I once was lost, now I’m found

Return of the Prodigal Son (Rembrandt, St Petersburg, The Hermitage)

Possibly one of the most well known paintings and possibly one of the most well known stories in the New Testament. It comes in St Luke’s Gospel, chapter 15, immediately following the stories of the lost sheep and the lost coin.

The Parable of the Lost Son

11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’

20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring[b] out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’

28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

“And no one gave him anything” (verse 16)

How sad it is that Christians seem to have nothing to offer in the way of a word of witness to help today’s lost sons and daughters begin the journey back home to their loving Father.

What have we done with the Gospel treasure entrusted to us?

Buried it maybe?

Many, in these last few days have recalled, being invited and going to hear Billy Graham, many have recalled it was something he said which started them thinking differently, turned their thinking around, so that they, literally came to themselves and began their journey back home.

Billy Graham preached a Gospel of Repentance, the Old Testament Prophets preached Repentance, John the Baptist preached a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, and Jesus began his ministry (Mark 1:15) saying “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel”


I can’t do otherwise than say, “I serve a risen Saviour who is in the world today, eager to turn hearts and minds around and bring lost sons and daughters home”


Snowdrops and the wilderness

In my part of the world, “Lent Lily” is the title of the sunny Daffodil,  but the small, humble and neat Snowdrop is the flower that most springs to my mind at this season.

Daffodils will be around at Easter, the Snowdrops are here now pushing their way up through the leaf litter to emerge triumphant as the harbingers of Spring.

Lent for us always begins in the cold, today, snow flakes have danced on the cold wind, so very different to the images of desert and wilderness portrayed by artists in their depiction of the temptations endured by Jesus in the wilderness. Our winter turning into spring is a wilderness of ice, frost, and in the churchyard, brittle, brown, grey, twigs and branches broken by wind and storm, and tenacious Snowdrops and Crocus. 

The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom like the crocus.

(Isaiah 35:1)

For, me, always, the sweet, humble Snowdrop, always arrives singing, 

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,

My glory and the one who lifts my head.

(psalm 3:3)

She has fought a hard battle, the little Snowdrop, but here she is…  singing the song of victory won; giving the glory to the Lord who keeps us in burning desert and icy waste, the One, who alone is His people’s strength. 

Born In The Night

A dark night, a cold night, a night to close the curtains shut the door, settle by the fireside and be thankful:

Thankful for a home, a shelter from the wet and cold, for protection from the perils and dangers of the night. For, outside in the world, which knows not, believes not, darkness holds sway.

The street is hushed, traffic movement stilled: words remembered sing themselves, silently in my spirit’s ear.

Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light

the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee to-Night.”

I shut my eyes, try, but cannot imagine what it would be like to be alone in the darkest, blackest of nights with no light at all. How would it feel to be alone in the darkest,  blackest, coldest of nights with no warm presence of  Christ wrapping me about with love.

While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.”

I think, of all who sleep, the weary, the worn, the sad. 

Of all who close eyes, and ears tight to shut out the pained cries of a world waiting for deliverance like a woman in childbirth,

How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given”

I give thanks, and am lost in wonderment, I praise God that like a child born in the night, I am safely delivered, and snuggle my head in my Saviour’s breast;

You see I once sang, so long ago,

“Oh holy Child of Bethlehem, cast out my sin, and enter in: be born in me to-day,”

And He did, and was, and this I know to be true, that he gives to me and all who believe and receive   Him the right to become “children of God.”

And so it was, that a man named Nicodemus came to Jesus by night (John 3.1) 

And so it is that like Jesus all of the Children of Day are born in the night, and so it is that all His Children carry within them the Light of Christ.

Posted in love for all listening for the song of the Morning Stars…. 

Waiting for The Carol Service

“”Once upon a time, I used to sing in the choir. In my day we wore white surplice, violet robe with ladies and girls sporting a three cornered hat. The small ones, girls and boys wore a frilly ruff and hated them!

Times change and St Giles Singers no longer sport the traditional garb, although always smartly turned out; and boys and girls no longer tug at ruffs, but the singing is angelic and I am waiting patiently for Sunday Evening’s  9 Lessons and Carols. 

This year I haven’t been able to sit in on the Singing Practices so there will be surprises, but no surprise can equal the one given  the shepherds out in the fields when the angel of the Lord showed up. Smelly Shepherds, in that day were held in as much respect as those who live on the streets today, unprepared,  ( we use that word in our Communion Service ~ “our hearts were unprepared”) wearing grubby apparel, sleeping in the open doing nothing to enhance their appearance, those shepherds were the last people expecting the Angel of the Lord, yet appear He did, together with a multitude of heavenly beings, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased” (Luke 2:14] (E.S. V)

I look forward to the Carol Service, and unprepared as I am, to seeing peace reigning on the earth.

Lord, I  pray for gentlenes, and your strength to be forgiving.  Lord Jesus  I ask for patience that I might understand and the blessing of endurance like yours to stand for all things that are just, and right, holy and good that I may know your peace and praise God aright all my days.Amen

(Image Pixabay)

All Good Things Are Worth Waiting For 

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.

Tamed Garden versus Wild Wood

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?

Saviour Christ,
In whose way of love
Lies the secret
Of all life,
And the hope of all people,
We pray for quiet courage to match
This hour.
We did not choose to be born
Or to
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”
(Luke 10:19)

Early will I seek you


O Lord,
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.
(David Adam)

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.

The Ocean Less Explored


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’

Door of Joy!

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.
(Twila Paris)

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.