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Life Lines

The page for spirituality and beliefs.

Where am I?

I think I am where I am because this is now. Where I am is the only place I can be now: the grass is not greener anywhere else, however much we might believe (wish) it.

We are therefore always in the right place to grow; anywhere else would be to our loss.


Christian in my pilgrimage
Celtic in my spirituality
Generous in my orthodoxy


Trust

O Lord my God
Creator of my life
Creator of my death
Creator of my infirmity
Creator of my health
Creator of my poverty
Creator of my wealth
In Thee alone I trust.
(C) 2009

Seeing & Believing

I find myself with a faith made up of ocean waves of doubt; I don't consider this a bad thing because without the drive to question how can faith grow?

The ocean waves thing is not to suggest I am relating to wild Peter, getting out of the boat and carelessly drowning. There are times I'm unsure I was ever in the boat. I am maybe finding a faith which demands a depth I never knew possible.

There is a thinness to being that suggests possibilities that seem too vast to contemplate. I will stop down-loading un-thought thoughts now :) Bizarre and counter-intuitive as it seems there can be no effective ‘doing’ unless the stillness of Presence is first encountered and then nurtured. This is what Jesus demonstrated; this is what our heart echoes. This is how God now works. The Christian message is as startling now as it ever has been. If we seek to wonder at the possibility of God we are offered Jesus: God's present and God present.

My Stories

  • God, where are you?

    It’s very hard to believe in God these days. God doesn’t seem to do much for someone who is supposed to be – well – God. I mean, where is all the wave-parting and thunder? Why doesn’t God prove invincible presence? In short, why is God so silent in a world that God is supposed to oversee? Obvious really: God is non-existent. Except, except, that silence does not prove imaginary does it? It may be very frustrating; infuriating even; it may mean God is happy in a god-fluffiness world where all is great, or maybe it’s all too much for the Old Guy.


    “Get up, God! Are you going to sleep all day?
    Wake up! Don’t you care what happens to us?
    Why do you bury your face in the pillow?
    Why pretend things are just fine with us?
    And here we are—flat on our faces in the dirt,
    held down with a boot on our necks.
    Get up and come to our rescue.
    If you love us so much, Help us”

    – said someone just like us long, long, ago (we call it Psalm 44).

    When God doesn’t intervene in our expectations and heartaches we learn with visceral pain that God is not the one we thought we were obliged to imagine. So is there something beyond this? Here’s the thing – God invites us to develop relationship: because in the scariness of affinity some semblance of sense and purpose begins to be discerned; helplessness fades (a little); action and voice are given power (a bit). How does that work?

    Jesus had an annoying habit of wandering off. There he was forcing people to answer their own questions or calming storms and then – off again to some quiet spot to ‘spend time with his Father’. It was annoying because there was so much to do, so many people demanding his time; and finding him again just wasted time. Didn’t it?

    Bizarre and counter-intuitive as it may seem there can be no effective ‘doing’ unless the stillness of Presence is first encountered and then nurtured. This is what Jesus demonstrated; this is what our heart echoes. This is how God now works.

    God is not silent; he just (currently) acts in ways different to our learned expectations: but he acts none-the-less. The listening Church is proof of this. Action and voice are given power to breathe the life of God into a world of need. God may not be as silent as we think — but we do need to work on the listening.

    written for St Peter's, Belper Go Here.

  • Easter Choices

    We are inundated with choices: to remain in the EU or not; to buy the headphones gifting us the music of the spheres, or not; to get the green thing or the red one. When we are satiated on choice the effect is to inure us to the truth. Nothing is impossible, or inaccessible; and it all comes with free delivery — but not freedom. Choice ends up being rushed with the despair that knows the kids need picking up and the queue has suddenly grown. We have time neither to evaluate, nor postpone; we choose on the basis of instinct or impulse; neither are informed.

    The sadness of the panacea of plenty is that it makes us less fulfilled. Worse still, living in a bubble of plenty, how can we begin to relate to others: these who appear as a blur on the film of excess?

