Sunday, 31 March 2019


Isaiah 6:8
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”

There is comfort in the familiar,
in those actions that we repeat
time and again without too much effort on our part.
Rituals that are sacred,
that have a meaning all of their own;
rituals we can perform in our sleep,
yet which still have the power -
every once in a while -
to confront us
with the awe and mystery
of a Divine Being.
The One who reaches out of and beyond ritual
to impact our daily grind
with wonder and joy
or challenge and turmoil
or maybe all of these at once - 
to reunite us with the God
at the heart of all our ritual,
by the restraints that we apply.

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Power play

As we walk the corridors of power
have we paused to hold the door open for others
or have we gaily marched on
too seduced by our own lofty success
to consider the plight of those 
who have journeyed with us?
As we take our well earned place at the table
are we careful to make room for others
recognising that their presence
enhances, not threatens
complements not competes
or are we too tired of fighting
to want to make it easier
for those who come after?
God give us grace
to do what we can
to ease the journey
for all who follow
in our wake.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Stumbling along

Hosea 14:8-9
O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?
It is I who answer and look after you.
I am like an evergreen cypress;
your faithfulness comes from me.
Those who are wise understand these things;
those who are discerning know them.
For the ways of the Lord are right,
and the upright walk in them,
but transgressors stumble in them.

Tools of the wise
to cut through
all the noise
and bluster
to reach
the depths
of the things that matter
clearing away the debris
and making room
for love to penetrate
and light to escape.
Forging a pathway
which others may follow
finding God on the journey.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Looking forward

Jeremiah 7:23-24
But this command I gave them, “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk only in the way that I command you, so that it may be well with you.” Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but, in the stubbornness of their evil will, they walked in their own counsels, and looked backward rather than forward.

Looking back is tempting
There are lessons to be learned from the past
There is wisdom in the way
of those who have gone before
Yet our God calls us
to listen to the voice of God
A voice that speaks anew 
into each generation
and every culture
A voice that calls us out
to new people and places
to new ways of being
Ways that allow us
to hear God
amidst the clamour
of social media
in the very melee
of our connectedness
Ways that allow us
to seek out
those who are disconnected
for whom access is denied
to the myriad routes
of belonging
In the noise today
God calls us
to listen for those who are silent
to search out those voices
that are not heard
to follow God
into new ways of being
new ways of connectedness
with God and our neighbour
Looking forward
in order to glimpse
God dwelling with us

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Passing on faith

Deuteronomy 4:9
But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children—

Passing on faith
Passing - on faith
Which will it be?
Will we remember the stories told to us?
Will we tell them to the next generation?
Will we share the love
of all who taught 
and nurtured us?
Or will we let that nourishing die on our watch?
Will we hold back
crushed by the fear
of getting it wrong
or treading on toes
or even of triggering painful memories?
Or will we share our stories anyway
and invite others to engage
with them
and with us
and with a God
who deals in stories
that are shot through 
with love for all
no holds barred.
Passing on faith
Passing - on faith?

Tuesday, 26 March 2019


Daniel 3:28
Nebuchadnezzar said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants who trusted in him. They disobeyed the king’s command and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.

What, in our lives 
signals our faith in God?
What gives the hint
that we follow
the way of Christ?
What might make others wonder
why we do the things we do?
And in their wondering,
what is there that they might want to emulate?
Does our discipleship,
our followership
look like good news
or seem life-giving.
Those ashes we donned 
at the beginning of Lent - 
Do they symbolise
faith, hope and love
as well as repentance?
Do they speak of freedom and conviction
or simply ritual and conformity?
Are we willing to stand out
in our everyday
as well as on high and holy days?
Would we stand convicted
as servants of the living God?
Where, today,
is God calling us,
giving opportunity
to stand out from the crowd
and be labelled 
as God's people
who bring light and life
to the people and places we inhabit?

