Tag Archive: fear


I dream

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[p.9-10]

Why is the measure of love loss?

…You said, ‘I love you’.  Why is it that the most unoriginal thing we can say to one another is still the thing we long to hear? ‘I love you’ is always a quotation.  You did not say it first and neither did I, yet when you say it and when I say it we speak like savages who have found three words and worship them.  I did worship them but now I am alone on a rack hewn out of my own body.

…love demands expression. It will not stay still, stay silent, be good, be modest, be seen and not heard, no.  It will break out in tongues of praise, the high note that smashes the glass and spills the liquid.  It is no conservationist love. It is a big game hunter and you are the game.  A curse on this game.  How can you stick at a game when the rules keep changing? I shall call myself Alice and play croquet with the flamingos. In Wonderland everyone cheats and love is Wonderland isn’t it? Love makes the world go round. Love is blind. All you need is love. Nobody ever died of a broken heart. You’ll get over it… It’s the clichés that cause the trouble. A precise emotion seeks a precise expression. If what I feel is not precise then should I call it love? It is so terrifying, love, that all I can do is shove it under a dump bin of pink cuddly toys and send myself a greetings card saying ‘Congratulations on your Engagement’. But I am not engaged I am deeply distracted.  I am desperately looking the other way so love won’t see me.

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We are running a fortnightly bible study following our community dinner looking at the exegesis (interpretation) of the bible passages that underpin each of our community values. You can read the list of Values here so you know what’s coming up next.

These values can be relevant whatever context you live and work in just make the Word you own.


 

Value 6: Being honest about who we are

We value the humility and forgiveness required to live transparent lives in community.  We want to submit to each other in accountability and honesty, allowing Christ to use our weaknesses and failings.

Biblical basis: 2 Cor 12:9-10, 2 Cor 3:18



Let’s read the value together. What stands out?

All of those words – humility, forgiveness, transparency, submission, accountability, honesty elicit an emotional reaction – they’re strong words, they’re challenging words.

Not only are we often not rewarded  for being honest ,  we can be penalised for speaking up.  

It often requires vulnerability in the first place ‘weaknesses and failings’  are on display so then you’re open to a “hit”.

Once you start hating people it keeps going. Sometimes you have to forgive people and walk away.


 

 

2 Cor 12: 9-10

…there is no reason to think I’d end up with egg on my face if I did talk big about my own experiences. It would be the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but don’t get me started! I’d rather let my actions do the talking for me. Let me be judged simply by the value of what I teach and what I do. Any spectacular revelations I may have experienced in the past should not inflate your opinion of me.

……..And believe me, God has seen to it that they haven’t given me an over inflated opinion of myself. To balance them out and keep my feet firmly on the ground, I have been given a special gift — a real thorn in the flesh, a condition that torments me and causes great anguish in my body. Satan used it to try to derail me, but it is probably what has kept me on track. Of course I couldn’t see that at first. Three times I put everything else aside and gave all my time and energy to seeking the Lord for healing and deliverance. But the Lord said to me, “My generous love is enough for you. Your weakness clears the deck and opens you to my strength.”

……..So then, if it means that Christ’s strength will be all the more active in me, I will gladly wear my weaknesses like a badge of honour. Indeed, given the opportunity to talk about them, you can’t shut me up! So nowadays, whatever comes my way — failure, bad-mouthing, tough times, harassment, tragedy —I take it all in my stride and just allow Christ to come to the fore. You see, it is when I am at my weakest that I find the greatest strength.

 

2 Cor 3.10-4.3

The people back then were as thick-headed as the people of our own day — they could hear the words of God’s law read out, but it never seemed to penetrate their hearts and minds. It’s as though the scarf has stayed in place ever since to prevent anyone from catching sight of the glory revealed by the words. Only Christ can uncover what is hidden. It’s the same for anyone who reads the scriptures without opening themselves to the Lord for insight: it is as though the wool has been pulled over their eyes and nothing gets through but the bare words. It all changes when we turn to the Lord, though, because the Lord is a real eye-opener. The Lord and the Spirit are one and the same, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is the freedom to see clearly. The wool is pulled away from our eyes and we come face to face with the glory of God. This experience is truly transfiguring! We are set ablaze by the Spirit — lit up like the Lord — so that more and more we become like mirrors reflecting the glory of God.

……..We have nothing to hide then, and no reason to lose our nerve, for God has been incredibly generous in trusting us with a share of this work. We have sworn off any methods that we’d be ashamed to have brought to light. We don’t hide behind masks; we don’t do anything shifty or manipulative; and we don’t twist God’s word to promote our own agendas. Instead, we simply lay all our cards on the table and let our integrity speak for itself. By stating it plainly and living it openly in the sight of God, we give everyone the opportunity to make up their own minds about the truth.