    Christians are currently reflecting upon a choice made long ago. This week the choice was to make Jesus king; next week it was to kill him. Fickle humanity.

    Choosing a king was a great idea so long as it promised the fulfilment of a latent desire, and maybe it also came with free deliverance. It turned out freedom always comes at a price: too difficult a choice.

    So they sent the king back to where he claimed to come from. Jesus, they thought, was going to give them what they wanted — he insisted on giving them what they needed.

    So the Easter season demands one more choice of us: not one to be made lightly. Real freedom is on offer, but at a price.

    See More Faith FilesGo Here.

  • Autumn

    Autumn is upon us so soon. We are perhaps reminded of the turning of the seasons most vividly when the leaves turn suddenly and the wind catches unexpectedly at our throats.

    How do I reconcile the face of youth with tightening skin? It seems such a long way away from the times of blossom and fresh green. Yet each time and season has its part to play in the cycle of life and death; and, with the falling of the leaves, it is a good time to remember those whose time has passed.

    Nevertheless, autumn is not the end. It is a time of new beginnings for many: a new academic challenge; or a new direction and new friends. I see some new shoots poking through in the garden; and in the southern hemisphere there is the arrival of spring. Turning a well known phrase on its head ‘In the midst of death we are in life’ emphasises that creation never ceases.

    When the biblical writers consider Creation they do not see it as a one-off event, some odd seven-day wonder. Autumn is as much God’s creation as is spring because God is always present, essential, in this marvellous work. God enables it, and each and every moment is a new creation because it is God’s will that it be so. When the Celtic saints considered Creation they understood it to be a rhythm and they rooted their spirituality firmly in the passage of both the seasons and human life.

    So if autumn is a new creation, then winter also; and my wrinkles are a new creation just as much as was my conception and my birth – and, in time, my death. This is not to be morbid, it is to see that God is at work always, in all things, at all times, because without God there would be nothing at all. Sometimes it is difficult to accept the changes that the rhythm brings. Sometimes, especially as the nights draw in, we may morn what was; and sometimes, especially when the loss of loved ones is involved, we must. But as the rhythm unfolds one thing is certain – God never changes and God is almighty who loves you, upholds you, and eternally creates you.

    Written for St Peter's, Belper Go Here.

  • Equinox

    We have just passed the spring Equinox. The long nights are overtaken by the daylight: a momentary point of harmony in the Earth's seasonal changes. But the equality is brief, the Earth spins on.

    Philosophy and religion may seek more permanent harmony: a balance in and with nature. Yet it often seems remote, indeed unattainable. Annoyingly there is always something, a tipping-point, when the balance is threatened, the fragile peace shattered and events spin on.

    Approaching Easter the Church reflects on the tipping-point in the life of Jesus and the balance between darkness and light. The fragile peace is about to be threatened.

    When he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday many of his followers must have considered the time had come to do a bit of balance restoring. By this they meant shifting the balance of power from their oppressors to them. Jesus enters the holy temple and causes chaos — seems like a hopeful start. But there are two problems.

    The first is that the power he is threatening is that of their religion not the power of the state. The second, and possibly bigger problem for his followers, is that he seems to have a death wish. He draws attention to himself but the crowds melt away: they don't like what they hear. Why does he act like this?

    Well, Jesus doesn't seek harmony in nature, power or religion: he sees it in our relationships. First with God and then, quite as importantly, with each other. His next few actions are to be the tipping-point in the relationship between God and us. Somehow, humbly and yet majestically, God is about to restore harmony: the longest night now ends — forever.

    See more Faith Files Go here.

  • Donkeys and Deliverance

    I was eating when two rather noisy individuals were heard arguing in the courtyard. It’s all well and good said one, but it’s a bit rich sending us, his two right-hand men, to fetch a donkey.

    You shouldn’t have pressed him so hard on who was to sit nearest him when he becomes king said the other, then we might not have had to eat humble-pie by doing this menial job.

