Thursday, May 05, 2011

Good Friday Spoken Word

This emerged from our Easter 24/7 prayer week and was used as part of our Good Friday Reflection. 

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Knowing the Unknowable

God is beyond our imaginations, bigger than our understanding and deeper than our intellect. If we could grasp the fullness of God we would, perhaps, be God. God is incomprehensible.

A Mystery.

An enigma.

Our language does not do God justice. Our words fail to decribe him. He is 'other', 'different', 'set apart', 'holy'.

Tozer states that Christians are 'yearning to know what cannot be known.'
This phrase is striking. It speaks of an almost desperate longing to discover something that is beyond discovery.

And yet the mystery becomes more mysterious. The unknowable chooses to make himself known. The hidden chooses to reveal himself. The Word that existed in the beginning takes on flesh. God became human so that humanity could know God.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Garden & DIY

We have just finished our 24/7 prayer week, centered around 'Being Consumed by God in a Consumer Society', and we used the Argos catalogue as our prayer journal. The first shopping page is titled 'Garden & DIY'. This struck me in quite a powerful way. There is theology behind the statement. The placing of this as the first category in the catalogue and for how the the 'do it yourself' mentality resonates with the western lifestyles of consumption. Argos is, without realising, is referring to the Genesis story in its catalogue.

The headline highlights that the Garden is the first thing. Genesis says the same. It highlights the ideal situation, the living at peace with God, nature and each other in the Garden. The garden is life as it was intended. Argos plays on this reminding us of this desire as it advertises its stuff.

However, the headline also highlights that DIY, the independence and selfishness of humanity was also in the garden. Rather than living in relationship with God we chose and keep choosing to 'Do It Yourself'.
We turn away.

Furthermore, this title spoke to me of the western consumer lifestyle that results from this idea of 'Do It Yourself'. We shop to satisfy ourselves. We consume filled with greed, breaking the relationship with God and each other.

it would be awesome to find an image of redemption in the middle of the catalogue or even to find images of the new heaven and new earth at the end.


Monday, January 11, 2010

A boat called Jesus

I was listening to Canon Edgar Ruddock recently who works for USPG and he showed this photo as part of his presentation. I was struck by the image. I found it to be a powerful picture of life with God.

I have only been sailing a couple of times and the first occasion was particulalrly memorable. I was in a tiny boat in the lake district surrounded by gale force winds with two other inexperienced sailors. My head had the inevitable introduction to the boon and I spent most of the time completely frozen and clinging to the edge of the boat in absolute fear. The water loomed, the boat rocked and I couldn't wait to get out. I didn't trust the crew and I didn't trust the boat.

To be a follower of Jesus is to be in a boat like the one in this picture. Initially it is about stepping in at the shore. It is good and the sun is shining. There is a sense of the unknown and adventure awaits.

However, the boat will find its way to the sea. In the bible the sea often a metaphor for the unknown or for chaos. Life is like being cast onto this sea and the same sense of coldness and fear can arise. The difference with the boat above compared to the boat I began sailing in is that the boat has the name Jesus. When we step into this boat named Jesus we find it trustworthy.

Adventure, fear, chaos, and coldness may still await on the open ocean. But we engage with these things in Jesus.

For me, life in this boat is better, than life out of it. I would rather the boat take me out on the sea than remain safe on dry land. The boat is adventure, the boat is a greater glimpse of life. The boat is where I want to be...

The whole image reminded me of this quote...

"If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."

-Antione de Saint-Exupery

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Mother T

I found this on the door of a bakery in Nairobi the other day next to a little photo of Mother Teresa. I remember hearing it a few years ago but as I stood outside the bakery in the December sun I found God speaking to me through it. Not only is it a prayer of perseverance but it is a reminder to keep living for God in whatever we are doing.

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

Monday, November 30, 2009

I love her... I hate her, you have her...

A friend of mine told me his funny wedding story the other day. It all revolves around a few hours when he was working behind the bar at a wedding reception.

About halfway through the reception the groom, who was already a little drunk, came and sat up at the bar asking for a drink. As my friend was serving the groom, the groom began to garble at him,

'I love her, I love her, I love her'

a few minutes later the grooms mind appeared to have changed and the groom was beckoning my friend over and slurring at him,

'I hate her, I hate her, I hate her. You have her.'

This conversation between 'I love her' and 'I hate her, you have her' was repeated for most of the evening, with intermittent pauses whilst the groom fell asleep on the bar.

Eventually, the best man found the groom and hoisetd him away from the bar.

The story made us all chuckle a little. But I remembered it a little later and found myself thinking that so often a relationship with God can be pretty similar. We have these moments that seem to swing between this wide-eyed love and this struggle with wanting to give it all up. Israel seemed to have the same struggle throughout the Exodus narrative, and also throughout its time in the land before exile.

In so many ways this describes the human condition. We swing between this deep commited love and this desire to jack it all in.  

So what is love really about?  The apostle Paul seems to allude to a different sort of love. A Love beyond feelings.   He describes love as patient, kind, self-sacrificial, trusting, hoping and persevering.  This love seems to involve our actions and our will.  We don't always feel like loving but we choose to act in love anyway.  

Is this the kind of love God has for us?  Is this the love Jesus demonstrates when he says 'Abba, father, Everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will'?