In the Silence that Surrounds the Soul; God.

the_silence_of_the_soul_by_fleadreams-d5tdygw

We live in such a fast-paced environment these days, how do you deal with silence? Is it your comfort or worst nightmare?

For some people, silence gradually feeds their soul and they grow to crave it more and more, it is balm and healing for them.

Whereas, for some the very mention of it, the very absence of noise, of the sounds of life going on around them creates unease, and for some the extreme of panic. They just cannot come face to face with who they are, and hide in the hustle and bustle of sound, noise and activity.

stress

How do sound, noise and all its activities affect you?

If you are uncomfortable with silence, do you ever question why this might be?

Those who have discovered the joy of silence, have found that they can de-stress and wind down and they have discovered that noise stops you from engaging in hearing the small inner voice. Not your own conscious thoughts. These will easily condemn you and tie your soul up in knots.

Rather, it is the voice all people are capable of hearing, that of God the one who created you. If you are under the misapprehension that hearing (and you may well doubt it possible or logical) God is so scary that you fear wrath or punishment. I urge you to re-think your thoughts and consider why so many do actually confess to hearing God’s voice and they are not punished are they?

Do you think that you are the worst person, and inside your internal mind tell you so and you reply with, “but, you don’t know what I have done!” No one has ever done anything that is not forgivable. Those who hear God, hear him as their Father. He is a good, good Father. Do not overlay your own experience of Fatherhood and your childhood to colour this picture in shades of horror or hatred or anger.

Consider if you will, why is it that so many do have peace in their lives, and are joyful even in tough circumstances? I tell you the truth, they know that God has forgiven them and they know God as their Father. Jesus came to reveal the Father, to release God’s Spirit to help us to know him and to experience him too.

If you think, “ha not for me!” then think upon this, are you really happy, secure, and content? Do you know that you are loved…unconditionally? Do not base your happiness on fortune or wealth for that is fleeting and unstable, and can vanish at a moment’s notice!

If you cannot say yes, then would you really want to live less than these things, would you not want the chance to start over again and be given a clean slate, knowing that you are forgiven and accepted by Father God, a new life?

voice

It is so simple to have this peace, this new life and yet so few find it. Sit in the silence and ask God to reveal himself to you. He will come, and he promises to be with you forever. Not like the people who come into your life, use you and leave you; alone and heart-broken. He comes to stay, to dwell, to live in you. He alone can repair the broken heart that is shattered.

You were never meant to live a frantic life, stressful life full of constant noise and activity. Those who are wise know that in the peace, in the silence comes a rest that the world cannot give. It is deep, it is love, and actually what you need to live a life of meaning and joy. Now, I am not saying that all problems will disappear. God is not a ‘Father Christmas’ figure, he is not going to give you the equivalent of the lottery and make your life easy, but, he will make sure you have all you need and that you never have to question his goodness, and from that secure place you will be living life as was always intended for you.

father and  child

 

You see, he has always wanted you, always loved you and waits for you. Turn towards him and he comes running, like as love-sick husband longing for his beloved, like a Father who has not held his dearly loved child for far too long. Turn and come home to Him today.

If you think that this is what is missing in your heart, you are not far wrong. So, it’s as simple as speaking to him these words,

Father, I am sorry for the way I have tried to live my life without you.

Please forgive me and come into my life.

Thank you for Jesus your Son who can save me.

I want to follow you and trust you.

Amen.

When you have asked this, things will change and you can be sure that no one who has asked this has ever been rejected. God is for you, always.

church

 

Don’t try to walk alone you will need the support and company of others who have also made this decision to ask God to come into their lives too. You will find others just like you, at the local church; they are not perfect but like you have decided not to let the fear, loneliness or brokenness define them any longer. There are many different churches, so try visiting and see where you feel at home.

If this seems a big step to take or just strange, or  ‘too religious’ then do keep visiting different churches, and let God will show you where you belong, can make friends, and feel his peace and love. I do not write this from head knowledge, but from my own experience. It is not religion you will find, but relationships. Firstly with God as your Father, and also with other people who walk this journey through life too.

Peace Of God

Advertisements

Sunday Lunch

sunday lunch

As I was driving home from church, I passed the fast food chain with the golden arches and was quite surprised to see the car park full.Further up the road a carvery / pub car park and the retail park, was also full and I wondered, does anyone actually have a cooked traditional Sunday roast lunch at home anymore?

I have read articles before about the changing eating habits of us Brits, so do you regularly have roast beef ( or meat), Yorkshire puds, roast potatoes, vegetables, gravy; and all home cooked? Or do you grab a sandwich, or have a curry, or something else perhaps?

Do you continue to gather as a family to eat together, spending time talking and actually sit at a dining room table? When I was a child this was a non-negotiable  regular tradition. Sunday was planned out like a military operation to prepare for hours a meal that was consumed within mere minutes. These days the use of a dishwasher to clear up the dishes and pots and pans afterwards is a bonus my mother would have loved, and the use of a microwave too.

kitchen sink

Although I personally can’t do this meal anymore, seeing as its just me at home, I wish I could do it. Perhaps one day I will be in the kitchen cooking Sunday lunch. I cannot think that having a fast food meal is a good exchange on any level, nutritionally or socially.

