Whom words cannot express

 

Whom words cannot express

 

If there are words for Him, then I don’t have them.

You see, my brain has not yet reached a thought

that could adequately describe the greatness of my God.

And my lungs have not yet developed the ability

to release a breath that could breathe out the greatness of His love.

My voice is so inhibited, restrained by human limits,

it is hard to even sing sufficient praises of Him.

You see, if there are words for Him, then I don’t have them.

 

My God His grace is remarkable;

His mercies are innumerable;

His strength is impenetrable.

He is audible, accountable, favourable;

He is unsearchable yet knowable;

indefinable yet approachable;

indescribable yet personal.

He is beyond comprehension; further than imagination;

constant through generations, King of every nation.

But if there are words for Him, then i don’t have them

 

You see my words are few,

and to try to capture the one true God using my vocabulary would never do.

But I use words as an expression, an expression of worship to a Saviour:

A Saviour who is both worthy and deserving of my praise, so i use words.

My heart extols the Lord, blesses His name forever.

He has won my heart, captured my mind and has bound the both together.

He has defeated me in my rebellion, conquered me in my sin;

He has welcomed me into His presence, completely abided me in;

Flooding me with mercies in the morning;

Drowning me with grace in the night.

If there are words for Him, then I don’t have them

 

But what I do have is Good News!

For my God knew that man-made words would never do;

For words are just tools we use to point to the Truth.

So He sent his Son Jesus Christ as the Word, living proof.

He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation;

for by Him all things were created, giving nothingness formation;

and by His Word He sustains in the power of His name.

He is before all things, and over all things He reigns.

Holy is his name, so praise Him for His life,

the way he persevered his strife;

the humble son of God becoming the perfect sacrifice -

 

So praise Him for his death; that He willingly stood in our place;

that He lovingly adored the grave; that He battled our enemy

and on the third day rose in victory.

He is everything that was promised; praise Him as the risen King;

lift your voice and sing, for one day He will return for us,

and we will finally be united with our Saviour for eternity.

It’s not just words that I proclaim,

for my words point at the Word, and the Word has a Name;

hope has a Name; joy has a Name;

peace has a Name; love has a Name:

and that name is Jesus Christ – praise His name forever.

 

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Michelangelo_Merisi_da_Caravaggio_-_The_Incredulity_of_Saint_Thomas_-_WGA04141(1)

Its a painting that draws the viewer to the wound.

 

The Caravaggio painting  ‘Incredulity of Thomas’ grabs your attention.

You pause. You look at the expressions on faces, the movement of hands and light. You wonder where you would be in the picture.

Feelings wash over you.

Caravaggio takes his story from the post resurrection encounter of Thomas with Jesus.

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” John 20: 19 – 29

Resurrection challenges us with wonder and amazement.

The earliest followers had a variety of responses to the news. Some ran, some reported to others, weeping, celebrating, puzzling.

The Resurrection declares ‘I will be who I will be’.

What would you do right here and now if you heard news that Jesus was alive and in bodily presence?

I suppose we would be like those early disciples. We would wonder, question, and be amazed. I suppose we would also run to Google to see if we could get any news.

We would of course investigate.

I wonder if Caravaggios painting would now include CSI, Sherlock Holmes, Bones and any number of other crime investigators. All peering in at the wound, wondering, puzzled. All asking how could this happen? We saw him die in the most horrifc means of execution known to man yet here is alive!

Michelangelo_Merisi_da_Caravaggio_-_The_Incredulity_of_Saint_Thomas_-_WGA04141(2)

There is one particular quality of all these crime dramas that the writers put in.

They all have a conclusion.

By the end of the show you know who did it, why and how. If you don’t know at the end of this episode then you will discover in the next episode. Questions will be answered and there will be a conclusion.

In some shows the crime is resolved by the detective getting everyone involved in the crime together in a room and then they unpack the story of the crime. This person did this, and then this other person did that. The crime is revealed in a brief dramatic summary. Everything is explained and put to rest. The handcuffs are brought and the villain is led away.

We like to be able to put things to rest don’t we. We want answers to the questions we have.

Take for example the recent disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. We still don’t know where that plane is. We don’t know what happened.

