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{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

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{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?



{January 30, 2012}   Do something Beautiful…

In the same vein as it ‘never being too late’ this devotion also popped into my mailbox today (yes, I’m at home working on the M Ed. so generally clearing out my mailbox and doing deskbound stuff)

But instead of just surviving, of asking God “Please bless my plans today” (c’mon be honest, who hasn’t done that?!?!) Challenge yourself and go do something beautiful for God.

Do beautiful things for God.

Graham Kendrick sings “Do Something Beautiful”



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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