Yet, there are thousands still who prefer,whether for convenience or habit, to eat out instead, though I cannot think that the conversations are as relaxed as having a meal at home. Perhaps this will come full circle eventually, and eating Sunday lunch at home will become the ‘in thing ‘ once again. I think it is good for family life, even though I can not practice what I preach here, I do miss this traditional fare and the table conversations that are a part of the good ol’British way of life.

lunch.jpg

It is also a great time to pray together as a family, to give thanks to God for the food we have and for each other. I feel that Jewish families who gather as a family to celebrate Shabbat each Friday evening with the traditional meal, seeking God’s blessing by honouring Him, are indeed blessed. Much to ponder there!

 

 

I has a cold in my ‘doze’!

cold in my nose

Quite honestly, I probably should be resting instead of writing. You see I have a cold in my doze, I don’t think I have one symptom missing. Propped up on as much cold remedy allowance an adult can safely ingest, I am trying to get on with what I want to do, namely to write.

That non-helpful phrase of, “oh it’s going around” has no comfort for my splitting head and I am grateful for those who care to pray for my recovery… but please only from a safe distance! I have given up on a box of tissues they did not last long and have resigned myself to a loo roll. This lasts longer but has the added annoyance of turning my doze bright red. You just can’t win eh?

So, here I sit and I wonder, how are you doing today? Seeing as no one can (safely) visit me I shall enquire as to your health. This seems to be one of the hot topics of general conversation and tends to get more medically detailed with age. It would seem if we are not talking about the weather, it’s our health. I think my current state of sneeziness is a direct result of the weather, I mean isn’t it cold today!

For reasons only known to my daughter’s logic and her needs I have to soldier on, I guess we do with children (small or grown-up one’s) or, perhaps worse, our other halves, that we tend to their needs. Take this morning for instance, after a very rough, coughing, head-achy, sleepless night I got up to drive the car so my daughter could get to work. Now, she could have said, “oh Mum!, it’s okay I’ll get the bus.” But, I don’t think that occurred, and it was raining, and she was running late. Early morning saga over, I return home, pooped!

This is only to spy the dishes needing washing up, the clothes over spilling the laundry basket, the cat bowl empty, and the bins (even through my blocked doze) rather smelly. I had thoughts of returning to bed for a rest in the hope of catching up on the missed zzzs hours I spent coughing. But no, I walk into my bedroom and there right in the middle of the bed is the cat. Do I have the heart to kick her off and lie down nope! So there she still lies, looking every inch, just too cute as she sleeps, and I wonder what to do next.

I end up on the computer, thinking I will just read my e-mail and then check out Face Book, the weather report (oh, the weather again!). With only an interruption for hanging up the laundry in the bathroom, I am still sitting here. If you also have a cold, or anything else that is making you feel under the weather (sorry, couldn’t resist that one) you are very welcome to self-indulge your complaints and symptoms here (nothing too graphic please) and please feel free to get some sympathy here, “I am truly sorry you have a cold (or any other ailment) and hope you feel well again very soon.” Leave me a comment in return if you would like to. I expect like me, you also have many, many other things that require your attention today and you just don’t feel well or up to it all either.

So, here’s to the next dose of meds, and let’s rest whilst we may for as the day wears on there are bound to be things crop us that we have to deal with. We can only do our best!

book of tissues

Get well soon xx

Words

Words are Everywhere 

There are somethings in life that are seemingly inescapable, such as the concept of time and, another being that of words.We were born to communicate and whether we speak or write them down words define and express our every waking moment, and possibly even invade our dreams.

words.jpg

Words create our known world, and our words contain life or death , contain blessing or curses. Words are so innocuous, words are violent and oppressive, words are power!

Words and Faith

Thanks to God,  Jesus Christ is The Word; He is the one whose ethical teaching spoke words of life to the poor and needy. Only His words show our hearts true condition, he spoke words that shocked and scandalized the religious elite of his day. He spoke prophetically, he spoke healing, and he spoke gently or powerfully over situations to change the atmosphere, bringing about wholeness, peace, and love.

God sees beyond the walls of words we build up, in self-protection and how we try to distance ourselves from pain, hurt, and suffering. We use words to deflect attention, to draw attention, to communicate with others what we feel, think or imagine.Whatever the words may be, we cannot escape their power over our lives. Words of blessing speak life and hope, and as a Christian, the words we use in  prayer connect us with God, as we wait and listen for His words back to us. Words are essentially relational and unite us with God’s love for us. God’s word to us is revelaed in the Holy Bible; a plumbline of truth and direction to live by.

