prodigalmomma











{April 6, 2013}   Look again at the familiar…

Luke 9:10-17 – Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

10 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, 11 but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.

12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”

13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.”

They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” 14 (About five thousand men were there.)

But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 The disciples did so, and everyone sat down. 16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. 17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

Luke 9 was part of my Bible reading this morning; I was struck by a familiar story – the telling of the feeding of the five thousand.  It made me think of what God can do with little things, and with situations and I feel a blessing from the story.  It sounds like an implausible/ impossible situation – to be utterly truthful I’m not entirely troubled by the did it actually happen or did it not argument… it’s the deeper meaning of the story that moves me.

What the story (which is told in other Gospels also) conveys to me is that…

  • God can take what is given/ presented to him, however small it may seem and do amazing things with it.
  • God can do the implausible/ impossible – so though it may feel as if something desired/ dreamed about will never happen, if it’s part of God’s plan then it will happen.  (And on this one remember Jeremiah 29.11… “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” The Message)
  • Jesus was practical; he and God were/ are just as concerned about your physical needs as your spiritual ones… but God desires you also to be equally concerned about the spiritual as the physical – a challenging thought as I wonder where the balance is in my life.
  • God expects us to consider/ look for and act on present problems/ needs/ concerns in life – we’re not to go to God wanting a ‘magic wand’ solution… think also about your strengths/ gifts/ abilities which might be useful in the context… just do it!  (Here I think about children in my class pulling a strained face and declaring “Miss, my pen don’t work!” I usually comment on the grammar then ask them, “okay, what do you need to do about it?” – perhaps that’s what God may say when we go to Him in prayer… perhaps I need to listen for that response more!)

Read a story you’re familiar with… what new insights do you find?

Live life



{August 4, 2012}   Personalised learning…

For my MA assignment (just on the proofing stage – whoo hoo!) I have been looking at the area of providing more personalised learning.  An interesting discussion to investigate, if you have the inclination – all about how to navigate a national curriculum aimed at giving all a general range of skills & understanding  – yet getting to know each o0f the students in order to ensure that they have equal opportunity to access the curriculum.  I have not just been discussing children identified with SEN, but taking the broader view that each child has particular needs, they’re all individuals (fearfully & wonderfully made)

Psalm 139:14

The Message (MSG)

13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;

      you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
Last Sunday at Church (whilst I was still waging war on this 6,000 word piece) we were thinking about God being everything you need, you need nothing else.  God knows what we need and is fully capable of providing.
wow… Wow… WOW… Does that fill you with ‘wow’ as it did me?  I was sitting listening with tingles running up and down my spine as the message from John 6 v 1-24 was unpacked and explored.  This is the story of the feeding of the 5,000 – which is one of those rather well-known passages that I (sadly) do not feel I gave enough time or thought to previously.  This story echoes events that happened in the time of Exodus, when God’s people were wandering about in the desert … there was food from heaven provided.  When we are sent on a mission, God doesn’t forget to pack the bags with what we need (I was reminded of this thought as I prepared the marmite sandwiches for DD & myself for a day out).
The story of the feeding of the 5,000 is told in all 4 Gospels… it’s a key bit of text.  The boy provided barley bread and fish – this for the day was fairly bargain basement stuff.  But look at what God did with it!  All those people fed AND baskets of leftovers… God doesn’t provide us just with what we need – but provides an over-abundance of it!  God can take the poorest gifts to do amazing things… just think of that the next time you start believing lies “you can’t do that!!! what have you got to offer??? That Mrs Moops would do a much better job of it!”
(hmm that’s something I need to think on…)
God can do wonderful things in the people you least expect  – the world could be denied a miracle by what we don’t bring.
We sang this; and again I am thinking of the complexity of leading a group of people.  And this is the picture of God all along, Christ the shepherd, Jesus as Rabbi, God as Father – these are leadership roles, ones that require intimate knowledge of that/those whom they lead…
…it’s really really hard to know a large group of people that intimately, to know how best to talk to them, or to know when they don’t need words, to know when someone needs a smile or a “well done” message – but God does this, he provides completely personalised learning / leading because he knows us so well.  
The story in John continues to discuss Jesus walking on water and calming the storm… but that I feel needs an entry of its own and more prayer reflection from myself – as the theme kinda touched a raw nerve… so more in our next!
(by the way – loving all the comments and interaction, do carry on sharing blogs and bits that may be of interest to others!)