    Ah well, we’re here now so let’s take a look for this little colt – why does he want to ride a donkey anyway? Well, there was some further shouting and bargaining but then it all seemed to be resolved.

    That was intriguing – I wondered who ‘he’ was and what he was doing. So we followed them when they left.

    There were a lot of people around, even in our small village of Bethpage. It was the preparation for the Passover and the place was filling up with people from many distant places all going up to Jerusalem. Some were trying to find lodgings in our little village - but most homes had already taken all the travellers they could and moved their own families into the byres and stalls to make more room. Merchants were coming with their camels bringing aromas from the wide-world. It really was an exciting time and quite nose-tickling with smells not quite like those we were used to here in our little home.

    The smell changed as we walked through the olive groves towards Bethany – I caught the two men talking again. They seemed quite oblivious of me so I got closer.

    He’s going to ride into Jerusalem as a king today – at last we are to see him deliver his people said one, but why on a donkey! He ought to be on a horse.

    Ah, well here I had the advantage over them – because, being around donkeys all my short life, I knew a thing or two about donkey-lore. It was said by our grey-beards that an old prophet had proclaimed the arrival of the deliverer with the words : Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zech 9:9)

    Had these guys found the king who was to come and release Israel from the oppression of Rome as they seemed to be saying?

    I had been listening so intently that I hadn’t realized we had arrived at the place where the king was. I almost walked into the men but stopped hastily and looked up. And when I saw him, and his eyes met mine I wanted to do anything I could for him.

    So we set off for Jerusalem. Back down through the olive groves and across the Kedron valley. I had never been here before and it was a little disconcerting. All those people who had seemingly been just milling about were now all at once lining our way. But not just the merchants and those who had come for the Passover. The weird thing was that there were so many who were lame, sick, poor and outcast. This didn’t seem like the people who would be of any use in a battle for a kingdom. What did they see in this man – was it some different sort of deliverance?

    We walked on palm-branches and everyone was shouting Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!'Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! It sounded like angels singing at times.

    All these nobodies in the crowd seemed to understand that they were no longer invisible and voiceless, and all at once this entry into Jerusalem did seem to be of a king riding on a white horse, coming to deliver people from their oppressors.

    Wow. What a day to remember. And when Jesus eventually got down off my back I really felt that I had been a white stallion taking my king to be crowned. Well, even donkeys can dream – can’t they?

    Easter 2010

  • Candlemas – Simeon’s Story

    Sometimes we just fail to realise how extraordinary events happened to ordinary people who trusted implicitly in God’s veracity. So, now hear the story of one of those ordinary people…

    My name is Simeon. I’m an old Jew who is now at peace with himself and his maker. Today I saw our messiah not just ours of course but everyone’s. I’m a simple soul who has lived in Jerusalem all my life. I’ve seen life as well. Romans trying to give the impression of not being an occupying army for instance. And our own rulers toadying up to them for power.

    It’s a really cosmopolitan city is Jerusalem. The streets and markets are filled with traders from, oh, everywhere – lots of Greeks of course, Persians, Indians, Ethiopians, Arabians ………… There are so many voices and so much vigorous activity. And we Jews love all this for the most part; we are dab hands at trading ourselves of course; we know how to spin a coin and make it double. And its not just traders who pass along our streets and passageways, who dart in and out of alleys and side entrances.

    There are bands of Jews who want to be free of Rome and all the imperial might stands for. They want to be free of the constriction of fear and the dead hand of the ruling elite. These folks, better not name their names just in case someone is listening, talk about rising up and taking back the nation; of starting again; of having a new exodus with a new Moses.

    Of course they read into our prophet Jeremiah and talk of the Son of Righteousness, and Daniel and the coming prince. They get all worked up – “we were free under Maccabeus and we can be free again” they say. They are young, and when you are young anything is possible. Yet they can’t be completely wrong; I have felt for so long that I would actually see Messiah myself – not after I am dead or anything so spiritual, but before I die.