Just place yourself though in the shoes of the families and friends of those missing. They can’t just put a nice ‘The End’ on this mystery. They can guess, make assumptions, blame this or that, but no one knows what exactly happened, and what is worst is that they may never have the answer they are crying out for.

As we read the various narratives of the story of the resurrection we come to some conclusions of ‘I don’t understand how that happened’. The Bible, and indeed life, is full of stories where we don’t have enough information to fully understand.

I was listening to a Podcast the other day called On Being and the podcast was talking about the story of Moses encountering the burning bush. In this story Moses encounters a type of resurrection. A bush is on fire, yet it is not burned up. Wood seems to be always there to be burnt but it is never consumed. Always regenerating for the fire to destroy. In fact some think that this experience went on for seven days.

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” 4 When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

13 But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” Exodus 3: 1-6; 13, 14

In this podcast Avivah Zornberg, a scholar of Torah and rabbinic literature was being interviewed, and she says this name “I am who I am.” in Hebrew is Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh, and literally it just means, I will be who I will be

We like to have our understanding of how God works, we like to have loose ends tied up, we like to have questions answered. Yet God says ‘I will be who I will be’

The Resurrection declares ‘I will be who I will be’.

Faith requires a surrendering of ourselves to the God of ‘I will be who I will be’.

There are people however who won’t let God be that abstract. They demand that loose ends be tied up, to investigate the wound further. There internal security needs answers.

 How do you handle mystery?

Do you look into the wound and demand answers or do you look into the eyes of the wounded one and fall in love (another mystery).

I have never been a great investigator. We need them, we need people who are passionate about finding answers to mysteries. I think of the great advances in science and health because someone has dug deeper.

I seriously wonder though does it help a genuine intimate relationship to unfurl when you have an investigative attitude.

I want to look deep into the eyes of the Lover of my soul rather than his wounds. I want to be like John, resting my head on Christ’ chest.

I want to wash his feet, anoint his hair with my tears of repentance and love.

‘Who are you Jesus’?

‘I will be who I will be’.

 

Questions to consider and leave a comment
  1. What challenges you in this picture of Caravaggio?
  2. How do you feel when you don’t have all the answers?
  3. When God makes the statement ‘I will be who I will be’ what happens to your questions, your doubts, your fears?

Barry Pearman

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Do you hate greasy dishes?

The Misbelief: The more I wash the cleaner I will be

They frustrate me. You have hot water with detergent in the water, you wash that pot or plastic container from the Indian takeaway and out it comes with a smear of grease.

 

So what do you? Well you get the detergent bottle and squirt a big dollop into the dish and scrub away and hopefully after another rinse it comes out clean. Yet again though there is that little bit in the corner that is missed. Repeat again and again.

 

Eventually it becomes clean or you give up, throw the container in the bin, or sneak it back in the cupboard and let it be someone elses problem!

 

Something needs to cut into the grease and loosen it.

 

Enter stage left into the grease trap of my life ‘The Protestant Work Ethic’ emphasizing hard work and diligence as a methodology of my purification. The more I clean the cleaner I will be.

 

I remember the young man trapped in the ritualistic habit of hand washing. With the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder he went through a bar of soap in a day. His hands never clean enough he washed and washed in a particular way until they were raw.

 

We come to God and others with a voice in our hearts – ‘What do I have to do to be acceptable to you’.

 

God is not like that. God welcomes beggars and abusers, prisoners and politicians, suited metrosexuals and flannel wearing farmers.

There must be something we can do to get on the right side of God.  

 

Carmelite nun Ruth Burrows writes this

‘The proud cannot bring themselves to hold out empty hands to God, they insist on offering virtues, good works, self denials, anything in order not to have nothing. They want to be beautiful for him from their own resources, whereas we are beautiful only because God looks on us and makes us beautiful.’ Ruth Burrows

Enter a man who was truly beautiful.

Perfect infact, this man had done nothing wrong. There was no guilt he had to carry of past regrets. No shame, no shadows, no skeletons in the closet hidden behind the Sunday suit yet he takes the eternal punishment for what I have done. He shoulders the cross of your consequences.

