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Archive for May, 2009

Around about this time of year in the last 5 years my brain has gone into meltdown at the end of the term with end of year type thoughts, long summer ahead, changing seasons and the like doing odd things to my brain.  Last year I combated with 31 daysof remembering our Creator’s brillant gifts. This year May has been weird (and brillant) for a whole host of other reasons.  Change is still rumbling on and once more I am reguarly faced with the reality that I am not in control of this world or the people around me.  Which is a pretty good place to be, even if it doesn’t feel like a pretty good place to be…

ANyway today I was reminded that usually I do a whole host of talks on Hebrews 13 at this point in the year to remind me (and maybe the people listening…) of the God who does not change.  Hebrews 13- It’s all about Jesus. He is the same Yesterday, Today and Forever. It’s all about a God who is our Helper through all this life and therefore we can live well, we can have hope and we can delight in that. Here’s some of it…

“5Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
   “Never will I leave you;
      never will I forsake you.”[a] 6So we say with confidence,
   “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
      What can man do to me?”[b]

 7Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”.

We have a Maker who does not change. Who is our Helper. Who walks with us through change, through weird times, through brilliant times, we have a God who IS and WAS and IS to come. The whole of history, the whole of our lives are shot through with the reality of Him and His presence.

That means through all the change to come and change that is happening right now He is the one constant, he is the one who is always with us and always at work in our lives. That means we are free, free not to cling to our comfort, free to let others head across far seas, free to allow friendships and relationships to shift and change because they do not belong to us.  We are free to look to the future with hope because we know that whatever it brings, the One who created this world out of nothing and said let there be light (and there was) is at work in that same future. We are free to live now, loving the people we encounter each day because our times and relationships and friendships are in His hands.  And He is really, very, strangely, wonderfully good.

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Cycling down to work today, sun shining, past a lumious green Preston Park, winding through the North Lanes, past intriguing shops and many cafes I’ve yet to try. Past Anish Kapoor’s Sky Mirror (go Brighton Festival) and then onto the seafront. Crusing along with the green and blue sea to the left, both Piers looking their shabby best in the bright light. To the right the vast array of diveristy of beauty and ugly that make up Brighton seafront, the grim concrete Centre contrasted with the white flowing flats of Hove. Green Hove lawns, string of people going to a conference, runners on the front and Jack Johnson in my ears. I love this city, I love my home. I love Fridays.

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Ok, ok second link to this blog in a very short space of time, but I cannot really express the hope that this brings. Or the emotions that a brother standing up for his sisters stirs in me, a male voice that isn’t crushing but seeking to be life giving and affirmative. I’m grateful that I know a few men like this in reality but oh for a more redeemed way of men and women relating to each other generally. I really really can’t stand the constant putting down of womens thoughts and ideas in some church cultures, generally done with humour so if you get annoyed you are seen as having no sense of humour.

I really really can’t stand the reverse as well, women belittling men, again with humour, laughing at incompetence and generally taking the superior line. This is SUCH an issue in our lives. We need to be SO counter cultural in the way we love and respect each other as brothers and sisters. We all (men and women) need to get a whole lot better at the stuff Glen touches on in his post, the listening, the understanding, the self sacrifice of MY point of view. The battle of the sexes is the oldest kind, we fight for power and position, seemingly forgetting that Jesus sought neither. But we fear that kind of vulnerability, we might have tried it in the past and been stamped upon, I know that’s what stops me being vulnerable, what fuels my fear of opening up to brothers in my life. There are many issues to work through. But we must, not just because Jesus taught us how real forgiveness was possible, but so we really do reflect Him to the world around us.

It seems so obvious to start with Jesus, He gives me hope, he related to women in the most loving counter-cultural way ever. He is the lead to follow in bring out the beauty in the women around him, of loving their tenderness and compassion and loving them in their brokenness. Good men do this, they help us unfurl into the beautiful women we were made to be.  And you don’t need a husband or boyfriend for that to happen, good men are those brothers who know how to listen, to relate well to and love, I’m so grateful to the guys God has put into my path over the years who have been friends, who haven’t been afraid I’m going to jump them, who haven’t feared that we’re going to enter into some kind of competition, who haven’t put me down but have valued my input and nurtured me as a sister.

(just realised this a whole new line in blog posts for me, it’s not about tea, not about heaven, not about struggling and not about the Lake District. Interesting…)

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Back

Sarah says I should start blogging again, I’m not really convinced of the merits of blogging whilst very spaced out due to being poorly sick. But there you go. What may follow who can tell because my brain seems to be made of wobbly jelly at the moment. Anyways, you should look at this. It’s our church blog. Yey. I’m still not sure I should be calling this blog hoveactually anymore, it’s been nearly a year since I lived in Hove, but I can’t be faffed changing it.

I’ve been in the Lakes for the last week with the aforementioned (love that word) Sarah having a lovely time of reading books, walking up hills and visiting an inordinate amount of tea shops. Good times. Some pretty photos for you:
View over Keswick from Walla Crag

a tree

We did rate all the tea shops on a complex scale of 1-5 including ratings for tea, coffee, cake and general ambiance. This one was my favourite, mainly because it sold tea in pint mugs, also it was just what we needed on a rainy walk in the Lakes, sausage sandwich and a pint of tea. Did I mention that the tea came in pints?

PINT OF TEA!

Moment of the holiday was provided by the lovely Liz (on our annual meet up in the Lakes cos she lives too far North to see any other time). We were in a old country house with a new fangled approach to visitors, no National Trust evil red ropes blocking you from going anywhere or stupid signs instructing you not to sit anywhere or breathe near the precious old things. No no. This one had a sign asking you to touch and play the piano. Weird. Liz played some beautiful pretty music and became totally oblivious to everyone else in the house stopping, entranced, to listen. We had a sense she’d made their holiday. They duly applauded when Liz stopped and for the rest of our time there came up to us to thank her and generally gush about her playing. Very entertaining and strangely moving.

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