Words of Warning

The world is through negligent words a damaged and hurting place; people wither; crushed and bruised when words attack both their world and personhood. Care needs to be taken before words are unleashed on someone in anger, through gossip or for gaining power over them. Words spoken carelessly are remembered, etched into the mind, causing painful associations,  reproducing anger traits and passing on broken and pain filled patterns of behaviour.

gossip

Cruel or negative words enter into our souls, into our spirit and tear us down.We are not to speak words carelessly to each other but, sadly,  we tend to think without saying, we speak without thinking. We may have caustic words going around inside our heads which have been spoken over us causing internal negative conversations. These damage our self-confidence and steal our joy. Verbal words spoken that are gregarious and an extrovert’s expression of life , are to an introvert  far from what they can respond to, sensitivity and gentleness are the keys that can unlock conversation.There is always a time to speak, a time to listen, and a time to be silent.

Words from others, written or spoken, have the potential to pierce our souls, to break our hearts, or when words are withheld and silence is all we perceive, we become understandably confused, and perplexed. Our souls demand an answer as we innately need to  keep the communication flowing, to perceive with understanding, wisdom, and have a sense of order in our lives.

Written words create real feelings when we read them; feelings of comfort, safety, peace, and love. But all too often they cause feelings of inferiority, confusion, shame, guilt, or hate. If we took more care over what we think or say, write or declare, we could bring healing and happiness and put an end to furthering evil intentions, we create the world we live in by our use of words and how we express them. Do as you would to others, as you would have them do to you. Our ego’s have to die to self interest, as we put others first. One of the hardest things to do practically.

Words of Health and Inner Healing

Words start to bind us or set free our minds as soon as we emerge into this physical world, but we do not have to stay bound by them.The impact on our potential character and personality, on our very fragile hearts and, our ability to give or receive love is enormous.Happily for every negative there is a corresponding positive word, one counteracting the other.

kind.jpg

Kindness echoes throughout eternity and impacts us now and the generations to come, therefore, let us only speak kind words to one another.Words express and carry our felt emotions, healthy or otherwise, they can lay our souls bare. We alone can speak them; we alone can create through them. Let us have self-control. Let us seek healing words to cleanse our wounds and be made whole.

Words and Worldly Standards

Words can and do conjure up all sorts of things in our minds, for good or evil, that we audibly or visually absorb, then react to and act upon. We speak words too loosely; saying one thing but meaning another, words express a social complexity of rules and regulations and laws, and those societal niceties such as polite manners and compassion by which we  open ourselves or close down on people. We hide and stand naked by the words we proclamation, ever since the first humans did.Our words expose humanities sinful disposition.

We seem unable to resist examining our words, testing and correcting the inaccuracies of spellings, grammar, and to produce a high standard of communication, where education sets the level expected to be acquired or else we are deemed to have ‘failed’. Does this make our words any the less important? I think not!

Words to Entertain

We write to entertain, to explore, to record facts, to say something of who we are and whawe do, we release imaginary ideas and create our own amusement. We play with words making them rhyme and flow with a life of their own, such is the world a poet brings to us.  We log our lives in diaries and in journals record our spiritual journey. We add music to words and can sing them; this is no mere accident of evolution, for we are meant to do this in our humanity that bears something of our Creator.

We love to capture words, we write all manner of books , even books about what words mean, we write in a variety of alphabetical letter forms and fonts, expressing all manner of speech when we are unable (for a variety of reasons) to speak face to face.We personify metaphors, we create illusionary characters; words are as sharp as knives which cut deeply or are as soft as wool which knit us together.

knit together

 

Playing with words seems to come naturally to us, words are the playground of the author, speaker, and poet and lyricist. We use words, we shape scenes, we entice a reader, and we can play upon the meanings sounds, and patterns which words produce. We love to do crosswords and word games; we play with letters and teach children the wonder of phonics and nursery rhymes and fairy tales. Spoken or written words fill our minds almost constantly during our waking hours, training our cognitive thoughts and, seem to be an extraordinary gift to some people, who can instinctively weave and create ideas and stories for the pleasure of others. Words are fascinating and capture the essence of all that we can see, think or dream, all that imagine or pursue.

Words for All

love

There are those unable to verbalise, those who cannot hear because of deafness, yet who create words with their hands, which are complex and signal the desire to be heard,accepted and, to give voice to their  inner creative world. The world would be a far poorer place without special this way to express kind words, words of love, peace, joy, hope and grace. Such is the impluse to communicate with the hands, it is beautiful to see.

Let us all, whoever we are, be carriers of words of peace and love, kindness and truth in all humility, not causing harm to another but extending to each other what we would hope to receive. Let us not judge with critical words but make our words be one’s that give life, blessings, and hope. Let our words, not reflect hidden prejudice or vocalize racial slander but be words that are inclusive and one’s that show we are God’s children, each and every one of us, and if you are lost for words…. “God knows your heart.”

plse

Amen.