God does not ‘overlook’ sin; that would mean not taking human beings seriously as personal beings in their very culpability; and that would mean no re-creation of the person, and therefore no re-creation of community. But God does take human beings seriously in their culpability, and therefore only punishment and the overcoming of sin can remedy the matter. Both of these have to take place within concrete time, and in Jesus Christ that occurs in a way that is valid for all time. He takes the punishment upon himself, accomplishes forgiveness of sin, and, to use Seeberg’s expression, stands as surety for the renewal of human beings. Christ’s action as vicarious representative can thus be understood from the situation itself. Dietrich Bonhoffer

 

Christ lived a perfect life on my behalf. I can’t do anything more to gain God’s approval, Christ has done it all. No more brownie points to earn to get me over the line.

 

All I have to do now is surrender myself into the welcoming loving arms of God.

 

Big, open, wide and warm are the arms of love extended to me. Christ has made it possible, there is nothing more I can do.

 

There is grease in my life and nothing I can do can get rid of it.

God cannot give himself to us unless our hands are empty to receive him. Ruth Burrows

 

Christ comes and washes it away with self sacrificial love.

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

 

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
 Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

 

For my cleansing this I see—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
For my pardon this my plea—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

 

Nothing can my sin erase
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
Naught of works, ’tis all of grace—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

 

This is all my hope and peace—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
This is all my righteousness—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

 

 

Questions to Consider and leave a comment.
  1. 1. How much does the Protestant work ethic stifle a growing of grace, and acceptance of Christ’s performance on our behalf?
  2. 2 . What does believing ‘The more I clean the cleaner I will be” set you up for?
  3. 3. Do have a ‘brownie point’ attitude? We have to earn so many points to gain God’s approval. Do you have a similar attitude towards yourself and others? Are you always putting yourself down because you supposedly don’t ‘make the grade’?

Barry Pearman
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9816014376_fec30dc4e0_o(1)

 

Confession – One of my favorite shows is Ice road Truckers.

 

In a recent show there were mouse droppings scattered all over the floor of the Kenworth truck of Ice Road Trucker Rick. He was unwell and had potentially Hanta Virus.

 

The truck was quarantined and one serious looking cleanup crew went work stripping the truck and cleaning every little corner. Every dark corner.

 

If Rick had kept his truck clean he wouldn’t have a problem. Now both truck and driver were crippled.

Come, my Light, and illumine my darkness.

Come, my Life, and revive me from death.

Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds.

Come, Flame of divine love, and burn up the thorns of my sins,

kindling my heart with the flame of thy love.

Dimitrii of Rostov

 

All those little corners where the mice could live and breed.

 

All unknown to Rick, blithely breathing in illness.

 

Have you investigated your dark corners?

 

Probably not. Who wants to dig around in the dark. Who likes cleaning in the internal workings of the soul.

 

Yet we all have dark corners, things we choose not to want to look at.   Jesus, the surgeon of the Soul says this

 

  • “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.” Luke 11:34-36

Jesus calls us to a examination. An invitation to holiness.

 

We don’t hear much about holiness, a call to being virtuous.

 

Renovaré is an organization that was founded by Richard Foster who defined 6 streams of Christian Spirituality.

 

  1. 1. Prayer Filled Life
  2. 2. Virtuous Life
  3. 3. Spirit-empowered Life
  4. 4. Compassionate Life
  5. 5. Word-centered Life
  6. 6. Sacramental Life

The Virtuous Life is described in this way

 

The Holiness Tradition emphasizes the re-formation of our hearts so that we are able to respond appropriately to the challenges of life. The word “holiness” has some negative connotations today, but the original Greek meaning of the word virtue is simply “to function well.”

Virtuous Life is not about rules or judgement, perfectionism, or some kind of merit gained by good deeds. It encourages us to the ultimate goal: not to “get us into heaven, but to get heaven into us.”

It is attentiveness to the source of our actions, to the condition and motives of the heart, and taking on new patterns of life that flow naturally from within.

“We see Jesus consistently doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. We see in him such deeply ingrained “holy habits” that he is always “response-able,” always able to respond appropriately. This is purity of heart. This is the virtuous life.”  Richard J. Foster, Streams of Living Water

 

I wonder what is hiding in the truck cab of your life. Filth that the Holy Spirit wants to purify and clean out of you for both your sake and the sake of your relationships.

 

Where do we start?

