So we did it! We put up our Christmas tree on Saturday. Some might think it’s early, but in our family Christmas can never come too early- especially as the days here grow short and the dark evenings grow long, a whisper of glowing life and cheering anticipation- it’s just the thing! There is a... Continue Reading →
Walk On… So my son, these years ago, we gave him this Bible, an ‘Action’ Bible. And then throughout that Lent, as we read our Bible stories and hung our decorations daily on our Easter story tree, we all soaked together in the long story of grace, the story of God walking with His people. With... Continue Reading →
EPILOGUE The Road Home… There are roads sometimes that go nowhere, nowhere but away, nowhere but far from all we want to leave behind us, far from all we fear and cannot face. Wandering roads, retreating roads, roads that give the illusion of forward motion while all the while leading nowhere. Nowhere but away.... Continue Reading →
Happy Happy Happy Easter! He is Risen! Time to celebrate! Well you have made it all the way to Easter Sunday! But this long story of grace isn’t over yet! In many ways it’s just getting started! But today is the day we’ve been anticipating all along. So take a moment to celebrate. To sit... Continue Reading →
It was still dark. Sometimes darkness is so thick, you can touch it. Drown in it. And when it takes you, when you give it ground, the shadows wrap around your mind, your heart, your soul, setting up camp in all the empty spaces; spaces where light once dwelt. And you scrape your skin to feel anything, but your senses are captive to the numbing dark.
The coals that night, they throbbed, glowing orange and red. Sparks danced splintering the dark. It drew him closer, coaxed by the warmth, pushed by the chilled night air and the rising dark.
Good Friday It wasn't supposed to be this way? “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.” “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had... Continue Reading →
How could any of them understand this King? This Kingdom? They had bought the lie of empire. The lie that human beings are in control. Of anything. Jesus didn’t come to build an empire. He came to establish His Kingdom. These trials, they are really about one thing: 'Who is truly King?’. And the question His trial asks of every human heart today is: ’Who is it you want? As King?’
Underneath all the noise of human circumstance there has always existed this one storyline thread. A thread that began before human existence. A thread that ends long after this world's time is done. All the weavings of this world come and go, knotting, tearing, unravelling. But this thread remains: ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’14, ‘and in the end He shall stand upon the earth’15 as its redeemer. Having bought it back. From the dark.
It was the cool of the day in that first Garden long ago, when God had come looking for the first Human Beings¹. But now it is the chill of night, in this second garden. And Human Beings have come looking for God. To Kill Him.
There were two gardens. Two gardens in this long tread of time. And God walked in them both. So did frail humanity, humanity forged in the image of God forgetting themselves and forsaking God. This is the story of the first garden, but only part of the story of the second.
Happy Palm Sunday! We are on the homeward stretch now, with just over a week left in our journey. Every day brings us closer to the cross and deeper into this Easter story, this long story of grace. I hope this week you will find time to soak in the story and in Scripture as... Continue Reading →
Our lives are all part a story, folded into time, a longer story, a larger story. A story stretching from the beginning of time and reaching through to the end of it, the story of God’s long walk with human beings, the long story of His grace journeying to find us. The story we human beings miss, miss-shape and misunderstand, most of the days of our lives.
This flower this day, it stopped me in my tracks. I hit the breaks in my car just to pull over and draw closer. This bright flower, it was growing right there in the hardened road, its roots tucked deep beneath the unforgiving pitch, its frail leaves stretching bravely above, its golden petals curling courageously, extravagantly, unabashed reaching toward the sun.
When do we lose it? The childhood urge within to clamber up the nearest tree and drink in all that lovely life-breathing green, feeling the intoxicating exhilaration of being off the ground, alive in our senses and closer, higher, nearer to Heaven somehow. When do we lose this life-embracing child’s heart? The joyful, joy-filled, unselfconscious giggling glee of an all-in, wholehearted existence?
This man, this day, he thought he had the answers: easy. He was an expert in answers. But he was about to learn: God is in the questions.
When God formed the first human beings into humanity He knelt down into the grit of things and let the cool clay clump between his fingers and cake on His palms. When He created humankind, He got grit under His fingernails and dust around His wrists. His hands got dirty.
Words weighing nothing, as light as breath can drag a soul down, pinning the human spirit to the mat. We know this because we’ve lived the truth of it in our hearts. The truth that words are anything but weightless. They build. They tear. They lift. They crush. We know the feeling. The feeling of the weight of words on our shoulders. Pressing. Pushing. These welting words of others can become the caves we dwell in. Our broken hearts rebuilt. Into prisons. Into caves.
Hello Friends, How are you? I hope you’ve had a moment to trail along with us a little over the last week now that we’re walking with Jesus as our guide. This week we’ll start heading towards Jerusalem in time for the first Palm Sunday. And to be honest, our journey will not be without some conflict... Continue Reading →
We learn fear. Life teaches it to us blow by blow. Sometimes by a trauma, sometimes by the slow drip of disappointment corroding courage, usurping hope. We tried. And failed. We got bitten. And bled. We got knocked down. And lived there.
Sometimes life can feel like a storm. And sometimes like a drowning. Like a flailing about without much to hang onto. Like a slow death by silence, soundlessly sinking in the waves of life.
Sometimes the loneliness scrapes at your skin, the longing to belong, to be accepted. You watch the others laugh and smile and bask in the glow of community and you know, you are convinced, deep in the bruised, dark places of your heart that there must be something wrong with you.
The thing is, underneath it all, so often we’re not sure. Not sure who we are, not sure that we’re valuable, not sure where to place our feet in all this whirling world. Who am I? What on earth and I here for? What does it all mean?