    Hah, how can that be? I say; why would it be in my lifetime; why would he be manifest to me, me Simeon? But I can’t get rid of the feeling that somehow I shall see him in the flesh. Snap out of it Simeon, you’re day-dreaming again.

    Have I told you about the temple? Oh, you have to see it. It’s been 14 years in the building and still the courts and wall apartments are not finished. The masons finished the inner part in 18 months but there is still so much to finish – yet you can see how grand it is even unfinished. Herod had 10,000 skilled workmen and 1,000 masons working on it at one time. And of course they all needed feeding and putting-up – so that brought in a lot of income to people like us.

    Of course, to us it’s difficult to separate the temple from the city; they sort of merge together. The one grows out of the other. They say there are tombs in Egypt shaped like pyramids which are huge but I reckon the temple is bigger: and it’s not a place for the dead either! But it’s not a place for the living either really. The problem is I reckon it has no soul. There are courtyards and traders and money-changers and bird sellers and pickpockets – and noise and blood. As you enter through the gateways you walk closer and nearer to the vast building which is the sanctuary.

    As a Jew I can get quite close, and see the daily sacrifices being performed. Death and blood, blood and death and ceremony. A lot of ceremony. But not a lot of life.

    Our rabbis talk a lot. Well yes, they do talk a lot. They talk a lot about Shechinah. Have you heard that word? Its not one that actually appears in our sacred texts but it describes what is missing here. They say the Shechinah was the glory of God and it appeared as the cloud and fire as our long dead ancestors journeyed across the wilderness on their way to this land. And then it came and stayed in the temple built by Solomon. The glory of God actually present in the holy of holies. Now that was life if you ask me.

    Of course, it was too good to last and we saw God not as our life but as a thing to be used when we wanted it to help us in war or whatever. We lost our relationship and turned to our own independent ways. Actually, we so lost the plot that we don’t actually know when this Shechinah left although our prophet Ezekiel gives us a graphic picture of the going. What’s the good of a special people, a special temple, if there is no life, no love, no relationship?

    The rabbis also speak of this Shechinah as a dwelling place of royalty, royalty itself in fact; they say it brings joy and enables prophecy and praise. Some of that would be good round here – most of the priests are just in it for the money and power – heaven forbid we should have joy.

    There was an odd story going around from some peasants about strange lights in the sky, angels and light. You think and hope and wish: but that can’t be the Shechinah – the Glory lives in the temple. Am I going on? Well what if I am. I haven’t told you the best bit yet.

    So I got up today, slowly – the bones are very achy. My daughter, may heaven bless her, made me a little breakfast and told me to get off to the temple. Well, I nearly didn’t go – not if I was being told to; but I did. It takes me a while to get there. The paths are uphill all the way and there is always such a throng to get through. The sun was hot on my face and arms and I had to squint. And squinting hurts.

    I made it to the court of the women and greeted Anna. I’ve got a thing for her you know – she’s been a widow so long but I never did ask her. I said I was simple – stupid more like.

    The sun beat on any bare bits of pavement and glared at me – I got into the shade of a wall and re-focused my eyes. Dust and noise, everyday life; exciting but dead. There was a young couple (they’re all young to me) she was obviously here for her ritual purification – they had bought a couple of doves and I saw them trying to work out quite what to do; it was all so strange to them of course. As a kindness I offered to guide them and then I saw the child.

    Sometimes you see something but don’t see it. Do you know what I mean?

    I held the baby and stood beside them as they gave the priest the doves; then I gave him back again. Then I knew. I don’t know how I knew, but I knew. My heart leapt within me and praise gushed out. I has seen the Messiah! I had seen the Shechinah come back to the temple; I had seen The Light. I was in a place of profound peace and the baby was smiling. I looked at the couple and blurted out:

    LORD, now I can die in peace
    As you promised me
    I have seen the saviour you have given to all people.
    He is a light to reveal God to the nations
    And he is the glory of your people Israel.

