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Archive for June, 2009

5 things

5 Things I love about summer.

1. The sound of wood pigeons in the distance. Don’t know why, but the soft cooing sound makes me feel safe and happy.

2. Never wearing socks or shoes.

3. The ridiculously pretty golden, pink and red and green and blue skies when the sun sets.

4. The relief of cool breezes, cool drinks and cold showers after lots of bike riding home.

5. After getting home from work the feeling of there being another day to live and enjoy because the sun is still out.

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Every now and again my brain double de clutches (no idea what that even means but it sounds bad…) and rejects a word or phrase that Christians like to say a lot. When I say reject, I mean groan inwardly at, moan about it’s overuse, hate everyone who says it too many times etc etc etc. This might not seem like a huge problem but when you realise that these words are like, gospel, grace and others, things get a little tricky. These are big words that need not to lose their meaning. These are big fat words that need to stay fresh because what they describe is mindshatteringly vital to the whole of life.

So a bit of a problem, I’m sure you’ll agree… (unless you really don’t care and have gone to make a cup of tea, make one for me whilst you are at it please…)

The latest phrase, which if I’m honest has lost all meaning to me for a while now, is “the Glory of God”. Which is a problem on the level of no longer being able to read a John Piper book without getting annoyed at his constant obsession with the ‘Glory of God’. It’s a much larger problem on the level of our whole lives being about the ‘Glory of God’ and if those words have lost all meaning I need to find someway back to the mind shattering reality hiding behind them.

I’m not sure I’m there yet but due to listening to this rather excellent lecture by the lovely Andrew Fellows from L’abri I’m starting to ponder again what on earth doing things for the ‘Glory of God’ might mean. Mostly we’ve been told it means to give Him the glory, (helpful eh) which usually translates into us mumbling back at an encouraging person, “no no it wasn’t me, it was God, it was all him, nothing to do with me” (which is, well, true on one level, but he USED YOU so, accept the encouragement gracefully, ok? ;-)).  We then think we’ve given Him glory. Hmm

Or we think its about mentioning His name, doing Christian stuff, and, it might look like that in practice. But I’m beginning to think it might be more than that, more than what we say or do, and really about our whole orientation of life.  Do we exist to give God weight, (that’s what glory is about after all)? Do our actions give God weight? Do our choices give God weight and worth and demonstrate to all around us that we have a flipping incredible Maker who is full of unconditional love, might, grace and truth?

Do our lives reflect how full of reality and meaning they truly are because we belong to the King of Kings? Do we embrace beauty, cry at sunsets, fall over in awe at music? Are we left gasping at the full big fat picture of what it really is to be human, to be able to love, to write poetry, to explore the make up of the physical world, to touch and taste and see and smell and make tunnels, roads and bridges?  Do we stand amazed at the intricacy of a small insect, the beauty of a maths formula and the human brains ability to comprehend how to do brain surgery? Start doing that and you’ll pretty soon find yourself on your knees before the Maker of it all.

My BIG thought (and it’s taken a while to get here so bear with me a few more moments) is are we encouraging each other to take on the weight of this? Are we spurring each other to delight in life and our Maker. Do we long for each other to taste the depth of our God, Lord and King? Do we pray that each other would encounter this God each day and be transformed because they have felt their smallness and His Big Huge Overwhelming Presence?

Might things change if we did?

Hmm.

Your correspondant, high after an evening in, walk with her Maker on the downs and generally realising real Rest and Safety are only found in one place.

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Today I got up at silly o’clock in the morning to wave my aformentioned brother and sister in law and small nephew off at the airport. They are off on an exciting journey to Canada, Regent college in Vancouver gets the pleasure of their company for the next few years. It’s brilliant for many many reasons, not least my lovely Big Brother gets to do what he has always wanted to do, and lets face it, was made to do. I am a Very Proud sister, not least because he goes with his lovely wife and son and that makes me Very Proud of him as well.  I’ve always wanted to go to Canada and now I have even more good reasons to head out there.

Obviously I’m very sad as well, I love Mark and Roz and Matthew. They are my family, but thankfully we have a good Maker who made people who could invent skype and webcams and 3 years isn’t that long really.  They aren’t my possessions to hold on to, they are loving gifts of a brilliant Dad who loves me and who is our strength and refuge through all this. He’s got good plans for them and I’m glad.

So:

“May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand”

His hands are the best to be in.

Bruce Springsteen also says it well…

“On through the houses of the dead past those fallen in their tracks
Always movin’ ahead and never lookin’ back
Now I don’t know how I feel, I don’t know how I feel tonight
If I’ve fallen ‘neath the wheel, if I’ve lost or I’ve gained sight
I don’t even know why, I don’t why I made this call
Or if any of this matters anymore after all

But the stars are burnin’ bright like some mystery uncovered
I’ll keep movin’ through the dark with you in my heart
My blood brother”

We have a God who is in charge of all this and who has good plans for the future. Whose mercies are new each morning, whose grace is ridiculous in it’s power and scope. He has washed us clean. He has set our times in his hands, He is always glad to hear our cries, He understands the language of tears and of laughter, He is our shade, our Helper, our Friend and our King.  He set us free and He calls us to explore this world, love the broken, hold out light and beauty and the pathway back home.  There’s a whole world out there of newness to experience and we are free to trust the one who knows the future and who holds us in his hands.

Phew.

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Back to quotes?

Life is due to get pretty strange around these parts in the next week. Thus to keep the black dog in the corner I think quote week should begin. This first offering from Jars of Clay:

“Collapsing was much softer
Still falling always hurt
Only after sensing your love
For always ever burned

You justified my folly
My affluent disguise
Removed revealing nothing
Yet nothing unforgiven lies
Unforgiven lies

No one loves me like you
No one loves me the way you do
No one loves me like you
No one loves me the way, the way that you do

To touch the rose unfearful
Is to meet the thorn
And pierce the hearts emotion
And feel the emptiness no more
Emptiness no more”

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