Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Pentecost 2020

Acts 2:1-4
The Coming of the Holy Spirit
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.


When the Spirit came on that first Pentecost, 
the disciples were all together 
waiting
On this Pentecost, scattered as we are,
waiting 
and hoping
for we know not what
still the Spirit comes
Merrily waltzing into our living rooms
Powerfully crashing into our chaotic spaces
Humbly sitting at our kitchen table 
Joyfully taking a seat beside us on the sofa
Quietly embracing us in our grief and confusion
in our yearning and loss.
The Spirit gets in among us anyway and every way
She sits until we are ready to pay attention
And then she takes us on a tour that reminds us
that in every place
and every time
God is present
And the Spirit of God 
announces that presence
In a song
In a whisper
In a cacophony of praise
In a cry for help
In a deep breath
The Spirit of God weaves together the fabric of life itself
Until we know that nothing can ever separate us from Gods love
And so as we pray for the healing of Creation
and for healing for our neighbour 
Our prayers are lifted
on the wings of the Spirit
and our sighs are caught up
and presented to God
And our faith
and hope
and love 
are reborn
in the life of the church
in the life of the world
The eternal gift of the Spirit at Pentecost.
Spirit of God, may it be so.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Not now

John 16:12-13
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

“You cannot bear them now...
When the Spirit comes...”
Lord you spoke these words
to your disciples
enfolded in their own grief
and puzzlement
In the midst of trauma
yours was the cautious voice
of waiting 
the consoling voice
of promise
In your infinite compassion
you made space
urging them to do the same
In these times,
we, like the disciples
are anxious to know
and understand
and impatient
to act.
Calm our jets, Lord
Show us how to wait
Still our racing reactivity
Encourage us to care for ourselves
before we barge on
with fixing the world
or even the church.
Reassure us 
that yours is a long term call
that warrants 
patience
kindness
gentleness
humility
compassion
and love
for ourselves
and others.
Enable us 
to sit contemplatively
with unanswered questions
to nurture
our grieving spirits
to make space for you
to pour in your healing
and your wisdom
in your time
when you consider
that we are able to bear it
And Lord
through the great cacophony
of voices
urging us this way and that
enable us to discern
your still, small voice
of clarity
and purpose.
So may it be.

Monday, 18 May 2020

Still waiting...

Acts 1:3-4
After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. 

We thought the waiting was over
We thought we’d learned all we needed to know
We thought we knew what “Follow me” entailed
After all, it’s nothing new
Sure, we needed to update
We needed to accommodate 
a new generation
a new culture
Change was coming
albeit at a snail’s pace
But now?
We’re back at square one
The factory reset button has been pressed 
And we’re all at sea again
The problem is
We’ve kind of disabled your spirit
She was so disruptive
we tethered her
somewhere she couldn’t do so much harm
We locked her up safe and sound
in our buildings
tied up by our traditions
and our constitutions
Weighed her down
with our liturgies
and our rules and regulations.
And there are so many prophets
coming out of the woodwork
All claiming to know 
how to move forward
All claiming to have the answer
All making so much noise
That it’s so damned hard
To hear your voice
Suddenly everyone is an expert
in what we should do first
On how we should emerge
And, sadly
It doesn’t look that much different
to what we had before.
Risen, Ascended Lord
Really?
Are we the best you can do?
Are you going to just stand there
while your church
all shook up, for sure
crawls back to where we were
with a few tweaks
and a few extra online offerings
but otherwise
sighs a big sigh
that we can make our buildings safe
and go and do our thing
for thus it was
and is
and shall be
Evermore
I think I’ll pass this time around
Thanks, but no thanks.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

What is real?



"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."...
And so time went on, and the little Rabbit was very happy–so happy that he never noticed how his beautiful velveteen fur was getting shabbier and shabbier, and his tail becoming unsewn, and all the pink rubbed off his nose where the Boy had kissed him...
Weeks passed, and the little Rabbit grew very old and shabby, but the Boy loved him just as much...
He didn't mind how he looked to other people, because the nursery magic had made him Real, and when you are Real shabbiness doesn't matter.
And then, one day, the Boy was ill...
through it all the little Velveteen Rabbit lay there, hidden from sight under the bedclothes, and he never stirred,2
"How about his old Bunny?" she asked. "That?" said the doctor. "Why, it's a mass of scarlet fever germs!–Burn it at once.
The Velveteen Rabbit  Margery Williams

What is real
in these days
when everything is disrupted?
When everything that once seemed so important 
can so easily be set aside
with little to take its place.
What is real
when we have to avoid
those not of our household?
When we’re constrained
to “pass by on the other side.”
What is real
when we are aware of all that we have
and yet yearn for the freedom that is lost
and mourn opportunities that will not come again?
What is real
when we know solidarity
but long for solitude?
What is real
when we are constantly second guessing ourselves
and others
and have no capacity for either?
What is real
when our sleep is disturbed
when our minds are befuddled and slow
and focus is short?
What is real
when we know folks are doing their best
but we simply cannot watch another priest
break bread that we will not taste?
What is real?
And how soon can we get on
and burn all that once brought comfort
and start afresh
in a world
that does not forget disruption
but bravely forges
a new way forward
on things that we’ve discovered
are real?

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

More

John 14:5-9
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

More...
We clamour for more
More information
More explanation
More direction
More reassurance
More...
Jesus response 
to the request for more...
is to offer relationship
Through me...
You know God
Through me...
You see God
Jesus offers
relationship
that shows us God.
And in these days
of fear
and uncertainty
Perhaps what we need
is not moveable plans
or strategy
and certainly not
conjecture
Rather, it is
relationship 
with one another
in which
we see God
relationship 
with one another
in which
we know God
present
in our world today.
And there...
is our more.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Stay with us

Luke 24:29
But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them.

As the sun sets
in fits and starts
Like pebbles
skipping over the water
Earth hunkers down
to await its return
and as we rest
we know
that surely the dawn will rise
As the Easter season
moves on
through Resurrection
to Ascension
I want to haul it back
and say:
Stay with us Lord
Stay with us
For the truth is
that I haven’t yet reached
the empty tomb 
I’m not ready to hear
the risen Christ’s words to Mary:
“Do not hold on...“
And, not having got that far,
I’m certainly not ready
for Ascension
Stay with us Lord
Stay with us.

Monday, 11 May 2020

Freed for life

1 Peter 2:4-5
Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.


What does it mean
to be living stones
when all around 
is loss and death?
What does it mean
to be chosen 
and precious
when inequity 
renders some 
as seemingly dispensable?
What does it mean
to be built together
in the midst of a plague
when we must stay apart
when our buildings are closed
and our liturgies scattered?
Maybe, just maybe
the freedom brought
by being locked out
is the very thing
that enables
us to recognise
the Spirit at work
all around
Freed from our attempts
to fetter her
Freed from our narrow vision
of where she might be
Freed to catch the Spirit
in our peripheral vision
as she alights
where we are
in hospitals
and homes
in funeral parlours
and makeshift chapels 
In recording studios
and gardens
in front rooms
and kitchens
The Spirit shows up
without fanfare
without invocation
or epiclesis
She shows up
Bidden or unbidden
welcomed or not
She shows up
sometimes quietly
sometimes raging 
always reshaping
And all we can do
is try to keep up
or at least remain vigilant
to the opportunity
that she leaves
in her wake.





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