Holding…

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What is prayer? A seemingly simple question, but with a multitude of answers, none of which should be definitive! Praying is as diverse as humanity itself.

Held out and held in,

heart, soul, body and mind.

Without beginning or end,

a simple flow of gathered thoughts,

hopes, fears and moments

of life and passing time.

Constant connection, but

bearing the frustration of

engaged lines and no

answering machine….

hold the line, says

the still small voice,

all will be well.

All manner of things.

Hanging on and believing

is enough.

Holding and waiting

and trusting……

Stop!

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A simple word with so many ways of expressing the meaning. How are you reacting in this moment? It can engender a sense of danger or warning, or more widely, helping us to see in a different way.

As I write, I’m thinking about those times when I’ve stopped as my mind is travelling in all kinds of directions. A moment to ‘take stock’, gain our ‘bearings’, listen in the stillness.

There are so many voices demanding out attention at the moment, both inwardly and outwardly. Hear again those words of Jesus, as he and the disciples get caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee. ‘Peace, be still…’…his calling into the maelstron of the storm. Immediately, the storm began to abate and the sound of stillness broke through into their reality.

So take some moments today, even in the noise, to ‘plug into’ the still, STOP moment; and give your soul some refreshment!

Blessings and peace be with you…always.

Stepping Out…

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‘The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.’ The words of the prophet Isaiah during a time of turmoil.

I’ve had a number of conversations in recent days with different people who expressed honestly how they were feeling about all that has transpired over the past year. ‘Struggling’, was a common word which popped up as we talked. Not a constant struggle, but one which ‘crept up’ in odd moments, and left individuals disorientated.

I’m sure that you will have your own story to tell. I’ve chosen the photograph above because it seems to describe what I see in my own head. A road and a journey without a clear destination. The sense of being alone, but following a route which others have trod, and which offers some kind of direction. The key word in my head, is trust.

Isaiah was a prophet who spoke to a time of uncertainty and fear, but his vision was profound. Something to be discovered. That’s where we are….believing but not seeing too easily!

I sense the longing in my own heart and soul. Sometimes the tears are a manifestation of the feelings and thoughts I live with.

I hope that some of what I have shared will speak to you in your ‘stepping out moments’, or in those times of holding back or being stopped in your tracks. As you find your own way, accompanied by the guiding presence of the Spirit of God

Refreshment..

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“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” The words of Jesus, recorded by the apostle John.

I’ve always found myself coming back to these words, because they resonate so much with what is deep down in my soul, but which so often I miss during the rush of the day. The words I write each day for this blog, are simply a reflection of what goes on in my head, each day! Often no conclusions, but more questions than answers.

I think this photograph connects today’s blog with what I wrote yesterday about soul thirsting, from the heart of the Psalmist. I love the image of ‘living waters’; not polluted and lifeless, but full of refreshment and life and renewal. A picture of the Holy Spirit, the Refresher and Sustainer of the Living waters that reach our souls every moment of every day; but which we so often miss or ignore or palce to one side!

The problem is, that quite often I ignore this refreshment and get lost in my own worries and fears.

So my promise ‘to self’, is to take a refreshment stop today, even for a few moments, and allow the love of God, through the Holy Spirit, to bathe my heart and soul. By a simple act of invitation.

Soul thirst….

If you get a chance, have a read of Psalm 63. It talks about ‘soul thirsting’…here are the opening words..

‘O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you’…….

We could have an interesting conversation about what the soul is and how each of us would define it. Clearly, for the Psalmist writing a long time ago, the soul is what connects us to God and for me, to my true self. The soul is that part of us that reaches out to the Creator and allows the Holy Spirit to speak into our hearts.

The words of the Psalmist which I’ve highlighted above speak powerfully but gently into my inner being.

How this happens it utterly unique to each of us and that is the encouragement we should hold in our hearts. We can spend our days being distracted by lots of other ‘stuff’, which clogs up our souls and might not be very energising! But the simple invitation of God to us, is to seek. Not shut the door, but to open our hearts and souls.

In your journey today, I pray that your seeking will quench your thirst in a suprising way!!

Abiding…

Abide; a rich word that gently calls us. The concrete sea wall displays a fracture, but is still connected!

Jesus challenged his disciples, as he does us, to ‘Abide in me, as I abide in you.’ Just let that sentence wash around your conscious thoughts over this weekend.

It speaks of a relationship that is inclusive and without barriers. A soul filling group of words that if we allow, will help us to discover perhaps a new dimension to our faith.

Like the sea wall, we can have that sense of ‘fracture’ , for whatever reason. We can berate ourselves for becoming disconnected, or even blame the one who offers us an ‘abiding’ relationship.

My experience tells me that God never gives up, even if I choose to ‘abide’ in my own self pity. The depth of God’s love never ends.

May your abiding be very special and suprising!!!!

Mixed up

I’ve had some ‘mixed up’ days in recent weeks; trying to make sense of all that is unfolding in the world. Yesterday’s blog was an attempt to use words to express what was moving around my head. It probably didn’t work too well!

This is a ‘mixed up’ scene of grass, sky, trees, and fungi. I have a sense today that in all the complication, stress and challenge, we all face, that God’s profound love for all of creation is at the heart of our existence.

This doesn’t mean that at every moment we are aware of this or resting in it; some days can be difficult to deal with. The photograph is a simple sign of the love of God at the centre of creation.

This doesn’t stop the questioning and the uncertainty. But I’ve had to give myself a good talking to in recent days in order to lift my vision to a different place!

Please be assured of my thoughts and prayers for your journey.

Thirst…

Here are some words from the Book of Revelation; the final book of the Bible….

‘Come, let the one who is thirsty, come….let the one who wishes, take the free gift of the water of life.’ Revelation 22;17

A poem….

Chaos, movement,

sound and silence,

open hearted

eyes wide open,

Spirit given

graceful moment,

swirling cataract

moving somewhere, here

and there.

Soul filler, refreshing gift,

Holy Spirit, the purveyor

of grace to each and all.

Poured out and flowing through.

Endless giving,

world without end.

Alone?

It’s not the first time that lone trees have caught my attention. This fine specimen was captured a couple of years ago; pre-pandemic. The more observant will notice that in fact, the tree is not alone completely, and that there are other trees available on a further hill!

During the season of Lent, which we are now passing through, we are encouraged to take moments to reflect on our faith. It’s not a particularly grand ‘shouty’ word, but it sits on its own, like the tree above. Alone, but connected by the landscape.

Your understanding of your faith is utterly unique. There is no blueprint to follow, because we are all coming at it from our own perspective. This changes and moves as we travel through life. In those moments of being alone, which are part of our mental and spiritual landscape, strangely we can become aware of the ‘still small voice’. Alone, but not alone!

God does not shout for our attention, But there are times when I have shouted at God, wondering where I am and questioning what is occuring. Alone, but sustained by the breath of God’s Spirit, reaching both high and low; just like the lone tree. Drawing sustenance from the ground and breathing in the atmosphere. Living, in the given moment.