We are a family.
The family of divine guidance.
Robust deciduous and evergreen.
In the beginning, I weep for Deborah.
Holding her body beneath my roots.
Final resting place.
Breath renewer, death keeper.
Humble Servant, creation holder, life giver
Through renewed growth, through robust strength
I make things new.
Isaiah speaks my name “ayil” strength and power.
Pillar-like my twisted frame holds wisdom and life.
Catching whispered conversations that blow on soft warm winds.
Yet I am strong enough to carry you through the toughest storm.
Tall enough to cast rooted sunlit shadows.
In death, I follow the sunrise.
Brine waters cling to my uprooted oar.
Carved into a reimagining, I am renewed.
Journey maker, power giver, communicator.
In the midst of the seas, my wisdom is not lost.
In the depth of the oceans, I will be with you.
I plant acorns of hope ploughed into Gods creative garden. Cups of treasured potential rooted and grounded in love.
We believe our family differences are a gift. Growing in a rich substrate of equality and inclusion.
We believe our canopy is a place of shelter and rest for all of creation.
We honour all those that have cast colourful shadows before us.
We take joy from the stories and legends that carry our name.
We believe in the wilderness, our roots will reach water. We believe when we grow on the margins we will be nourished.
We acknowledge that growing is painful. We acknowledge this pain breathes Gods generous gifts across the landscape.
We look to the ruler that shares it’s bounty of acorns amongst the kingdom.
Reaching out, touching what I cannot see .
Feeling the safety of the warmth that surrounds me.
Dazzled by a love that calls me.
Saddened by loves pain.
It’s within us all.
To change .
If all the world stood still at the same time.
We could hear creation groaning .
If we all stopped long enough to sit with open eyes we could see creations pain .
Sitting with closed eyes we become oblivious to our messy groaning world.
If we listen to the beating heart of love .
Anticipation of change brings adventure.
Good choices ease loves pain .
Empowering us to listen
Enabling us to change.
Prayers for courage wisdom.
To protect preserve and enjoy.
Harmony restored to creation.
Unity a spirit filled Joy.
The first seeds I remember planting were the pips from an apple.
They reached maturity and produced their own harvest. I have to admit the apples produced by our trees had little resemblance to the parent plant.
They where sour tasting apples hardly fit for eating. I remember the screwed up face I made the first time we ate our harvest. Trying to convince myself they where good.
I grew up watching these trees change with the seasons. They out grew the pots on the kitchen window seal. Became rooted into the ecosystem of my Great Aunties garden . They saw me though school, marriage and the birth of our daughter . When auntie died the apple trees in her garden remained firmly planted in my memory.
When I opened my hand as small child I received two apple pips. My plan was to grow apple trees to produce apples we could eat. Apples that would taste as good if not better than the parent plant.
We could have never seen the world of wonder that these seeds would grow.
This blog is not about growing apple trees, it’s not even about bad tasting apples but about the plans God has for all of us.
I think about Gods plans for us and how they are often so very different to our plans.
I wish I could say that God’s plan will always makes sense, but it doesn’t. I wish I could say that God’s plan will always make us feel good, but it doesn’t do that either.
I wish I could say that God’s plan will always make our lives easier and more comfortable, but I am fairly certain that’s not the case.
God’s blessing doesn’t always come as Red sweet tasting apples.
It might even come in a harvest of Red bitter tasting apples. Grown with love and memories that will live on in my heart. Memories that have helped me to see who I am, and where God might be calling me.
Psalm 104 The Message (MSG)
What a wildly wonderful world, God!
You made it all, with Wisdom at your side,
made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.
Imagine my delight to see a delivery of manure on the allotment . Yes I’m blogging very excitedly about a large pile of crumbly well rotted horse poo.
Theirs a Richness to this manure. It’s full of potential, nutrition and fertility.
Beneficial bacteria, fungi and other organisms have the job of breaking down this organic matter.
It’s hard for some to imagine this transformation as beautiful. But it truly is!!
Fungi Mushrooms represent rebirth, rejuvenation. Fungi transforms and generates soil that gives life.
It’s a hidden microscopic miracle that is constantly happening, causing our world to change around us.
Curiosity takes us on journeys of discovery, awakening us to the world we cannot see.
Viewing this beautiful transforming changing world can only happen when we stop to learn its language. When we make ourselves available to enter the world in which the invisible inhabits.
Opening our minds takes us on a journey through the diversity of creation, that in turn opens our hearts to God.
Genesis 1:31 The Message (MSG)
God looked over everything he had made;
it was so good, so very good!
This is the first of five blogs; Reflections from my retreat weekend at Hilfield Friary.
Hilfield’s vision statement shares and reflects many of my own personal values. It’s a place that’s Rooted – seeking to live simply and gracefully, caring for the land that we have been entrusted with.
It’s Christain – Following Christ caring for the poor and marginalized of our society and all of creation. It’s Family – welcoming all people and creation.
These values are choices that we choose to live by.
My first reflection is from a guided time of prayer “ choose life”
Choose a vision.
Choose a cause.
Choose a different way.
Choose to respect the past and the present.
Choose to look for the little things in the places you would least expect to find them.
Walk bare footed in dew laden grass.
Choose to plant.