 

 

The Station Master’s Whistle

liverpool street train station

Those were the days when you heard the whistle sound by the Station Master and there was the familiar smell of the train engines and you saw the ticket collector at the platform gate,wearing his smart railway uniform, who winked at the small children  calling out, “Tickets please!” and who having clipped it gave it back to be kept as a momento of the trip.

There too was the station cafe, the newspaper stand, and people rushing to catch the next train and journey on. A seat by the window to watch the countryside rush by in a blur.It’s all very modern these days and no smell of engines or recognisable landmarks from days gone by. The shop are quite posh and favour a more prosperous clientele. People, however, are still in a hurry, all rushing along. But I stop to remember, when back in those days, how exciting it was to be travelling by train.

Arriving at Liverpool Street station and being met by my grandfather, who was a very important person and who like his father before him he has been a Station Master, and very special to me as a very small child. There he would be standing, waiting, glimpsing us and waving, as we arrived from the country into the city of London. He was i think quite tall and with a moustache, pipe hanging from the corner of his mouth and wearing, as he always did, a tweedy jacket that had seen better days I suspect, and a big grin on his face, as we ran to greet him.

taxi london

Scurrying along to follow him, we marched up steep steps across the platform bridge, peering down from on high at the trains on the tracks far below, and further along to the long flight of steps up and outside and into the streets of London. He would hail a lovely shiny black hackney carriage, and I (being the smallest) sat on the little pull-down seat, as off to grandfathers house we went.

Those memories are infinitely precious to me, the years have flown by and he is long gone now. I still have his Station Masters whistle, given to me on one of those iconic visits. I had especially asked to keep it to remember him by.

whistle.jpg

The Acme Thunderer

B.R. (E)

 

The Law is an Ass

ass

This proverbial expression is of English origin and the ass being referred to here is the English colloquial name for a donkey, not the American ‘ass’, which we will leave behind us at this point. Donkeys have a, somewhat unjustified, reputation for obstinance and stupidity that has given us the adjective ‘asinine’. It is the stupidly rigid application of the law that this phrase calls into question.

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/the-law-is-an-ass.html

Common sense seems seriously lacking in Western society and especially within the Laws of this land. Criminality is not punished appropriately, with lenient sentencing handed out from liberal minded judges that do not reflect the seriousness of the crime or the suffering or pain of those innocently involved, who have had their lives wrecked. Firstly by the act committed against them and secondly by the punishment not fitting the crime which both devastate the victims and their families live’s. Their sentence really is life; they carry the heartbreak and loss to their own graves.

Every day, through the media,  disappointing verdicts are pronounced and reported which leave the majority of decent law-abiding people thinking, why does the punishment not fit the crime?

Take the news headlines for this morning which is being reported by the BBC.

“Melanie Road murder: Man jailed for life 32 years after killing.”

_89638269_melanie

She was murdered, aged 17 in 1984, and her mother has suffered for 32 years. The sentence of ‘life’ given to the murderer of 22 years minimum is, to be honest, absolutely ridiculous!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-36245888

Why should he be kept at the taxpayers expense in prison, he is a convicted brutal murderer, “a monster!” who has lived his life as he pleased all these years, whilst the innocent victim’s mother has spent 32 years of her life waiting to hear this judgment. Is it justice?

Is it justice? Should the law be changed? what would you say is a fairer punishment to fit this crime?

The debate on the death penalty should be re-opened and let the people decide what is appropriate, it is time for a serious reconsideration and review of the death penalty to deter this from constantly happening to women, children and men  too. It is not the only case recently, how long do the innocent  have to suffer at the hands of cruel,brutal murderers?

Trying to understand this awful dichotomy, i am reading the following book,

how long oh Lord

https://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Long-Lord-Reflections-Suffering/dp/0851109500/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1462868172&sr=1-2&keywords=how+long+of+lord

Is it now time to stand up for the victim’s, and for true justice to be seen to be done, for the penalty to really fit the crime, what do you think?

death_penalty

The Man with the Withered Hand

A Contemporary Paraphrase on Mark 3:1-6

It is the year A.D.32 and life here in Judea has been difficult for many years, what with the Romans on the one hand (forgive the pun here!) and on the other Herod Antipas and his Herodian dynasty and added to that the ruling pious Pharisees. They are Judaism’s’ thought police, always making the Law more difficult to keep, always saying it means something more, more than Moses ever wrote or taught. Sure keeps the Scribes busy!

As for me, I want to tell you about an amazing incident that took place involving Sherebiah my friend and co-worker whom I have known since we were children; he had always had one hand that was small and twisted, useless to him. We had grown up together in the small village not far from the lakeside of Capernaum. We worked together at the lakeside hauling and selling fish. People shunned him because he was different and would not talk to him, saying he was unclean. So much for loving their neighbour!

yeshua_talit

We had heard of a young Rabbi named, Yeshua, who was also from around here, and who people were talking a lot about these past few months. This Rabbi was doing some weird, unexplainable stuff, some of which was attracting the wrong sort of attention from the authorities; that is if he wants to stay alive that is!

