Light of the world Shine through this canopy of darkness Lift my eyes to see your glory Your hand is close by Lift me up Let me behold your glory God all around The God who dances And sings as he creates
My head does not easily separate Christmas from Easter. Christmas – the season of giving – reflects that he came to give himself, both in life and in death, and therefore is viewed in the shadow of the cross. The open stable foreshadows the open tomb. He emerged from both of these hidden places, very much alive. So no apologies for a Christmas poem that sounds more like Easter:
Did love ever look so real? Yes, there it is in carefully crafted creation There it is in a mother's eyes when her baby is born Seeing the riches born in poverty. There is love In grandparents eagerly awaiting their children in anticipation of embracing the newborn. There is love in gifts given, in friends, in words spoken, in acts of kindness But did love ever look so real As it did on that hot hill of agony As blood fell from your broken body Weighed down willingly with my sin As you relinquished life just to bring me - and you - and all mankind who were willing to come - home for ever? Did love ever look so real As you whispered to those who killed you Father forgive them, they do not know what they do? As you promised to a dying man Today you will be with me in paradise? As you cried It is finished, that cry of love which echoes round the world, breaking the power of darkness? Did love ever look so real As you reached out your crucified arms To embrace the world? Did love ever look so real as Jesus?
This Christmas I have the joy of sharing a poem written by a lovely friend, with her permission. Helen says she was contemplating the artwork she had done (below), and the words just followed. Thank you, Helen.
Love came down Drew close through the chaos and darkness. The light shone Illuminating our need for love For healing For life Exploding into our world Resetting time and eternity Making all things new Millions of fragments of life, freedom and joy Penetrated the cosmos and showered into our world Everything changed The day Love came down.
There is a 🎶 song 🎵 over you Lift your head Incline your ear Open your heart Receive. Golden notes swirling in an embrace around you, enfolding. A song that heals Comforts, inspires Warms. A reminder That you are not alone The Singer sees and reaches through eternity To touch your heart. My heart. Listen And be Loved Be-loved.
The view of her kingdom dimmed A last breath sighed, and her spirit left this earth. In another kingdom, trumpets sounded, and flags unfurled As a King stepped forward to greet a queen Even as sadness rolled over these lands Rainbows were placed by a King’s scarred hands Gracing her palaces, her homes no more But honouring that life so faith-filled and sure. A blessing from Jesus A reminder perhaps Of his honour and promise that never fails. That resurrection life Follows death. And a first breath is taken In a new kingdom. Eternal love greets you, Elizabeth
I’m a Christian so I’m not worried. This weight on my shoulders is “godly concern” “a Christian burden for world suffering” “desire for my loved ones to have a good future” Or perhaps they are nicer sounding words for ‘worry.’ But then the world is burning, or drowning and how will I afford to eat or heat with food and fuel prices sky-rocketing. And what of sickness and frailty? The NHS is broken, how can I care for loved ones? What of the depressed and desperate? What of wars? Some problems are unfixable even with riches. What can I do but worry? Oh Lord This mind that tries to fathom mysteries This heart that wants to fix all pain This desire to control or at least see the future - prophetically, of course! All these things vie with simple trust. Help me trust like a child, knowing their loving parent has the answers and will fix all things when the time is right. Like a child who does not fret about past or future but plays, lives and loves in the moment. Your words “consider the lilies…” echo across the world past stoppered ears who prefer cash in hand to trusting your bounty. Be still, my frantic mind. Teach me to breath slow to live in the moment and set my mind on you. that the promised gift of Peace may come.
‘See me’ she cries in all her glory as sunset glides through golds and pinks leaving purple haze and peace. “I’m here” - a whisper her voice barely dusting the still lake. Beauty calls through artists, poets and kind deeds of broken humanity. Hear her voice, or his, through enduring love and sacrifices, great and small. She calls us to He who made it all. Magnificent Creator who painted the greatest beauty in the ugly-skull-place Blood dripping down roughly hewn wood. Hatred unable to stifle Love pouring from the broken body, the ultimate sacrifice given to draw us into the eternal dance in divine union past visible horizons. Beauty calls... Take the outstretched, scarred hand and join the dance and the kingdom, where unending beauty dwells.
How I hate This necessary darkness. It is even worse than those days in mid summer When I am gasping for just a drop Of water. When the earth around is cracked and dry Scraping against me. I cry out: “I cannot keep going, sustaining life Without something to quench my thirst. I can grow no more.” The response: silence. I try to rise, but only meet a hotter place a drier place. The only option is to stretch to reach out my roots Tentatively pushing down until - bliss! The earth grows damper I stretch out more. Damper and wetter with each centimetre until I am quenched. I feel my flowers opening My leaves becoming glossy And I know I am beautiful. Bees visit and spread the good news of my glory With every grain of pollen that clings to their feet And is spread near and far as they fly. My scent declares all around that I am good. I am oh so tasty. Those days are long gone now and I am nothing. Hidden in this necessary darkness Flowers, scent, leaves but a memory. I have been razed to the ground. I look lifeless No one even knows I am here and there is nothing I can do. Except wait. Wait. And wait again. A long, cold waiting in the frozen ground. But I know one day - and I hope it is soon - A bud will form. A sliver of green reach out and start its fragile journey towards light. I know I will grow again Bigger, better, more beautiful than last year. But meantime I wait Replenishing the core of my being As I rest In this necessary darkness.
Let me tell you about true faith.
Standing in the dark,
not knowing if I Am with you.
Feeling the poverty of your prayer life
Wondering where I went.
Wondering if I Am?
So many questions.
A miracle would be good
but since there is none
Still you put one foot in front of another
Still the ember glows in your heart
Still you help, you give out, you love.
This is faith.
“Oh but it isn’t love” I hear you say,
“I just do stuff ‘cos it needs doing.
“If I didn’t, who would?”
So you carry on
caring for the helpless,
Not seeing that as you wash their feet,
you wash mine.
You argue that your lack of feeling
means you love less.
No child, the lack of feeling
means you love more
for you are still there. Caring.
You stand on Sunday,
Barely able to sing, your heart in your boots.
But the song of your caring deeds
is sung in my Presence.
This season will not last forever.
Your service honours me and is done unto me.
Those who honour me in this way, I will honour.
Child of faith
Child of worship
Child of love