I love this window, the babe, the Redeemer reveals His Sacred Face. I think of Mary and Joseph Waiting for Him, getting together the things a baby needs, watching and waiting. Outside of Church and Lady Chapel the world rushes on and yet, there are some, mums and dads to be, maybe who are, even in the throes of busyness ~ just waiting ~ whatever you are waiting for ~ we pray you are rewarded with joy. Posted with love from Rowley Church to all who will visit this coming Christmastide.
The garden has its seasons. Many autumns ago, the Briar Rose was planted. A bare root; so bare I wondered if it would survive the frosts, ice and snow of winter.
But it did producing that first spring time its small white flowers and delicate perfume and then as summer progressed Rose Hips to provide food for my friends the birds and for me colour on a grey, wintry day, the stems of my Briar Rose stay vividly green throughout winter
So, with the garden of my soul, I want to choose well what I sow and plant, to ensure I produce good fruit in all seasons:
Love, Joy, Peace, Forbearance, kindness, goodness,
Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control
(Galatians 5:22 N.I.V)
But, you know what, as with my garden, the weeds and wild things get in, they blow in on the wind, under the fence, over the fence, by every means fair and foul, from the wild wood surrounding my soul garden, they leave me no choice, these things which I didn’t want but to set to with tools called watchfulness and prayer. Life in the wild wood called the world, is wild, rough, tough, dangerous and threatening to my soul’s garden, yet sometimes, just sometimes I feel sorry for the wild wood because it is in need of of the Forester’s care and attention and perhaps, just perhaps mine?
How can the wild wood, the wild things of our wonderful, exciting times be changed?
In whose way of love
Lies the secret
Of all life,
And the hope of all people,
We pray for quiet courage to match
We did not choose to be born
Live in such an age:
But let its problems challenge us,
It’s discoveries exhilarate us,
Its injustices anger us,
Its possibilities inspire us
And its vigour renew us
For your kingdom’s sake.
(Prayer from a prayer card created for the Lambeth Conference 1998)
And Jesus said:
“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you”
Open our eyes to your Presence
Open our minds to your grace
Open our lips to your praises
Open our hearts to your love
Open our lives to your healing
And be found among us.
Because it is lovely to know the Lord is there at our side, even before we open our eyes on a Monday morning, or any other day of the week, because every day we need His grace…
From my quiet corner to yours…peace.
You must go and find out.
You must go and discover whether there is anything
In that world for you.
Promise me that you will go.
(Andrew Harvey, A Journey in Ladakh
The name, ‘Tides and Tidings’ was born from the pages within a journal
Like so many, from the beginning of my adventure with God, I have kept a simple diary, keeping safe the many blessings, memories of things done and said together. Ah yes, a simple soul and the Lord
do and say things together. Like faithful marriage partners of many years we have been together a long, long, time the Lord and I. Looking back through the years, reading in my journals, I have at times been, to say the least, not the best of ‘partners’ often misunderstanding, often downright petulant and quarrelsome. Yet, my most patient of Teachers has persevered and perseveres, always giving, always loving, always waiting for me to catch up with Him. He leads, I follow.
‘Rule a wide margin’ He said.
And within that wide margin are recorded all the fresh new insights given, over the years, when praying … a wide margin, full of faithful, patient guidance, words of encouragement, love.
Years before the first issue of ‘Tides and Tidings’ I was pondering over these words, from Pilgrim and Dom Helder Camara
When your ship,
Being moored in harbour,
Gives the illusion of being a house,
When your ship begins to put down roots
In the stagnant water by the Quay,
Put out to sea!
Save your boat’s journeying soul
And your own pilgrim soul,
Cost what it may
And, I realised that I was called to sail the Ocean Less Explored, an Ocean known to many as prayer, I am still sailing, still discovering.
Did the Lord say, “Promise me you will go”
Well not quite, He said, “Promise me, we will go together.”
May the Lord bless all your ‘comings in and going out’
God the Lord has opened a door
Christ of hope. Door of joy!