Sow in context.
Choose to wait.
Choose new paths.
Choose to see what happens.
Choose to love those awkward shapes.
Choose to listen.
Accept we all make bad decisions.
Choose to change.
Keep pathways open for conversations.
Choose to stop .
Choose to ask for help.
Choose to be fruitful.
Choose to accept gifts.
Embrace the hidden path ways of the journey
Choose to be rooted and grounded in love.
God birthed creation, birthed breath-taking beauty of earth and sky. Some of this beauty we may never get to see. The fish that swim in our deepest oceans or the flower of Queen of Andes that blooms every 100 years. Yet we can be blind to the beauty that’s right in front of us.
It takes only a little effort to see Gods creative beauty that surrounds us ; dazzling metallic colours of the dragon fly , ewes nursing their lambs, sticky horse chestnut buds in springtime .
Creativity is the ability to make new things, to reflect God’s love in all we do.
Creativeness takes time; a dragon fly life cycle completes in six short months . The ewe carries her lamb for 145 days . The horse chestnut tree takes 20 years to grow just 8 meters.
We can stop this process of growth, but it’s so obvious that we should never stop this beautiful expression of God’s love for us and creation.
It would be unjust to kill the dragon fly Larva, to stop this insect before it could dazzle us with its beauty.
It would be inhumane to stop a newly born lamb from bonding and suckling from its mother.
It would be nothing short of vandalism to deliberately up root a horse chestnut sapling. We know its wrong.
Equally why would we want to restrict someone from learning? Supporting a loved one through grief and pain. Is it right to find ways to restrict their creativity ?
When I share and cook a meal, pray, dance or write poetry. When I paddle in the sea or plant a seed: I create.
All of us create or think new things.
Creativity is risky, uncertain, open-ended, painful and extremely uncomfortable, possibly hurting or costing more than we could imagine.
Yet I don’t stop.
I trust in God; listen and discover the journey with all the twists turns and dead ends that happen to all of us.
Gods Creativity reveals more than I will ever know or imagine about the world and myself. New concepts, perceptions, and knowledge, giving love, life, hope and meaning.
I need time to create and to be creative. To pay attention to my passions, to grow my relationship with Jesus. To connect with creation, to connect with the mud ( earth ) it stirs and awakens me. It sparks my imagination.
I am always improvising making this connection possible where ever God sends me. Touching the leaves of a growing sapling on a busy road. Wrapping my arms around a large mature tree in a national trust park. I use what’s available . Constantly changing my direction, morphing new ideas, each encounter is unique . It’s my prayer time.
Connecting God through my passions creates and awakens me to a world of hope and unlimited possibilities .
Protecting this creative space is costly and risky. It’s this space that reflects God. Helping broaden and expand the world and myself.
We all require a space so we can hear the whispers of our creator. Our personal journey’s and stories are revealed when we risk creating.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.
In my last blog I wrote about waiting ( I was waiting for the outcome of the Church of England pioneer panel). The wait is finally over and I have been approved as a pioneer within the Church of England.
This amazing news was shared with me by a phone call, followed a few days later by a letter from the Bishop. I was delighted, relieved and excited to have this news confirmed to me.
It’s the word confirmed that has made this news ever so scary. It’s the realisation that others see and maybe even understand how passionate I feel about mission. They not only possibly understand some of my heartfelt ideas, they actually believe in them and in me. Attending the pioneer panel has been such a positive experience in which I have felt understood; my strengths and weaknesses fairly identified.
I feel like a seed that has just grown my first seed leaf (cotyledon).
There’s a recognition of my growth and potential. The classification of my future ministry has been identified but yet the shape is not yet fully obvious.
The presence and type of seed leaf is also important in determining the classification of the plant that will grow. For instance, monocots have only a single seed leaf, which often stays in the ground. Dicots, on the other hand, have a pair of seed leaves that usually appear at the top of the growing stem and are then replaced during growth.
Most seed leaves are almost identical regardless of the type of plant. These narrow leaves are delicate and fragile. Its an embryonic leaf supporting and providing nutrition for the growing plant. Theirs so much strength in the leafs weakness.
These first leaves are supported on a stem so fragile if handled incorrectly the plant may perish. The total utter weakness of any newly germinated plant is its greatest strength.
My weakness has not been a barrier or an obstacle, it’s not blocked out or stopped me following my calling to God; instead, it’s the heart of my calling, the very thing that has allowed God to work most effectively through me.
There are times when I focus on my weaknesses and inadequacies, my failures and sins. They try to overpower my thoughts, taking me to places I’d rather not be.
The beautiful reality is these weaknesses are often my strengths. They are gifts from God, a constant reminder confirming to myself that I need to give myself completely and wholly to God, looking for God’s greater strength to do in me what I cannot do myself.
It’s overcoming my weaknesses and trusting God that has pushed me and drives me. It’s God’s strength and love that has grown me.
Strengthened by his love and power at work within me. Taking each passing moment as an opportunity for surrender to God’s Love. To give thanks for my strengths and weaknesses. To show others the joy I feel spending time with Jesus. The relationship I embrace is not just an emotion I feel; it’s an action, a calling, of who I am meant to be.
Galatians 2:20 New International Version (NIV)
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.