{July 3, 2012}   A different thing…

You did a different thing… that is a rarity…

Last night I watched the new BBC drama “Blackout” with Christopher Ecclestone.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I tuned in as the trailers looked interested and I find that I rather like the quirky style of Mr Ecclestone.  I’d encourage you to tune in on BBCiplayer.

So C.E. plays this rather unlikeable local councillor; he’s shown using a prostitute and drinks heavily throughout most of this opener (including behind the wheel).  There’s some shady dealings going on between him and someone bidding for a council contract (papers are photocopied late at night, brown paper envelopes, more booze and all that sort of thing.)

Then (bizarrely) he does something utterly out-of-character, something which others call heroic… though he himself shies away from this term, which oddly made me think of “but who do you say I am?” [Luke 9.20 / Mark 8.29 / Matthew 16.13-20]

Following on from this he wants to do better, to be a better man – he wants to do away with the bs of contemporary society (focusing here on local politics).  Similarities with Christ’s attitude to the bureaucratic Pharisees?

Can ‘bad’ people do ‘good’ things?

Can God use ‘broken pots’? [2 Corinthians] (thanks to Momma for this thought!)

And the line spoken by the nurse which I opened with… being / doing different makes us a rarity… makes us stand out… how comfortable am I, are you, standing out like that?



{March 20, 2012}   Grace & love – His story

Cos God’s so passionate about the planet that he donates his one and only Son.  Whoever invests their life in his Son doesn’t die, but gets limitless life.  D’you think God sends his Son to slam people down?  No!  He sends his Son to liberate people. [John 3:16-21, The Street Bible, Rob Lacey]

I have a few differing Bibles, often I find that looking up a passage I know well in a more traditional Bible in a differing one can shed increased light on the passage.  I think most of us raised in the Church are familiar with John’s tagline of “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son”.  On Sunday I was reminded of the fuller meaning of “world” as John wrote.  John’s Gospel was written in Greek, the word in the original being “cosmos” and more accurately might be read, “God so loved EVERYTHING that he gave his only Son.”  That thought kinda pulled me up short, and offered a challenge (as the Bible frequently does!) about my attitude to those I disagree with.  I cannot get my head around those who hold views that I find objectionable, and ultimately I find myself struggling with the graceless way that people (even those within the wider Church family) convey those views that they hold.

This amazing expression of God’s love reminds me and challenges me to get a hold of the bigger picture of divine love.  Yes, I’m sure he loves us in Church, singing and praying, meeting to pray with others all the “holy” stuff… but he loved and loves us completely and utterly… he loves us in the mess of it all…

Newsboys “Rescue” from their THRIVE album

You guys were spiritual corpses murdered by the mess that ran your lives.  You went with the flow; you weren’t going God’s way, so you let the boss of the spiritual underworld dictate your every move like some Mafia godfather.  We all did it: we merged in with the crowd, pumped our bodies with whatever our dark side fancied at the time.  We were as brainwashed as the rest of them and wound God up big time.  But God loves us so passionately he gave us some slack and let the Liberator resuscitate our spiritual side that had been throttled by our mess.  Free, no charge, a gift – God’s OTT generosity is what’s straightened you out, sorted your lives, brought you back to life (like he did with the Liberator), and now were sitting right next to our Liberator Jesus in heaven.  Why?  So that he can brag about our lives, show us off as prime examples of the phenomenal value of his freebies, use us as exhibits A-Z of his generosity to us – just cos we’re connected with the Liberator Jesus.  What’s straightened you out isn’t down to you.  There’s nothing you’ve done that’s sorted your life.  No, it’s all God’s generosity that’s done it; you’ve just taken him at his word and even your ability to do that comes direct and free of charge from him.  If it were linked to how you lived, you’d end up shouting your mouth off about how brilliant you are.  No, we’re God’s masterpiece, his tour de force, his piece de resistance.  Liberator Jesus qualifies us to be made from scratch to make good things happen, things that his planned already for us to get stuck into.  [Street Bible, Ephesians 2:1-22]

