prodigalmomma











{August 9, 2012}   Not a tame lion…

Jesus Walks on the Water [John 6.16-21]

When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them.  A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.”  Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

The second part of the passage discussed at church last Sunday.  The idea of Jesus walking on walking and calming the storm – we’re not on strange territory here, the story is well known… but possibly poorly understood…

These two ‘stories’ combined are ones I know well – I knew about them from Church as a child.  Though as we broke away and discussed and shared ideas I don’t think I’ve ever really examined it as I did then.

Facing a storm… the thought hit me personally.  I remembered the sudden cold sickly feeling.  I tapped out a couple of texts asking for urgent prayer as I made myself a cup of ginger tea and attempted to pray myself.  Horrible strangling feeling of emotion from just a letter.

I took the request to the church family book also; looking back on it all I feel so lucky to have the sort of church family around me that I can share these moments, and requests with them.  THAT is what Church ought to be – come as you are.  Church isn’t church when it issues dictates like ‘not if you’re homosexual’ ‘not if you’re a female leader’ (or someone tainted by a woman… oh yes, that’s the language that’s been offered up within the continuing struggle towards female bishops in the C of E!)

For me it comes back to Psalm 139… God knows you, sees you, loves you…

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good [Genesis 1.31]

It didn’t happen immediately, but God calmed me, then the situation.  That shaking, twitching feeling of anxiety creeping about in my insides and all around was removed… it felt as if I could breathe again.  And the situation itself has calmed.

Looking back on it I can almost audibly hear – look, that was me, I was there, I was always there, I’m right here, I will always be there…

I know I’m not promised an easy route… but I will be prepared.

A friend mentioned to me during our discussions about “not telling God how big your problems are… but tell your problems how big your God is”  we all agreed a little cheesy BUT it hits home, we’re not sent into this world alone and without help, we have it in bucket loads…

HOWEVER, we need to ask – He won’t charge in guns blazing to ‘fix’ life, we have free choice… I wouldn’t want to be a puppet controlled by something (been there… done that…) He waits to be asked, and invited – sometimes not doing exactly as expected…

Not a tame lion

[Mr Tumnus] After all, he is not a tame lion.

[Lucy] No… but he is good

 



{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.



et cetera