Monday, 31 March 2014

Signs and wonders

John 4:46-54
Jesus Heals an Official’s Son
 Then he came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my little boy dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was alive. So he asked them the hour when he began to recover, and they said to him, “Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him.” The father realized that this was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he himself believed, along with his whole household. Now this was the second sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee.

Signs and wonders
It's what we all seek
If we are to believe the incredible
we want something to justify our effort
There must be some clues
some incentives
to make our belief worthwhile
We are a people of logic
of cold hard fact
Suspicious of anything
that seems like avoidance
of harsh reality
The warm fuzzy feelings
don't do it for us
We want more
More of everything
We take some convincing
that faith is worth the effort
That it merits our squandering
our limited supply of energy
Signs and wonders
That will do just fine

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Still waters

Psalm 23
A Psalm of David.
 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
 he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.
 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.

Still waters are a novelty for my soul
 I like the rage of the rapids
or the thunder of the mighty falls, 

the rainbows reflected in the spray, 
the thrill of the chase.
Still waters challenge me
to stop and breathe gently,
to be nurtured,
to experience grace,
to see clouds reflected
and beautified in the stillness.

And I fear that I am diminished 
as my soul is stilled
for I am accustomed
to turbulence.

I thrive on the agitation 
and founder in the stillness.
The Lord, who is my shepherd, 
leads me by still waters
not to diminish
but to strengthen my soul. 

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Showers of blessing

Hosea 6:1-3
A Call to Repentance
 “Come, let us return to the Lord;
for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us;
he has struck down, and he will bind us up.
 After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will raise us up,
that we may live before him.
 Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord;
his appearing is as sure as the dawn;
he will come to us like the showers,
like the spring rains that water the earth.”

Spring rains
Encouraging growth
and resilience
Prompting risk
and daring
The gift of God
to all who return
seeking knowledge
of God
whose presence
is assured
whose love
is a promise fulfilled
The promise of
the God of love
who waits to shower
all creation
with the blessing
of unconditional love.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Not far

Mark 12:32-34
Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’—this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.

by startling truth
The truth
that practising love
is more important
than all else
For loving God
with heart, soul and strength
must overflow
into love of neighbour.
This stark fact
requires no interpretation
no explanation
It requires no tweaking
It simply is.
Not easy to live up to
But the most important thing
in all the world.
Loving God
Loving neighbour
Which part of that
do we fail to understand
leaving us far
from the kingdom?

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Voice of God

Psalms 95:1-7
A Call to Worship and Obedience
 O come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
 For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
 In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
 The sea is his, for he made it,
and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
 O come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
 For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
O that today you would listen to his voice!

To be called the people of God
guided, shepherded, led
by the one
who made all of creation - 
The mountains and valleys
the seas and the deserts 
Yet who counts us
worthy of care.
Whose voice is heard
in the wind in the trees
in the song of birds
in the cry of the wounded and hurting.
Whose voice urges us to listen
and care for others 
as our offering of worship
to the God of all creation.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Passing it on

Deuteronomy 4:9

“However, take care and be earnestly on your guard
not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,
nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,
but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.”

It's a story that needs to be told
again and again
For time moves on
and memory fades
And sight is lost
of all the wonders
of the past.
It is the stories 
that keep hope
and faith alive
in the times of dryness
and stagnation
It is the stories
that sustain
and maintain
the flicker of light
visible in the darkness
or the spark
ready to be rekindled
Passing on the stories
A vital part
of keeping the faith.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014


Luke 1:26-31
Birth of Jesus Foretold
 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.

Just like that-
A young woman's life
thrown into chaos
to accommodate
the advent
of God in the flesh.
Her willingness
to mother
the Son of God
fulfilled the hopes
and dreams
of nations.
To say yes
to something
so momentous 
and inconceivable
took courage
beyond her years.
A courage called upon
again and again
as she watched the child she bore
endure things
no mother of any child
should ever have to witness.
Mary - mother of God

Monday, 24 March 2014

Going to the top

2 Kings 5:1, 9-12
Naaman Healed of Leprosy
 Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper... 
So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha's house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.

How often have we missed out on blessing
because we've been more concerned
with being given our place?
How often have we been more interested 
in protocol and procedure
than in kindness and compassion?
How often have we denied others
the opportunity to serve
because they didn't look the part
or dress the part
or hold just the right qualifications?
Gods love and grace
comes to us 
when least expected
in ways we would never imagine
All that is asked of us
is our openness
to receiving the gifts of God
however they are packaged.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

One of the crowd?

