Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Good Night Blessing - Reflection on Psalm 30


Trustful prayer in time of adversity


Abraham - Liverpool Christ the King 

In your great heart I place my own, O Lord
Let the rhythm of my life follow your desire.
In your knowing of me 
Let me know myself

Feel the flutterings of fear, O Lord
As a fledging shivers for its mother
Let your wings be a shield around me
Holding me close

You are all and everything to me, O Lord 
Gatekeeper and shepherd you lead me home
I fear neither the howling of wolves 
nor shrieks of carrion birds
Your arm defends me

Into your great heart I place my own, O Lord
In your knowing of me 
Let me know myself

Blessed be

wordinthehand2012


Friday, 25 May 2012

As the Father sends me


GospelJohn 20:19-23 

Feast of Pentecost




In the evening of the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.
‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’
After saying this he breathed on them and said:
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’






The feast of Pentecost is most clearly recognised by the 
reading from Acts - the 'Gospel' of the Holy Spirit - 
it almost feels that that reading would have been enough; 
more than enough given the drama of the 
Holy Spirit's entrance.

 By itself, it could be imagined that this is a whole new shift in God's plan.  That Jesus, having taken his journey to the limit; a journey that led to the hill of sacrifice,  has now reaped his own reward and returns to the Father. The disciples feeling abandoned and hide under the tables in fear of their lives until the flames of the Holy Spirit set them on fire.


It could feel that the Holy Spirit has arrived with a whole new game plan - Jesus was always a little too human - now here's the return to the insistent mystery of the Divine. It could seem that there is some rite of succession taking place as another aspect of God takes on the responsibility of humanity.


The two readings taken together show that this is far from true. The Holy Spirit is not a nanny left by an exasperated teacher - it was surely always the intention that there would be a way for Jesus' influence to remain without his humanity being comprised. Even if Jesus had reached his three score and ten there would have always been the risk that faith would not be stronger than death. There had to be another way and, as dramatic as the Upper Room is, it doesn't happen all at once - the Trinity leaves its mark.


At the climax of the crucifixion, Jesus gives his Spirit into the Father's keeping. His essence; the part of each and every one of us that is a seed of the Divine having lived and grown in the fullness of his life, is given away in total surrender.  This giving is an act of will; the last act of will of the historical Jesus.


Just before this final emptying Jesus uses his last 
breaths to begin the transformation of his followers. 
He breathes on the few who have accompanied him 
to the cross. Knowing the 'Yes' of his mother is for all 
time the passing of his 'children' into her keeping is 
fulfilled perhaps without no more than a blink of a 
tear-filled eye. The bequest asks more of the disciple 
and so of us;  to make room in our lives for Mary
 so that the Mother of God becomes our mother. 
The reconciliation of the children to the Father is underway.

This visitation moves the relationship further - his breath is a kiss of life - a whisper of truth -   to get past the fear phase they need a catalyst; they need an energy source that is outside themselves - they need Jesus' Spirit.


Jesus gives the disciples and us, the 'one thing' the tipping point for transformation - the forgiveness of sins. Why? Because sin is the only thing that keeps us from Father; it is the cause of our amnesia; our denial. It is not God but our own rejection of who we are that leaves us swineherds instead of racing home as beloved sons and daughters.


 Jesus' birth, life, death and resurrection- is given to us as a re-membering; a putting back together of the knowledge of who we are; all in the microcosm of one Godperson - Jesus - human and Divine. We are meant firstly to know the Father's love as Jesus does; it is only with this love  that we can love God back; that we can ever hope to love each other.


Jesus tells us we are in him and he is in the Father - what does that say other than we are already living our eternal life? Written on the Father's hand since the beginning; the divine spark of each and every one of us made incarnate by the 'yes' of a woman's body, moulded in the water and clay of Creation. The ending of this life a metamorphosis into a resurrection that we have not yet seen except through our brother's promise. Jesus is the first but not the last. 


The realisation of who Jesus was came to him through the midwifery of the Holy Spirit when She drove Jesus  into the heat of the desert for his re-birthing. The disciples, gathered together within his arms are treated more tenderly by the Spirit but the mission is no different. The Will of the Father; let all division cease; let Thy Kingdom come.


wordinthehand2012

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Mary, Help of Christians

Feast Day 24th May 


Hail Mary, full of grace
The Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou amongst women
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb
Jesus
Holy Mary, Mother of God
Pray for us sinners now
And at the hour of our death
Amen 








I know the image you have of me; young and beautiful, the contentment of motherhood showing on my face. My arms held wide in the openhearted gesture of a mother to all those who have been given to me.