  1. 1. Understand this is not a journey of condemnation
  2. This is a journey of hope and change. This is a journey where the Good Shepherd takes care of his sheep with gentleness and not condemnation. So often we may have been fed messages of try harder and you’re not good enough.
  3.  
  4. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30
  5.  
  6. 2. Embrace that this is a lifetime journey. True deep change doesn’t happen over night. Sanctification happens slowly and is deliberately led by the Holy Spirit. Yes the patient Holy Spirit is at work in you to change you. Gently coaxing and inviting, alluring you to purity.
  7.  
  8. 3. Find someone safe you can journey with. This maybe the most difficult part of the journey. Someone who will not condemn or offer quick advice. Someone who will instead invite you to life of prayer. Perhaps a Spiritual Director, a Pastor or a friend. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you.

 

 

Some quotes to consider

 

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. -Martin L King Jr

 

The men and women who are truly filled with light are those who have gazed deeply into the darkness of their own imperfect existence. Brennan Manning

 

So long as we imagine that it is we who have to look for God, we must often lose heart. But it is the other way about; He is looking for us. And so we can afford to recognize that very often we are not looking for God; far from it, we are in full flight from him, in high rebellion against him. And He knows that and has taken it into account. He has followed us into our own darkness; there where we thought finally to escape him, we run straight into his arms. So we do not have to erect a false piety for ourselves, to give us the hope of salvation. Our hope is in his determination to save us, and he will not give in. Simon Tugwell

 

 

Questions to consider and leave a comment

  1. 1. What feelings rise up when you consider looking into the ‘Dark Corners’ of your life?
  2. 2. What is like to know that God ‘is looking for us’?
  3. 3. What are the qualities of a ‘safe’ person for you?

Barry Pearman
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Waiting God5844992963_459d01e93d_o(1)

Pregnant silence, so full of expectancy,
Empty of sound
Full of You,
Waiting,
Waiting,
Waiting to be received.

 
Glistening dew, delicately transparent,
Quivering gentleness,
Your Grace,
Waiting,
Waiting,
Waiting to be absorbed.

 
Exquisite fragrance, suspended presence,
Unseen,
Your Beauty,
Waiting,
Waiting,
Waiting to be breathed.

 
Caressing sun, warming depth,
Displacing cold,
Your Love,
Waiting,
Waiting,
Waiting to restore.

 
Vibrant stillness, restoring fragmentation,
Bringing poise,
God,
Waiting,
Waiting,
Waiting to love

 

by Margaret Dunn

Margaret Dunn lives at Oasis Retreat Centre, Albany, and enjoys this lovely patch of
bush, and is passionate about designing and making quilts now that she has retired.

Source: Refresh Journal of Contemplative Spirituality Winter 2013
Photo Credit: ** RCB ** via Compfight cc

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I don't like Mondays but kinda do

 

I don’t like Mondays. Its rubbish day.

It can be a beautiful, sunny, and a ‘full of pleasantry’ kind of day but its still ‘Rubbish Day’.

Sure enough every Monday a large truck will come along our road, stop outside our home and collect the bright orange bags full of rubbish.

Earlier I will have weaved my way through the house emptying small rubbish bins into the orange bags. I would have gone into the garage to discover that our cat has scratched a hole in the side of a bag to get at those smelly chicken bones. Hmm.

Its not the greatest way to start the week but its one of those tasks I have to do.

If I don’t, well just imagine the mess that would pile up, the smell, the flies, and the potential for disease.

Forgiveness is a choice. You choose not to be held hostage in the present to the injustices that occurred in the past. Shirley Glass

I have been in homes where you have to wade through the piles of accumulation. I have also been in homes where there is not even a speck of dust anywhere, the owner is OTT (over the top) on perfectionism and you worry about leaving fingerprints.

Whats this post about? Where am I going?

I’m talking about forgiveness.

 

A few years back, in a sermon series, I used the metaphor of rubbish bags that we carry around with us. Bags of resentment, anger and chicken wings that we need to get rid of and let go. Bags full of relational pain about ourselves, others and maybe even towards God.

Holding on to that rubbish, it slowly becomes precious (enter Gollum) ) to us, unknowingly changing our personality and robbing us of life.

Hoarding resentments just so we might be able to draw upon them in the future if needed.

Mondays remind me of the need to let things go, to forgive and not hold on to resentment.

But how do we forgive?

