Category Archives: Prayer

Fire and Wildfire


Fire and Wildfire

Fire…
Warming
Enlightening
Protecting
Bringing safety

You are the fire I seek, the fire I yearn for,
the fire I invite…

But sometimes the fire is wild…
Purging
Destroying
Martyring
Consuming

You are the fire I avoid, the fire I dread,
the fire I run from….
Until trapped, I turn to discover

The fire that consumes anger with solace
The fire that consumes bitterness with sweetness
The fire that consumes injustice with peace
The fire that consumes resentment with love.

And standing before the bush that burns yet is not consumed
The holy ground
The sacred space
I cover my eyes,
I throw away my shoes,
And pray that the flame that never dies
Will make its home in me.

by Margaret Tooley
Margaret Tooley lives in Auckland New Zealand where she works as a spiritual director and church musician. She believes her most vital calling is to encourage others to discover and use their gifts for the glory of God.
Refresh – Journal of Contemplative Spirituality Volume 12, Number 1. Summer 2013. I

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Contemplation is not trance or ecstasy

There is “no such thing” as God Because God is neither a “what” or a “thing” But a pure “Who,”

Contemplation is not trance or ecstasy
not emotional fire and sweetness that come with religious exaltation
not enthusiasm, not the sense of being “seized”
by an elemental force
and swept into liberation by mystical frenzy.


Contemplation is no pain-killer


In the end the contemplative suffers the anguish of realizing
that he no longer knows what God is;


This is a great gain,


Because “God is not a what,”
Not a “thing.”


There is “no such thing” as God
Because God is neither a “what” or a “thing”
But a pure “Who,”
The “Thou” before whom our inmost “I”
springs
into awareness.


A Book of Hours

Refresh – Journal of Contemplative Spirituality Volume 12, Number 1. Summer 2013. I
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Flow Motion

Flow Motion   You know those moments? I think we've all had them   Those moments When you are caught unaware Those moments When you least expect it

Flow Motion


You know those moments?
I think we’ve all had them


Those moments
When you are caught unaware
Those moments
When you least expect it
Those moments
Of inexplicable lucidity
When you slice off a sliver of time
And hold it gently
In the palm of your hand
Mesmerized
For a single, solitary
Flow-motion second


You know those moments?
Those bullet-time moments?
I think we’ve all had them


Where you catch your breath
And swallow your heart
Those moments
That reverberate
Through every hollow and strand of DNA
Those fundamental moments
That resonate
In sympathetic vibration
Resound
In harmonic excitation
Through every fibre of your very being
With the ebb and flow
The hum and thrum
The suprarational rise and fall
Of the divine Song


You know those moments
Those sweet, afterglow moments
I think we’ve all had them


That awaken the senses
And linger on the tongue
Like the tremulous thrill of your first kiss
Those transcendent, translucent moments
When you feel so alive
So uninhibitedly free
Those glorious manifest moments
That venture
Beyond the borders
Of intellectual propriety
With childlike curiosity
And dauntless, clarion faith
Moments where you expand up, up, up
On your tiptoes
Stretch your soul to the Sun
Arms outstretched to the fringes of the horizon
And plunge headlong down the rabbit hole
In the most exhilarating, electrifying free fall
Animatedly suspended
Upon billows of bliss
Frozen
Within a sliver of Immortality


For a single


Solitary


Flow


Motion


Second


***


— Mac, 2013

Mac Mackenzie


Mac Mackenzie is a folk singer, musician, poet, essayist, penny philosopher, slow life advocate & emerging minimalist. He speak’s English & Gaelic. He likes to dream and tell big fish stories. He like’s God & God likes him. You can read more of Mac’s work at his Blog Diary of an Arts Farmer and follow him onTwitter and Google+.


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Barry Pearman
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God of the Storm is Living in Me…

God in Me

God of the storm

is living in me…

The infinite power,
all consuming, overwhelming.
A furnace of energy where the
thunder is stored,
and where the lightening is born.

Resides in me?


Creator

Who makes moons that draw oceans;
stars to navigate by;
Whose vastness who can comprehend,
Whose footstool is the sky

Is contained by me?


Father

Who gave his only Son
Love that can only be measured by His suffering
Hanging on the cross
The cross ‘between the trees’

Dying for me…..

So that he might be resurrected, so that I might be redeemed

That he would dwell in me?


Oh Great God

Who encloses and indwells me
With the heartbeat of the blessed Trinity.
Whose river of living water
arises from eternity.

Never let me the forget the truth of your presence.
For he who seeks you only without
Fails to know the rivers of delight
Which flow from our innermost selves.

Oh Great God

Consume me, fill and transform me
Not only with head knowledge
But with a heart forever bonded
In relationship, in union with

You – Father, Holy Spirit

Son of God.