In the beginning, only he was given to me; he was the ‘Yes’ of my life, my heart and my soul. The ethereal otherness of him was wrapped in prophecy, his baby eyes were wide with the guileless love that my gaze returned. Our future lives were given into God’s care, to His Will.

At the Temple I wore the simple veil of a proud, young mother, knowing that, despite the gossips, my child had every right to this moment, this presentation into his Father’s hands; confident that he would receive His blessing as I had been blessed. That Love was ours.

Then Simeon’s words; the veil lifted to reveal an unwelcome truth –
A reminder that love is not a thing to be taken lightly; it isn’t always lovely, not always bright, not always easy. Often, love’s task is to support us in dark days, through hard times, through the worst of times without release or explanation. Love does not replace suffering; there are times when love and suffering become part of the same experience - like the thorns on a rose.

It is a truth that the Path of Light can feel like walking on shards of glass: and sometimes we have to decide whether the Light is worth the sacrifice; if the sword thrust means defeat or acceptance.

I was young and beautiful when I began this journey; but it is neither my youth nor my beauty that has sustained me; it is Love, his and mine. Because he was always my child, do not take that away from me. As he grew, so did I; as he lived, so did I, as he suffered so did I.

And though he has become so much more than I could ever be, he still knows me as his mother, knows he can call on me to guide others to him because my ‘Yes’ has survived the sword and my eyes are set on the Path of Light, of Life, of Love. 



These outstretched arms do not always promise comfort but invitation - you are my children - will you make the journey?


wordinthehand2012

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Now here, still


Gospel of Mark 16: 15-20
The Ascension of the Lord
Jesus showed himself to the Eleven, and said to them: ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.’
  And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.




In England we get two opportunities to celebrate the Ascension - Thursday and Sunday - so two opportunities to reflect. 


On Thursday it was the mystery of the mission; the dramatic phrasing of this passage concentrates the mind onto the mission; what the early disciples were doing and what we are meant to be doing now.

But there is still the miracle of the Ascension  to consider, a simpler 'going home' statement couldn't be imagined but then - where is Jesus and what is he doing?

They say it's all in the translation, and in this one, Jesus does not sit down - he takes his place at God's right hand. A small difference? Maybe or maybe not; the difference between an active and a static intention.  

My own impression of God the Father certainly fits in with the keywords we have been learning in school - omnipresent, omnipotent, omni-benevolent. A beyond imagining  God who we rest in; who counts feathers on sparrows and hairs on heads and knits babies in the womb; at the same time throwing stars into space and spinning galaxies out into the darkness. I imagine Jesus has not had the opportunity to sit down even now. 


Which is what the Gospel says - that the Lord is working with us - as closely as the Father is creating; his Son is guiding our lives and our stewardship; putting words in our mouths; love in our hearts; compassion in our actions. Wherever 'up' is - it is not 'away' - Jesus is 'now here' everywhere. 

And then, that Jesus is at the right hand of God; in readings and reflections the hand of power; of might; of authority. But whether we are talking left or right there are many mythologies to consider.

As a left-hander myself, I would say it was the hand of 'getting in the way'.   To be on the right hand of a right-handed person actually restrains their movements and actions; God gives authority to his Son and also accepts the authority he has given. The left hand of Jesus, being nearest to his Father is the hand of acceptance, obedience and justice. It accepts the authority of his Father - an authority that had used threats, violence and death in past ages -and transforms it.   In Kabbalah, the right hand is a hand of power but it is not to be feared - it is the hand of Abraham - a hand that transforms justice into loving-kindness - into compassion - into mercy.


Jesus has not robed himself in splendour and set himself to shine with the armour of judgment; he has given away nothing of his humanity- he is still the servant king. He is the Word and the word is  Love -  his right hand reaching out eternally to the outcast; the sinner; the unclean; to us all.


wordinthehand2012





Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Seeking snakes and demons


GospelMark 16:15-20 

The Ascension of the Lord


Jesus showed himself to the Eleven, and said to them: ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.’
  And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.



The world of men is dreaming, it has gone mad in its sleep, and a snake is strangling it but it can't wake up. D H Lawrence

There is a lot of debate about this part of Mark's Gospel; the research being that it is a late addition; an attempt to bring the Gospel to a glorious close rather than the confusion of the empty tomb. Although, we are still talking about scripture from as early as 160AD and that has 'stuck', so it must have meaning even with its odd and seemingly superstitious references.