 

Perhaps using a metaphor story such as the cleaning of the house, the taking out of the rubbish could be a start, a trigger to your mind to think about the ‘How’ of forgiveness.

More to come.

Leave some comments below. I would love to hear from you as to how the use of this metaphor might have helped you.

Questions to consider and leave a comment.

  1. What happens in you when you think about forgiveness?
  2. Now does unforgiveness alter your personality?
  3. Which rubbish bag is the fullest for you? Anger against yourself, others, God?

Barry Pearman
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Noticed some changes?

 

Over the last few months I have been working at bringing my blog over to WordPress. I have been with the Blogger platform for about three years but as the blog has grown and I have wanted to develop it further I have taken the plunge to shift on to a WordPress platform.

Lots more to do.

Lots more to learn about WordPress.

Have a look around and leave a comment.

Barry

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They stood beside me.
 
Shoulder to shoulder and when my little shield of faith started to droop under the tiredness of the battle, they came in closer, knowing one day, perhaps the next, I would rise again.
 

 

Friends are crucial in this life.

 

If you have a mental illness then you are in a battle that you cannot face alone.  

 

Who has stood by your side and believed in you?

 

I am currently reading Simon Sinek’s latest book Leaders Eat Last.

 

He writes about the importance of having a Circle of Safety derived from a Fable of Aesop.

 

A lion used to prowl about a field in which Four Oxen used to dwell. Many a time he tried to attack them; but whenever he came near they turned their tails to one another, so that whichever way he approached them he was met by the horns of one of them. At last, however, they fell a-quarrelling among themselves, and each went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the field. Then the Lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all four. —Aesop, sixth century B.C

 

Often I have seen people being picked off my the struggles of this life simply because they haven’t had a Circle of safety. A group of others who are looking out for them. More than just friends, but warriors in arms. Ready to make a stand and come to your aid and you doing likewise.

 

Sinek goes on to write about the Spartans.

 

The Spartans, a warrior society in ancient Greece, were feared and revered for their strength, courage and endurance. The power of the Spartan army did not come from the sharpness of their spears, however; it came from the strength of their shields. Losing one’s shield in battle was considered the single greatest crime a Spartan could commit. “Spartans excuse without penalty the warrior who loses his helmet or breastplate in battle,” writes Steven Pressfield in his account of the Battle of Thermopylae (the battle upon which the movie 300 is based), “but punish the loss of all citizenship rights the man who discards his shield.” And the reason was simple. “A warrior carries helmet and breastplate for his own protection, but his shield for the safety of the whole line.

 

Paul writes to the Christians in the Roman stronghold of Ephesus to ‘take up the shield of faith’ Ephesians 6:13-17. This passage is often seen as an individuals call to spiritual disciplines, but I think Paul was writing not just to individuals but to the corporate grouping, a small group of Christians meeting in a local home.

 

They were a ‘Circle of Safety’ for each other. When ones ‘Shield of faith’ drooped and became heavy the others would come around and shield them.

 

This is what Church is all about. Its not a building, nor is it a time of the week. Its a relationship we offer to each other, a line of safety.

 

Jesus said this
For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them. Matthew 18:20

 

Where a Circle of Safety is created, Christ will be right in the middle of it.


Does this fill you with hope?

 

A few years ago I was supporting someone going through a tough phase in their life. I could see that things would change for them if they just persisted a bit longer. The challenge was hard and painful for them and also for those that loved them. Their faith shield was drooping and so I offered for them to borrow some faith from me.
They borrowed some faith and made it through.

 

Faith which they couldn’t muster up in themselves they borrowed from others.

 

They trusted me and my belief that things would change, and so took some of what I offered and kept on going.

 

What does this take?
  1. Time. Relationships of this quality take time to build. Relationships like this don’t just happen overnight but are built day by day, week by week, month by month.
  2. A time. A commitment to meet on a regular basis and checkout how each others shields are looking. It might be for lunch, breakfast or over a cup of coffee, but there is a regular time where we stand shoulder to shoulder and talk about the lions we face.
  3. Trials. In a fight, who would you like standing next to you? A couple of new recruits or a couple of seasoned warriors. Being tested and tried builds muscle. Faith grows through experience, trial by trial.