Only just recently, last Shabbat there was such a commotion, as Rabbi Yeshua was apprehended and questioned by the Pharisees about what his disciples were doing plucking grains of wheat in the fields. That news went viral I can tell you, everyone was talking about it. Now here we are, another Shabbat and as Sherebiah and I take our positions at the back of the synagogue, we watch as Rabbi Yeshua enters. We are in a shady spot, so he will probably not even notice us; we can’t help but talk in hushed low whispers about him, wondering what might happen today. The Pharisees are arriving, and they move straight to the front, by the Bimah and the Torah Ark. The synagogue is filling up, with lots of men from the Galil attending, and it is busier than usual. An air of anticipation is evident, and there is a hushed buzz in the room as we wait to begin.

The young Rabbi is squatting down, with his disciples near him, and then suddenly he stands up. He is tall, with his tallit over his head and draped around him. The room hushes ready for the teacher to begin expounding on the Shabbat parashah from the scroll. The Pharisees look rather nervous; to be fair no one ever can tell what might happen next when Yeshua is around and he is aware of being watched by them, by all in the room. Suddenly, we freeze and stare back in his direction, Sherebiah grips my arm with his good hand, and we turn to look at each other, our hearts pounding, we’re discovered! because Sherebiah is suddenly called forth, “Come here!” Yeshua tells Sherebiah. We look at Yeshua and I nudge Sherebiah, urging him to move forward. Suddenly all eyes are upon him as she shuffles towards the Rabbi. He glances down away  from Yeshua’s intent gaze, at the floor. Oh! my heart goes out to my friend, yet something is about to happen!

pharisees

Yeshua speaks next to the Pharisees, and asks them this question “Is it lawful on the Shabbat to do good, or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” All eyes turn to watch the Pharisees, who were silent, not a single word did anyone of them have to give in answer to the Rabbi’s question. Sherebiah didn’t dare move, in fact, nobody moved; it seemed as if every person the synagogue that day held their breath, waiting to see what would happen. The look on Yeshua’s face was thunder! His eyes glaringly bore into them from one side to the other of this group of trembling, pale-faced Pharisees; “Oi va voi!!” this Rabbi was furious. It was as if Yeshua could see right into their hardened hearts.  You could cut the air in the synagogue with a knife such was the tension there that Shabbat morning.

“Stretch out your hand.” He spoke commandingly to Sherebiah; I caught a glimpse of the Rabbi’s face  and  his eyes softened towards my friend, whose knees were shaking like a fig leaf in the wind. I saw Sherebiah slowly raise his weak hand forward towards the Rabbi. He hated being the centre of attention, having been taunted for his disability all his life. But, what happened next, well, I can hardly take it in myself, we all saw it happen before our very own eyes. First, Sherebiah’s hand flexed, and then it straightened and finally became whole, just exactly as his other hand. Well, his eyes were popping out of his head at this miracle. His face lit up with joy and he was praising God, over and over again. He shouted for joy, “Thank you Yeshua!” and then he ran outside to proclaim this wonder to any and all who he met; that he had been restored. The Pharisees didn’t look very pleased in witnessing this healing or at Sherebiah’s merry outburst, straight-faced they filed out of the synagogue and I heard they went immediately to the Herodians, to plot Rabbi Yeshua’s downfall.

Jesus heals

I simply cannot understand, what was so bad about this miracle? my friend is overjoyed and can work as any other man, he is suddenly popular as everyone wants to see his hand now, and he is more than happy to show it off, I am so pleased for him. We still work together along by the shore hauling and selling the fish and Sherebiah is as strong a man as any other there, happily able to work, no longer different. Talk of this has not stopped for days and many are leaving all to follow this Rabbi who heals and restores. On many lips is the question, “Who is this Rabbi Yeshua?”

As for Rabbi Yeshua, he left the synagogue and went off to sea, his disciples with him and they travelled all over the region followed by huge crowds all needing healing, or deliverance. I heard that he restored them all; and as for the authorities, they still can’t see any good in him and are pursuing him to bring him down, but as for my friend Sherebiah and me we can’t wait to hear of the next amazing miracle he does. There is something special about this Rabbi who does healing miracles, just like the prophets of old in the Holy Scriptures.

The Storyteller Man

telling-a-story

There is a familiar sound, approaching from the footsteps of the storyteller man, who spins tales, weaving his stories, making folklore come alive! He is walking down the street of my memories; of my childhood days, by-gone days; gone by. Here is a man who told a tale or two, dressed as a poor beggar wearing a pair of odd shoes, his work rewarded in cups of hot rosy-lee. I wonder what happened to the storyteller man, since that time when I heard the last story told. For he left me and many others both young and old alike delighting in those fables as with eyes that twinkled with such merriment; dancing with joy as he made those characters come alive , making us laugh, making us cry.