I find that Church, God and Jesus are frequently in the press for (what I think) are the wrong reasons… it’s as if the world wants to force us to the point of obscurity by squeezing us into a little box of ‘minor details’.  Grace is the heart of it.  It’s mentioned 4 times in Ephesians 2.1-10 (NIV)!  Grace, love, justice, and mercy are the bestsellers in the Bible, over and above the other stuff!

Ephesians in general is a book that hits a chord with me; loving me in the mess of it all – it takes me back to being at the foot of the cross.  He loved me when I felt I was unlovable.  He found me when I was hiding.  He waited for my return every time that I ran away.  Jesus resuscitated my spiritual side when I was drowning.  Ephesians conjures up an image of myself, pregnant, with no real idea of or hope of a positive future for myself or my unborn child.  Ephesians takes me to a very dark place in myself…

…but it is a glorious and a triumphant story.  A story of hope, and of mended relationships, a story of a new life, new dreams and new opportunities… it is HIS story, it is as if his copyright is stamped all over my life so there’s no doubt, no one can steal the image.  God asserts his right as author, creator and artist.

I try to start each day with a little prayer; sometimes I feel guilty over not being one of those who gets up an hour early to meditate and pray – but this is me, and he’s my dad… so I guess he gets me!  I say a prayer that asks Him to give me the compassion, the attitude and the grace to be like him as the day unfolds.  Sometimes the words change, depending on what the day is likely to bring… but the sentiment remains the same… not my will, but Yours.

 

 



{February 7, 2012}   Like a Movie…

Matthew 24:1-24

My daily reading seems to come across like a script for a Jean Claude Van Damme movie; I read it aloud to let those words sink and it almost seemed as if I should be reading it in that big booming voice as found in the trailers for action thriller films.

This is the sort of passage that I want to point to at moments when it is suggested that faith is a lovely fluffy blanket or opiate to keep ‘reality’ away.  This is reality, it’s far more disturbing than what we see on a day to day basis.  When faith and commitment are treated as an optional extra it’s a dangerous error to be making.

And… I have stood in that place.  I don’t need God.  I can stand on my own two feet.  I’ve got my friends and family around me.  It’s in those moments we need faith more than ever.

Newsboys – “I am Second”

False prophets: It seems we don’t have prophets in the biblical sense anymore, people going around in sackcloth all beardy and munching on locusts.  No, the media has taken that role – I think television has taken the role of the prophets.  The LAB comments that these false prophecies might be… “God wants you to be rich… Do whatever your desires tell you!”

Eddie Izzard in a sketch comments on the advertising industry, particularly how many items are marketed with the implicit line of “buy this and everyone will shag you” Once again it’s these false promises and false realities that perpetuate society (and people suggest I’ve got my head in the clouds as a follower of Christ!)

The consequence of buying into these false prophecies and promises is severe “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” (Matthew 24.12) Love will grow cold.  Now whatever your beliefs, we can agree (hopefully) that love and compassion are a vital part of society.  If we lose love, what are we left with?  If we let it grow cold the world would become barren.

The remedy for this loss of love?  Now it is warned that love grows cold when our attention is on ourselves rather than others, so let’s reverse this!

One way is by writing to those persecuted for their faith, or to those in positions of power who might raise their voice for good.

