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Ephesians @ FCOC

ferns

EPHESIANS 4: 7-16

But to each of us grace is granted and measured by the gift of Christ. Thus it says, “As He ascended on high, He led the captured away into captivity, He gave gifts to men.” But what does “He ascended” mean, except that He also went down into the lower parts of the earth? The One who descended is the very one who ascended far above all the heavens to fill the universe.

So He has given some to be apostles and others to be prophets; some to be evangelists and others to be pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the task of ministering toward the building up of the body of Christ, until we all may arrive at the unity of faith and that understanding of the Son of God that brings completeness of personality, tending toward the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. As a result, we should no longer be babes, swung back and forth and carried here and there with every wind of teaching that springs from human craftiness and ingenuity for designing error; but, telling the truth in love, we should grow up in every way toward Him who is the Head – Christ, from whom the entire body is fitted together and united by every contributing ligament, with proportion power for each single part to effect the development of the body for its upbuilding in love.

  • God’s grace and the scope of it are God’s gifts to me
  • The apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are NOT saints but are here to equip the saints.
  • “Building up until we all may arrive” – commitment to a process/a journey of growth through discipleship that brings completeness of personality… our personalities are not complete? “growing and transforming always… tending towards the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”
  • Guard against the human craftiness and ingenuity for devising …Guard against my own devising – conscious and unconscious.
  • Misuse of “telling the truth in love” – need to be telling my own.
  • We should grow up – Jesus the cornerstone
  • Fitted together and united – partners in building
  • Each single part to effect – each part necessary to the whole; if each part is necessary then tearing a part down or smothering it is counter-productive.
  • Upbuilding in love

Wedding

A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton

The fierce Dinosaur was trapped inside his cage of ice.

Although it was cold he was happy in there. It was, after all, his cage.

Then along came the Lovely Other Dinosaur.

The Lovely Other Dinosaur melted the Dinosaur’s cage with kind words and loving thoughts.

I like this Dinosaur thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur.

Although he is fierce he is also tender and he is funny.

He is also quite clever though I will not tell him this for now.

I like this Lovely Other Dinosaur, thought the Dinosaur.

She is beautiful and she is different and she smells so nice.

She is also a free spirit which is a quality I much admire in a dinosaur.

But he can be so distant and so peculiar at times, thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur.

He is also overly fond of things.

Are all Dinosaurs so overly fond of things?

But her mind skips from here to there so quickly thought the Dinosaur.

She is also uncommonly keen on shopping.

Are all Lovely Other Dinosaurs so uncommonly keen on shopping?

I will forgive his peculiarity and his concern for things, thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur.

For they are part of what makes him a richly charactered individual.

I will forgive her skipping mind and her fondness for shopping, thought the Dinosaur.

For she fills our life with beautiful thoughts and wonderful surprises. Besides,

I am not unkeen on shopping either.

Now the Dinosaur and the Lovely Other Dinosaur are old.

Look at them.

Together they stand on the hill telling each other stories and feeling the warmth of the sun on their backs.

And that, my friends, is how it is with love.

Let us all be Dinosaurs and Lovely Other Dinosaurs together.

For the sun is warm.

And the world is a beautiful place  

Do What You Can With That

cheryl lawrie

You see all and know all
or so they seem fond of saying

You call us beloved
which is all well and good from your side
but you can have no idea how hard it is to be loved.

We know the bit inside us
which is beyond loving;too awful to be named,
too hard to save,
even for you.

We confess that we do not believe you can change us.
We confess that we do not believe that we can start again.
We confess that we do not know how to have faith.

So do what you can with that.

Amen

 

Day @ the Library: Rumi

“This is giving your life to the one within that you know as Lord, which is a totally private matter. No one except you can judge how that is going. But if you’re not doing it, Rumi says, you are wasting your time here.” Coleman Barks. Preface, pg xv

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The Way of Love is:

  • the path of annihilation – die before you die
  • not religious
  • escaping into silence

Love writes a transparent calligraphy, so on
the empty page my soul can read and recollect.

  •  a mystical conversation or shobet
  • is learning through grief

My work is to carry this love
As comfort for those that long for you,
To go everywhere you’ve walked
And gaze at the pressed down dirt.

  •  discipline – polishing the mirror

 Rumi says an ecstatic human being is a polished mirror that cannot help reflecting. What we love, we are. As the heart becomes cleaner, we see the kingdom as it is. We become reflected light. The polishing may be related to practices, a devotion we do everyday that is an emptying out…

 What does it look like to remember who we are (our best selves) and acting from there?

What practices could we engage in that help us remember?