Son of Mary, hasten Thou to help me:
In me, Lord Christ, let there be joy.
The one who was no less than God
took on the flesh of lowly man,
and came to wash the feet of clay
because it was Your holy plan.
And I no greater than my King,
would ever seek a place of humble service in Your house
to gaze into the light that is your face.
No one regards the battered door with admiration, no one values it, it simply stands there and serves. It wins no awards for its attractiveness, it will never be hailed as a celebrity, and the photographer from the local news, won’t be calling any time soon.
The door isn’t worried, it just stands and serves.
The door reminds me of Jesus. The Lord, who served.
The Lord who said,
“You call me, Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.
If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
For I gave you an example that you should do as I did to you.”
(John 13: 13-15 NASB)
This post is dedicated to all God’s faithful ones, who like this battered door, have stood in their allotted place, year in, year out: not seeking to be the main attraction but to serve quietly and unnoticed, not offended by the kicks and knocks of life, but continuing, faithfully just to be of some, little service to their Lord and their brothers and sisters. When such as these ask, it is given them, when they seek, they find, and when they knock, Christ the Door of joy, opens for them. The faithful are the blessed.
John the Baptist said;
“I baptise with water but among you stands one you do not know, He baptises with the Holy Spirit.”
“Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God, unless they are born of water and the Spirit”
The Spirit and the bride say,
“Come! And let the one who hears say, Come! Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.”
(Photo by Damian Peach posted on BAA website)
He knows my name. He knows yours
He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
His understanding has no limit.
I look up at the night sky and marvel.
I look into my heart and marvel more.
He knows and calls me by my name, he knows me, understands me, and yet still loves me.
Now that’s a marvel!
Psalm 147: 4-5 (NIV)
What is Lent for?
Compilers of Church Magazines are asked all sorts of tricky questions.
So I asked the Muse, who raised an elegant eyebrow and suggested I ask Rosy Mouse.
I pulled on boots, scarf and gloves and ventured down the middle path to the ‘Mouse-Hole’ – which all our readers know, is near (cannot publish exact location for Mouse Security reasons) the Celtic Cross at the bottom of the churchyard.
We had frost overnight, the air is clean and sharp, the sky an amazing blue, little pockets of Snowdrops everywhere, a good day to be alive and Rosy is Spring cleaning with her twig broom and pleased to have a chat.
‘Well,” she said, and I must ask you to bear in mind that Rosy, small mouse-mother that she is, spends most of her day thinking of food for her 14 children.
‘Well, I think, God always intended for us and Himself to be kind of like a big Swiss Roll, all wrapped up together, and sort of delicious, full of sweet goodness, so that it’s hard to say which tastes better sponge or cake, it’s just perfect together.’ Her little eyes became quite glazed over at this point….
‘And it’s like when the children are learning to walk, they’re so happy toddling along, holding Daddy’s hand, Fred (Mr Mouse to you) gets quite wrapped up with them, and it’s the same for them. Doesn’t last though, mice-lets and small people-persons like their independence, and can’t grow up fast enough, they let go Daddy’s hand and that’s when the fun and falls start. What’s important for us to know is that when we fall Daddy is around to help us up’
‘I think that’s what Lent is for, remembering that God wants to help us up and help us to pick up the pieces, and sort out the mess.’
The smallest sin is a fall, and a fall is a fall from God, and to fall from God is to fall the greatest height in the universe.
(From a Mirror Set at the Right Angle: Henry Drummond)
I always think that a New Year is like a new book, perhaps a Diary with blank pages to fill, and here we go, turning and filling the first pages in “2016”
The life of a Parish Church is a busy, bustle. Sometimes it is so good just to be still and quiet, to listen out for God. In our business we often forget, that our Heavenly Father just wants one thing, and that is our attention.
As the Lord Jesus said to Martha,
‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing, Mary has chosen the better part.’
If I only keep one, New Year Resolution it would be to spend more time just being still and letting God fill in the pages.