Saturday, 26 February 2011

Here in dust and dirt, O here
The lilies of His love appear!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Drunken mistakes.

"Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit."

If recollection and mine eyes serve me well enough, getting drunk on alcohol tends to make people do silly things, things they would be less easily tempted to do when sober, and often things that they regret shortly afterwards.

I could argue that being filled with the holy spirit has a similar effect. Contentious? Maybe.

Make no mistake, I don't purport to be 'filled' with the spirit. I reckon it's in me, but I don't feel at full capacity. Anyway, this week has been quite demanding and really challenging in terms of faith and the like, and so I've maybe asked for a little more, paid a little more attention, invested and stepped into more of what God's got on offer. Exciting and humbling times. This meant that after the crazy few days, I was buzzing a little bit still, and whilst sauntering around the peace gardens (actual, not metaphorical), chucked up an optimistic, jovial, on-the-offchance-because-i'm all spiritualized prayer to change a particular aspect of my life and help me stop messing up.

Anyway, later, when spiritual sobering had taken place, I was slightly perturbed to discover that God had taken me at my word and stepped in, cutting off my route to that particular form of screwing up. Brilliant! Except, the truth is, when we're really honest, we like to sin. Not great to point out, but if it wasn't fun, appealing and pleasurable, it wouldn't really be an issue. So here's me, the morning after as it were, berating my yesterdayself for being so stupidly intoxicated that I would do something so silly as to pray a real prayer.

Obviously, I am thrilled at this really. But it has highlighted how much conflict there is in us. In me at least. And why minds really do need to be renewed before any change of actions can be made effective. Change your heart before you change your shirt.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Pink fluff.

Valentines day.

I partake quite contentedly in the viewing of this holiday as overly commercialised, money-making, obligatory and clich├ęd. Why should one day be designated for showing affection anyway? It's status as such demands that all other regular days be made less. Bad times.

Rant averted. There are redeeming factors.

As somebody who lives for love, joy and all things beautiful, I choose to avert my eyes from the mush of Valentines day and think rather about the fact that love is on the minds of a large proportion of the population today. Whether they're in it, wanting it, remembering it, missing it, resenting it, people are acknowledging the most incredible thing in existence.

Because what else could make somebody live for another person? Or die for another? It's incredible and it's powerful and it's the thing that leaves me with no doubt in my mind that God exists. When love remains against all odds, selfless, serving, forgiving, patient, I know that we were made. Love is the fingerprint in the painting of the world.

God was blatantly a fingerpainter.

Anyway, I hope that somebody, somewhere today, wonders how they love, and how they're loved.

I could harp on about this subject for literally hours. I have done in the past. And will again I'm sure. It's worth it.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Tireless hope.

So, I've had a really bad week in terms of getting things done. Work for uni has happened, and that's a new experience in many senses. But top of my priority list was designing flyers for Healing on Campus.

I kept sitting down to do it and just getting so stressed. I found myself unable to write the gospel down in a way that didn't make me want to implode. I fear regurgitating cliched words that can only be said outloud with a misty look on a lofty face. I hate religious language. If I can learn to speak without saying 'sanctified' and 'redeemed' every other sentence then I'll be on my way. Make no mistake- I live for this- I love what God has done for me, for everyone, and I in no way wish to devalue that. It's just this whole semantic field that's so specialist and exclusive. I feel like a subculture, separate from the world we're living to reach.

I had no idea how to explain on the flyers how we have authority in Jesus's name to heal the sick- because He died on the cross- to be the perfect sacrifice for sin- which is us turning against God- and thus because of all this we're heirs and that means we inherit everything that Jesus has from His father...there's so much assumed knowledge when we talk about this sort of thing.

So I asked if God could let me know what to say, how much, and what the message needs to be.

And it turns out that He just loves us.

Beauty.


So I got on with it. Simple. He wants to heal. Heal what? Everything. Wrote them down. Why? Because He loves us. How? Through the cross.

So, for about two hours I've been staring at a selection of 20 conditions that God can heal. Just moving them, reshaping, resizing, bigger, smaller, here, there. And just through doing this and thinking about how soon we'll be offering prayer to people for these very real things, my faith's tripled. I struggle with healing. I don't get it all the time, and there have been admittedly bitter disappointments for me in the past in terms of asking for others to be healed and it not happening. This made me really nervous about going with this initiative, especially this year. But I've just spent 2 hours making the words of sickness fit into the shape of the cross. And Jesus spent His last hours putting the real forces of sickness and death under Him on the cross, so I think it's probably going to be okay.

Exciting times. I think the kingdom of God's actually bursting in.

(Still twitching at the terminology).

Nevermind.

"Death is a cold, blindfolded kiss.
It is the finger pressed upon our lips.
It puts an unwanted emphasis on how we should have lived.
Life is a gorgeous, broken gift.
Six billion+ pieces waiting to be fixed.
Love letters that were never signed, sent to where we live.

But the sweetest thing i've ever heard is that i don't have to have the answers,
just a little light to call my own.
Though it pales in comparison to the overarching shadows,
a speck of light can reignite the sun and swallow darkness whole."

-Sleeping at Last (predictably?) : Emphasis


Sunday, 6 February 2011

Frosted glass.

So, everything's rather exciting at the moment. But consequently I'm pretty overwhelmed with things to do and directions my mind should be looking in. I wish really that I could just step out for a few hours, look down on it all from a very big height, and organise from up there. Someone once told me that to God, the world is so small that the highest mountain ranges, all jaggedy and loomy to us, look smooth- the earth is like a marble. I guess this is one reason that He should be the port of call when we're panicking.

Friday, 4 February 2011

if nothing else, we're given a little time
to change the heart in which we change our minds;
our hourglasses turn.

this year is a sealed envelope;
with apprehensive hope
we brace for anything.
i swear, i understand that nothing changes that,
the past will be the past,
but the future is brighter than any flashback.

well, we could let our guards down a little easier this time,
we could trust that when there's joy, there's nothing dark behind.
in spite of history,
hope is january white.


~January White, Sleeping at Last.