Archive for the ‘Meditation & Soaking’ Category

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Romans 5 – Word Cloud

May 24, 2013

Romans5

 

This morning I was reading Romans 5… and as I was reflecting on it I thought to create a word cloud from the chapter… and this is it.

The chapter talks of being made right with God by faith in Gods perfect gift, Christ Jesus… it talks of peace, it talks of undeserved privilege… to be able to stand… in confidence… in joyful hope.

And it goes on… we will experience troubles.

Why?

Faith is tested… tried… weighed…  as you would a precious metal or jewel.

Tested faith endures… develops strength of character… strengthens hope… Love wins.

I know of many people going through troubles at this time… to them (and to myself) I say “stay with it”… endure… let God develop in you the character he wants to draw out… come to His promised peace… a deeper relationship in Him.

Let the creator make you… let Him sign you as His own work…

And be sure of this… God is Love, God loves you (he sent His Son for you be in right relationship with Him), and He has given us His Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with love.

Hold to your faith in Him.

Grace and peace.

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Quiet Retreat Day – 20th April 2013

May 10, 2013

Kilravock-castleAt the start of this year, my wife and I felt a spiritual nudge… to facilitate a quiet retreat day…

Stillness and silence are very foreign to most of us – we all lead busy, noisy lives; balancing all the pressures and demands of the day, the week… the year. In some respects deliberately encountering stillness and silence are as about counter cultural as it gets.

IMG_0177So we went about organising a space, a place of quiet, where people could come for a day, have their ‘logistical’ physical needs provided for (shelter, food, warmth, safety, community)… so that they could engage spiritually in silence, stillness – ‘wasting’ time in the presence, the person of God.  Hearing not from a guest speaker, but from the source of life Himself.

Seventeen brave souls came along to meet in the silence, following our naive, inexperienced expression…. invite people to come and then get out of the way to let God work in each person.

IMG_0182And our ever faithful, ever loving, heavenly father… well…

He met each person where they were at.

The stories and the feedback we’ve received – are sacred… and  I won’t share them here… all I can say is that they were deeply meaningful to each person… way beyond what my wife and I could have imagined.

What this has shown me is that there is a place for stillness and silence in todays world.  A place were, when we intentionally close out the noise and business around us… to be with our beloved God… He is already there waiting for us.

If there is something that responds in you about this  – a desire to go silent, to go to the deeper places in God… well… we hope to run another retreat later this year, and you would be very welcome to join us.


The following links are to the blog of one of the folks, a writer, who came along and experienced the day…

Silent Retreat Day – The Cross

Silent Retreat Day – Playing With Pictures

Silent Retreat Day – Tent Pegs and a Ball of String

all by Melanie Kerr


Here are images of some of the resources created for the day…

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A walk in the trees – grace and the law

May 9, 2013

This morning I took a walk in the local woods.

forest1I was thinking as I walked along in the middle of a commercial, managed forest.

At a distance the woodland looked lush and green – but as I moved into the trees there was a different story.

I saw trees densely packed either side of the hard-packed logging road.  Imported species of trees, packed ‘efficiently’ together so that little or no natural light made it down to ground level.  In places great trees had fallen as their roots had little to grow in.  The pale gray soil devoid of health.

Where trees were harvested the ground looked like it was ruined, raped, shredded. Dead.

There was no life… it was a desert.  I couldn’t wait to get away.

I crossed under a railway line into a different woodland.

This place was chaos – differing varieties of indigenous, deciduous trees spread their arms to the heavens… grass and wild flowers grew in the dappled light.

forest2

The air smelt of buds, and flowers, and new growth.  Old trees seeming to gather round new shoots encouraging them to grow, to reach, to be.  Red winged butterflies, danced around. And where the ground was open, there was deep dark soil. Full of the potential for life.

The sound of bird-song was deafening.

Here – here I could have spent the rest of the day. Just being.

Selah.

At present I’m pondering about the law and grace… and something about my walk today made me think more about it.

I reflected on a passage from Matthew 19…

3 Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?”

4 “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’” 5 And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ 6 Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

7 “Then why did Moses say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away?” they asked.

8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended”.

Now while this passage is a response specifically to a question about divorce – it’s not simply that subject that Jesus response speaks to me.

Could it be read this way?…

The “law of Moses”, is a concession to your hard hearts – it is not what God had originally intended.

Under the law we have structured, managed, rules – right or wrong… things man can do to be efficient… Jesus called those who lived by the law whitened graves… like the managed forest… dead.  The fruit of the commercial forest is only the trees themselves.