When this was written there were witnessed accounts of snakes being charmed and poisons being drank by the disciples of Christ; St Paul records that he was bitten by a snake and survived. And the other gifts of devil casting and laying on of hands were already part of the commissioning of the disciples by Jesus before and after his Resurrection.

This is certainly a piece of writing to inspire confidence and courage at a time when Christians were being condemned and sent into exile; at a time when it would have been easy to stay in their little home churches and thank God that at least they were saved. 

But that is not the mission for Christians. Remember in whose footsteps we follow. We are not to look for the easy or the safe path; there is too much at stake if we are to build the Kingdom that Jesus entrusts us to do.

They may be seen as signs and symbols now but we all come across demons, poisons and dangerous snakes in our lives. Those that inhabit our own minds -turning us away from God; feeding our egos and tempting our darker selves. 


And then there are the others that feed on the world with the institutional sin that Paul speaks of; those who take advantage of the weak; who exploit the poor; who poison the minds of lost; those who would allow suffering to continue because it is none of their concern.

There is nothing and nowhere that is not our concern; we have been given the stewardship of the whole world. Baptism is intended as a true initiation into the life of Christ - perhaps it's a pity that it becomes a gift we give to babies and then fail to nurture into fruition. It is our breastplate, our sword and our shield; our clothing in Christ; in Christ's love.


Baptism gives us the titles of priest, prophet and king. They are not titles of privilege, they are expectations of authority and responsibility and it is our duty then to live up to them.  


In recognising the dignity in ourselves we should honour the dignity of others. In knowing God's hand in our own lives we should want to bring healing to broken hearts and spiritual fractures that hurt our society.  In having our eyes opened we should want to be challenging what is wrong in the world - even when it is dangerous to do so - even when we feel like the only one - even when it seems hopeless. 


Let God's love for us enable our love for others; let the signs of our faith become the signs of Jesus’ eternal relationship with our world.
 

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them -- every day begin the task anew.”St Francis de Sales


wordinthehand2012

Feast of Brendan the Navigator

For reflection and blessing go to ....

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Queen of the Everyday


Mother and child - St Julian's  Church, Norwich
It’s Mother’s Day today in the States. Mother's Day here happens in Lent which probably tells us a great deal a lot about our attitude to motherhood. In fact, that Sunday is to honour the Church as mother  - human mothers  don't get a day except by association. 

If it wasn't Sunday it would be the feastday of Our Lady of Fatima. 
Mary would say that she has no right to be honoured except by association to her son - she certainly knows what motherhood is about.

There is very little about Mary in the Gospels; there are some who believe that her only duty was to be the human ‘incubator’ - the Ark of the Covenant as we said during her Litany today - and there is nothing else to thank her for. If this is the case, Jesus may as well have sprung fully formed, like Venus, from the sea. There is a lot more to motherhood than incubation!

We have come to understand about the courage that Mary needed to say that first ‘yes’. How the culture and tradition of the time could have meant her death, or at least exile, there and then. Mary put herself in God’s hands – Your will be done – and her Son makes the same surrender to his Father in the Garden of Tears.

When Mary speaks the Magnificat to her cousin Elizabeth; you can’t help but wonder where these words came from; hardly the turn of phrase of a young peasant girl. It’s a reminder that God is still with her; she speaks the words that will change the world order; that will challenge tradition; that will lead to the Kingdom; this is the faith she will teach her Son.

Mary, the Mother of God challenges all expectation; that God would speak to a woman; that God would lie helpless in her arms; that God would live as one with the poor and the outcast; that God would bring mercy and not judgment; that it is the lowly that are blessed. When Jesus speaks the Beatitudes – he speaks the faith of his mother as well as the Will of his Father.

Mary influences Jesus’ life as any mother does, in word and action; in the little things. That he is good with children; that he is considerate with women; that he notices the widow and beggar; that hospitality is important; that people need to eat; that we should not be afraid. His humanity reflects the courage and humility that was hers. And his pride and trust in her gives him the confidence to leave us in her hands; children who need to be cared for as he was.

The Marriage Feast is my favourite dialogue between the two– a real mother; a real son - with all the eyebrow raising, tutting and deep sighs that is nuanced behind these few words. As a mother she knows it is time for her son to 'grow up'; to accept his calling;  to begin somewhere; as painful as it will be knowing where it will lead. This small scene moves God from an distant observer to a man who is involved in even the mundane moments of life. 