Ana Lisa de Jong
Ana blogs at Joy in a New Way  and you can follow her on Google+ 

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Barry Pearman
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Ruach – As I drew breath, fullness drenched me truly.

Ruach

As I drew breath
fullness drenched me truly.
The movement in my heart
splintered light so I could see
a vulnerable colour
holding every cell of me.
Fear was gone,
and in its place, silence;
clear indelible desire;
hope full of consequence,
and loving kindness
from the depths of anywhere
breathing yes with me.
Marlene Marburg
Marlene Marburg is spiritual director and PhD candidate with the MCD University of Divinity. Her poetry and images have appeared in anthologies and journals including Studio, Eureka Street, Going Down Swinging, Mascara, Page Seventeen, and Westerly.
She is married and lives in Melbourne.
Refresh – Journal of Contemplative Spirituality Volume 12, Number 1. Summer 2013. I

Ruach – The Hebrew language phrase ruach ha-kodesh (Hebrew: רוח הקודש, “holy spirit” also transliterated ruah ha-qodesh) is a term used in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and Jewish writings to refer to the Spirit of YHWH.

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I am Yours

I Am Yours

 

Before God I stand
Hands bowed at my sides
Offering the little I can:
‘I am Yours.’
No frills, no bells, no whistles.
Just fear and pain and ordinariness.
All that I am:
The good, the bad and all that’s in-between.
A simple gift
Offered in simple words:
‘I am Yours.’

 

And God’s hand reached out to me
Accepting the gift in its totality
A smile of pleasure
In moist eyes.
And then an echo whispered
‘And I am yours.’
All that God is
Offered to all that I am.
My eyes fill with tears
At the enormity of the gift.
The God of the universe
Gifting mortal me God’s self.

 

I am unworthy
But not worthless.
I am not understanding
But totally understood.
I struggle to accept,
Yet find I am accepted.
I wrestle with such love,
And find I am still loved.
‘I am yours,’
‘I am yours,’
Echoes in two hearts

by Jo Anastasiadis

Jo Anastasiadis is a born and bred Wellingtonian, wife, mother of grown children and spiritual director. She enjoys being outdoors, particularly walking on the beach, taking time out for retreats, and utilizing creativity in her relationship with God.

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

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I See You

Tui Flower Flax
 
I See You

I see
your signature written in a sunset sky
In soft shades of pink and gold.

I see

your reflection cast in the still river

Among the sunlit leaves, and green trees of old.

And its your smile..

I feel when I close my eyes
The grass under my hands; above me endless sky.

Your smile

I know when I stand high
on a hill, with the whole of forever in my view.

Your voice

I hear when the Tui sings
Praising creation, among the blossoms of spring.

Your voice

which soothes me in the song
of the sea, as the ocean meets the lonely shore.

And its your touch…

that stirs my soul, warms my heart
and woos me to the core.

Your touch

which I feel through every sense,
as I perceive the gift of this earth.

Take in the wonder of it all.

Ana Lisa de Jong

“The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.”  Psalm 19: 1-4

Ana blogs at Joy in a New Way  and you can follow her on Google+

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Smelling the Rose’s is Good for your Mental Health.

It was so quiet you could hear the silence.


This last weekend I was in Queenstown for a family members wedding. It was situated 10 minutes out of the busy tourist town on a farm up above Lake Wakatipu. For the weekend my eyes feasted on snow capped mountains, a beautiful lake disturbed only by an old steam boat chugging across it and gardens of hardy alpine shrubbery.


Then there was the silence. The lack of noise. If you stopped to listen you heard nothing but quiet. No busy motorway, clicking clocks or chiming cellphone.


It was a time and a place to ‘take time and smell the roses’.


Its a funny little saying that encourages us to stop for a moment in our busy world and to take in the beauty that is around us. We are often so busy and focused on the next thing that we neglect to embrace that which is right infront of us.


Do you think that God might ‘take time to smell the roses’?


David writes about God’s embracing love of us in Psalm 139. Just STOP for a moment and listen to the many different ways God wraps his loving attention around you.


God, investigate my life;
   get all the facts firsthand.
I’m an open book to you;
   even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.


You know when I leave and when I get back;
   I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
   before I start the first sentence.


I look behind me and you’re there,
   then up ahead and you’re there, too—
   your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
   I can’t take it all in!


Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
   to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
   If I go underground, you’re there!


If I flew on morning’s wings
   to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
   you’re already there waiting!


Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
   At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
   night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.


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.


Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!
   God, I’ll never comprehend them!
I couldn’t even begin to count them—
   any more than I could count the sand of the sea.


Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you! Psalm 139:1-18


David discovers God is constantly with him, ‘taking time to smell the rose’s’.


