The Creed Of Quercus.

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.
Created, planted.
Humble Servant, creation holder, life giver
Forest maker.
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.

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Unity is misplaced, harmony is alone.

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 .
We change.

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.

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Choose life.

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.
Choose God.
Choose life.

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I’m tired.

I’m tired of holding it together.
Being the one that has to be strong.
Fighting for the simple things and feeling I don’t belong.

I’m tired that I am trying
To be the best person I can be.
I’m worn out by my limitations.
That keep on holding me.

I was tired when she prayed for me.
Cried when she held my hand.
She whispered I was good enough
To step into this strange land.

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Should we risk Creating?

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.

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Romans 8:28
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.

I am….not a sunflower.

A sunflower is not; an over grown marigold, or a mutated daffodil, It’s not a freaky big plant that’s grown out of control, It’s not a bi annual, it’s not a tree, it does not sting, it’s leaves are not black and it’s flower head comes in many colours but never blue. It grows regardless of wealth or what people say or think about it.
At this point you may have noticed that this is a list of what the sunflower is not.
Its easy to focus on what we are not. To look at what we don’t have, but when we strip away the not haves, in our naked nothingness we start to see who we really are and something of who God is.

Let’s go back to the sunflower, I can’t leave you with a list of what a sunflower is not without telling you something of what a sunflower is.
Latin name: Helianthus annuus.
Helianthus is derived from Greek helio- (sun) and antho- (flower).
annuus means ‘annual ( completes its growing cycle in one season ).

Did you know sunflowers follow the sun. Its not something you might notice when you have a lone flower in your garden. If you are lucky enough to see a field of sunflowers it’s obvious they know which way to look.

Something I found out recently, is that Sunflowers continue tracking the suns direction long after the sun has set. Through 360 degree’s they ensure that they are always oriented in the direction of the sun.
Their unity is totally dependant on one thing. Their relationship to the sun.
Facing the sun these flowers grow tall, towering above the other flowers. Theirs something truly wonderful, awesome, and beautiful about the sunflower. It seems so sure of who it is, confident in it’s just being.

Who am I?
For me this week the question has not been who am I but – who do others think I am ( waiting for the pioneer panels outcome ) .

In this time of waiting I need to be more like the sunflower, turning to God, almost pointing God out to myself, reminding myself that God knows who am.
That it’s in my very core of my being to turn to God, not just in these days of waiting but in all that I am.
It’s a being-ness in which Jesus walks with me into freshly ploughed fields and whispers sow.
It’s a being-ness that calls me to put on Wellington boots in readiness to walk in a direction that I have never walked before.
My being-ness needs to follow God as much as the sunflowers need to follow the sun. It’s a natural God created being that guides me to a place of doing. In my being and doing I to turn to God, to seek and find the core of my very self.
When I turn to God in this time of waiting, I feel the warmth of love that I follow, I see something of my I – am -ness in myself and others as I turn to face the warmth of one who loves us all.

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John 13:7 New International Version (NIV)
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

Prepare a room in our hearts..

The Christmas decorations have made their annual journey from the loft to the bedroom floor. This large oversized chest contains Christmas past and Christmas present . Theirs a irrational urgency to open this chest. The job of decorating becomes my prime task and focus. I use the word job and as if getting ready for Christmas is a chore, something that has to be done. A job like cleaning the windows or worse still ironing.
I’ve lost my focus , being pulled into the tasks that are not Christmas . The tasks themselves are joyful, but Christmas has temporally lost its wonder. Its been tarnished in the unnecessary urgency to get it done.
The tinsel still glitters, the Christmas balls still sparkle, nothing’s missing it’s all their . All perfectly waiting for …

For me to stop.
To slow down.
To find a star.

A cardboard star lovingly crafted by a little boy over 50 years ago. It’s warm colours are faded with age. The glitter has long gone. Yet it still shines brightly.
It’s tattered edges and faded paint tell a story of love. Holding onto the stories of our Christmases past.

Christmas is not about glittery cards or decorations, it’s about love. Love that needs us to patiently wait, to prepare a room in our hearts for the one who knows no boundary of time.

 

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Luke 21:34-36 The Message (MSG)
“But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man.”