Monday 11 December 2023

A Rambling Prayer for Advent, 2,3 or 4.

 

Lord God,

We wait for you.

We wait for you in a world of darkness, of war, of fragility

We wait for you in a world of poverty, despair,

Of fear, of disease, of hatred and anger and inequality

We wait for you gathered around your light

We gather like moths around a flame

We gather and are grateful for your light and the warmth of your love for us.

We gather and wait for your son, the sun of righteousness who casts away darkness and sets us free to live in your light.

We gather because there is nothing else we can do

We wait and watch for signs of peace

Signs of the kingdom,

For the reign of hope over despair,

For freedom from fear, light over dark, redemption over deceit.

We wait

And as we wait we light these candles to remind us that one day you will return.

We light these candles as a sign of light’s resolve against the dark

A sign of light that proclaims we are for hope

We are for the kingdom

We are your people and you are our God.

Lord God we wait with you.

And we wait for you.

For the fulfilment of all things

For that peaceable time to come.

Lord, thank you for the light of faith that carries us forward.

Amen.





Sunday 10 April 2022

An Introduction To The Peace for Palm Sunday 2022

 

Palm Sunday 2022 - Introduction to the Peace

We live in a beautiful world. Yet this world is consumed by violence, war and oppression. We gather in the midst of the chaos of this beautiful world. The violence of this world. The fear and anguish of this world.

We gather to share bread and wine, not separate from the events of this world, but inextricably as part of this world. Just as when Jesus entered Jerusalem he entered a city occupied by the Roman empire. A city caught up in the chaos of this beautiful world.

 

Jesus entered Jerusalem as a liberator, surrounded by the poor, the forgotten. They worshipped him laying cloaks and palm branches at his feet.

The Russian military entered Ukraine at the behest of a power-hungry dictator. The army followed his call and were met not with worship or songs of joy and liberation, but with firm resistance from a free nation.

Jesus entered Jerusalem accompanied by his followers, a rag-tag group of prophets, fishermen, tax collectors, zealots, including those with concealed knives, those with concealed motives.

The Russian military entered Ukraine with planes, helicopters, tanks, armoured trains, mercenaries, soldiers, invaders, including those who believed they were liberating an oppressed people.

When he entered Jerusalem Jesus faced down the vast and expansive Roman empire on nothing more than a borrowed donkey. His weapons were words of hope and acts of love. He spoke uncomfortable truth to power and turned the tables on a system that had lost its way.

The Russian military entered Ukraine with one of the worlds greatest military forces accompanied by a reign of fire and chaos and violence and blood and were met by elderly women bearing sunflower seeds and the guards of strategic islands all speaking truth to power.

As Jesus entered Jerusalem he began his final pilgrimage towards his victory. A victory shrouded in loss and devastation. A victory marked by the death of a political insurrectionist. A victory that looked like abject failure. The victory of death on a cross.

The Russian military entered Ukraine hungry for victory and causing loss and devastation across a whole nation. Looking for a victory marked by the planned assassination of a so called “Nazi” President. This hunger for violent victory sparked into a terror that has destroyed cities, families and led to the most heinous of crimes. Right now we can have no idea of what is a victory or a failure for the Russian military and we can have no idea of the pain of those whose lives have been destroyed by this terror. For the Ukrainian people a victory could be the end of hostilities and the retreat of the Russian military. But in the face of such devastation even this victory will hurt like abject failure.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem he did so knowing that to bring about liberation he would have to lay down his life, that through his sacrifice the deep peace of shalom might finally be pronounced. The same peace we gather to share today in the sharing of hospitality, the sharing of bread and wine, of word and prayer.

When the Russian military entered Ukraine they did so expecting an easy victory, expecting to be seen as liberators of the oppressed, with delusions of bringing peace. But the way of conquest and war is not the way of peace, of shalom.

Jesus entered Jerusalem to heal the hurts and divisions of this world. To speak faith, hope and love over the lies of the world and call people into following the way of peace.

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27 (NIVUK)

So now let us share in the peace that Jesus gives us, a peace that is not enamoured with the violence of war, but is instead hopeful and everlasting.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.

Let us offer one another a sign of Jesus’ unfailing peace.

The peace is shared

 

Friday 10 December 2021

Final Hymnal For The Wild released

 The final Hymnal for The Wild has been released, The Far Off Nearby. Delayed due to illness and various other things, the ebook is now available to download from Proost for free.