Get involved by looking at Release International or write to your local councillor and MP regarding something close to my heart, cutting of funding for charities helping those who suffer domestic violence – see about the cuts here

What do you think are today’s false prophecies?  How can we guard against them?  How can we prevent the cold from rising?



{January 31, 2012}   Blind Ambition

Matthew 20: 17-34

I confess as a parent I want the absolute best for my child; I want her to grow up and continue to have the joy for life and learning that she currently has.  I hope that she will make good choices.  I pray she will come to be in a relationship with Jesus.  I want her to be full of kindness and compassion, and to have good survival skills when she faces disappointments and set backs in life.  I hope that I, and the rest of our family & friends have provided strong roots for her, which will allow her to grow into an amazing woman.

I want all of this so badly that I can picture it in my mind.  I can see all the possibilities opening up before her… I don’t want to miss a thing!

These are my ambitions for her and I don’t see anything wrong or harmful in holding wishes for the future for our children, and our friends’ children.  But this reading from Matthew (when I read it again using the Life Application Bible) looks at exactly this area… parental ambition…

Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom. (Matthew 20:21b)

I have mixed feelings about this request; 1st feeling is she displayed absolute faith – the kingdom belongs to Jesus, she faithfully accepted Jesus’ position.  The notes in my Bible encourage me to look further at this though – what were her motivations?  Perhaps she sought glory for her sons, perhaps (though on the surface demonstrative of faith) this mother had missed the point of Jesus’ ministry.  She was blinded by her human ambition.

Jesus modelled a different kind of leadership; Jesus demonstrated servant leadership – washing the feet of his disciples (John 13:11-13), submitting to God’s will first through his baptism (Matthew 3.13) and finally ultimate submission on the cross (Matthew 26.39 and John 19) – this was leadership without seeking glory.  Jesus represents here an amazing example to us all – How best to lead people.  The example of sevant leadership can be useful to us in any field; I particularly it’s role in parenthood, in teaching, in family life – what other areas might it be useful in?

At the completion of the section; the theme of ‘blindness’ is tackled again…

Jesus stopped and called to them.  “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.  “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”(Matthew 20:32-33)

The LAB (Life Application Bible) comments on this passage…

These blind beggars could see that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, while the religious leaders who witnesses Jesus’ miracle were blind to his identity, refusing to open their eyes to the truth.  Seeing with your eyes doesn’t guarantee you seeing with the heart.

I quoted because this section really hit me…

  • what do I / you allow get in the way of believing?  (What’s your blind spot?)
  • do I / you ever in your actions get in the way of people seeing Christ?
  • who / what do I / you submit to in life?
  • when we / I lead do I present a servant model of leadership… or an authoritarian one?

[on a side note]

I am loving getting more into the Bible and really unpacking it, and thinking as I write – this is the way I find it easiest to operate.  Sometimes I just jot ideas / thoughts and pictures down on paper and in notebooks, other times I blog it.

I blog because I had a bit of a deep think about whether or not to continue to be on social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook (on twitter I am @prodigalmomma ) as there’s some truly negative and ‘not uplifting’ stuff out there… and to be honest I find it all-too-easy to be drawn into the sillyness etc.  but I wanted to continue putting positivity out there.

I am not an authority, or a theologian – just a follower of Christ who’s trying to navigate her way through life… and life, I’ve found through bitter experience, really does go downhill when I’m not stuck into the Word regularly.



{January 30, 2012}   Never too Late…

Matthew 20:1-16

So I’ve been doing the ‘usual thing’ for me and meandering off a little; kind of getting into the old way of thinking which – for me – is this life is short, so best get out there and live it!

Unfortunately for me (and for others who subscribe to this mode of thinking) this works out as being a selling of inheritance in order to gain a fast-food meal.  I KNOW this, so I don’t really know why I fall for the trick…

I’ve not really been following The Magicians on the BBC – but I’ve caught a couple of snatches of it; in some cases we know how the trick is done, but we’re still prepared to suspend belief and enjoy the ride.  If you watched any on “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” you’ll see that even those times they were not fooled, they could still enjoy and buy into what was going on.

