Sunday, 31 January 2010

moon rise




we hold hands and run across the frozen ground toward the burning sky
broad brushstroke of orange above the turquoise sea
lone star puncturing the intensity
competing with the twinkling street lights scattered across dark brooding hills which merge into moody clouds
up and up we look
citrus colours - orange lemon lime - fade into blue
and behind us night has arrived
and then
small pink smudge of pink cloud on the black horizon
we missed the sun set
but see the moon is rising
distant and magical amber sphere
it reflects the flaming sky behind us
sharp intake of breath at its beauty

creation has so much to say

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Pre-School :-)

J: We're going into space to see some aliens

Me: are they friendly aliens or are they scary?

J: Well, they are very 'bitey' but very kind

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Stepping Beyond...

These nights take place at my church. First Stepping Beyond of the year is tonight. It's good to 'step out the box', or actually 'break the box'... why not?! it's easy to get comfortable with the way we worship and express our faith and it quickly becomes religious rather than real. So let's be real, let's be raw, let's be fully ourselves and fully consumed by the One who first loved us.

Celtic curiousity

I've just started reading "Wild Wanderings" by Karen Lowe, who was one of the speakers along with her husband Mark at this weeks 'training block'. They spoke to us about loving the poor and social action, challenging and exciting stuff. From the sounds of it they are really practising what they preach, living a life poured out for the broken, addicted and poor people around them. See here for their church website, Antioch in Llanelli, South Wales.

Anyways her book is great, (yep am now reading about 5 books at the same time... keep getting distracted by a new one turning up!) i have only read a few pages but you know when every sentence grips you or just resonates with something deep within you and you want to go crazy with a highlighter and nod your head while reading and want to shout 'yes yes yes!'. :-) Since i have only read a few pages i can't tell you what it's all about, but one of the things it is inspired by is Celtic Christianity. Quite a few people and groups of people I know have been strongly influenced by Celtic Christianity, such as 24-7 Prayer. I know that my Grandfather often went to the island of Iona off the coast of Scotland and when I went to Wales last term there was something about it that felt so different. Anyways to cut to the chase i think it's time to learn more about it for myself! I was given a book of Celtic and Celtic style prayers a year or two ago but must admit it's been left on the shelf all the time, but now i'm quite excited about using it. The following prayer sums up what I'd already been hoping/aiming for for 2010, and actually for the rest of my life....

Forgetting what is past, we look to the things unseen;
we journey in your light.
We leave behind our ties;
we journey with single hearts.
The sun shall not strike us by day, nor the moon by night;
we journey in your shielding.
We look not to right or left, but straight towards your way;
we journey in your truth.
The rough places shall be smoothed and the pitfalls shall be cleared;
we journey in your power.
The proud shall be brought low and the humble shall be raised up;
we journey in your justice.
The hungry shall be fed and the poor shall have good news;
we journey in your love.
No final home have we on this life's passing seas;
we journey towards our eternal home.
From 'Celtic Prayers for Life Today' (Ray Simpson)

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Distance: random thoughts

Thinking about Haiti. and people trafficking. two things I've been hearing about today. and no we can't turn a blind eye but it's still hard to believe that what we see on our TV screens is actually happening right now, this moment, not in some other time or age or dimension. Distance is a strange thing, sometimes it seems like it's its own being, deceptively twisting our emotions and dulling our feelings and allowing us to pretend. And while it seems to exploit us so we exploit it... use it for our own purposes, shrinking it or enlarging it depending on the desired result. To feel near to someone or as if we're on separate planets. Distance allows us to believe it's OK to keep on doing 'our thing', while they do 'theirs', condoning our shirked responsibilities. Or conversely, it permits us to stick our noses in business that was never ours. Distance... our salvation or condemnation?

the 'why' not the 'how'

I confess I wanted to believe life was bigger, larger than my presuppositions. Out there under the cosmos, out in the desert, beneath those billion stars and the umbrella of pitch-black eons of nothingness, on top of that hill, I started wondering if life was something different than I thought it was, if there was some kind of ragin beauty a person could find, that he could get caught up in the why of life. And I needed to believe beauty meant something, and I needed God to step off His self-help soapbox and be willing to say something eternally significant and intelligent and meaningful, more meaningful than the parroted lines from detergent commercials. I needed God to be larger than our free-market economy, larger than our two-for-one coupons, larger than our religious ideas.

From Donald Miller's 'Through Painted Deserts' (p.12). my new book, woopee :-)

Friday, 8 January 2010

American dream on

(a challenge to myself as much as anyone else!)

The 'American dream' converts to prison bars
As Father working overtime realises he’ll never get that far
Because the dream is but a shadow it keeps getting further away
The dream is but a mirage shimmering deceptively on a hot day
Yet we keep the heating on to avoid seeing it in the cold light of day
Shut our eyes tight and hope and pray that Father Christmas in heaven will show us the way
To a nicer car and a bigger house
To a comfortable life and a perfect spouse
Letting the advertising companies shape our ambition and reduce our lives to petty competition
Never realising that contentment is found elsewhere
Never stopping to experience the joy found in care
Care of our neighbour, care of our friends
Care of the dying who won’t see the weekend
Care of the weak and the sick and the poor
Care of the homeless man sleeping in the doorway
Cuz he’s lost everything and he can’t pay for a bed
While you insulate and double glaze your shed
And sit back to appreciate some peace from the kids and the wife
While the lonely long for someone with whom to share their life
But we shut all the curtains and lock all the doors
Turn up the music so we don’t hear their call
Keep our hankerchiefs clean, avoid wiping their tears
Maintain the illusion of the dream, don’t listen to their fears

When will we wake up?!
From our picket fence perfection
And realise our defection
Exchange our manicured lawns for broken streets
Where a single blade of grass pushes up through the concrete
Demonstrating hope far more clearly than a promotion
Painting a real picture of the meaning of redemption
Something that’s really worth fighting for
In this short life that only happens once
May my days make marks upon eternity.

what we need

"What we really need is God. What we really need is someone who loves us so much we don't have to worry about death... We need this; we need this so we can love other people purely and not for selfish gain, we need this so we can love everybody as equals, we need this so our relationships can be sincere, we need this so we can stop kicking ourselves around, we need this so we can lose all self-awareness and find ourselves for the first time, not by realizing some dream, but by being told who we are by the only Being who has the authority to know, by that I mean the Creator."

from 'Searching for God knows what' - Donald Miller p.110)