Would we be able to pick out Jesus in the crowd
Or would he simply be "one of the boys" ?
Would we be able to tell
that he's different
or would he blend in well?
How would we know
if we met him in the street?
How would we live?
How would we act?
How would we treat one another
if there was the chance
of meeting Christ 
down our street?

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Who do you say I am?

Laughing Christ
You played with children
Fished with fishermen
Sailed with sailors
Picnicked with revellers
Feasted with wedding guests
You wandered through fields of corn
Climbed hills
Strode along beaches
Even walked on water
You had your serious moments
when you tried to teach folk
how you must suffer and die
and how they should live
But you were such good company
that people flocked to be with you
Climbing trees
Dismantling roofs
Lining the streets
All to be with you
And when they couldn't catch your eye
they simply touched your cloak
knowing your power was sufficient.
Open our eyes today
to see signs of you
in the folk we encounter
Laughing or weeping
homeless or hungry 
aloof or down to earth.
May your laughing eyes
encourage us
to seek out joy
and prevent us
From taking ourselves
too seriously.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Change of plan

Luke 19:1-6
Jesus and Zacchaeus
 He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him.

What made Jesus look up
and see Zaccheus?
And then what persuaded him
to change his plan
and stay with the tax collector?
Jesus - on a mission
with an appointment
with a cross
took time
to meet this little person
and change his life
and the life of his community
For such radical change
is rarely restricted
to the one in whom it is wrought
but ripples out
to affect others
- for good or evil.
What if we were more intentional
about our passing encounters
recognising their potential
to change lives
to change communities
to change plans
both now
and for generations to come?
To all whom we encounter this day
may we bring love and compassion
and a change of direction
for the good of all.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Seeing from the outside

Luke 17:11-19
Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers
 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus 'feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

Sometimes it takes the outsider
to really see
to grasp the momentum 
of an occasion
to gauge the impact
with accuracy.
It takes someone
outside of the crowd
to pick up the cues.
When those on the inside
are too busy
being blinded by tradition
and expectation
the outsider
grasps the import
and closes in
to maximise the potential
and realise the blessing.
Fresh eyes
go a long way
to bringing new perspective
and alerting others
to the miracles
being played out
right in our midst.
Sometimes "the foreigner"
just gets it
bringing fresh vision
and renewed energy.
May we look
for those moments
when "foreigners"
show us the way.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014


Luke 2:41-46
The Boy Jesus in the Temple
 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day's journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

Families come in all shapes and sizes
Some with arms shaped for embrace
Others with hands shaped for conflict
Some are warm and accepting
Others are cold and rejecting
Some provide nurture
Others rely on nature
Simple or complex
For better or worse
they are ours
Gifted not chosen
Blessing and sorrow
Broken and whole
Signalling if not always fulfilling
Gods purpose for humanity
to live together in peace.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Phylacteries and Fringes

Matthew 23:1-3;5-6;11-12

 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. 
They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best
 seats in the synagogues,
The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

Phylacteries broad
and fringes long
The fashion of the day
for self respecting Pharisees
But fashion makes no difference
in caring for others
in showing compassion
in practising what is preached
Makes no difference
to humble service
We are called
not to look the part
but to play the part
In word and in deed
to show the love of Christ
who lived the love of God
Stooping to lift us up
Kneeling to wash our feet
Giving himself for us
Leading by example
Calling us to follow.

Running over

Luke 6:36-38
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. 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.”

All ready to be poured out on us
if we will share that abundance with others.
Withholding judgement
Refusing to condemn
Being merciful
Forgiving others
A worthy price
to know our cup running over
with more than enough to share

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Bearing grace

2 Timothy 1:8B-10
Beloved: Bear your share of hardship for the gospel
with the strength that comes from God.
God saved us and called us to a holy life,
not according to our works
but according to God's own design
and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began,
but now made manifest
through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus,
who destroyed death and brought life and immortality
to light through the gospel.