 

©2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net


 

Read the bible. What words/ideas stand out?  What can we learn from the bible about living the Value: Being honest about who we are?

“We have nothing to hide then, and no reason to lose our nerve. for Go has been incredibly generous in trusting us with a share of this work…” in our current situation this feels like an important reminder – encouraging, challenging and comforting.

“To balance them out and keep my feet firmly on the ground, I have been given a special gift – a real thorn in the flesh…”  radical idea to reach for, being grateful for the thing that gives you pain and seeing it as a gift. Thanks… thanks SO much for this pain.

“…failure, bad-mouthing, tough times, harassment, tragedy – I take it all in my stride and just allow Christ to come to the fore” Paul was a bit smug wasn’t he?

Sometimes to try to please people we can try to be something we aren’t but we have to be true to ourselves.

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The reference in the passage to the scarf/wool being over our eyes and nothing being able to get through felt like a good excuse to pull out the veil I made – “…wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is the freedom to see clearly. The wool is pulled away from our eyes and we come face to face with the glory of God… we are set ablaze… lit up… we become like mirrors reflecting the glory of God.

These layers of the veil represent some of what I need to peel back (expectations, tradition, learned/taught behaviour, fear…) to be living as I was made to be.

What stops us from being able to be transparent?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity: The People’s Mike

Drawing on the idea of being one body – what holds you back is what holds me back. The People’s Mike is an exercise in naming and holding together.  As people call out words (anyone can have a go), the rest of the people in the crowd repeat the word in chorus affirming the speakers truth (perhaps our own) and confessing our own culpability because what harms you harms me – what is holding us back from being honest about who we are? What are we afraid of? One person calls it out and then we all repeat it together in chorus.

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Similarly, what leads one of us to wholeness might lead us all,  what makes it easier to be transparent? What helps us to feel ok about being honest about who we are? One person calls it out and then we all repeat it together in chorus affirming the speakers truth (perhaps our own) and calling ourselves into the community we seek to create.

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Closing prayer

Dear God, we’re waiting

Let us wait with hope

We’re waiting for things to seem clearer

Let us wait with peace

We’re waiting for the world to feel safer

Let us wait with joy

We’re waiting for the love our hearts cry out for

Let us wait with love

May we be kind to one another.

May we strive to be the answers to some of our own questions.

Amen

 

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Dance

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Dance fears,

dance anger,

dance failure,

dance sorrow.

Lead, and I

will follow

the steps that will

lead me to You.


Talitha Fraser

 

My way is all trust and love
– St Therese of Lisieux

As courage falters

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As courage falters

I turn to You.

I know better now

than to hope

for answers.

I hope merely

for company.

Talitha Fraser

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From 7 Sacred Pauses by Macrina Wiederkehr, p.40-41

Summoned from sleep
in the heart of night
my name is called
and, like Samuel,
I rise from my bed
seeking the caller.

Summoned from sleep
I am drawn into
the beating heart
of the One
who called me.

The angel of night
lights a candle in my soul
inviting me to listen
to the wordless song
of Divine Union.

Deep healing.
Deep listening.
Deep waiting.
Deep watching.
All of these become
a part of my night watch.

In the heart of the night
you prepare me to be
your deep healing
for all who watch
through the night
of their fears.

 

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Camping for Easter in the Brisbane Ranges and I have brought along Cheryl Lawrie’s beautiful Pocket Liturgies for reflection…

i.

We have decided not to die.

We have decided not to believe the voices of cynicism
the prophets of doom
the harbingers of despair
the proclaimers of fear
who speak loudly and only of death that’s inevitable.

we have decided not to die.

we have chosen to believe in life.

and now we must learn to live.

 

ii.

We have decided not to die.
and now we must learn to live.

to really live
to stretch and wonder and test and dare
to imagine the unthinkable
to defy the gravity of fear and despair
to find the faith that believes there is another story
of life, grace and redemption
and to live as though it is the only story.

we will listen for where God’s heartbeat is giving life to the world
and we will search,
wildly, unceasingly
until we find where our own heartbeat echoes in it.

and though it may mean letting go of all we know,
we will.

for we have decided not to die.

we have decided now to live.

 

[p.80, Hold This Space Pocket Liturgies by Cheryl Lawrie]

 


 

God, let me life a life called into living.
To see, to hear, to be awake
Let me believe in life and believe in You.
“to stretch and wonder and test and dare
to imagine the unthinkable
to defy the gravity of fear and despair
to find the faith that believes there is another story
of life, grace and redemption
and to live as though it is the only story.”