What ‘Law’ does Jesus say we should follow… “love the lord your God with all your heart, mind soul and spirit. And Love your neighbour as yourself”… this is what God originally intended.  Grace…

The natural forest I was in today had an abundance of life… little structure to it, chaotic… but rich and fertile.  It’s fruit was colourful, wild and varied.

When we live into the calling to Love God, Love one-another… we are living as God intended, in that place of Grace.  It’s a fruitful, colourful, wild and chaotic place… but you’ll want to stay.

 

 

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Lectio – Leviticus 19:9-10

February 12, 2013

LectioDivina

I am reading Leviticus at present and today two verses in chapter 19 stood out for me.

“When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. 10 It is the same with your grape crop—do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God.”

To me these verses speak of the hebrew principles of hesed and mishpat… loving kindness and justice.

There is a kindness and social justice here… don’t strip every piece of crop from the ground, or grape from the vine… leave some for the poor, leave some for foreigners those without right to land…  it’s a call to keep away from greed, from an ‘All we can get’ attitude…

and are echoed again in Micah 6:8…

O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.

So these are the questions I have of myself today…

Have you done what is right today?…

have you loved mercy?…

have you shown loving kindness?

Have you lived in hesed and mishpat?

 

 

 

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Lectio – Psalm 19… the heavens declare…

February 4, 2013

 

LectioDivina

 

There is a saying attributed to St Francis that goes something like this “Preach the Gospel at all times; and if you have to use words”…

Psalm 19

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

The heavens declare the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.

 

Today – does your life declaring the glory of God?

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Fleeting Experiences of God – Reinier Sonneveld

January 31, 2013

Fleeting Experiences of God

by Reinier Sonneveld

We are in the Lady Chapel (Mariakapel) in Hoorn, The Netherlands. What happened there in 1968 has happened with thousands of church buildings in Western Europe: it became vacant.

Totally vacant? One day in 2012 a cloud could be seen in this chapel (see here), for less than half a minute. And that cloud gave light – the kind of thing that unfortunately did not happen when the pews were still present.

Berndnaut Smilde is a young Dutch artist. He delivers experiences. Earlier on, for instance, he sprayed a space full of hospital air, which brought back memories in the visitors of the times they were in hospital themselves. He also projected a rainbow on the photo of a landscape. Just for a moment you think it is real.

Nibmus2I suspect because his image is totally at home in a place of worship. In other locations his clouds sometimes come close to a magic trick. But here, in the mysticism of such an empty church space, the surreal character of this indoor cloud seems to fit.

Smilde titled his photo Nimbus. That is short for what we usually call a thundercloud. But it is also a halo or aureole around the head of a saint. How ambiguous! It is the same ambiguity that we also encounter in the ‘mysterium tremendum et fascinans’. Divine mystery fascinates, but also makes us tremble. We can call this ‘the fear of the Lord’. Whoever experiences God, feels an astonishment that comes close to fear.

With his title and choice of location Smilde himself hints at such a religious reading of this work. When it comes to clouds, believers have indeed often thought of God. When long ago the Jews fled Egypt, a cloud went before them during the day, in which God was present. When Solomon consecrated the temple, a cloud came down into the temple, designating that God had finally entered into the building. Later Ezekiel saw a cloud leave the temple and his conclusion was: God has left us.

That is what I see in this photo. This church may have been empty for almost half a century, but God is still there in a hovering, fleeting manner. This work by Smilde stands in a long tradition of transience. We all know sand and ice sculptures. Or think of street artists with their chalk drawings that are washed away by only one rain shower, or of the potato heads by Giorgina Choueiri that will quickly sprout and disfigure the faces.

It is fascinating that the ancient Hebrew nation experienced God’s presence as a cloud. A cloud can disappear just like that and changes its form constantly. But a cloud stands, at least in dry countries, also for hope. A fluffy spot on the horizon means rain. Out of that mysterious, elusive form flows tangible water that moistens the soil so that green shoots up. Somewhere in that cloud must live a source of life.

Apparently the Jews experienced God as both life bringing and elusive. God, the eternal one by definition, expresses himself in the transitory: a word, a name, a Jesus, a cloud.


The original article this is from can be found here: www.artway.eu

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Micah Bournes – Every Poem

January 14, 2013

Micah Bournes blends influences from rap, hip-hop, rhythm & blues and funk into his spoken word poetry.

Here is his take on every poem, every song, every thing… ever written… enjoy.

 

There’s more about his work and art here at: http://www.micahbournes.com/