And the best line of all - ‘Do as he tells you’.

That is Mary’s role now. Having accepted the mantle of Mother, Mary asks us to listen to her Son and to say ‘Yes’. And to do it in our own daily lives; in practical and compassionate ways; with the people we love and those we don’t; to make the everyday extraordinary; to show mercy and to be peacemakers; to live by Love and by 'yes'.

Happy Mother's Day

wordinthehand2012

Friday, 11 May 2012

Love. love, love


Sunday GospelJohn 15:9-17 




Jesus said to his disciples:
‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments
you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.
I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you
and your joy be complete.
This is my commandment:
love one another, as I have loved you.
A man can have no greater love
than to lay down his life for his friends.
You are my friends,
if you do what I command you.
I shall not call you servants any more,
because a servant does not know his master’s business;
I call you friends, because I have made known to you
everything I have learnt from my Father.
You did not choose me: no, I chose you;
and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit,
fruit that will last; and then the Father will give you
anything you ask him in my name.
What I command you is to love one another.’


Someone answered a child's question "Is Jesus real?" with the answer: "Well, put it this way; he isn't tangible." For Christians this is the wrong answer. It is our life’s work to make Jesus both tangible and real; firstly to ourselves and then through us to others.

As human beings, it seems the last thing we want is to be told what to do. The minute we are given a rule we begin to revise it in our head and then in our actions. When Jesus first introduced the Great Commandments it must have appealed to many – love God; love each other – simple really. Until it comes to putting it into practice.

Jesus’ belief in love consumes everything and everyone – there are no limitations or exclusions. Jesus is our example in his own willingness to follow difficult and dangerous paths. We, on the other hand, have to be commanded to do it otherwise we wouldn’t even try – it is a challenge and a sacrifice to make God’s love known in the world; And it all hinges on knowing that the Father loves us – each and every one of us. 


Knowing this gave Jesus the strength to obey his Father no matter how hard the journey - and how hard it was. Jesus found his rest in God’s love.

How hard it can be to feel that God loves us as He loves his Son. Feeling unworthy, thinking ‘if you really knew me’, puts an unnecessary distance between us.  It's a gift we rarely give ourselves. A gift we can only receive through Jesus. You have to meet him as the disciples, the women and all the saints that have gone before have met him - intimately, deeply, lovingly.

In a world of communication overload you would think it would be easy getting to know people but often it seems more like attention seeking; counting 'friend's that we have never met, 'followers' who have never stepped in our footprints. As human beings we are always looking for relationship; but relationships must have layers of encounter;  giving and a response; they need to be 'alive'. 

If we believe Jesus is real but not tangible - then we need to develop the relationship some more through prayer and contemplation.   Taking time is key; taking time to get to know each other; learning to be friends; learning to love; remembering that he has chosen you.


Meditation 

John 15:12
'love one another, as I have loved you.'

To throw a quote back at you, Lord
You do not know what you ask…

To love one another 
as you love
and to make it sound so simple 
one law; 
one commandment.
But Love, Lord?
Truly,
I don’t even know how you love me.

And yet you say the Word
And I am healed.
So the least I can do
Is try.



Find a time and a quiet space; give yourself 20 minutes minimum. Sit comfortably but upright with open hands and legs uncrossed; breathe easily and slowly keeping the shoulders down and letting the stomach muscles control the in and out of breath. Close your eyes or concentrate on a candle or simple image. Hear Jesus saying to you 'Remain in my love'. After 20 minutes give thanks for his loving attention; let breathing come back to normal;open your eyes and return to the day holding the peace within you and offering it to others that you meet along the way.


wordinthehand2012











Saturday, 5 May 2012

Step Twelve - Sunday Gospel -The Vine


GospelJohn 15:1-8 

Jesus said:
‘I am the true vine,
and my Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in me that bears no fruit
he cuts away,
and every branch that does bear fruit
he prunes to make it bear even more.
You are pruned already,
by means of the word that I have spoken to you.
Make your home in me, as I make mine in you.
As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself,
but must remain part of the vine,
neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine,
you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me, with me in him,
bears fruit in plenty;
for cut off from me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
is like a branch that has been thrown away – he withers;
these branches are collected and thrown on the fire,
and they are burnt.
If you remain in me
and my words remain in you,
you may ask what you will
and you shall get it.
It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit,
and then you will be my disciples.’