    Where did that come from? Was that what the Shechinah does for you? I was looking at his mother, and she was looking at me, questioning and thoughtful. I offered them the blessing of an old man, just and full of faith and then I said something I really wished I hadn’t said. I’ve forgotten what I said but I know it implied that the child would be rejected by some but be a joy to others; and his mother would suffer also. But how could that be if this was messiah?

    Did I remember that Isaiah said something about your servant suffering? How could we reject the one we longed for so much? Another question for another day.

    And then along comes Anna as I am talking with them. She saw him too; I mean really saw him. And boy did she let everyone know! And she gave me a kiss. What a day, what a wonderful day. I’m rather tired and must go to bed now. Shalom.


    Prayer

    Father, thank you for Simeon and Anna.
    Thank you for their simple trust,
    And determination to trust you in the face of improbabilities.
    Shall we too be people who experience the extraordinary in the ordinary times of life
    As we place our ordinary faith in an extraordinary God.

    What is Candlemas? Go Here.

  • No Illusion

    Old Nick thought himself very clever. He strutted around the world and one day, early on, he came across the garden of God. Two innocents were doing what God knew would bless them: they were tending and caring for God’s wonderful and good Creation. And in that activity they found conversation with God their Father. Doing was the same as Being to them.

    ‘Ah', thought Nick, ‘here’s a pair ripe for picking’. So he slid up to them in the form of an angel of light. The plan was to invite Adam and Eve into something more that relationship with God. ‘This isn’t the half of it’ he said. ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet – wait to you get clothed with godness, then you will have power and equality with God’.

    There you have it. Pride came before a fall – OUCH. The thing is, they fantasised, ‘we were created in God’s image, but what good is just an image when this-here angel is sent to give us the real thing’. Hindsight is a wonderful thing… the offer was illusory, unreal, bitter. These two, you and me, found that instead of more they were diminished by their loss of relationship. So they, and we, set out to make the best of a bad job. There was, after all, no way back. Dreams replaced reality, and doing was no longer the same as being.

    So, many long, long, frustrating years past; and humanity left-off the simple but profound task of nurturing God’s graceful world and God’s image-filled creations. Old Nick didn’t need to strut anymore – we did it very well all by ourselves; and Creation fell into disrepair and decay. Pride continued after the fall and the world became a dessert.

    It was in a dessert place, amongst the wreckage of the garden that this old devil one day found a man who bore an unmistakable likeness to Adam. The man was making trouble; overturning the old order; tending and nurturing; and, most noticeably, was living in that long forgotten relationship of communion with his Abba. ‘I need to do something quickly’ said our foe. A huge billboard was placed by the roadside; it read (in very friendly letters) ‘Bread – get in now. Why wait; one-click and it’s yours. Instant.' (And, in very small type) 'Pay later’.

    ‘Wrong bread’ said the man: ‘too many additives: read the label’. ‘OK’ said Nick, ‘But we need to get your show on the road'. No time to waste, folks are dying and being lost as we speak. We need something striking that will pull them in by their thousands. Hey, so let’s go up to the temple tower. I’ll get a crowd and you can chuck yourself off - it’ll be fantastic, you will float down to the ground in a basket of angel feathers and I’ll make some fireworks: can’t fail to win them. And, best of all, there is a scripture to prove it will be OK’.

    But the Man said ‘Don’t tempt the Lord your God’.

    ‘God, God, what God’ said Satan (knowing full well where this conversation was going).‘I am as good as god’ the red-faced one replied, ‘and I’ll prove it’. ‘Look, here are the kingdoms of the world; you can have it all if you bow down to me’; though he did say it with not a little bravado and a noticeable tremor in his voice.

    ‘Go away you little creep’ commanded Jesus. ‘Worship the Lord your God only, and serve only Him’. And at that moment, in the gate of the garden of God, the angel with the flaming sword smiled and thought ‘Not long now and I can go home for tea’.

    You see, dear listener, Adam and Eve may have found their independence led to a life of loss; but Jesus Christ made a way back to abundant and glorious life. And it turned out the nurturing of God’s Creation was really what it was all about. Anything else is just an illusion.

