Sunday, February 20, 2011

on the tube...

saw this on the tube today... And got me thinking... it's a advert for a uk cable channel. The words at the bottom were what struck me.. its not going to change your life but thats not what we're about you got God channel for that... as part of my studies and coming from a background outside of the church one of the questions that I've asked and many more people are asking is what is church how do we define that word. When church is the people who are disciples of Jesus. encouraging seeking journeying together into a closer relationship with God becoming more like Him. What the advert here says is what they are and are not. they are there for entertainment - not to change life.. they are one of many channels bidding for our time.. putting on different programmes aiming at different groups of people... sounds very like the way the "church" does things. The tv channel are very aware of who they are and what they are about. I think that has a major challenge for the "church" are we just another group/organisation that is vying for peoples time or is there more is the church the place where lives are transformed. Not just putting on programmes but leading each other deeper in life changing encounters with the living God.. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Evening Prayer: karin leonard
I saw this while messing around looking up peace.. The title of this post in Hebrew.  It would be a  photo I'd have taken  given the chance walking along the shore.  The painting isn't s well known as the one I posted earlier this week and spoke about in that post. It is a strange place to be talking about peace right now.. when everything says I should be angry, when the world would say you should be angry.  This painting for me is peace, is my idea of peace.

I put on my Facebook status yesterday that I was amused by a situation that I found myself in. It should have hurt, been like putting salt on a wound or pressing a bruise to have continued to feed into how I was doing. But to use amuse surly not not just a few days after being found in the darkest of shadows. A friend noted they were not amused but livid at what had happened. I wrote amused having spent time listening - listening to what God was saying to me, I was on retreat, not a retreat in a normal sense and not something I do very often.. space, conversation, questions (Hard questions at times),friends, food and prayer and love.  

The timing wasn't the most easy for any of us to be going through this ( work and family for my friends) and for me to be doing a hedgehog impression. 

I'm not saying that it has just gone away it's still a hard place to be in. To be writing about peace feels as I started the post as being very wrong. This though is the reality of the place that I find myself in. 

The words of Bill Johnson tonight rang so true and resonate with what I was being asked to refocus on while away he writes
"You can only hold on to one thing at a time - the promise of God or disappointment. You'll have to drop one to embrace the other." 
To live in this goes against the very nature of man against self, we want to live in the disappointment and justify the how we are feeling and almost keep ourselves in the position of being disappointed or hurt. We have been promised life by God... not just any type of life but life in all fullness.. 

Coming back from the retreat carrying this peace that the promises of God are still strong, that the family that He has given are there to cary and support. The hedgehog isn't unfurled yet there is a though unlike this time last week a pin prick of light at the end of the tunnel. The peace I have I can not begin to explain to truly describe to you it can't be Earned,  or brought it is freely given . I know where this peace comes from 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?

I guess many will instantly know the painting here, the scream by Edvard Munch yes thats right not Vincent Willem van Gogh. It has been used time and time again as a illustration of pain and anguish that is suffered. Its in many ways a good friday picture. so what do I mean by that. I part to be very honest here I don't know. It's a place that for each of us is very different. A place of soul searching of a place where the end of the tunnel seems so distant there is not even a pin prick of light at the end of it. A place of loneliness, of betrayal (very real not always true) a place where you cant even breath a place that seems like drowning. For jesus he went through this too, the feeling of abandonment, the gospels recount those last hours and words, 

“At three o’clock, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” 

there on the cross Jesus was praying the words of psalm 22 a psalm that starts with pain with sorrow and ends with praise to God, to his father. He Knew the such a deep suffering and anguish. Yet did not give up on His father did not let go that relationship. 

yet the writer of the psalm asks that ever present question in time of grief and pain "why" "why have you forsaken" what is being experienced by the writer is how we find ourselves , with situations and places that makes no sense; where things do not fit together."Why" God seems very distant in both space and time theres a emptiness left. The wandering through trust and question, hanging on by finger tips to faith. blistered,sore and bleeding finger tips but hanging on.

yet sometimes we need others being Jesus with skin on to help us hold on even if at the time we seem to think that we don't want it.  And are doing our best to be horrid to those who are around us. Doing the very best impression of a hedgehog prickles out and curled up into a tight ball.. but you know even when a hedgehog does that if you hold it right.. have patience when it feels safe and trusts who's doing the holding then it will unfurl again and slowly venture out again... but it takes time. 

why say all this today, because I am that hedgehog right now .... A decision on saturday left me in a place that makes no sense and left me walking through the shadows and anguish. 

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Urban farm

I wrote a few time now about the local city farm here in vauxhall it's been great to get to know the team that works there over the last few months. Today coming back from visiting in the community there was a sight I wasn't expecting. Now i am used to seeing the pony and horses being walked around the estate or even ridden. but to see two cows walking down the middle of the street was something very new. I love it :). whats so great is that in a inner city area the children get to touch and see so many different animals. I grew up going away on holiday or getting out of the city some weekends so saw animals in the feilds or on the farms. many children and families don't get that when most weeks they are finding it difficult to make ends meet. having the farm in the community brings them a place to go and meet the animals and for a short time get a brake form the city. a brief respite from the daily grind.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

My Patch out and about

Last night I had a invite to dinner at Allen Hall the catholic seminary just over Battersea Bridge. The carving above is in the refectory and really caught my attention. I was told it was designed by a former student unfortunately you can't really see it but the detail in the carving was amazing so intricate even the fur on the dog could be seen. It made a change to the normal carving found in refectories of the Last Supper. 
Going to another patch was really good, to another tradition and spending the evening talking debating and a tour round the seminary. 

Friday, February 04, 2011

Have you got a minute

Actually have you got 1:50 to sit and watch a video.. I was looking during the week for the  Matt Redman song  Nothing but the blood of Jesus for a link to my photo blog while doing that I came across this video.  A few years ago I was in India and came across the book the In His Image in the book one of the authors talk about how when in India one of their children had caught measles and they needed to protect the younger child with the "blood of a overcomer" they needed to get the blood of someone who had had measles and over come it to mike a vaccine. As I watched this video today though I read this book 4 years ago now the image came flooding back. Through the gospels we read the trials and temptations that Jesus faced, the joys and the sorrows, and share abandonment and that He overcame death and sin on the cross and in His resurrection. One passage that stands out while I was thinking about this was the words of revelation 
That we can use the things in our lives that were broken yet have over come to encourage others in their situations. For those in my patch, to come along side those who have found they are alone in a strange place. Having moved to london from the midlands knowing no-one here but bringing the light of jesus into that situation using my experience of how that feels to help another "overcome." Recently I was preaching and shared part of my testimony in the service at the end a older lady came up to me and said thank you for giving permission not to read but to listen to the Bible on the ipod my granddaughter struggles to read and is dyslexic but what you said encouraged us today. How was I able to to share through allowing Jesus to come into my situation and allowing Him to heal bringing that overcame into that place.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Sunset over London

This was the view from my balcony last night, the last few days have been grey and cold here but this last night was a real respite from the gloom and damp today its been back to the rain. 3 or 4 storey blocks around here cast shadows and block out the sun at the best of times so its often seems darker than it really is. Yet yesterday for a few moments light broke through the darkness and that hope was seen, people seemed to be a bit more cheerful even if it was horribly cold. Today the sound of the sparrows and house-martins filled the air I wonder if they were complaining about the damp too. 

walking around the estate I heard another noise the rustling of leaves looking down  their at the bottom of a tree was a squirrel with a mouthful of leaves I guess mr squirrel wanted extra blankets today too.