Saturday, 10 December 2016
I sat waiting. It had been a very long time. Too long. There was a stench of tobacco and beer that lingered in the cold night air. Yesterday's newspapers brought little warmth to the soul. There was no good news, or so it seemed.
The platform echoed of yester-year. The hard wooden benches had seen weary travelers for decades. Chocolate vending machines still adorned the walls but there was no Cadbury's fruit and nut to be had. It had been eaten long ago. The wooden bridge that allowed passengers to cross to the other side of the tracks echoed with the footsteps of many who had trodden the same path. Those who had felt the same pain of frustration.
The lost baggage area contained an assortment of umbrellas, scarves and hats. Folk had discarded their protection from the elements. Old leather briefcases containing sandwich boxes of now rotten fruit awaited owners who never came. Mysterious packages remained unopened on the shelves. Most people however kept their own baggage close to their chest or strapped to their backs. The weight seemed more of a comfort than an inconvenience.
How much longer?
The night sky was lit with a thousand stars that danced and twinkled enticing the traveller to far distant shores. But no-one was going anywhere tonight. The last train had gone. We continued to wait. Ghosts of the past waited with us. Their heavy chains clanking as they shuffled along in a chain-gang of confusion. Not knowing where to go or what to do for fear of getting it wrong.
Why was I waiting? Should I just be patient or complain to the ticket man? Was my journey so far in vain?
I made myself comfortable as best I could. I wrapped my scarf tighter around my neck and pulled up the collar on my jacket. I felt suffocated but I would survive.
The more the clock ticked the more isolated and alone I felt. Sleep was not my friend. As dawn broke my eventual slumber was disturbed some more. As daylight flooded onto the platform I began to realize I was not alone. There were other fellow travellers caught up in the temporary derailment. As I looked and smiled at them they began to smile back. A few nodded their head in acknowledgement of a shared journey. Tentatively I opened my mouth to wish them a good morning. Soon the silence and fear of the night had vanished as we began to talk and share our stories of travel plans scuppered.
We were all weary. We were all tired of dragging our baggage around for so long.
I suddenly realized I wasn't alone. I wasn't the only one with tales of woe. The derailment had effected us all; in different ways perhaps, but the fatigue and pain was the same and sat etched on all our faces.
What now? How much longer would we have to wait?
An announcement interrupted our chatting. The next train was due shortly. In a flurry of commotion and a lifting of voices spirits began to be restored. The ghosts of the past finally put to bed. Faith sustained and now multiplied. Today was a new day. A new song would be sung.
The journey wasn't over yet....
Monday, 8 August 2016
'Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage...' In the same way that love and marriage go together so do love and grace. You can't have love without grace.
'For it is by God's grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God's gift, so that no one can boast about it.' Eph 2:8-9
Grace is not something that we earn. It is not awarded because of something we have done. God's grace is given in mercy and not based on merit. His grace is never ending, which is just as well. We really don't deserve God's grace but that's the point.
Grace, or being gracious is wrapped up in forgiveness. To be gracious with others we need to accept them as they are, warts and all, and to forgive their idiosyncrasies. To show love we also have to show grace and that involves acceptance and forgiveness.
God's grace is perhaps hard for us to understand because we are so hard on other people and so hard on ourselves. We often want to beat ourselves up when we do something wrong. The bigger the mistake the bigger the stick. The bigger the stick, the less grace we show ourselves until we fail to forgive ourselves, yet alone ask God for his forgiveness. We think we are not worthy but God says, 'Yes you are, you are my child, and I love you.'
God doesn't want to beat us with a stick, he doesn't want us to feel guilty, he wants us to accept his grace, and his forgiveness and his love. Grace and forgiveness may seem alien to us if we are use to beating ourselves up, in the same way love can be alien to us if we don't actually love ourselves. It is impossible to give love unless we have experienced it for ourselves. It is impossible to behave lovingly to other people, unless we are loving towards ourselves.
We don't have to earn God's love he bestows it upon us because of his grace. He forgives us through his grace and because of his abounding love for us. Paul's prayer for us is that we may know God's love as he knows it.
'I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you may have your roots and foundations in love, so that together with all God's people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how heigh and deep, is Christ's love. Yes, may you come to know his love - although it can never be fully known - and so be completely filled with the very nature of God.' Eph 3:14-19
Thursday, 28 April 2016
Sorry to those of you following my Lent blog but I lost my way a little. Part of me got bored in blogging every day. The other part of me thought my words and photos just weren't good enough. My frame of mind clearly distorted reality. I often find myself being self critical. Perfectionism is a difficult one to master. I seem to be rather fickle when it comes to writing. I am in love with writing but the love blows hot and cold with the pressures of life. I guess that's normal but I crave the consistency and depth of the deep love affair. Love needs encouragement, it needs time to be nurtured. It needs day trips, and holidays, and nights in front of the fire. It needs passion to survive. It needs tenderness and patience.
We all have struggles, we all have distorted views of ourselves. We all need encouragement to see ourselves as a God sees us.
I hope God has been talking to you, I'm sure he has. Stop for a moment and ask God what he sees when he looks at you. Don't be deceived by your own distorted view.
Saturday, 27 February 2016
Here is today's photo on the theme of 'see'. I see the sea!!! It is often the most simple things that bring us joy. This was the view from my hotel room whilst I was on retreat earlier this week. Isn't it amazing? God's creation never ceases to amaze me.
Thursday, 25 February 2016
Wednesday, 24 February 2016
I have been on a ministers retreat and thinking about today's theme of 'covenant'. My covenant with God is to live out the call he has placed on my heart as well as I am able. I feel inadequate at times but it's not about me and what I do. It shouldn't be about relying on me but about relying on God. Here is a poem that materialised today...
To serve you
To serve you
yet here I am
With open heart
and hands outstretched
To meet you
To greet the stranger
To love the outcast
To worship you in essence.
To say here I am
To serve you
With every ounce of me.
All that I am
And meant to be.
I listen for instruction
But sometimes you say,
'Just simply be,
Lean on me.'
I need to observe
The season of change
The call of your Word
That disturbs the tranquility
In silent humility
I offer myself
Once more to your call
I listen some more
Then you whisper to me
'Just walk through the door.'
Copyright revdjo 24/2/16