Baptise me

May the dry clay go under.
May the cracks be filled with water.
May the outer deadness give way
To the inner life which has been reborn,
And is is being reborn;
Renewed, and is being renewed.
Baptise me as that outer sign
To which inwardly my heart says “yes”,
But let that fragile, hope-filled “yes”
Be re-baptised again and again.
May I die with Christ daily
As I take up my cross daily and follow.
May I live the eternal life daily
As the risen Jesus lives in me.
May it be that as my body passes
Through the waters – death to life –
That my mind, my intellect, preconceptions
And prejudices also pass through
The baptismal Red sea; my Jordan river.
Baptise me back then and baptise me
Again Lord, so that the seed of me may
Be planted into the ground in faith-filled
Hope, and may resurrect with you
In fruitful righteousness to a life where
Repentance leads to reconciliation,
Reconciliation leads to witness,
And witness leads to power.

You

You.
All I am is shaped
In you, with you, for you.
As I lift up my soul
And orient its flow
Upwards to you
I find that the flow
Of my life in you
Is endless, and
The more I lift my
Heart of love and
Worship to you,
The more I discover
There is of me;
The more I know
Who I am, because
Only in you do I
Fully exist.
Only in you do I
Fully know, just
As I am fully known.
Only in you is my heart
Fully loving and loved.
May my life always be
A song joyfully raised
Higher and higher
In worship of
You.

The truth of me

And when I stopped
The arms-length
Distancing of
Shadows in me
And saw the Light which
Threw them,
Then I knew
The truth of me:-
That even the darkness
Cannot hide You,
Or obscure Your love
Eternal, true.
For unconditionally
You find me
In my dark
Condition
And throw Your
Light to cast shadows
Out
By the truth of You
In the truth of me.

Silent

Today I have nothing to say.
So I will hold my tongue
And remain silent.
I will not be tempted to
Offer a platitude as empty
As a rattling tin, rusted
From years of neglect.
What can be said that is
Worthy of this moment?
Some moments are simply
Too deep to contain words;
Too heavy for feather-words
That float away on the wind.
Sometimes the obscurity of
Darkness is just the shield we need,
Where definitions diffuse
And answers hide away.
To hang our heads low and weep is
Better bread than much of
What is offered on the table
To feed our hungry souls.
We know we cannot pretend
To really understand, but all
Too often we pretend that we do.
Let there be silence today.
And tomorrow, and tomorrow’s tomorrow.
And if in time we find a word, or words
With Enough gravity to hold them down
Then, maybe then, I will break my silence.

(In response to the Sandy Hook massacre on 14 December 2012)

Hard

My God specialises in ‘hard’.
When He sweated blood knowing
The cup He must drink from;
When He died there in the
Darkness of the 9th hour,
Abandoned and alone;
When He didn’t stay dead
But broke death’s power, forever;
He showed us what ‘hard’ looks like.
He chose ‘hard’ for us
So that when we face our
Own hard times; when we
Feel we can’t carry the load,
Or manage on our own,
We can look to Him who
Specialises in ‘hard’, and know
That nothing is impossible, and
In Him all things are possible,
If we but dare to believe.
So ‘hard’ for us becomes not
That which we cannot change,
Nor carry, nor manage on our own,
But having faith in the One
Who can change anything,
Who can carry our load,
And who will, in the hardest
Moments of your life,
Carry you through it
With arms that cannot fail.

(On the day of Jack’s stroke)

 

Superlativissimus

You are the
Fundamentalest,
Supremiest,
Beautifuliest,
Perfectiest,
Gloriousest,
Holiestest,
Righteousest,
Graciousest,
Mercifulest,
Loveliestest,
Lovingest,
Fatherest,
Self-sufficientest,
Eternalest,
Consistentest,
Divinest,
One there is.

Oh God,
Give us super-superlatives to draw nearer in praising you,
Or may our dumbstruck silence pay the highestest tribute to You.

Amen

Reflection from Isaiah 45:7

“I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being and create calamity,
I am the LORD, who does all these things.”
Isaiah 45:7

Calamity as a creative act?
This is the ‘deeper magic’, as Aslan would put it, that gives understanding that suffering and calamity can be entirely the work of God.

Never forget that Satan is on a leash and needs permission for everything he does. Job and Luke and Revelation reveal this to us.
If Satan brings calamity it’s because God superintended and ordained it, and governs it entirely as it happens. He is NEVER absent and ALWAYS in full control.
For the sons of God, we have all the information we need in the Bible to show us God’s goodness and favour in bringing ‘calamity’ into our lives as it will always be for our training, always lead us to a place of perfect goodness free from suffering, and result in the glory of Jesus displaying radiantly in our lives with thanksgiving.

Just read the first part of Hebrews 12 and see that suffering, toil, struggle, wrestling, pain, sorrow, doubt, uncertainty etc are all in view in the context of God turning us into gold medal winners, through His discipline, BECAUSE He loves us.
He is purging, and will continue to purge our sin, and it’s a life and death struggle DAILY. Each day Christ must be crucified in our lives, and each day we must die with Him to our sin, and each day we must put to death the things of the flesh by the Holy Spirit.
Because we grip onto deadly things like love of money, sinful desires, sloth, deceit, malice, unforgiveness… God will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to remove from us this body of death.
Is it not a cause for great thanksgiving that He would dislocate our hip in order to bless us if that’s what it takes?

The implications of this ‘deeper magic’ are staggering and amazing!
If God could only use the ‘good’ things of this world and this life to bless us then that would be fine, but thanks be to God that He can use EVERYTHING to bless us in and through The Beloved.
In extremis it’s the extreme suffering and death of Himself, in His Son that gives us life and blessing. There is no eternal life or blessing for us UNLESS the Suffering Servant is crushed, according to the will of God, to take away our sin and rebellion (Isa 53).

So my prayer is this:
In calamity, thank you Jesus.
In despair, thank you Jesus.
In pain, thank you Jesus.
In suffering, thank you Jesus.
In darkness, thank you Jesus.
In sickness, thank you Jesus.
All of these serve you so that they might serve me.
Suffering serves you.
Pain serves you.
Loss serves you.
Cancer, MS, disability and all disease serves you.
Death serves you,
And will serve me to bring me to your eternal presence.
Sanctify me in your Truth; your word is Truth.

“The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
Job 1:21

Pentecost

Sound,
Then wind,
Then heat, light, fire.
How the power moves
Transcendentally
From heaven thru Earth,
From God to man.
Spirit, like energy;
Energy, like Spirit,
Never created,
Nor ever destroyed,
But transferred and transformed,
Given and returned.
Spirit of energy,
Dynamic Life,
Move to us and through us,
In power today.
Bring to us,
And in us,
Your Divine person
Into our quickened souls.

Written for Pentecost Sunday, 27th May 2012

Work

You work
Full of splendour and majesty.
You work
In faithfulness and love.
You work
To show even greater works.
You work
All things for the good of those who love you.
You work
Righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
You work
Salvation for your people in the midst of the earth.
You work
And have been working since the beginning.
You work
All things to perfect completion.
You work
Until it is finished, and then you rest.
On the sabbath,
May we rest in your work.
May we rest in your rest.