God knows it's not easy
living a life of grace
Grace that doesn't just consist of
grinning and bearing it
or being tolerant of others
when we disagree with them
or even abhor their actions.
But grace, that really stimulates love
from the inside out
Grace that stirs compassion in us
Grace that moves us
to work for justice
-that's the kind of hardship
that we must bear
for the sake of the gospel
That's the kind of grace
that Christ lived
all the way to the cross.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 15 March 2014

No pressure

Matthew 5:43-48
Love Your Enemies
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy. ’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

You have heard...
But I say...
There you go again, Lord
turning things on their head
Dispensing with centuries of tradition
Forcing us to look again
at all those things
we take for granted.
Duty is not enough
We must go further
It's no longer: What can I get away with?
It's: How far can I go?
Your way of perfection
demands that we go further
than we've ever gone before
and then some more!
Standing out from the crowd
by our love and compassion,
our gentleness and humility
by our faithfulness in prayer
- even for those who wound us.
You've raised the bar again
and our hurdling skills
need polishing up
to have any hope
of getting us off the starters blocks
and into the fray.
That's some goal to set.

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Friday, 14 March 2014

Reaching higher

Isaiah 55:8-9
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

We aspire, Lord
to live that higher life
To reach for the stars
To show your love
and gentleness
your humility
and compassion.
It's hard work
and often we fall short
But we are created
in the image of God
So we have it in us
to keep on trying
to imitate
your perfection.
And to know
above all else
that when we fail
you pick us up
dust us off
and lovingly encourage us
to keep on trying.
To believe
that though your ways
and your thoughts
are way above ours
yet you have planted
that bit of yourself in us
that inspires us
to mirror you
and to believe
that in love
you honour all our efforts.

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Thursday, 13 March 2014

In a nutshell

Matthew 7:12
The Golden Rule
“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.

All boiled down
the law and the prophets
summed up in a nutshell
seems so simple.
Yet to live by these few words is
as slippery as the shell on a hazelnut
or as gnarled as the shell on a walnut
or as layered and brittle as the pistachio shell
giving rise to that old adage
of cracking the nut with a sledgehammer.
For such strength and determination
have to be employed
to breakthrough the surface
and penetrate the defences
that keep us at a distance
and prevent us
from doing to others
as we would have them do to us.
With the shells removed
even the nuts that proved
the hardest to crack
can provide sweetness
and sustenance.
Laying ourselves open
and being invited into
the heart of another
calls for a love and respect
that is at once
tender and tough
and vulnerable and persistent.
The rule for life
summed up in a nutshell.

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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

That moment

Psalms 42:1-6
Why Are You Cast Down, O My Soul?
To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah.
As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.

The fallow deer and the rabbit posed
for all the world like Bambi and Thumper
and gazed as the Brownie House came to life
as girls yawned, stretched
and tumbled out of bed
pausing midst their chores
of getting ready for the day
and setting up breakfast
to marvel at the wonder
of God's beautiful creation
An insight into the peace and the calm
that God wills for all creation
And that shared moment of awe
will remain
to be recovered and cherished
in moments less calm
and in days less carefree
That moment when we saw God
in the bunny and the fallow deer.

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Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Living Word

Isaiah 55:10-11
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

What does it look like?
Like seed for the sower?
And bread for the eater?
Success for the word of God
brings fulness
and purpose
Full hearts
resolved to share
in the work of the Word
that God casts adrift
in the world
to quench the thirsting soul
and bring new life
Encouraging tender buds
of new growth
Enfolding gnarled roots
that have lost their way
Embracing fragile shoots that emerge
in response to the warmth of the Word
until all are watered and fed
by the Word of Life.
is the Word of God
made flesh
in the world

Monday, 10 March 2014

Breath of God

Psalms 104:1-6
God the Creator and Provider
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
O Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,
you set the beams of your chambers on the waters,
you make the clouds your chariot,
you ride on the wings of the wind,
you make the winds your messengers,
fire and flame your ministers.
You set the earth on its foundations,
so that it shall never be shaken.
You cover it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.

I can pictureGod
riding on the wind
stirring up the earth
Gently whispering in one breath
Whipping up a hoolie in another
Tickling and teasing
Raging and storming
Bringing warmth
Or icy blast
Weaving in and out
of the clouds
as though in some giant Quidditch game
Drifting along on the breezes
with a playful lilt
always looking for the golden snitch
that gem to be cherished
Gently lifting up
and dusting off
and setting down again.
All the while
covering the earth protectively
Radiating light
Dispelling darkness
Gently caring and chiding
Encouraging and enticing
Drawing like a magnet
those who perceive
the stirring
of the breath of God
and enfolding them in love beyond imagining.
God - beyond our horizon
and closer than air.