Now, you can get all caught up in the anti-magic “Harry Potter is evil” tirade (interesting how no one gets up in arms over Narnia, though a wardrobe you can walk into another universe through and a painting which floods a room cannot be construed as non-magical…) but I’m not doing that here today – but these shows I think we can enjoy without any terrible misfortune befalling us… but in real-life, falling for the trickery (even when wee know how it is done, and recognise the consequences) can inflict serious consequences.

I loved getting the above p[assage from Matthew in my inbox today, it reaffirms the idea that – with God – it’s never too late.  This follows on from a weekend where my Church held a ‘covenant service’ where we shared the communion, heard passages from various parts of the scripture andexamined those promises which God has made to us – those fulfilled and those which will be fulfilled.  It shined some light on areas of my life where I don’t feel that I’ve held up my half of the promise.

There areas in all of us – where in relational terms – we betray that bond that we share with the divine…

BUT it is never too late to go back to Him, ‘to ‘fess up and to begin again

I’m re-joining the covenant… I don’t know quite where it’ll take me, but I’m sure it’s bound to be an exciting journey!



{October 31, 2011}   Church is Irrelevant (so says us)

In his article Dean Seddon asserts that that contemporary society has branded the Church as irrelevant, and (as sad as I am to say it) I believe that he’s right.  I’d take the assertion a step further and argue that not only does society brand the Church as irrelevant, but it also labels it as a hindrance, something which holds us back (at the best) and as something which hides from humanity the darker elements of itself (here I think of the sad cases of child abuse within the Church and conspiracy theories such as were popularised in the Dan Brown books).

** interestingly the Dan Brown books are still on my ‘to be read’ list of books, I’ve seen the first movie but not read the books as yet **

Society may be a rebellious child shouting at ‘the Church’ and straining at the leash to be free.  “You stop our fun!  You hate sex!  You hate gays!  You hate women!”

Society believed it had killed God many years ago, and now it’s trying to stamp on the grave…

 

Do you ever have a quiet giggle to yourself over the danger of this strategy?  It is a little like poking the sleeping lion (or perhaps the sleeping mummy after you’ve kept waking her up every 40 minutes overnight!)

God isn’t dead…

And God is watching!

 

I remember a rather long but amusing joke I heard a few years ago…

There’s this burglar who breaks into a warehouse one night.  The burglar’s made a plan, he knows when the night watchman has his break, knows where the cameras are… all those shenanigans. 

So he’s padding gently about, looking for things to steal and sell on.  Then he here’s this voice, “Jesus is watching you!”  The thief turns round, but there’s nobody there, so he continues and a few minutes later he hears it again, “Jesus is WATCHING you!”

The burglar’s getting more than a little twitchy now and wonders whether he should get out of the place right then and there.  He hears the voice again, “Jesus is watching you!” and he begins to suspect someone is winding him up, so he replies “who are you?  Where are you?”

“Behind you, over here!” The burglar strains to see where the voice is coming from, he certainly hasn’t heard anyone else come into the building.  “Who are you?” he asks, to which he hears a reply close to his left ear “Moses!”  The thief whirls round to see a parrot on a perch in the darkness.  He chuckles to himself and says “that’s an odd name for a parrot!”

The parrot responds, “not as funny as ‘Jesus’ is for a rottweiller!”

 

Perhaps the question to ask of society’s attempt to brand the Church as irrelevant poses some important questions…

  • Who / what do they believe the Church to be?

I personally see the Church far more as a group of people, a family – Church provides me with love, support, guidance, friendship, fun among many other things.  “Church” to me is no more the building or an institution any more than a school is the building.  One of the oddest experiences as a new teacher is to be in school at the start of a year; there are no pictures on the wall, no displays of work, chatter of children… the atmosphere is entirely different.  Creating a good and positive learning environment is one of those things I constantly work towards – and I view the Church in a similar way.  Church is the smile from the welcoming team, the chat while getting tea & squash, making plans for Christmas, charity (we’re supporting the Christmas Child shoebox thing), thinking ahead to the summer.  Church is praying for those we care about, for those ‘in the Church’ and outside the Church… Church is so many things which cannot be contained in a negative newspaper article!