Monday, 25 March 2019


Luke 1:38
Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Consenting to bear
the child of God
Consenting to bear
the stigma of judgement
 Consenting to bear
the worry and the fear
Consenting to bear
the wondering and confusion
Consenting to bear
the pain and the loss
Consenting to bear
the agony of grief
Consenting to birth
the hope of the world
“Let it be” said Mary
the mother of God.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

The back story

Matthew 14:13
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns.

When Jesus heard this...
the news that his cousin had been killed
He wanted time to be alone
He wanted space to mourn
But everyone wanted a piece of HIM
Often we don’t know the back story
We only know our needs
and our wants
May we have compassion
for all the back stories
that we might never hear
and may we tread cautiously
in our encounters with others
allowing for the possibility 
that we tread 
on broken dreams
and shattered hope.
May we be gentle
May we be kind
Making space for one another.

Saturday, 23 March 2019


Child of God

Friday, 22 March 2019

“Alongside” service

Matthew 21:42-43
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes’?
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.

Who are the ones that we overlook
those we disrespect
deem unworthy
Where are those who,
with humility
are quietly getting on
with building 
the Kingdom of God
while we’re still squabbling
over rank 
and position
and status.
God forgive us.
Open our eyes
to see those places
and those people
in whom you are at work
and to take our place
so that we too may see
the fruits of the kingdom
and know again
the joy it is
to simply serve you.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Digging deep

Jeremiah 17:7-8
Blessed are those who trust in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
They shall be like a tree planted by water,
sending out its roots by the stream.
It shall not fear when heat comes,
and its leaves shall stay green;
in the year of drought it is not anxious,
and it does not cease to bear fruit.

Spreading wide
Holding firmly
Often unseen
burrowing deep
searching out sustenance
Not easily dislodged
but clinging on tenaciously
Drinking deep
so that every part may be nourished
Often misshapen
from having to accommodate
obstacles and boundaries
each blemish 
each scar
with its own story to tell
Yet grounded
and strong
and returning to the source
from which life comes

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Loving service

Matthew 20:25-28
But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

I’ve always been conflicted by these words Jesus
I want to serve
I really do
But, too often, I compare myself with others
And I notice that service
is often viewed as weakness
And I have colleagues 
who ask me to do things to which
they would never stoop
because of their standing
or because of their gender.
And so the service
I might freely have given
becomes more of a trial 
as I try to put aside resentment
and just do it anyway.
It’s not so much the service that is difficult
It’s being distracted 
Distracted by the opinions 
and the attitudes
and the reception
of others.
Lord, help me to see you 
in every opportunity to serve
Help me to discern your purpose
and your calling
And then, help me simply 
to do your bidding - 
not because the attitude of others
doesn’t matter
It does.
But help me to do your will
because consenting to 
what you ask of me
is the only way
to be
who you created me to be
the only way to know
Life in all its fullness
serving you
serving others.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

We are one

Whiling away time
with coffee in hand
People watching 
as I wait for the car to be serviced
People pass the window of the coffee shop
where I sit
many are happed up against the cold
focussed on their daily business
heads down intent on progress
some with company
others alone.
While I pray.
And I remember conversations I’ve had recently
about praying in our neighbourhoods.
Whether the neighbours know or not
I pray 
And I am changed
As I continue watching
and praying
I no longer see
folk who look happy
or sad
folk who look friendly 
or defensive
those who are weighed down
or have a spring in their step
those who look like unmarried mothers
or those who look like they struggle with addictions
or with mental health issues
or those who look like life is hard
or those who look like they are employed - or not.
I see children of God
each with a unique role to play
in this common life.
I see individuals created and loved by God
And I ask God to bless them
and to bless me
as we share this life together

Monday, 18 March 2019

Promises, promises...

Luke 6:38
A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

Really, Lord
A good measure?
Pressed down,
shaken together,
running over...
I want to believe that.
But some days,
it’s hard to see.
Some days,
it feels like giving 
until there is nothing left to give
and spent,
wrung out,
running on empty,
still more is required.
On those days, Lord
remind us of your promise
surround us with your presence
keep on trying 
to attract our attention
until we see you
shining through the rainbow
dancing in the puddles
whispering in the breeze
with your love
and your laughter
with the updraft
of your amazing grace
and timely love
poured out
until your spirit
overflows once more
in us.