Who was he? We were really never quite sure; some say a veteran from some far off war. For under his lapel was a medal, shiny, bright which was a story he did not tell, or choose to enlighten upon. Did he save some lost soul from drowning on the seas; was he someone’s saviour for heroic gallantry? Maybe his life was a dream now gone by, no one really knew for certain, no one ever thought to ask or reason why. He wandered here and there with his wonderful tales, then moving along again,  leaving memories in his wake. His sac in hand, his footsteps left no trail, of the storyteller man who told folklore’s legends of olde for a cup of rosy-lee.

Our storyteller man ah! He knew a thing or two, things of how queer folks are, and the hard times these folks lived through. He spoke as one educated and so eloquently of great adventures far beyond the sea, in lands so strange, and the tales he wove I am sure included me. As I sat, small and still, on the sawdust floor with my little fellow comrades, enthralled! We entered into his world for just so short a time; we too were heroes, valiant and brave as the story of the solider that walked one thousand miles. We were caught up in the world of his words, his heart song, as though lost words of a book tumbled out and catching them he voiced aloud to where they surely belonged in a listener’s ear.

Grown up’s were drawn, stopping by just to hear, and which stirred in them memories stretched now over time so long, weary, and dry of their own childhood days, hearing  once more those tales that, were lives they once thought they too would live. Now far past that age, standing at the back of the silent, listening crowd they appear to be somewhat, sad. No adventures on high seas, no riches vast or finding the land of the free. Silently they listened as the tale is told, then back they wander wearily away back to their lives now old.

But as for the children eager-eyed they keenly watched, was there another tale to be told? Soon though all has been said and done; soon though to take his leave he’ll be gone, now he picks up his sac, and on walks the storyteller man watched by small eyes, hoping that soon he will return once more to tell another folklore tale from of olde.

When, you just cannot concentrate on your writing.

What stops or distracts you most from your writing? Could it be those external noises such as the neighbours chatting in the garden (maybe I should shut the window? but it is so nice outside), or your own internally driven conversations, or having no new ideas? The sun shining outside is only one of a few mega distractions for me; maybe it is one or all of these for you? Not  unduly concerned now about my progress in writing for the past day or two, yet feeling an awareness to keep on producing the work and writing for as the days slip by, the pressure begins to increase.

sunshine

Right at the moment I can hear the ‘noise’ from my daughter watching a movie on her iPhone. I know the sun will tempt me into the garden if I do not concentrate, or to the kitchen for another cup of tea. I want to write but seem unsure of how to proceed. Eventually, I wander downstairs as I predicted and put the kettle on. Absent minded, I ponder whether tea has the properties to release creativity as I slowly sip it.

# Takes time out to drink the tea, and hoping the warmth (and any healing properties) of it will melt my unmoving thoughts. Writing through the recent cold, wintery months was a cosy occupation, one of being huddled in the study with the heating on and, relatively few distractions as those I am encountering this morning. As time passes I really cannot tell if I will even complete anything worthy of spending the time typing it. I have no actual deadline to push me along except that from myself. I, therefore, decide, as I have done before, to just make a start and to see where things will end up. One last ditch attempt to stop productivity clamours to be heard from my mind, “As its voting day today remember to go, then probably get some groceries and check  e-mails before lunch just in case there is anything interesting. Now all that has been listened to and duly listed down, it is high time to get back to the desk. Yet, I still cannot think clearly. Muddle mindedness is maddening and the obvious, not obvious at all.

butterfly

Slowly a question arises to the surface which emerges from my chaotic thought processes, rather like a lazy butterfly emergent from a tight cocoon. Did I pray this morning, hmm no not really? This is more than likely to have impacted my mindless chaotic thoughts. It is like literary constipation; my mind is blocked and needs to be cleared of the crap inside, stopping me from clearly articulating what I am aiming to write.

# Takes time out to pray…..

‘Dear Lord….release creativity…. thank you… stir up the gifts; pour into me with streams of living water…. halleluyah ….amen!’ Or something to this effect!!

Focusing on God takes my eyes off myself and realigns me, to the bigger picture of life. If I am to let God write through me, to influence the words and the control their flow then, I surely must be still and  listen to Him, and not the cows mooing in the distance or the crow roosting on the rooftop making quite a commotion! Mentally I say a stern word to ‘self’ to stop wandering away from the task ahead!

What does God want to say today, to me, to those who might consider reading this?

# Takes time out to listen

In silencing my mind, I request, “I need your peace Lord. Help me to hear what you are saying right now, thank you.” The house falls silent, even the annoying iPhone (very thankful). I move away from the distractions and breathe… I see in my mind’s eye a picture of what looks like a horse, oh no, it is ‘Gerry the Giraffe’; Jumping to my first conclusion I react and too quickly think, “Oh! Perhaps this is a hint to write a children’s story?” Not so fast I tell myself ,as I hear, He (referring to Gerry) so desired more of all things in life, seeing what others had, that he kept reaching up and up to take all  he could until his neck grew longer than his legs, (maybe you have experienced God’s sense of humour to get your attention too).

giraffe

“Disproportionate desires will unbalance you.”