Drowning

What can I say to someone so curled up
with wanting, so constricted
in his love? Break your pitcher

against a rock. We don’t need any longer
to haul pieces of the ocean around.

we must drown, away from heroism,
and descriptions of heroism.

Like a pure spirit lying down, pulling
its body over it, like a bride her husband
for a cover to keep her warm.

Longing

Longing is the core of mystery.
Longing itself brings the cure.
The only rule is, suffer the pain.

Your desire must be disciplined,
and what you want to happen
in time, sacrificed.

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seedlings gardenReflecting today on the things we plant in the hopes of fruit to come.  We believe in planting so we do it but ultimately we have very little control over what grows and who it belongs to.  The pain is in our awareness of this and our discipline is planting anyway – even though we’re tired and someone else may receive the benefit of our careful tending, someone else may not like the plants we’ve chosen or where we positioned them and tear them out like weeds.  The thing that I value is only valued by others if they want it themselves.  What I grieve for, is not this house, much like another having four walls and a roof, but the harvest hoped for here that will not be realised by me.

There is a large harvest, but few workers to gather it in.  Pray to the owner of the harvest that he will send out workers to gather in his harvest.

 

The thing…

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I will tell you something that has been a secret; that we are not all going to die, but we shall be changed.
1 Cor 15

I am hungry. I am full. I am empty. I am all these things in You.

These words from Corinthians bear hope for me. They give me a sense of space and flexibility where I have felt rigid and tight. This is the gift of Your grace and I am grateful for it.

We draw lines in the sand and then are constricted by the confines of the smallness of our own imaginations. This is why we require You and cannot trust to our own abilities.  Let me confess I am slow to seek You, You speak but I do not hear, I look but do not see what You would show because I imagine I know. Give me the grace to know all I do not know, humble me to be dependent on You always and in all things.

Is our destination to You outside of ourselves or inwards? Both at the same time? It was clever for cities of old to be built as a maze with the church at the centre.  You would always have a sense that you could not get lost because you’d have some understanding of where you stood in relation to God at all times.  Sometimes near.  Sometimes far.  Even a deadend is useful in that we have learned the way not to go.  Perhaps we find a place along the Way that is comfortable and we do not wish to go any further? Perhaps if we go too far we will not be able to find our way back? …but that is a fallacy – there is only ever forwards.  Our commitment to God needs to be this, that ‘I will keep on moving forwards’.  This page, limited to two dimensions, the image could seem to ascend or descend but it would be better to imagine some sort of Cubist mobile suspended in space and time in constant motion.

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This is our God.

This is why I – and you – can be made new

in every moment, made anew, renewed

in every moment.

 

 

Eco-cosm

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This discipleship, or growing up, or whatever you want to call it is the process of discovering and defining our own ecocosm.  Each book of spirituality invites me to visit other peoples’ ecocosms and this is useful in as much as it assists with the awareness and structuring of my own.  This is where churches suit or not, where communities thrive or not… space needs to be allowed/created for the expression and fuelling of our individual ecocosms. In knowing others better I know myself and this is the strongest recommendation I can make for living in community.  In clarifying all the ways that I can understand 1-am-not-you, I can be affirmed in all the ways-I-can-be-my-best-self. We are each of us individually knitted in the womb, the hairs on our head counted, each of us made by God, each of us co-creators with God. Walk the path set before you to walk.  God is with you exactly where you are right now.  God has put people around you who need you, God has put people around you who can help you, inspire you, teach you… Ask always “What is the next step?” What is your leading edge? Our God moves and invites us to walk along the Way.  Pray “Here I am send me” and take a copy of Dr Seuss’s ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go’ because it’s the closest thing to a handbook there is.  I’m a Type 2 in the Enneagram, I am INFJ in Myers-Briggs, my top 5 in Strengths Finder are: Belief, Restoration, Responsibility, Individualisation and Strategy, I am single in a world where marriage is the dominant culture, I am a woman in a male-dominated culture, I am mad in several specific but (hopefully) endearing ways and a product of my family of origin and the sum of all my life experiences to date.  I am my own ecocosm.  I need to own my own ecocosm.  No one else will tend it for me. I need to consciously tend my ecocosm – who can I meet up with? what can I read? where can I travel? how can I see anew, with new eyes, those familiar things that are so easy to take for granted or become complacent about the vital life breath of why-I-am? This might be right within the four walls of exactly, specifically, particularly where I am right now.  There is a story of an American Indian elder speaking with his grandson:

“…there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, and resentment. The other is good. It is joy, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and bravery.”

The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”

i tell you arise

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