Does that fill you with fear as you reflect on the stinky parts of your life? Do recoil at the thought that God would be interested in you? Does this challenge your views of God that God is not distant and aloof?


Taking time to smell the roses invites us to connect with a creation that was designed by God for us to enjoy.


God, brilliant Lord,
   yours is a household name.
Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;
   toddlers shout the songs


That drown out enemy talk,
   and silence atheist babble.
I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
   your handmade sky-jewelry,


Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
   Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
   Why take a second look our way?


Yet we’ve so narrowly missed being gods,
   bright with Eden’s dawn light.
You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,
   repeated to us your Genesis-charge,


Made us lords of sheep and cattle,
   even animals out in the wild,
Birds flying and fish swimming,
   whales singing in the ocean deeps.


God, brilliant Lord,
   your name echoes around the world. Psalm 8


Taking to time to smell the roses brings us back to the centrality of the simple goodness around us.


We pause, shift our focus, smell a creative fragrance, and take in hope.


How do you ‘smell the roses’?
  1. STOP. Just pause for a moment, a minute, an hour, maybe even a day
  2. Smell. Use your senses to take in what is around you. It maybe the flower, examine it thouroughly for five minutes noticing the craftsmanship of beauty. Be silent and listen to the birds singing worship. Eat and drink slowly tasting the various flavours of your food until they become new experiences.
  3. Give thanks. Turn your experiences into prayers of thanks and worship. You may like to write a prayer or sing a song of worship. I am sure God would love to ‘smell the roses’ of your worship.
  4. Repeat. Spend some time each day just stopping, smelling and giving thanks.


Questions to consider and leave a comment.
  1. What benefits do think there would be in ‘smelling roses’?
  2. How do you ‘smell roses’?
  3. What happened in you as you realised that God ‘takes time to smell the roses’ of your life?


Barry Pearman
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Who are you Lord to me?

Solitary man lake


Who are you Lord to me?

Who are you wanting to be to me now Lord,
In this quiet and waiting place.
If I am waiting here quietly for you,
Then who are you to me now?

“I am the One who wants to draw you,
From the reservoirs there at your core,
Love and patience, gentleness, joy and understanding,
That get pushed aside in the busyness and hurt of life.”

“I am the One who keeps you in touch with you,
And so more real and open and honest and quiet with me.
I am the One who offers you my perspective
As you sit and wait and focus upon me.”

“I am wanting to be the quietner of your soul,
So you can live unfrazzled and at peace
In the midst of busyness with people
And the uncertainty of unknowing.”

Margaret Dunn

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Source: Spiritual Growth Ministries – Refresh Winter 2007
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What Juan Teaches me about Prayer.

worker man hard hat helmet

Perhaps you have heard the apocryphal story of a man I will call Juan.  Every day near dusk Juan would stop in a church on his way home from his work – hardhat in hand, often dirty or at least dusty, and obviously tired.  He would sit quietly in the back of the church for five or ten minutes, then get up and leave. 

Seeing him do this day after day, month after month, the parish priest approached him one day as he was leaving and told him he was happy that he used the church in this way.  Juan thanked the priest for leaving the church open so he could come in, saying that this was a very important time for him each day. 

The priest asked him in what way it was important.  Juan replied that this was his time with Jesus. 

He went on, “I just come in, sit down, and say ‘Jesus, it’s Juan.” 

“What happens then?” the priest asked.

“Well,” he replied,

“Jesus says ‘Juan, it’s Jesus,’ and we’re happy to just spend some time together”. David Benner 

Juan offers us a number of lessons about prayer. 

  1. Prayer is essentially about relationship. Juan and Jesus. You and Jesus.
  2. Prayer is about love. Juan was in love with Jesus and Jesus was in love with Juan. This love meant for Juan a desire to step aside and be still. 
  3. Prayer is connecting to someone who truly knows us inside and out. 
  4. Prayer is simple. You don’t have to know the right words to say, in fact you don’t even have to say anything at all. 
  5. Prayer is not all about bringing needs to Jesus. You can do this of course, but it about immersing yourself into the relationship that is offered.
  6. Prayer is not an obligation that you must religiously do. Like everything else it is a choice. Juan chose to form prayer into a beautiful habit everyday.  
  7. Prayer invites us to step aside from the noise and busyness of life to a place that is quiet and still. This peacefulness helps the communication channels. We don’t all have a church building where we can sit quietly a way from the noise of the street. Perhaps we have a room, a park bench, or chair where we can stop and be You and Jesus. 

Questions to Consider and Leave a comment.

  • What stirred in you as you read the story of Juan?
  • What stops people from spending 5 – 10 minutes  a day in quiet prayer?
  • Life can be busy and overflowing with ‘must do’s’. What do you think happened in Juan’s life by spending some time each day in quiet relationship with Jesus.

 Barry Pearman
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