Step Twelve- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of this step.  We tried to carry this message to those that still suffer.  And to practice these principles in all our affairs.

I used to have a grapevine that my nan had grown from a pip from the fruit bowl. When I moved into my house it was planted into a pot under the skeleton of a lean-to greenhouse. After a slow start it began to reach out; curling around any purchase of fence panel, chickenwire or twine; the vines easily reaching twelve or fifteen feet each season.

By the end of the summer it would be a reminder of holidays in Greece and Portugal with the open-handed leaves nodding in the sunshine. Only once did we ever get flowers - we are in northern Europe after all. That happened to be the same year we had a long and wetter than even usual winter; we postponed the winter pruning too long and the branches snapped; then the damp rotted the roots and she was gone. Twenty or so years didn't seem so bad for a fruit shop stowaway but I still wish I hadn't been so neglectful.

Vines can live and grow easily to 100 to 120 years. In fact, the oldest recorded vine that we know of is in a Slovenian vineyard and is over 400 years old. It produces a couple of gallons of wine in total, bless it, but it is there; giving out of itself through generations of vineyard owners and changes in history and culture. 

 Because of their longevity and need for particular care, vineyards are more like flocks of sheep or herds of cattle. They are an inheritance; a treasure; a lineage. The person who cares for the vine is called the ‘dresser’ and it is their task to keep the vine in the best possible condition for the grapes. This is a task that very much involves being cruel to be kind. In winter the vine, as tangled and far-reaching as it may have become, is pruned hard back to the first shoot from the oldest wood.

Throughout the growing season the pruning continues.

As soon as the vine flowers, all growth is stopped so that all the energy goes into the nurturing of the grapes; the ripening of the crop.

Within minutes of being cut the leaves wilt and the stems soften and collapse. The dresser then, as part of their care, must ensure that all the prunings are destroyed before disease or rot works through them to the heartwood.

When we hear this Gospel we are to understand that we must stay close to Jesus in order to be part of those who are ‘saved’; our fellowship relies on our not being cut off by sin or denial.

In a way that's the easy part.

See how Jesus talks about himself. He is the vine; a seed planted in the earth; no longer Creator but created; joining the struggle of birth, life and death that is the dream of the Father.

He is no mightly oak; no king of trees; he is a workmate; a servant; a crop.

Do you notice that it is Jesus himself who suffers the harshest of cuts? He is the heartwood that must be protected at any cost. The care that the Father pours on him does not allow Jesus to be free; if free means flamboyant; wasteful; tangled like my vine.

Jesus is free only to complete the work of the Father; to bring forth an abundant crop. We are that crop – the wine that is our joy is the joy of the Father. The back and forth of relationship. It is only through our attachment to Jesus that we can shine with grace; only with his attachment to his Father that he can fill us with his Spirit.

The Gospel message seems to repeat itself; Jesus repeats himself all through the Gospels, noticeably through John. The emphasis that this is not just a one off crop – this is not the wheat of the autumn harvest. We are meant for greater works. We will need to bend to the pruning knife ourselves if our faith is to see many summers.

This is the new lineage of life in Christ; this is the cycle of young wines and fine vintages; for many years of winter waiting; spring blossoming; summer fullness and autumn gathering.

This is life; life in Jesus; and through him - our home - in the Father.




 Dear God,
My spiritual awakening continues to unfold.
The help I have received I shall pass on  to others,
In spiritual fellowship.
For this opportunity I am grateful.
I pray most humbly to continue walking day by day
On the road of spiritual progress.
I pray for the inner strength and wisdom
To practice the principles of this way of life in all I do and say.
I need You and the love of  my friends every hour of every day.
This is a better way to live.

wordinthehand2012

 






Step Eleven - Maranatha

GospelJohn 14:7-14 

Jesus said to his disciples:
‘If you know me, you know my Father too.
From this moment you know him and have seen him.’
Philip said, ‘Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied.’
  ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip,’ said Jesus to him, ‘and you still do not know me?
‘To have seen me is to have seen the Father,
so how can you say, “Let us see the Father”?
Do you not believe
that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words I say to you I do not speak as from myself:
it is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work.
You must believe me when I say
that I am in the Father and the Father is in me;
believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason.
I tell you most solemnly,
whoever believes in me
will perform the same works as I do myself,
he will perform even greater works,
because I am going to the Father.
Whatever you ask for in my name I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask for anything in my name,
I will do it.’