    Find out more about the Bible Go Here.

  • Thomas: a story for Easter

    They say he is risen again. They say the one that I trusted in and walked with for three years and whom I saw dying in cruel agony is back with us. Of course that’s nonsense: only Pharisees believe that resurrection stuff that and they are a rather weird sort of crowd. But then… I was with Jesus when he raised his friend Lazarus from the dead. I was the one who said to the others ‘let’s go and be with him’; that was a mad and rather adventurous thing to do – given that we were walking into a possible death trap from the authorities out to silence our rabbi. And yes, I did see that I did see Lazarus walk out of the tomb. I did see it: so why can’t I believe that Jesus himself is alive?

    Three days after his death my friends were huddled in the room locked away from life and reality – I didn’t go. What would be the point? They would only be discussing how to get back to Galilee un-noticed. I don’t know what to do. I suppose in truth I don’t know what to do because I don’t know what to believe.

    I mean, if Jesus is risen; if Jesus is alive what does that mean? Surely something will change? I don’t know what to do because I’m confused and, well, maybe a bit angry. Why did Jesus let us down by giving his life? Why didn’t he fulfil his destiny as we had understood it in the stories?

    I’ve now met Peter, and Mary, and they said they’ve just met Jesus and they are not going back to Galilee just yet. What? They’re seeing things of course. Except that they said he breathed… he breathed… on them. Well, dead people don’t breathe, ghosts don’t breathe. I laughed of course.

    Later I remembered how in our community stories it’s said that God breathed on the very first human beings and gave them life, a different kind of life. I wonder if this has anything to do with that? No of course it doesn’t: he’s dead, you stupid idiot.

    I remember quizzing him when we sat down for that last meal. ‘What do you mean you’re going to prepare a place for us?’ I’ve absolutely no idea what you’re on about; and I doubt my mates here know what you mean. ‘What do you mean you’re going to prepare a place for us?’ ‘Way, what way?’ Of course Jesus responded like it always, gets to my heart. “I am the way, the truth and the life.” What did you mean, ‘I am the way?’

    So, I thought I would go and challenge them. They’ll be together again a week later and I might as well go and be with them. If we’re going to die we might as well all die together.

    I’m not on my own here you know. You know what it feels like to doubt.

    We all carry that confusion in our lives. Do you remember that Moses said ‘Oh don’t send me’. And Isaiah said ‘no not me’. I understand: it’s okay to doubt. That’s what our community story tells us. We all doubt. When the fathers crossed the Red Sea they immediately began to doubt that God was their Way, that God was true to his word, that God saved them and gave them Life.

    That cunning old worm in our heads is still saying ‘has God said?’

    Actually I’m quite proud of my doubt. It shows I’m a reasonable person. I need to see things; I need to know things. Except that it’s odd that when my forefathers saw God at work they only believed for a few minutes and then doubted again. I suppose in a way it’s good to know I’m not very different.

    Still, I will go and I will meet with them and we will die together.

    So we met together again; talked this silly talk still. And I’m listening and scoffing: insane friends: be reasonable – this is not true: ‘unless I see the wounds and touch him then I’m not going to believe’. I need to see, seeing is believing.

    I’m not sure how long he was behind me, listening, smiling. I’m not sure how long my mates knew he was there behind me, listening, smiling. ‘Hi Thomas I’m here’. ‘Come and touch me’. How do you respond to that? Hello, when your head is spinning, and yet your eyes are seeing, how do you respond to that? All I could do was blurt out ‘my Lord and my God’.

    He didn’t say to me ‘where were you last week?’, ‘why do you keep doubting, what’s the problem’. He didn’t say any of that, he just said ‘put your hand here’. He met me where I was. Except that even now I’m not sure where I was.

    I met him again later by the sea of Galilee. We had fish and bread together. He shared wonderful things with us during those times before finally leaving us with something of his deep inside us.

