to be.
Home.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Enough...


1 Peter 1:13
A Call to Holy Living
Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed.

May I be enough..
Enough 
to convince the sceptical
Enough 
to cajole the reluctant
Enough 
to win round the doubters
Enough 
to challenge the comfortable
Enough
to sit with the weary
Enough
to walk with the fearful
Enough
to encourage the hesitant
Enough
to restore the hurt
Enough
to lift up the broken
Enough
to love the lost
Enough
to notice the overlooked
Enough...
In fact, Lord,
never mind
Help me to move over
and make room for you.
That is enough.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Like a dove

Matthew 3:16-17
And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”


The Spirit always shows up
And her presence 
is as disruptive today
as it was 
when Jesus was baptised by John
Baptised in the face of oppression and despair
Baptised in the grimness of life
For Baptism always proclaims the love 
and the mystery of God
and the presence of the unquenchable Spirit
Whenever baptism is offered:
At the beginning of life
as a symbol 
of hope and promise,
As a rite of passage
building on family tradition,
As a response to faith
that has grown slowly and surely,
At the bedside of  a beautiful 93 year old saint
embarrassed  to admit
that she had never been baptised,
Or with parents 
anxious about their newborn’s hold on life,
Whether sprinkled,
Dunked
Immersed
or with the gentlest whisper 
of a touch
Always, always, always.
the Holy Spirit
makes herself known
as angels gather
to sing a Gloria
declaring the wonder of God
who calls us
Beloved 

Monday, 6 January 2020

Beyond the star

Matthew 2:7-10
Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.

May we always be willing
to be led by a star
to search diligently
to pay homage 
to revise our plans
and to change direction 
And may we be
overwhelmed with joy
when we encounter
God with us
May we travel expectantly
with hope
in the power of God
to make a difference
especially when all seems lost
And may we not rest
when we think we’ve arrived
but, giving thanks for what is,
move on with purpose
to what will be.
Epiphany
The gift that keeps on giving.

Friday, 3 January 2020

Getting out of the Manger


Matthew 2:10-11
When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

5 years out of parish ministry - and the high days and holy seasons are not any easier to navigate, or any less painful. Being on the periphery, welcomed so far and no further, is an interesting place to be, providing insight into the seduction of ‘making Christmas right’ for everyone else. It’s an insight that transcends the season, lending perspective on the way we tame the radical nature of the incarnation. We persist in cooing over the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, we smile indulgently at the boy who gets lost in the temple, we listen intently, if in confusion, to the sermon on the mount and then cringe inwardly when the baby, all grown up, gets up close and personal, asking us to renounce family, wealth and safety.
It s a bit like receiving a cute puppy at Christmas and not being able to keep up with the demands of a grown dog by Easter.
Engaged in the work of renewal, that seduction is one I see played out every day. Making things ‘right’ and ‘comfortable’ for others. Not placing too many demands on otherwise busy folk. Negotiating the least rather than the best. Sanitising a gospel that is costly and demanding and not just for those in full time ministry. Being so caught up in how things ‘should’ be done that we can no longer imagine how things might be different. Making space, in the midst of tradition and sentiment, for encounter that upsets routines and dismantles stereotypes is not a popular choice.
I’ve already packed away my Nativity scene for this year - I didn’t want the clutter any longer, the disruption to routine. I didn’t want to dwell on the storm those magi kicked up by alerting the oppressors to a threat to their power. It’s a reality that cannot be minimised but that is playing out all over our world today. It seems we’d rather gaze on the manger than be involved in dealing with the aftermath. And yet, kneeling by the manger was enough to catalyse the shepherds and the magi. Their encounter with God made flesh was enough to give them insight into a whole new world, a whole new peaceable kingdom. So what difference will Christmas makes for us this year?

Will we greet Epiphany
like a long lost friend
Full of familiar symbols
and comforting themes
Or will we allow
the jarring sounds
of carnage and chaos
to guide us to another truth
That God with us
is a message
that strikes terror
into the hearts of those
whose power is threatened
inciting violence
doubling down on oppression
resisting all that unites.
God with us
is a call
to muster courage
to move beyond comfort
to “not be afraid”
to see angels 
and starlight
that lead us on paths
we didn’t know existed 
to find our way home
by another way
journeying alongside
strangers who will guide us
by their wisdom
forged in the depths
of sorrow
and hardship
with only their awareness
of Incarnation
enabling and empowering
their every step
Such are the ones
who will bring 
the light of Epiphany
into our lives today.
But, first, we have to
move away from the manger.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

2020 Vision


A prayer for a new year - and a new decade 

Ephesians 3:16-17
I pray that, according to the riches of God’s glory, you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through the Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.


May this be a year
of sticking my neck out
of boldly speaking truth to power
of refusing to live up to expectations
of disappointing those
who are looking for conformity
and offending those
who are seeking complicity.
May this be a year
of spending less time
trying to be
who others would rather I be.
Of embracing all the gifts 
God has given
to enable me to serve
uniquely
with passion
and with humour.
May this be a year 
of practicing what I preach
of living the abundant life
into which I invite others
of refusing to play it safe
of entering wholeheartedly
with abandonment
and joy
into all the shenanigans
where God leads me.
May this be the year
I change the world
for good
because God calls me
to pitch up 
boldly
bravely
radiantly
loudly
without apology
practising extravagant love
forgiveness
and grace
Beloved of God.




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