Sunday, 17 March 2019


Mark 6:30-31
The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.

When the buzz of achievement wears off
Christ, you bid us rest
When we’ve given all we have to give
Christ, you bid us rest
When our resources seem exhausted
Christ you bid us rest
You bid us rest
not so that we can simply regroup and replenish
You bid us rest in you 
so that we can be reminded of your love
and your desire to hold us close
You bid us rest.
Until, resting in you, 
we find healing and strength
that enable us once more
to be open and vulnerable 
But first, 
in you we rest.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Stories shared

A day filled with stories
of things tried
of risks taken
some successful
some that provided great learning
all shared
to stimulate imagination
of the infinite possibilities that exist
in growing the Kingdom of God.
With humour
with pathos
with wisdom and insight
folk made themselves vulnerable 
inviting others
to poke about 
in the stories they offered
discovering kingdom values
finding inspiration
and courage
and the presence of
the Spirit of God
who aids us in our effort
and in our discernment 
as we follow Christ
being disciples 
proclaiming love
in our neighbourhoods.
In stories
we discover our common heritage
and our shared calling
to love and serve God today.

Friday, 15 March 2019

How long O Lord?

Let us pray
For those places where safety was reasonably assumed 
now turned into places of fear and desolation
For communities that knew peace and neighbourliness 
now desecrated by violence
For outpourings of grief and love
that will never be enough
For all who are so radicalised
that human life ceases to be valued
For citizens and governments
hell bent on making distinctions and divisions
within our common humanity
For the responsibility we share
for allowing evil to triumph
even momentarily
God, forgive us.
Forgive us and call us back
to your way of love
that knows no bounds.
Where love is love is love.

Thursday, 14 March 2019


Desist, and know that I [am] God, I am exalted among nations, I am exalted in the earth.
Psalm 46:10 (Young’s Literal Translation)

A reflection on the text shared at the beginning of a Fresh Expressions Gathering:

Stop doing
How apposite
in our conversations
about the new things that 
God is doing.
For every Fresh Expression
however defined
there has to be a
We have to make space
get out of the way
in order to enable
the fresh breeze of God
(or even the tickle of a breath)
to blow through our structures
creating life
allowing love to escape
and overflow
into the communities we serve
and know God
who will be exalted

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Harsh words

Luke 11:29-31
When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation. The queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here!

Harsh words
A wake up call
Borne of the frustration of dealing with folks
who constantly refused to get it
Harsh words
uttered in love
because sometimes love has to be challenging
Harsh words
that sought to jar folks
to see what lay hidden in plain sight
Harsh words
spoken to provoke folk into acting
on all the teaching they knew
summed up in
“love God and love neighbour”
Harsh words 
that might be spoken
for our generation today
as we ignore what creation tells us
and continue to ravage the earth
as we witness and participate in
division and otherness
deeming some as less deserving than others
And as we blame everyone but ourselves
for our predicament today,
Harsh words
call us back from the abyss 
from the mess and rhetoric
from the stone throwing and the name calling
Harsh words call us
to love God
and love our neighbour.
See something greater is here:
God dwells in our midst in love
Will we reflect or obscure that love today?

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

The road to forgiveness

Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

A place
to which the path is full of challenges,
wrong turnings and diversions
A journey
on which there are distractions and blind alleys,
slow-moving traffic and closed lanes
A process
in which there is often more hurt than healing 
more chafing of open sores
A destination
often temporary, fleetingly won
that can move without warning
The way to forgiveness requires 
a strong heart
and, above all

Monday, 11 March 2019

Son of God

Luke 3:35-38
... son of Serug, son of Reu, son of Peleg, son of Eber, son of Shelah, son of Cainan, son of Arphaxad, son of Shem, son of Noah, son of Lamech, son of Methuselah, son of Enoch, son of Jared, son of Mahalaleel, son of Cainan, son of Enos, son of Seth, son of Adam, son of God.