No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honour her husband. [Ephesians 5.29]

  • Why do they want Church to be irrelevant

Things which are branded ‘irrelevant’ are not considered important.  The rain pouring down is irrelevant in my decision to go to work, it’s not important enough to stop me… that’s compared with perhaps my daughter being poorly and needing alternative childcare or a trip to the doctor.

Society wants Church branded irrelevant because then they can ignore it, they can ignore what Jesus did (WWJD is just some cheesy Christian wristband isn’t it?), they can demote God to a swear word.

There should be a consistency that runs through us all. For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself. [Hebrews 18:8]

God, and Jesus and faith and all that – well that’s something to turn to when you’ve had your fun.  When you’re old, and about to die.  It’s not relevant to today – the Bible was written all those years ago!

“Up on your feet! Take a deep breath! Maybe there’s life in you yet. But I wouldn’t know it by looking at your busywork; nothing of God’s work has been completed. Your condition is desperate. Think of the gift you once had in your hands, the Message you heard with your ears—grasp it again and turn back to God. “If you pull the covers back over your head and sleep on, oblivious to God, I’ll return when you least expect it, break into your life like a thief in the night. [Revelation 3:2]

Today I think I’ll take some time out in the evening, against the backdrop of All Hallows Eve to pray for those who don’t yet recognise Jesus in their lives… because it is a matter of life or death.



{October 30, 2011}   Moving on (1st look at apologies)

The beautifully illustrated and written book “Zen Shorts” by Jon J Muth features a story about carrying a burden…

Two traveling monks reached a town where there was a young woman waiting to step out of her sedan chair. The rains had made deep puddles and she couldn’t step across without spoiling her silken robes. She stood there, looking very cross and impatient. She was scolding her attendants. They had nowhere to place the packages they held for her, so they couldn’t help her across the puddle.

The younger monk noticed the woman, said nothing, and walked by. The older monk quickly picked her up and put her on his back, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other side. She didn’t thank the older monk, she just shoved him out of the way and departed.

As they continued on their way, the young monk was brooding and preoccupied. After several hours, unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. “That woman back there was very selfish and rude, but you picked her up on your back and carried her! Then she didn’t even thank you!”

“I set the woman down hours ago,” the older monk replied. “Why are you still carrying her?”

Although zen readings are (I believe) linked to Buddhist beliefs, nevertheless I feel that other spiritual writing can be of interest in any spiritually aware life – irregardless of the personal beliefs you hold.

I think we can find biblical parallels with this story of setting down a load permanently; first I think of the story of the adulterous woman (John 8v1-11).  Things I notice about this bit

  • Lots of people were ready to accuse & condemn this woman

Jesus had been at the Mount of Olives but he returned to teach in the Temple and “Swarms of people came to him”.  Can you imagine this bustling busy 1st century temple, how busy it would have been?  Jewish law maintained that regular sacrifices had to be made in the temple, sometimes on a daily basis so there was no way this would have been a quite contemplative place.  So, in full view of everyone the religious leaders pull in this accused woman, announcing her misdeeds.

  • Jesus was wholly righteous, he could have condemned this woman…

…but he didn’t!  He asked if someone, anyone, could come forward and say “I’ve not messed up at all”, he invited the person who could say that to condemn this woman.  The only one who could, in good faith, accuse and condemned the adulterous woman (whom the religious leaders claim was caught red-handed) was Jesus.