 

Questions to Consider and leave a comment
  1. Who is in your ‘Circle of Safety’?
  2. Why is it that we have a tendency to want to face our trials alone?
  3. Have you ever ‘borrowed faith’ from someone else? What was it like?
 
Barry Pearman

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A Prayer

Jesus,
an old hymn tells me that you are
lover of my soul.
Lover.
I wriggle under the implication of
that word.
For if you are lover of my soul
you long for a response
to show you
that I have seen you for who you truly are
- gentlest Love
- warming my heart
- stirring my desire
for more of you …
and more of you …
and more of you …
until I am lost in the mystery
of being with you
in you, of you,
totally,
utterly,
One.
Help me to risk drawing closer to you today.
AMEN


Photo Credit: kt.beyondperception via Compfight cc

from ‘On Holiday with God’ Sue Pickering 2012 Canterbury Press, Norwich

Refresh – Journal of Contemplative SpiritualityVolume 12, Number 1. Summer 2013. I

Sue Pickering wonders often about retreating to a bach at Kinloch and being a granny,
but in the meantime is engaged in a stimulating mix of aged care chaplaincy; writing;
SGM Workgroup; spiritual direction, retreats and supervision; Cathedral governance;
learning the piano and occasional quilting. Helping others recognise the sacred Presence
in the midst of life is a continuing passion.

 

You just finished reading ‘Lover. I wriggle under the implication of that word’. Consider leaving a comment!
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Disclaimer: I have never juggled snowballs.

On Juggling SnowballsPhoto Credit: shenamt via Compfight cc

Sometimes I get a picture or a story, I believe from God, that needs to be prayerfully thought about.

 I had one of those the other day.

 I was juggling snowballs, and actually I was doing a pretty good job of it too, if I can modestly say for a non juggling Aucklander where it never snows.

For me I want to surrender to the ambiance of God’s love flowing around my juggling snowballs.

  Snowballs were flying high up into the air and I was enjoying the rhythm. I was having a party.

 I, like you most likely, have a busy life. Snowballs symbolising all the various roles I have. Husband, Father, Pastor, Gardener, Trugmaker, Blogger etc.

Keeping all those balls flying requires a certain rhythm, almost a musicality to the movement. Round and round, up and down, flying high up into the air.

There is however a relationship going on here that enables me to juggle. Its unseen, unrecognised and possibly taken for granted.

 The relationship between the snowball and the temperature of the air.

Ambient – relating to the immediate surroundings of something.
Ambiance – the atmosphere of a place

 

For those snowballs to hold their shape, there must be an cold ambient temperature to keep them frozen. A few degrees of warming will cause the solid to turn to mush. Juggling will become more of a slushy mess than entertaining experience.

 

That which is unseen and out of our control does have an effect on us.

 

Scary thought isn’t it. Something beyond your control, manipulation and power, having an influence over you.

The snowball juggler surrenders to the ambient temperatures ability to hold it all together. The juggler can play, do tricks, have fun all because the atmosphere is perfect.

Just try this little exercise for a moment.

Imagine God thinking about you.

What do you assume God feels when you come to mind?

When I ask people to do this, a surprising number of people say that the first thing they assume God feels is disappointment. Others assume that God feels anger. In both cases, these people are convinced that it is their sin that catches God’s attention. I think they are wrong-and i think the consequences of such a view of God are enormous. David Benner

 Honestly, deep down, at a raw emotional level what is the ambient temperature of God for you. Are you trying to appease an assumed angry God? If you are then you will never juggle with joy and spontaneity.

 For me I want to surrender to the ambiance of God’s love flowing around my juggling snowballs.

Gravity may hold planets in orbit and nuclear force may hold the atom together, but only love has the power to transform persons.

Only love can soften a hard heart.

Only love can renew trust after it has been shattered.

Only love can inspire acts of genuine self-sacrifice.

Only love can free us from the tyrannizing effects of fear.

David Benner

 

What will it take for you to surrender more of yourself to that love?

Those who specialize in firm exhortation, think less of enjoying God as “Abba” and more of obeying him as a sergeant. Larry Crabb

 Questions to consider and leave a comment.

  1. What is the ambient atmosphere surrounding your life? Fear? Love?

  2. What do you assume God feels when you come to mind?

  3. How do your assumptions about God affect you?

Barry Pearman

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