Son of God
Slotted into a genealogy
that includes lots of names
familiar and unfamiliar
Traced right back to Adam
who was the Son of God
First in line
and last in line
Both also known as
Son of God.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Hearing the heartbeat of God

Luke 4:1-2
The Temptation of Jesus
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished.

Fresh from the waters of baptism
with the voice of God ringing in his ears
Knowing himself beloved of God
Jesus retreated to the wilderness
Taking his fill of communion with God
knowing that , all too soon,
everything would be changed forever
Realising that as soon as he stepped back onto
the treadmill of life -
 even before that 
the opportunity for solitude
for rest
for soaking up the pleasure of God
would be lost forever
And sure enough
Even before he emerged from the wilderness
he was offered the temptations 
of comfort, wealth and power
that sought to sabotage his mission
before it even began.
On those days when our status
as beloved of God
rests on a shaky nail
(for us - not for God!)
when we are vulnerable,
ready to give in,
when it seems
that it would be easier to use our power,
to assert our authority
in ways that trample on others’ dreams
and that would take us further
from communion with God
may we be stopped in our tracks
by the God who offers retreat
in the midst of life.
And may we know that God
resourcing and enabling us
to choose hunger over comfort
and compassion over power
and love over everything 
that seeks to diminish
the heart of God
that beats
deep within us
connecting us
with the source of all life

Saturday, 9 March 2019

No matter what...

Loved and called
not for what we might be
but just as we are.
Women - called by God.

Friday, 8 March 2019

In celebration of women

John 11:27
Martha said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”
Martha’s confession of faith, recognising Jesus as God’s son is one of the earliest confessions recorded yet goes largely unnoticed however startling it must have been at the time.
On this International Women’s Day, I give thanks for all the Marthas in my life whose faith has been a beacon in whose light I bask.

Giving thanks today for all those women who paved a way 
and on whose shoulders I have stood...
For Sarah, Hagar, 
Rebekah, Leah,
Athaliah, Jehosheba,
Miriam, Abigail,
Gomer, Bathsheba,
Shiphrah, Puah,
Esther, Ruth,
Naomi, Anna,
Dorcas, Martha,
Mary, Elizabeth,
Julian, Hilda,
Teneu, Theresa,
Hilda, Margaret
Those of the past and those of the present
Wise women
Witches, hags and crones
Birthing communities
Birthing stories.
Birthing faith, hope and love
for all the world.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Hearing the words not spoken

Today has been about listening
Listening for the gifts of wisdom
that others bring
Bringing to the fore their skill in practice 
holding it up to the light
Celebrating, honing, polishing
Honouring the privilege it is
to accompany others
as together we pool our resources
and help each other see a way through
all the challenges life brings.
And recognising underneath it all
the love of God
giver and source of all wisdom
bringer of light and life 
who directs
and walks alongside
all the while affirming
our relationship as
Beloved of God.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Ashes to Go

Some thoughts on offering Ashes to Go this morning...

Standing on the corner as traffic crawled by
slowed by commuter volume
and by the need to check out why there was a gazebo
at the edge of the church lot.
People passing on foot, intrigued by the sight
of a priest sheltering from the rain
surplice flapping in the squally wind.
“Ashes to Go” declared the sign - 
an explanation for some
perhaps dredging up a distant memory 
of church ritual from days gone by.
Or a deepening of the mystery for others
with no point of reference
to the Christian tradition of Lent.
Still, it was good to be there.
To witness to the presence of God
in the midst of life.
To acknowledge that there is no distinction 
of sacred and secular
but that each life
and each moment
is beloved of God.
And, in donning ashes,
encountering the Christ
whose call to repentance
is a call to freedom,
a shrugging off of conformity,
a release from living up to expectations
an invitation to experience grace
that arises from unconditional love.
May these gifts received 
in the symbolism of a smudge of ash
overflow into all the days of Lent and beyond.
Ashes to Go indeed!

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