  • The only one who can accuse and condemn us is Jesus…

…but he doesn’t!  Now I’ve spent a decent percentage of my young adult life effectively feeling fairly guilty for some of the poor choices I’ve made, and the paths I’ve walked down so this one is a bitter pill for me to swallow.  I want to argue back at it, ‘but Lord, Father, you can’t mean me!  But what about…’  I can see him saying ‘yeah, I know about that… and that…but it is finished’  There’s something me that sometimes still wants to argue … but as I try to get deeper wrestling with God’s word I’m trying to more and more let the truth of tetelestai sink in.

  • We are forgiven, but we need to stop doing what we did before.

It’s been said before, but repentance, saying sorry to God means a complete turning around.  Now, moment of personal honesty here, I’m an ex-smoker… ex for just under a month and I’ve tried quitting before so I’m not hanging up any banners about it just yet.  But, it was as if smoking was the thing from my ‘old life’ I was keeping back for me.  As if I was saying ‘okay God, I’ll go more regularly to Church because I like the worship and it’s good for my daughter, I’ll stop the children in my class saying omg [this is still a work in progress] and I’ll live my life for you… but I’ll do it with a cigarette in my hand.’

That’s not really how repentance, and being a ‘prodigal’ works now is it?

Saying sorry means the actions as well as the words; I try to impress this on children whom I teach.  Saying sorry for talking over the teacher means very little if they continue to do so.  Likewise, apologising to another child for not letting them join in the game whilst continuing to ignore them in the playground does not work.  I try to do this with my own daughter, who knows the word ‘sorry’ and usually knows when it’s appropriate to say it (and can be quicker to apologise than her own mummy!) but this doesn’t always mean the behaviour she apologises for stops (she’s only 4 so she’s learning all this).

As I try to educate children, my own and those I am responsible for I need to remember in my own life that apology without actions is just paying lip service to social conventions… and that’s the kind of ‘ritual’ I think really sticks in the divine throat… he looks at the heart and wants meaning.

1 Samuel 16:7
But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.”



Today’s Bible Reflection for women from BibleGateway landed in my inbox (you can read it here).  It really struck me, firstly because it once again burst that bubble that I sometimes find myself in the I’m the only one who thinks like this bubble (it’s not far away from the teenage bubble I had of It’s all about me!)

I have made poor decisions in the past.  I have experienced situations that I wish I had not.  But, I don’t generally have regrets… everything I have done / experienced has affected the person who I am today.  As I read about being a ‘reflective practitioner’ as part of my M Ed. I become more aware of possible causes/factors in the person I am today.

But I think I’ve become sometimes too stuck in the negative thought cycle of “I am what others have made me” at times without truly considering either …

  • my active role in who I am (the past, present and for the future)
  • whose image I am created in (and whose likeness I aspire to imitate)
  • what has been done for me (and what the appropriate response to that event may be)

I identify at ties with the woman in this reflection, the contradiction between wanting to just curl up with your child and be in love with them, and not quite at times feeling worthy of such a precious gift…

But who declares me ‘unworthy’?

What does God say about me?  I just found these Bible Affirmations and I think I may well have to find out some way to put them up in my room so that I can think about a different one every day, or a different one every week.  Actually the GP recommends that I devise a form of ‘positive mental toolbox’ to help myself in low moments, perhaps these affirmations would / could be a good part of that?

Back before Easter this year I had a tattoo done.  Not my 1st, and I know that Christian opinion is split on them, but I think God is love and gave humanity a gift for creativity… but that’s my opinion.  The tattoo is ancient Greek, tetelestai meaning “it is finished” or “paid in full”… the final words of Jesus on the cross.  Perhaps this is something I need to absorb deeper than skin deep when I doubt and accuse myself, I need to remember that things are no longer hanging over my head…

…but that’s not a 1-way process, the next big thought is how do I honestly respond to such a gift?  I guess it’s something I’ll spend the rest of my life doing.

But biblical mantras / affirmations … are they a good & useful thing to get into?  Or do we risk inventing another ritual without much meaning or heart?  Because from the gospels I think Jesus wasn’t a great fan of that whole thing.  Hmmm something to think about!

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et cetera