The hymnal series tried to wrestle and articulate something about the wildness of the call of God and what it means to live out our faith in the places we are.


https://proost.co.uk/news/2021/12/9/the-far-off-nearby






Wednesday 18 August 2021

some night thoughts

 some night thoughts about the news

the terrors of Afghanistan

and Haiti

and Covid

and Climate Change

and the sense that while it seems

that nothing changes

there is always hope (for many)

and no hope (for many)

even if right now

that very idea of hope can't be imagined





The original size image is below





Wednesday 28 July 2021

in your light

"in your light we see light" Psalm 36:9b

I'm increasingly aware of my own tendency at times, to not even notice moments of light in the maelstrom of everything else.

this is one of those verses that always catches my heart when I see it. this is a poet's verse and....

...asks us to do something, to be attentive to our surroundings and to look for the light therein.

but more, the verse gives us the lens through which we will be able to see what is to be seen, to catch a glimpse of something beautiful....

...only through this other light do we see the beauty and depth of the the first light.

sometimes when i witness something of beauty i can barely comprehend it, there is too much going on, so much potential, so much connectivity, like everything sparks into life.....

....through this other lens of light that is magnified enriched and the awe and awesomeness of creation burst into life.

"in your light we see light"




Saturday 24 July 2021

Repent



Not a huge fan of the word "repent" because of the baggage it carries for so many, but the concept is helpful, to turn away from former ways, to turn towards a different path. Peace to you.

 

 

Saturday 3 July 2021

10 years ordained

10 years ordained

This is just a splurge of thoughts (largely unfiltered)

Ten years ago today I was ordained deacon at Chester Cathedral.

It’s a common story, I’m reading lots of similar social media posts in the past few days of similar, “5 years ago”, “ten years ago”, etc, usually accompanied by a smiling picture of people wearing robes and stoles. Congratulations to you all!

I’m also conscious of amazing people being ordained today, one of whom I had great pleasure to work alongside for three years. Congratulations!

I’m also seeing posts from a few remarking on anniversaries of when they didn’t get ordained for whatever reason: peace and prayers for those people. I’m particularly aware of folk who weren’t ordained because the Church of England didn’t follow its own formational rhetoric and play by its own formational rules.

As a pioneer I’m also aware of the discourse in pioneering about lay pioneering and ordained pioneering and that’s a complicated picture made incredibly difficult by diocesan decisions to seek ordained pioneers, not because they are better pioneers buts o they can get more “bang for their buck” by getting ordained pioneers to fulfil the functions of priestly ministry. There’s also sometimes a lack of understanding that some of us ended up being ordained in part because that’s the route that was opened up for us by our vocations advisors, other routes weren’t even offered, eg. OPM

I’m also aware of wonderful people who have stepped away from parish ministry, or indeed ordained ministry, or indeed any form of “ministry” (whatever that means) and have stepped away from those things or are seeking to step away from those things for various reasons. Grace and peace to you all.

At the same time the Church Times is reporting on a new CofE initiative: https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2021/2-july/news/uk/synod-to-discuss-target-of-10-000-new-lay-led-churches-in-the-next-ten-years (limited free-views)

Original strategy document from the CofE here: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2021-06/GS%202223%20Vision%20and%20Strategy.pdf

With links to an event here: https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2021/2-july/news/uk/archbishop-of-canterbury-endorses-urgent-plan-for-church-planting (limited free views)

Now at this stage I don’t have anything to comment about the strategy document or the articles other than things like this are never binary, need nuance and the Church is always after the next silver bullet.

There are a number of different tacks I could take in my reflections on this but that’s for another time.

Meanwhile ten years ago today I was ordained deacon and the day of my deaconing was a delight and joy, the fulfilment of a beautiful vocational journey that had led to that point. There’s not much else to say about all of that except that what followed my deaconing didn’t really fit with what my vocational journey and my training prepared me for.

And as for my priesting, that followed eleven and a half months later, that was a complicated situation, an immensely confusing, painful, ridiculous day (except for the wedding Clare went to during my ordination and to which I went to afterwards!) and once again was followed by a realisation that the ordination itself and what it meant to the institution in terms of function didn’t really fit with what my vocational journey and my training prepared me for.

The journey following both ordinations has been a bit of a headswim too.

All of this to say that when I think of ordination I quite often think of this song by Moby and the Void Pacific Choir.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VASywEuqFd8

Peace.