Step Eleven - Sought through pray and mediation, to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understand him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.




The Eleventh Step is often referred to in spiritual groups as the step of contemplation. This is the moment in our lives when we have accepted the need to take the time to sit and make space for God. We have accepted that not only are we not alone but we don't want to be. We are seeking relationship with God as a child seeks to sit on its parent's knee.

In contemplative prayer we wait on the Father as the handmaids and the friends of the bridegroom waited; expectantly so that we will be satisfied.

We do this by calling on Jesus as Emmanuel - God is with us - or Maranatha -Come, O Lord. A calling that comes from the heart; drawing God into us whilst understanding that God is already within.  That, no matter what we have done with our actions; our thoughts; our words we are still holy temples; the Spirit breathes through our breath and when we find our stillness - God will meet us there. 
 



 My Lord, as I understand You,
I pray to stay close with You
Clear from the confusion of daily life.
Through my prayers and meditation I ask especially for
Freedom from self-will, excuses and wishful thinking.
I pray for the guidance of true thought and positive action.
Your will Higher Power, not mine.



wordinthehand2012

Friday, 4 May 2012

Step Ten - Roadmap


GospelJohn 14:1-6 




Jesus said to his disciples:
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled.
Trust in God still, and trust in me.
There are many rooms in my Father’s house;
if there were not, I should have told you.
I am going now to prepare a place for you,
and after I have gone and prepared you a place,
I shall return to take you with me;
so that where I am
you may be too.
You know the way to the place where I am going.’
Thomas said, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus said:
‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
No one can come to the Father except through me.’


Step Ten - Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.




How often we take the opportunity to smile at Thomas; the one who always seems to be a step behind the rest; the doubtful one; the one who would not go anywhere without a map and a compass.


In this respect, maybe Thomas is a better example than we assume he is.


In our lives; spiritual or otherwise, we have journeys; we have tasks. At times, when things are going well,  we become overconfident; begin to believe that we have got 'it'; that we have found our balance.


Sometimes we even become so blase that we believe that we 'know it all'; we are so keen to leave behind the memory of failure and the hurt of 'not good enough'. 


There is more than one way to read the Gospel; perhaps Jesus does not sigh at Thomas' childlike and insecure comment; perhaps he is glad that Thomas has not taken hold of the teacher's staff for himself. And he smiles as Thomas admits to still being unsure;still needing guidance; still needing Jesus to be the wayfinder.


There is no-one more likely to fail that a person who knows all the answers. Jesus is the one who walks ahead - the only one who truly knows where he is going - the path that leads to the Father. 


By following him; by asking Jesus to show us the way; by questioning our own egos; we will move on to the the place, to the home,  that he has prepared for us.  





I pray I may continue:
        To grow in understanding;
To be aware of myself;
To correct mistakes when I make them;
To take responsibility for my actions;
To be ever aware of my negative,
Self-harming attitudes 
To keep my willfulness in check;
To always remember I need Your help;

        To love others; 
        To continue in daily prayer how I can best serve You,
My Higher Power




wordinthehand2012.



Thursday, 3 May 2012

Step Nine - the greater works


GospelJohn 14:6-14 



Jesus said to Thomas:
‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
No one can come to the Father except through me.
If you know me, you know my Father too.
From this moment you know him and have seen him.’
Philip said, ‘Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied.’
  ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip,’ said Jesus to him ‘and you still do not know me?
‘To have seen me is to have seen the Father,
so how can you say, “Let us see the Father”?
Do you not believe
that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words I say to you I do not speak as from myself:
it is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work.
You must believe me when I say
that I am in the Father and the Father is in me;
believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason.
I tell you most solemnly,
whoever believes in me
will perform the same works as I do myself,
he will perform even greater works,
because I am going to the Father.
Whatever you ask for in my name I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask for anything in my name,
I will do it.’


Step Nine; Made direct amends to such people except when to do so would injure others.




I wonder if the act of Reconciliation is the nearest we get to being Christ-like? 


Jesus believes we have the grace to do as he does. 


Like Jesus we are asked to forgive those who harm us.


But Jesus never had to ask forgiveness of others.


Could these not be greater works? 






Higher Power,
I pray for the right attitude to make my amends,
Being ever mindful not to harm others in the process.
I ask for Your guidance in making indirect amends.
Most important, I will continue to make amends
By staying abstinent, helping others 
Growing in spiritual progress.



wordinthehand2012