What!?? Two posts in as many days!! What’s THAT about then?
The thing is, yesterday, a wave of HOPE washed over me, just as I was was driving along. I've written about it:
Yesterday, an illogical wave of Hope swept over me.
It felt so good.
Even amidst the global crisis I was reminded that there is Hope.
Jesus himself walked with us in our darkest times.
He lay, emaciated in Bergen-Belsen
He crouched in the Anderson shelter hearing the bombs whining and crashing.
He waded into the water at Hiroshima, in skies red and black.
He fled the great fire of London.
He sat on dusty plains of Africa's famines
and cried in Romania's orphanages
He heard the cries 'bring out your dead' as plague stalked the land.
He was a refugee, fleeing murderous threats.
Oppressed, like honest men under communist rule.
Rounded up, like the Jews. Did I mention he was Jewish?
He was the object of lies, and mockery, falsely arrested.
Betrayed and tortured and murdered,
like monks as their monasteries were pulled down around their ears.
He walks through hospital wards and sits by hospice beds
And rules from a throne, highly exalted.
He is alive. He is hope. In our midst. Personified.
His cry of 'HOPE' can be a whisper deep inside, almost unbelievable. Almost.
Or HOPE can be a cry from Heaven, echoing across the land
Bouncing off mountains and oceans alike.
Coming from an empty tomb in Israel.
It is a sure thing.
Hope. Hope. HOPE.
When and where is there joy?
When He holds the most important place
the Highest place
the innermost throne
of my heart
and in my life.
He loves to dwell in the inner sanctuary
that too often he occupies alone
whilst waiting for me.
In that place is
A different experience each day.
and so it goes on…
I could write a Thesaurus and it would never say enough.
For the words of what is found in that place
march off the page to eternity.
My fickle heart - you have an enemy who shakes to see you go there.
Not merely to pass through paying lip service to my King
But to sit. To gaze. To dwell.
Therein my joy. My love. My heart.
This is the world you hold in your hands.
Not one jot
of suffering goes unseen.
You wince as a sparrow falls to ground
so how could our suffering leave you unmoved?
This wonderful world
made for your children
Each ploughed field nurtures and blooms with life
sustained by mud, sun and rain
life-giving elements freely given.
Growth is in your being O God,
whose depths cannot be plummeted.
Yet even as you fling
the ever expanding universe into space
You regard, lovingly, the palms of your hands
engraved with our names.
Each of our faces before you.
Our souls are seen.
An empty cross our proof
of your infinite care.
Our bottled tears
until the day
when no tear more will fall.
For we will see you.
Face to face.
Earths cares forgotten
in the light of eternity.
“Walk with me”
The words to your friends in Eden’s cool evening
tumble through history.
Enoch, walk with meNoah, walk with me whilst I explain carpentry and rainWalk with me, Israel, through parted seas and barren desert.I'll walk you to the promised land though you wriggle to escape my hand.
Even as they feasted on milk and honey,
So far that none could hear your voice.
So you yourself came
Looked us in the eye and bid, ‘walk with me’
And we followed and walked from Galilee to Jerusalem and back
walking and talking.
You were our friend, walking with us.
Your crown was hid, and when your plan was revealed
and disguise cast away
You merely asked us ‘pray with me’
yet we slept,
and on waking, we fled.
Death could not hold you.
Alive and risen you took again to the road
with ordinary people.
‘May I walk with you?’
And you walked and talked
explaining the plan,
only leaving when light had dawned upon our dull brains
that this was you and you were alive.
Despair dethroned by Hope.
Here we stand
Urged by ancestors to walk with you
A cloud of witnesses watching our steps
until we will come
to the city where no one shall say to another ‘know the Lord’ for all shall know You.
All shall walk with You
in a place beyond time itself.
But for now, as gravity pins me to earth
I hear the call of love
the call to friendship
You almost sound lonely, and certainly yearning:
“Walk with me”.
Why did the Holy One… All seeing. All knowing. Perfect in wisdom.
See fit to encase my free and dancing spirit within this lumbering carcass?
That creeps, and crawls, and trudges with rhythmical torpidity;
That takes an eternity to get the shortest distance.
A twig across my path seems like a Giant Redwood
A stone like Butser Hill
A puddle like Heath Lake.
Even the busy wood louse scuttles past like an Olympic sprinter
With a cheery “Morning, slowcoach! Nice day!” as he leaves me trailing in his wake.
Why did the Creator choose to incarcerate me in this now fat and ever more wrinkled body?
That crawls inch by painful inch across the damp earth
Up the brown plant stem
All to reach the life sustaining leaf –
My daily bread, my nourishment that nourishes me less and less
As this geriatric body stiffens and crumbles, and finally gives up the ghost.
What is it all for?
I have never doubted how loved I am.
His love throbs and pulses through every cell of my body.
His delight in me;
His tender care;
His passion, and compassion, for me, even me
Surely the slowest and least important of His creatures.
And yet, His purpose in creating me remains a mystery -
At least to me.
Soon I shall breathe my last, and die.
Die, knowing I am so loved;
But die without knowing my deeper purpose.
If only I could know.
If only I had even some faint inkling of why He made me like this.
That has to be sufficient.
He gives, and He takes away.
Blessed be His Holy Name.
The Word saw, and He smiled.
As creation was unfolding on that seismic fifth day;
All of heaven gasping with wonder and delight
As each new creature burst into life upon the Virgin Earth.
Each one revealing something of the Divine Mystery,
Divine Wisdom; Divine Glory;
The elephant’s strength; the gazelle’s grace;
The eagle’s pinioned, breathtaking beauty in flight;
Each one a mirror, a reflection, of one small part of the Holy One.
Then heaven paused; intrigued.
The humble caterpillar appeared;
Brought into being by a word from The Word.
“Now what reflection is this?” whispers one to another.
“What part of Him does this slow and tiny creature reveal?”
And now, Heaven sees, the caterpillar - having lived so briefly,
Stops, dies, and is encased in a funeral shroud of its own body.
The Word saw, and He smiled.
There are no mistakes.
All are so loved; so precious; so cherished.
All reveal something of His Divine Nature.
“Arise, my love,” whispers The Word.
Heaven holds its breath.
A tremor of movement in the dead pupa.
A flash of colour.
In John 15 Jesus talks in length about the vine and we were thrilled to find a young vineyard in the middle of nowhere on our walk. Jesus calls himself ‘The Vine’ and us ‘the branches’ but in another sense, since we are called to be like him, we are also like individual vine plants in His vineyard.
What struck us was the time every little vine spent alone in isolation in its little protective sleeve. At a time of national social isolation this was very relevant.
All the time the baby vine is in its sleeve, it feels alone and in the dark. Yet it is a necessary time in order to teach it to grow straight and to grow towards the light. The sleeve may feel restrictive but it is also protecting the vine from pests and predators that would attack its wood to strip its leaves. Whilst it is in the sleeve the vine has no idea that it is part of something vast, that one day it will be producing fruit and contributing towards the rich wine that will be be produced.
How vast is His vineyard and how tenderly He cares for each individual vine, training it to become part of the whole.
This time we opted for a forest walk and asked God to walk with us.
Whilst we know he is always with us, there seems to be specific times when He says ‘walk with me’ and this was one of them. We chose to ‘look up’. The majestic pines towered above us, refusing all distractions and reaching straight up to the light.
We felt small amidst the huge trees, yet looked down to find heart-shaped blossom at our feet.
A reminder that His love is all around us, if we have eyes to see.
We saw more of this right at the end of our walk, again reminding us that He – the King whose name is Love – is our Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.