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Archive for the ‘General musings’ Category

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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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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One girl to join a missional community household in Brighton. (see here for some explanation of that slightly jargon filled sentance…)

We’re a friendly bunch of people who are living in community together to bless the community around us.  We’re under no illusions that we are easy to live with but we do have a pretty strong basis for being able to love each other and forgive each other, Jesus. Due to unforseen circumstances of a brillant and generally overly exciting nature one of our housemates has had to move out. We need someone. Pretty soon.

So, if you know anyone who is up for it, wants to live in community, find a job in Brighton and get stuck into a church which will be family for them and they can be family to, get in touch.

Seriously. Think about it. Talk about it. Dream about it.  Are there any ex Relays who don’t know what to do next, any people you know who are up for some big challenges, risks and crazy surfing of God’s sovereignty…?

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“Thine be the glory,
Risen conquering Son,
Endless is the victory 
Thou o’er death hast won.

Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;
Lovingly He greets us, scatters fear and gloom;
Let the church with gladness hymns of triumph sing,
For her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting.

No more we doubt Thee, glorious Prince of life;
Life is nought without Thee: aid us in our strife;
Make us more than conquerors, through Thy deathless love;
Bring us safe through Jordan to Thy home above.”

Genius words that say it all really. Today is resurrection day. The day that brings hope and meaning to everything in this world. To everything in this crazy life. We have hope. In the pain, in the frustration, in the dark, in death, in sorrow. We feel these deeply and rightly so, this world is not as it was meant to be. But this world is going to be transformed. Death has been conquered. Defeated. Jesus rose and therefore we will be raised. Therefore new life is coming, new creation is around the corner. The trail ahead has been blazed clear and we live knowing that there is more than this. There is more to this world. In the darkest of all dark there is still a faint glimmer of light. There is nothing unredeemable. There is no change too hard for the one who broke the power of death once and for all. And so we cry, come Lord Jesus. Come.

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Recomended

No Line on the Horizon

u2

The new U2 album. Wibblying guitars, interesting lyrics, beautiful lush voices, musical landscapes, Larry’s splash cymbal once again, funked up noise and more.  Less accessible than the last but better for it.  Just my opinion you understand. Best listened to turned up loud. I like it, but meh everyone has a view on this one.

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This one is a Good Read. It might make you cry. It might frustrate you with the lack of nice neat answers with little bows wrapped around them but you’ll be better off for it. He manages that weird trick of asking the deepest most painful questions but still retaining faith and love for this God who is fairly incomprehensible at times. It’s a rambling book of thoughts, good to peer in at a big brain thinking those thoughts.

Here’s a bit:

“It seems, indeed, that it is precisely those who have the closest relationship with God who feel most at liberty to pour out their pain and protest to God without fear of reproach. Lament is not only allowed in the Bible; it is modeled for us in abundance. God seems to want to give us as many words with which to fill in our complaint forms as to write our thank you notes. Perhaps this is because whatever amount of lament the world causes us to express is a drop in the ocean compared to the grief in the heart of God himself at the totality of suffering that only God can comprehend.”

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“Most of us are crawling about in a stuffy attic, trying to explain life, demanding to be right, doing our best to relieve pain, and wondering where God is.  It is time to find our way back to the living room  and into our Father’s arms, where we can listen to his Spirit tell the story of Christ.”

“The world is too bad a place – and far too uncertain- to build a home and count on enjoying it. But it’s a perfect place to find God.”

Both from Larry Crabb- Finding God.

That last quote feels especially real tonight. In a world covered in snow, the white perfect beauty covering over the dark, we heard a story of  brokenness and pain. The contrasts in this world are sometimes too much to bear. There is so much pain, how can we carry on? There is so much beauty how can we still breathe?

Breathless we stand and wait, breathless we realise again that this world is not our home. Breathless we wait, seeking the touch of Another in our lives, echoing through the silent streets of white beauty draws our hearts to more and we ache. We stand breathless and we ache.

Come Lord Jesus. Come.

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Yes I know, I promised no more from me for a while… But as I was talking to a good friend this evening I realised the stark omission from my pitiful review of 2008 was this: This year I made a choice to do something weird, to change church, leave a great house to live with another good friend and two random boys I hardly knew, to try and live in a way that expressed the unconditional love of our Creator to the mess of Brighton.  To live as family in a broken world, to try and love the people around us where we live. It’s been the most intense experience, full of joy, reality, pain, gain, loss and lessons.  I’ve learnt more about my pride, my inability to be lovely and perfect for even 5 minutes a day, I’ve gained two brothers and a sister, I’ve experienced the weirdness of leaving something great for something else great but in totally different ways. I can’t believe it was nearly a year ago that we decided to do something a little bit crazy.

We’re still a work in progress, we will still be a work in progress 5 years down the line, we won’t get this community thing right, we will be broken and messed up and not neat for as long as we live here. I hate that and I love that. I hate not being in control of this thing, that we aren’t perfect and can’t show the world nice neat things we have done.  I love that God is at work inspite of us, in us and through us and that he has a plan in this whole thing which we can only dream of. I love learning these lessons and I hate learning them, I want to be perfect some of the time, I don’t want people to see my moody fickle weirdness. But most of all I love that God is more concerned that we know Him, bathe in His love each day, love Him and each other more than anything we could ‘do’ for Him in this house. Oh to enjoy that more…

Right that’s it, no more I promise, just pretty quotes.

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