Thursday, 19 January 2017

Run free

Jeremiah 12:5
God Replies to Jeremiah
If you have raced with foot-runners and they have wearied you,
how will you compete with horses?
And if in a safe land you fall down,
how will you fare in the thickets of the Jordan?

An unsympathetic response
from a distant, vengeful God...

A provocation to step up
and compete with the crowd...
An invitation
To freedom?
Which will you see?

Will it be a glimpse
of a God
far removed from creation
who cares not 
about human suffering
who is so divorced from the reality of life
that our troubles
are not present
on any radar?

Will it be a glimpse
of a God
who offers challenge
that helps us get ourselves into gear
to step up
that awakens a spirit
of determination
renewed purpose
who provokes us into
renewed focus and action?

Or will it be a glimpse
of a God
who recognises
that to run with humans
to get caught up in that competitive spirit
wears us down
and wears us out 
and offers an alternative
- the freedom
of running with horses
wildly, freely
with flowing manes
at one with the Earth 

God grant us the courage to discern your word for us, to hear your call to us and to discover the freedom you reveal.

Monday, 9 January 2017


I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.'
(Methodist Covenant Prayer)

Contemplating this prayer, I was struck by the line that was, for me, most difficult to pray.
It wasn't "put me to suffering".
It wasn't "let me be empty" or "let me have nothing". Not even "(let me) be brought low for you".
It was (let me be) laid aside for you.
I don't want to be laid aside.
I have lots to offer, lots to do. How can I accept being laid aside? What would be the learning in that?
I know my identity is in Christ.
I know I have no need to give or to achieve to be considered beloved of God.
But laid aside?
I'm not sure I'm ready to go there...
I can offer this prayer "whole heartedly" except for that.
But, now that I've said it out loud ...

So - what would be the deal-breaker for you in this prayer?

Friday, 6 January 2017

Moving On

Matthew 2:1-3
The Visit of the Wise Men
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him;

As the year moves on
from the season of Christmas
to the season of Epiphany
we welcome those strangers
who followed the star
and met the Christ.
And we wonder:
What would it take
for us to embark
on a journey of discovery?
To give up 
our safety
and our complacency
to move beyond comfort
to the challenge of the light
who leads us
in paths we could never imagine
revealing truths we could never perceive
while we cling to the known
and the familiar.
What would it take
for us to embrace the uncertainty
and step out in faith
led by the Light of the world
who beckons us
into Epiphany
challenging not just our lives
but the lives of those around - 
for there will always be those
who feel threatened
by our awakening
to the call to be wise
the call to seek light
and love
and justice
in our world today.
May this season of Epiphany
open our hearts
and our minds
and our hands
as we let go of the things we hold tightly 
to be led on a journey 
led by the light
that came into the world
to dispel darkness.
God with us still.

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