Power. It undoes us. And like a drug, once hooked we crave for more. Whether it is the power of knowledge, of social status, of influence or of wealth, once we have it, we feel naked without it. So our fist grips tighter around it, and our reach extends wider for more, more, more, more.
We live in a natural world. But also a supernatural one. A world where wars rage in the material as well as the spiritual. We may think the weapons of Spiritual warfare are complex, exotic or strange. But actually nothing could be further from the truth.
Happy Sunday! You made it through another week. Well done. We have more adventures ahead of us this week...
Freedom. It’s always been complicated for the human race. Sometimes I wonder if we even know what it truly is. We make our choices freely and then our choices make us, building our existence around us. Choice by choice.
What if your calling put you at odds with your whole world? What if God's will for you seemed like a kick in the face of all you had been raised to believe? What If you knew His call would leave you alienated and alone, estranged from your community, friends and even your family, would you still say yes? Yes to God?
We need not tell anyone to be strong, unless they’re feeling weak. We need not tell someone to be courageous unless they’re feeling scared.
I remember when both my babies drew their first breath, life sprawling out, all infant flailing limbs, tiny lungs burning with the filling, tiny arms reaching wildly to be held, to be connected, to be close. I remember it all through a tired haze of exhilaration and joy knit with labouring pain.
‘How long o Lord’ the psalmist sings, and our human hearts echo his words. As years roll on with pain and disappointment and darkness. How long Lord? How long?
The psalmist, he knew this song because his people had lived it. Waiting on God. For, how long?
There are days when ‘how long’ feels like too long.
Hello. How are you? What a journey this last week has been! We’ve met some pretty courageous women of faith as they face down the despot of their time and we've begun to travel alongside Moses on his epic walk to Egypt. This week we’ll continue to walk alongside Moses as he does battle with... Continue Reading →
This broken world has a story for us to live in. Our scarred history has a story for us to live out. But there is a story written into the core of us that our mind takes time to awaken to…
Scars. We have them, and not just on the outside, numb lumps of tissued skin, but within us, numb lumps of scarring memory pushed into the recesses of our hearts, unseen, where we can pretend they don’t exist. And there they remain, silent, but still at work in every thought, word and action of our existence.
All real power belongs to God. And He chooses to use it in very different ways to human beings. Lasting change in this world is brought about not by might and strength. Lasting change comes by small people who’s hearts are beating in time with God’s, stepping out courageously with Him into the dark, armed only with the conviction that giants will fall before them, because God and them are strong.
I closed the well worn, well loved Bible picture book and put it on the bed. My four year old son beamed up at me, eyes bright and alive, “Mummy” he said importantly “I’m gonna fight Goliath! Because God and me are strong!”. You can guess at the story we’d just read and probably guess at my mothers-heart response. I smile still as I remember this moment. The moment this tiny little boy, barely up to my waste in hight, named a truth larger than any giant.
It's easy for a word to go unnoticed on a page, overlooked in a sentence or brushed by in a paragraph. But this word is one we cannot overlook. It’s startling. Striking. Like cold water splashed on a face. Not because the word itself is confronting, but because of He who says it.
I am so thrilled to put into your hands a few more fun encouragements for your journey this week. I hope they bless you in any small way they can.
In the shadow of the serpent many things were lost and broken, precious things, beautiful things, things that God had woven deep within the sinews of our Imago Dei being and threaded into the rhythm of our beating human hearts. This image of God within human beings now wisps threadbare thin, torn threads pulling apart, fraying at the edges, floating on the breeze of history...
what if this measure we use to evaluate ourselves and each other by is all wrong? What if success were not measured by size, amount or status. What if it were measured by love?
There are stormy days when the sky weeps. And days when God is grieving with it. Days when the darkness in humankind overcomes the light that once was us...
There are stormy days when the sky weeps. And days when God is grieving with it. Days when the darkness in humankind overcomes the light that once was us. How does God's heart so full of love, so full of goodness, witness all this breaking sadness that has become His children’s reality, and not break also?
How do I look this child in the face and tell her everything is going to be okay, when the reality all around her says it's not? When her nine year old frame spins on a planet full of poverty and pain and she knows more than most what this means.
Being lied to cuts like glass, and we’ve all felt the gash. It comes with being human- losing faith in human words. Trustworthiness is now an earned attribute, not an assumed one. And even those who earn it often fail us, falling into the temptation to let words smooth over the rough edges of life: “I’m fine”, “You look great” “It’s going to be alright, I promise”...
Hello friends and walking companions, Well done! You made it through the first week. And welcome everyone who joined us during the week, it’s lovely to have you along. In a few days our long walk will depart from the garden of Eden and start to pick up pace. It will go downhill at first,... Continue Reading →
So we have eight year olds smashing the faces of twelve year olds here, girls no taller than my shoulder posturing gangster hostility, here on this earth where people formed from dust forget their breath and treat each other like dirt. And this one little girl who fires up like a Don, she cocks her hip and shakes her head and waves her finger and taunts the other children with violent glares and hostile words… and she is eight.
There was a silence when we began.
The quiet rise and fall of lungs filling with air, the whispered hush of a breath drawn in and a breath exhaled.
But before this silence, there was something else...
The world has its ink and we are a page, and every stroke creates in us the script lines of our selves, a biography constructed by the words and actions of others: I am loved. I am unloved. I am capable. I’m a quitter. I am smart. I am dumb. I am beautiful. I am nothing… I am, I am, I am, I am. I am the result of a thousand words, ten thousand messages, twenty thousand looks, telling me who I am.
But who am I really?