Show me how to live God
how to live the life You
call me into
live a life by another story
as though it is the only story
when I lean and learn
into the story and the story
is still unfolding
that story is Yours
I am Yours
let me live

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Camping for Easter in the Brisbane Ranges and I have brought along Cheryl Lawrie’s beautiful Pocket Liturgies for reflection…

 

 

Gethsemane – A Meditation

The night is always our undoing.
All you knew to be certain becomes unknown.
All you knew to be right and true and good is tested against the shadows and whispers of loneliness and fear.

It comes up wanting.
How did it seem, just hours ago, in the company of friends and a little food and wine, that there was nothing the world could throw at you that you couldn’t overcome?

You know otherwise now.
The daylight reminders that life surrounds you, without thought, just simply existing, have gone.
The hum of a song, the overheard conversation, the sudden shock of sunlight caught through the corner of an eye – have drained from the air. It waits, empty, ready to be filled by a lurking tangle of powers and forces beyond our knowing.

How can the world sleep?

And in the middle of this night, all words of logic and good theology, articulated with certainty and clarity just yesterday, collapse and crumble, as you grasp for them, desperately, to make sense of what will come tomorrow.

But there is no sense to be made of this, at least none that holds up to the rigour of testing in the cold, dark garden of night.

You try to pray to the God you knew yesterday.

Every noise becomes sharper, has a meaning beyond itself. That footstep must belong to an intruder, or an army. A voice calling is that of an accuser, a coin falling will be the herald of betrayal. A branch snapping is an echo of a soul breaking.
Any way but this one, God.

The shadows reach out, tempting, and for a moment it seems easier to succumb, to walk into all they may hold – terror, of course, but certain terror, of your own making.

But that’s not the way of this night.

You wait as the world sleeps around you.
Loneliness is your only companion,

and fear is that which knows you best.

 

[p.70, Hold This Space Pocket Liturgies by Cheryl Lawrie]

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[p.28-29]

COMMUNION

If the Fire has come down into the heart of the world it is, in the last resort, to lay hold on me and to absorb me.  Henceforth I cannot be content simply to contemplate it or, by my steadfast faith, to intensify its ardency more and more in the world around me. What I must do, when I have taken part with all my energies in the consecration which causes its flames to leap forth, is to consent to the communion which will enable it to find in me the food it has come in the last resort to seek.

So, my God, I prostrate myself before your presence in the universe which has now become living flame: beneath the lineaments of all that I shall encounter this day, all that happens to me, all that I achieve, it is you I desire, you I await.

It is a terrifying thing to have been born: I mean, to find oneself, without having willed it, swept irrevocably along on a torrent of fearful energy which seems as though it wished to destroy everything it carries with it.

What I want, my God, is that by a reversal of forces which you alone can bring about, my terror in the face of the nameless changes destined to renew my being may be turned into an overflowing joy at being transformed into you.

First of all I shall stretch out my hand unhesitatingly towards the fiery bread which you set before me.  This bread, in which you have planted the seed of all that is to develop in the future,I recognise as containing the source and the secret of the destiny you have chosen for me. To take is, I know, to surrender myself to forces which will tear me painfully away from myself in order to drive me into danger, into laborious undertakings, into a constant renewal of idea, into an austere detachment where my affections are concerned. To eat is to acquire a taste and an affinity for that which in everything is above everything – a taste and an affinity which will henceforth make possible for me all the joys by which my life has been warmed.  Lord Jesus, I am willing to be possessed by you, to be bound to your body and led by its inexpressible power towards those solitary heights which by myself I should never dare to climb.  Instinctively, like all mankind, I would rather set up my tent here below on some hill-top of my own choosing.  I am afraid, too, like my fellow-men, of the future too heavy with mystery and too wholly new, towards which time is driving me. Then like these men I wonder anxiously where life is leading me… May this communion bread with the Christ clothed in powers dilate the world free me from my timidities and heedlessness! In the whirlpool of conflicts and energies out of which must develop my power to apprehend and experience your holy presence, I throw myself, my God, on your word. The man who is filled with an impassioned love of Jesus hidden in the forces which bring increase to the earth, him the earth will lift up, like a mother, in the immensity of her arms, and will enable him to contemplate the face of God.

 

I fear

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the sun shines
and I fear the grace
given to me has gone away
somewhere like a bird freed
to a better and happier place
people are fleeing, drowning, dying
fear is a relative thing
you must look at me and think
I don’t know what fear is
I fear I don’t
and that desensitises me
to you somehow
lost, cold, hungry
should I call the cops on you?
that’s only called for if you’re
taking what I don’t want to give you
I’m sorry.
I’m sorry we cannot be more generous.

 

Talitha Fraser