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Sunday, 9 March 2014

Did God say?

Genesis 3:1-5
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die. ’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Sowing those first seeds of doubt
the serpent worked her way in
twisting words
playing semantics
causing humans to question
the truth that God intended we know
- that we are created in the image of God
Already we are like God
That is not ambition
It is not getting above our station
It is how God created us
- in the image of God
And still life conspires
to convince human beings
that they are less
that they are worthless
that they have no status
and deserve no other existence
It takes practice
and determination
to tune out those voices
low and insistent
that murmur within us
and reclaim
our God-given identity
as beloved
created in the image of God.
But there is more:
When we have reclaimed that identity
for ourselves
our work then
is to reclaim it for others.
Brushing off the layers of ash
and getting to the core
We are beloved of God
Created in the image of God.

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Saturday, 8 March 2014

Digging deep

Isaiah 58:9b-12
If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.
Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.

In the cold light of day
when all is set before us
The choices we must make
seem obvious:
Lifting oppression
Halting the slander
Feeding the hungry
Easing others' burdens
And the rewards seem worth seeking.
The trouble is
although the way seems clear
it is not instinctive.
It involves us turning aside
from what has become our default mode:
the struggle to keep ourselves afloat
and to guard against austerity
by holding tightly to what we have
To let go
and trust in God's providence
seems like reckless folly.
To trust that we shall be satisfied
in our caring for others
requires a strength
that is not yet ours.
And so our sojourn
in the wilderness
involves our dredging
for that inner fortitude
that has yet to become
our way of life.
To rekindle
the divine spark
that God has placed
deep within us
until it becomes
the foundation on which
lives are rebuilt.
A quest for justice becomes
a quest for our inner God.

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Friday, 7 March 2014

Active Fasting

Isaiah 58:6-7
Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

The journey into the wilderness
is not about finding ourselves
or even seeking
the meaning of life
It is about opening our eyes
to the world around us
To see the need of our neighbour
To pick up on the unspoken cues
the longing behind the smile
the spark that is no longer there,
extinguished when hope took flight.
It is about recognising our kinship
with the man and his dog
begging on the city steps
or the young woman
sitting in the shop doorway
or the elderly veteran
whose once proud bearing
is now stooped and dejected.
To journey into the wilderness
does not require us to travel far physically
but to take huge steps
in our understanding
of our sisters and our brothers
who make this pilgrimage with us
To bear their burdens
and lighten the load
with love and grace
lived out in mercy and compassion
with steps more faltering than sure
and a hunger born of justice.
Is not this the fast that God chooses?

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Thursday, 6 March 2014

Choosing life

I call heaven and earth today to witness against you:
I have set before you life and death,
the blessing and the curse.
Choose life, then.

Deuteronomy 30:19

Choosing life
seems like such an easy road
For which of us
would choose death?
And yet, just as the Israelites
grumbled their way through the wilderness
stepping aside again and again
to sample more alluring pathways
and worship easier gods
so we are easily distracted
and easily diverted
Lured by instant gratification
wearied by the longer game plan
impatient for results
yet fearing what change might bring.
Our patient God
familiar with betrayal
and rejection
continues to blaze a trail
but also gently nudges from behind
covering all the bases
sweeping up on the sidelines
leading and prompting
and cajoling us
into life giving choices.
Choose life!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Ashes of intent

Matthew 6:1
Giving to the Needy
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

Practicing righteousness
with ash on our foreheads
a symbol - not of piety
but of intent and reality:
The reality that we are dust
and to dust we shall return
And the intent
to make that dust
a veritable storm
that whips up justice
and sows seeds
of love and hope
To make each grain
a pulsing, vibrant force
that pursues the winds of oppression
and wrestles them into submission.
Exposing the half truths and lies
that policy makers use
to justify poverty
and hunger
and homelessness
that exist alongside
the rewards
for sharp practice
and fulfilling quotas
and manipulating statistics.
A grain of ash
may be all it takes
to turn us back
to the resistance of evil
and the refusal to accept mediocrity.
A grain of ash
may be all it takes
to turn the tide
in our neighbourhood
and see righteousness
become reality.
A grain of ash
may be all it takes
to signal our intent
and strengthen our resolve
to do justice
to practice mercy
and to walk humbly with God.
A grain of ash.

(Liz Crumlish Ash Wednesday 2014)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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