    So that was it, in truth I still have times when I doubt. I can’t stop questioning, or reasoning. Yet I have found that what he said about being My Way has come true and I have found a new life; not simply a new purpose but a new life. I’ll have to work on that.

    Who was Doubting ThomasGo Here.

Pilgrimage

Some see life is a journey from life to death, christians often express life as a pilgrimage, not just a journey from a beginning to an end but as a means of making sense of more or less faith, of seeking understanding, of journeying towards a sanctuary. From a beginning to a beginning. Holding an awareness of something other than us, something that transcends what we observe around us. Life as a pilgrimage, faith seeking understanding, action that pushes forward where the feet often falter.

Songbird

I went to bed in a troubled state of mind: doctor’s appointment in the morning. I hardly slept and certainly didn’t rest but I lay down anyway and dozed off. At 1.30 am I woke again, still troubled. Arranging the pillows I sat up, worrying. Then I heard a song: out in the garden a Robin was singing. Such beautiful, bountiful song. No cares, no worries; just the song. Now I thought how Jesus had said that not one sparrow falls to the ground without my Father knowing. And I remembered how the lilies of the field neither work nor care and yet they are clothed. And in that moment of deep time I knew that worry is not lifted but walked with. Sorrows, there will be: but never lived alone. My Father cares and knows all my needs. And I am loved, as the songbird is loved – eternally.

Ebb and Flow

Vincent Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo: “It is true that there is an ebb and flow, but the sea remains the sea.”

Dear Lord, you are the sea. Although I experience many ups and downs in my emotions and often feel great shifts and changes in my inner life, you remain the same.

Your sameness is not the sameness of a rock, but the sameness of a faithful lover. Out of your love I came to life; by your love I am sustained; and to your love I am always called back.

There are days of sadness and days of joy; there are feelings of guilt and feelings of gratitude; there are moments of failure and moments of success; but all of them are embraced by your unwavering love.

My only real temptation is to doubt in your love, to think of myself as beyond the reach of your love, to remove myself from the radiance of your love. To do these things is to move into darkness of despair. O Lord, sea of love and goodness, let me not fear too much the storms and winds of daily life, and let me know that there is ebb and flow but that the sea remains the sea. Amen.

Aidan

In the Shadow of Aidan

Farne dotted highway
where stars guide
and fog wrecks,
journeyed Aidan.

Here ocean foamed
with restless waves,
became the water
of calmèd souls.

In this thin place
of hard stone
and harder hearts
walked Aidan.

And rock formed
of molten ground
became the earth
of melted hearts.

As sea enfolds
the island home,
so are his flock
by Aidan’s arms.

And we gracefolk
same Spirit led,
know kindness and charity
yet have matchless power.

(C) 2010

Pilgrimage

Pilgrimage

We journey through a land
And to a land
Distant yet close,
Through an uncertain reality
To the clarity of being.

Through time and space
To no time and infinity of space;
Where the soul can fly
But the heart longs to be close
To the Beloved.

Here we tread the pilgrim’s path.
Oft through barren lands
And sometimes fields of gold.
Here we catch glimpses of reality;
Here we toil and struggle
To keep sight of the path less trodden.

Yet we walk always with a Companion,
Always beside a stream of water:
Vibrant and living
Never ebbing, always flowing
From and to
Our sanctuary

Credo

Credo

I say my creed in words.
I became aware of the Other
And wondered.
I named this Other ‘God’:
(Though I cannot fathom that name.)
Sinking feeling:
How can I relate to One unknown?
Then I discover, in the man Jesus Christ,
The heart of God —
Whom I am now invited to call Father.
And I am gently guided
(step by step)
In spirit by Spirit
On a pilgrimage with Truth,
Who will enfold me at the last;
Eternally.

Perspective

The Bible invites us to see we are not human beings on a spiritual journey but spiritual beings on a human journey.


Question

Is my gloom after all, shade of His hand outstretched caressingly? Francis Thompson (1859–1907) in "The Hound of Heaven"