Oh! I do not think that it is a children’s story! I stop and begin to reflect upon this statement and any unhealthy motives I may be collecting as a writer. What am I reaching out for, that I desire, yet is affecting my capacity to stay balanced? Who, or what, do I let influence my writing and desires, and more poignantly, why?

Rather like being in a boat when all the ballast is starboard and someone stand’s up to reach out to grasp something, and the whole thing tilts alarmingly, with the threat of the boat sinking, I must be careful what I take in. Self-comparison to another’s writing style, of their gifts as a writer, or their personal walk and path in life, is a dangerous place to peek into; or move towards. Nothing could damage your own inimitable style, flow or sense of confidence more. The influence of others, some even offered and well meaning, can interrupt and distort your message, the one that God and you are working on together.

# Takes time out to consider what has just happened! … 

God does not always say what you expect or want to hear, sometimes you need to hear His truth in a way you will understand, or else there is a  risk of falling overboard and sinking in the complexity of mish-mashing your creativity with someone else’s influence. You need His Fatherly approval, not the praises of man (no gender exclusion intended, for I mean all humanity).

How we write and communicate, in using our gifting’s are unique and one that no one else ever can duplicate. So, there it is, in a proverbial ‘nut-shell’.
key to success trinitarian

“Originality is the key to success.”

So, let’s all relax and stop striving, stop the fuss, which  only drives up stress levels by trying just a bit too hard to be wanted, and accepted. Remember we already have all this in God the Father, through Christ the Son, by His indwelling Holy Spirit. And, actually, we can be more content than we have been for a long time if we let Him take control and lead the way. The view is always so much more beautiful from His perspective.

# Takes time for a reflection: Selah*.

*selah; perhaps an indication of a pause

 

“If all the world were paper…

 

Water

…what would we do for drink!”

I wonder if you recognize the first lines of this poem written by an anonymous author

“If all the world were paper
And all the sea were ink,
If all the trees were bread and cheese
What would we do for drink?

The first (of the two) May Spring Bank holiday is here in the U.K., and having waited for this official day off work (not for all, but most of us) we wonder, “What is the weather going to be like?” The statistics point to the fact it is quite likely to rain at some point in the day. Oh! how that ‘wet stuff’ spoils our plans and picnics!

To be honest, I didn’t actually start off to write on any particular theme, I was actually (and I am still) pondering, as I read my Bible, about the Transfiguration of Jesus in Luke 17, but do bear with me.

My thoughts meandered and I have found, having read that Moses and Elijah were discussing Jesus’ departure, which my curiosity about this whole scenario keeps on growing. There is a footnote at the bottom of my bible’s page in reference to this particular word, and I see that it also means exodus.

Having just observed my Jewish neighbourhood celebrating Pesach, or Passover, this past week, I turned to the Book of Exodus and begin to compare the two paths of the one story; of Moses, Elijah and Jesus. These are bound together as Jesus himself declared that he came to fulfill both the Law and the Prophets. Moses represents the Law and Elijah presents the Prophets (Matthew 5:17), and here they are all standing together! How fascinating.

Passover is a high feast and festival perpetually remembered throughout all generations of Jewish people, of their past historical exodus, deliverance, liberation, out of slavery led by Moses. Israel is chosen as God’s son and saved by the blood of a lamb spread over their doorposts from the ‘death of the firstborn’ plague in Egypt.

pesach

Death passed over them and they were saved. Therefore, Passover is celebrated with the sacrifice of a pure and unblemished lamb and by eating only unleavened bread in remembrance of how fast they fled slavery in Egypt. As they were led out of slavery Moses parted the Red Sea; he led all Israel towards the promise from the LORD of having their own Land. This sets the scene from one side of this pathway. Along the way, the Israelite peoples grumbled (Ex 17) and wanted water.

Jesus exodus

The water came, as Moses struck the rock, as God had said it would (Ex 17:6)

“You shall strike the rock

and water shall come out of it,

and the people will drink.”

If you cast your mind back to the point where I was reading about the Transfiguration of Jesus, with Moses and Elijah both present, we again pick up the thread of the other side of the path. There are mysterious and mystical events which lay hidden on the pages, like diamonds hidden in the darkness. Firstly, we can learn from the biblical narrative (Deut 32:50; 34:5) that Moses never made it to the Land promised Israel; he dies before as God said he would. Mysteriously the text explains that God buried Moses. Stranger still, if we skip ahead to 2 Kings 2:11, Elijah was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind. His cloak was dropped and Elisha received it, and the double portion he requested. With the cloak, Elisha, like Moses, parted water!

elisha

As the pathways merging the Bible tells us that Jesus is The Rock, and here we see ahead to his exodus, towards Jerusalem and the cross of crucifixion; his death and resurrection. When Jesus was nailed and hung upon that cross for our salvation, deliverance, liberation and freedom from slavery to sin, his side was pierced, the Rock once more poured forth water, and also blood. He was the Lamb of God (Jn 1:29) slain (Rev 13:8). Jesus was struck as was the rock in the wilderness.

