Friday 27 June 2014


Open your doors to the awkward voiced callers,
Serve bread and wine at the feast of the freaks,
Listen to a sermon from a passing by neighbour,
Sit on the floor and kiss the feet of the righteous,
Chance to encounter Christ at the bus stop,
Buy all the Big Issues from the girl from Romania[1],
Prepare the guest room for the travelling hobo,
Cancel the meetings and entertain the seeker of asylum,
Forfeit the services and replace them with service,
Revoke the debts of the street sleeper who owes you,
Buy home insurance from the door to door seller,
Give the church’s silver to the man[2] collecting scrap,
And finally expect a reward that’s utterly unexpected.

[1] In Nantwich, our Big Issue seller is from Romania.
[2] It’s gender specific for the reason that in Nantwich, there’s a well known local gent who pushes a huge trolley around town seeking scrap metal.

Friday 20 June 2014

LECTIONARY FIRST SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY: Whispers in the Dark and a Cross on the Horizon (Matthew 10:24-39)

Tarrying onward
Carrying homeward
Dreams and stories
Tales of the past
Following a well-worn course
Stepping into the future with every new morning
Bringing forward words that the saviour has said
Sheltering the hearts of those who cannot take another step
What’s said in the dark must be spoken in the light
And what is whispered in our ears must be shouted from the rooftops
Which paints a painful picture
Of whispered words that must be shouted
Of darkness giving over to light
When all the while, standing there on that horizon is a cross-shaped hole
A cross-shaped hole waiting to be made whole
Following that progression of steps
Not to somewhere sacred but somewhere deranged
Past the place where the well wishers turn away and head back to church
These ways are dark
Inhabited by shadows
And the voice of God
Lay down the facade of perfect sainthood
Bring on the doubts and the doubters and the doubt shouters
The teachers of untruths
Ultimately uncouth will be unloosed from the webs they entangle
Snares broken down and borne away to a lonely grave
Rife with cost
This walk
Tearing families apart
Tears tearing down well-loved cheeks
Tears tracing tracks through tear-soaked pillows
Weep not for what you know
But for what might never be known
Pour out praise for a man who beckons
Onward to your cross
Scatter in red rust dust the dalliances of another day
Turn anew towards a pre-redacted way
Savour sharp flavours on the tips of your tongue
Taste the words that remain in your ears
Speak a truth from within
Just begun
This life
This Son

Wednesday 18 June 2014

LECTIONARY TRINITY SUNDAY: Sent (Matthew 28:16-20)

Sorry for the delay with this one. And its based on the passage, not too much on the Trinity!

The sending out was not an ending
But a beginning
Laden with cost
With its walk towards the cross
On the surface
The simplicity and synchronised
Would have been
So very overwhelming
These actions
A new formula
From which to form life
A recipe viewed
And observed
Participated in for
Three short years
Until the family recipe was
Passed on
‘Make disciples’
Even in worship some doubted
Yet all were sent
Carrying hopes
Bearing losses
Dreaming of futures
Imagining crosses
Preparing to live
In a new mode of being
With the faithful teacher
No longer seen
And with aspirations reframed
They went
To this world lent

A quote I read recently, it’s not necessarily something new, the emphasis can be found in Bonhoeffer and many more), but it’s helpful to me:

‘Put simply, to undertake the reJesus project one must first be committed to being marked by Jesus, to submit oneself to being shaped and changed to reflect more and more the lifestyle and teaching of Jesus.’

Michael Frost & Alan Hirsch, ReJesus: A Wild Messiah For A Missional Church (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2009), 35.

Friday 6 June 2014

LECTIONARY PENTECOST: "Fire of heaven" (Acts 2:1-21)

Fire of heaven ignite in us
You are the Lord, you are the Lord
You are the lord of all

Fire of heaven you call us home
Into your arms, into your arms
Into your loving arms

Fire of heaven open our eyes
To see your glory, to see your glory
To see your glory and adore

Fire of heaven break through all pain
Set captives free, set captives free
Set captives free today

Fire of heaven break out in us
Release your gifts, release your gifts,
Release your gifts we pray

Fire of heaven you deserve praise
We worship your throne, we worship your throne
We’ll worship your throne always

Fire of heaven defeater of sin
Welcome us in, welcome us in

Welcome us into your heart

Hi all, just two notes (with 3 extras) to go with this reading:

1. I've not used the gospel - it's Pentecost, it has to be the Acts reading!

2. The idea behind this piece came from a moment of prayer when the words of the first verse dropped into my head,

"Fire of heaven ignite in us, you are the Lord, you are the Lord, you are the Lord of all" 

The words felt like they came with something of a tune/melody and so I've written the rest of the piece to fit with that.

Now, three more things:

A. I'm not a singer or a songwriter in the traditional sense of the words: I don't write formal structured music, I've tried before and found writing words to fit arrangements or melodies is more musical hassle than I have the skills to deal with. I therefore know that in some verses like the third one, there are probably two too many syllables or beats or something - and so it goes on.

B. This felt very much like the potential beginning of a collaborative piece, which might be of use to folk as we approach Pentecost, you might like to add your own verses (whether they fit in terms of beats and syllables or not). I've been thinking about Taize chants for a while (and AntiTaize too - more on that later)

C. in an act of utter vulnerability I've attached a link to Soundcloud where you'll be able to find a one take recording with lots of pitching problems, issues with tune (yes I know) and awful singing, but as I'm not someone who writes music and I didn't want to just leave a "hummmm" track on Soundcloud I've put a vocal recording on there. Listen / giggle / create / ignore - I'm easy.

In a further act of vulnerability, if anyone does decide to write extra verses to this thing, please feel free to leave a comment below, or alternatively go do it on Twitter with the hashtag #fireofheaven 

Bless you.

also, if anyone wants to re-record a version that sounds better and actually fits, please do, I'll happily put it on soundcloud and link it here!

Sunday 1 June 2014

LECTIONARY SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER: "I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world" (John 17:1-11)

“I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world”

“I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world”
And in the world they will remain
Called to walk in paths of light
Sent out to preach hope
And embody love
All their days they will walk with God
Brought out from under the shroud of sin
Freed to speak awkward truths
And unpopular words
Bearing on human shoulders
A message of divine grace
Full of the love of the one who sent them.
They will speak when others remain silent
They will remain silent when others speak
They will wait when others act
They will act when others wait
And in their concrete lives lived
Among the people of all nations
The word of hopeful anticipation will go with them
With opened eyes and ears and hands and hearts
They will travel beyond borders
Past unbroken boundaries
Persistence will be their hallmark
And restoration will be their banner
And as all things pass away
Their words and deeds will be solid foundations
On which the kingdom has been built.