These two paths like streams flow and continually mix together. Here we see that there is hidden within the Old Testament a shadow of Christ (or Messiah) as the New Testament eventually reveals. As Israel was fed manna in the wilderness, Jesus now declares, “I am the Bread of Life!” (Jn 6:41) This bread was broken for our deliverance, and as the blood of the lamb was to cover the doorframes of the Israelites, we are covered by the precious blood of Jesus which atones for our sins.

Upon-This-Rock

Jesus renamed his disciple and Apostle Peter, Cephas or rock (Jn 1:42) and he declared over him, just prior to taking him up the mountain (with James and John) to witness his Transfiguration, saying to him that “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18). This is where Christian’s fit into the river of life offered, where they too are chosen and adopted as sons, welcomed into the story God has always intended to tell. For Christian’s they are welcomed in, to partake of the Eucharist which is as Stibbe describes as “a liturgy of liberation.”[1] He writes of how we are adopted and included, to know God as our loving heavenly Father.

God has always intended that these two paths; these two streams would join and flow as one. This very water of life, as Jesus was mysteriously, and mystically, ‘taken up’ into heaven following his resurrection from the dead, promised the release of the Holy Spirit, that He would be poured out for our spiritual thirst. There is no life without water. Jesus promised streams of living water would flow from him.

streams of living waters

From the very beginning of God’s story (Gen 1:2) to the end (Revelation 22:1) not only was living water promised, but also that there would be a new heaven and earth, a new Jerusalem, new life and that God would dwell with all His people forever and give them eternal life. In fact, creation re-created with all God’s children together again.

We are birthed by maternal waters, and born again by the Father’s Holy Spirit who gives life with spiritual water; we are cleansed in it and surrounded by it. In Christian baptism, it signifies God’s internal grace at work in our lives. We imbibe it, we thirst for it; it slakes our deepest known cravings. It drenches and soaks the needy both physical and spiritual.

Water: something so familiar to us all and also something which we cannot live without; literally, or spiritually. God speaks revealing through his creation to us from the imagery of water. Water is a metaphor, allegory, in the writer’s toolbox. For the sailor and fisherman, it is his livelihood. It is paramount in all our work, rest, and play, for all ages; in all our leisure and hobbies and games. We can swim and relax and float in it. It costs yet it is free, we pay a water bill and we can collect water for nothing from the garden. It cost God everything and yet we receive this freely from his gracious hand. Water is humanities necessity, for we cannot go too long without any to drink before seriously harming our wellbeing. Eventually, it will appear as an illusion in our mind, like a mirage in the desert for the desperate or confused. Without a fresh supply of clean water, we would die for it regulates our body temperature. and keeps us hydrated.

Water is all around us, in us and washes over us to our delight to feel clean and refreshed. Water forms the misty dew of the early morning; it falls to create puddles, streams, lakes, rivers, seas and vast oceans. It is pulled up from the earth to make cumulus high clouds which eventually drop it down again. The great waters separate our world’s continents and lands, tribes and peoples, cultures and languages.

oceans_encyclopaedia_15

Sadly humanity continues in poisoning its water supplies, it ravages the earth and millions of people still in the 21st century have no access to clean drinking water. Water gives life to us and yet paradoxically can cause our death. It is dangerous, can drown the unwary and carries diseases in poor countries where clean water cannot be found. This madness threatens all life and it is a wake-up call to everyone.

dirty water

Compassion is needed for the poorest

Jesus spoke saying, “and even if you give

a cup of cold water to one of these little ones

you will surely be rewarded.”

Scientists are ever searching for it on the barrenness of another solar system’s planet like Mars in the hope of finding ‘life’. Once spilt on the dry Earth it is gone, it can never be recovered. It goes down to the seeds and sprouts life in another way. It is a simple chemical compound of hydrogen and oxygen that gives and sustains life in all its varieties. It is so familiar to us that we do not always see its deepest significance.

Water naturally comes in three states of solid, liquid and gas; it is freezing cold, lukewarm tepid or boiling hot. It is one substance and yet three at the same time; God is described by theologians as Trinity; as one God and at the same time three persons. This is a physical revelation and representation of a wonderful internal spiritual reality.

So as you can see there is no excuse for not being thankful to God for it, using it well and that all may have access to clean supplies. There can be no excuse for causing harm to another due to our greed and selfish use of it. It is a vital commodity that ensures our human survival; it is profoundly reflective of our human need before God to have both physical and spiritual water to drink. Our beautiful world is deeply saturated with its blue hues, with its wonderful mysteries of sea creatures and is an enormous reserve. However, consider that if this ever were not so, the poem I began with would, if true, become our worst nightmare! “What would we do for drink?”

[1] Stibbe, M, ‘From Orphans to Heirs’, 2005.