Showing posts from April, 2015

in which I give voice to a new yearning

Articles and tv shows are bringing an old theme of reflection back to the surface. Several friends have posted links to intriguing articles from people living single and/or child-free lives, and the ranges of response to those choices from understanding to mis-understanding and even scorn (and the seemingly rare celebration and affirmation). In recent months I finally caught up with the popular show Call the Midwife, and I delight in this story about a group of women living in community, both the cloistered life of a convent and the embedded life of midwives serving their corner of the world. Call the Midwife draws me in through the convent doors to a yearning I had not previously recognised.

I am neither Catholic nor Anglican, the two main Christian traditions of which I am aware that have religious orders. Growing up, joining a religious order was never an option I considered, being outside of my experience, my tradition. But, then, I'm not sure I would have considered it even i…

lingering with the lectionary stories - of shepherds and abundance

this is in retrospect rather than anticipating the lectionary. as I sat in gathered worship this morning, hearing and singing the lectionary portions for the week, I recalled other encounters and reflections, and thought I'd share them here.

Psalm 23 
psalm 23 as prayers for others 
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want – we pray than none will want, that there will be none who yearn for food, shelter, friendship, peace, education, medicine, employment, clean water … 
May the Holy One lay you down in green pastures, lead you beside still waters; God restores the soul – this is our prayer for you who are unwell in body or mind, who are troubled, confused, overwhelmed … 
Wisdom will lead you in right paths, for the sake of God’s name – this we know, this we trust, from the stories of our ancestors and the stories we are living following the Holy One Holy Three 
Even though you walk through darkest valleys – do not fear – God is with you – in the Sacred presence may you find comfort a…

what counts : of war and peace and days of remembering

Some thoughts as we turn towards another ANZAC Day.*

For Australians and New Zealanders, 25 April is ANZAC Day. A day to remember one colossal disaster that happened within the epic disaster that is war. 100 years ago boatloads of soldiers from Australia and New Zealand landed on beaches in Turkey where their opposing forces were ready and waiting. To say this reception was unexpected is to say the very least. It was a bloody mess.

In the century that has followed, 25 April has become a day to remember sacrifice, loss, and the bond forged between Australia and New Zealand, between mates helping mates in impossible situations. Those 100 years have also seen healing and reconciliation between our two countries and Turkey, as the three countries curate a space in Gallipoli for commemoration, and come together this day each year to give thanks for life and for peace. ** #

There are many criticisms to be offered for the way war is at the centre of the most important rituals of our communit…

A Sonnet for Shakespeare's birthday


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of walking and talking, poetry and artistry and dreams

Melissa and Michelle turned to walk towards their bus and I cried. A week of being in the same place as two dear friends - the friendship spans 25 years - after six months separated by half the world because I followed a dream. A whole week. We hugged, we laughed, we talked and talked and sat together in silence, we visited castles and a palace, ate and drank and walked and walked and walked. Bliss. And I was fine, happy, content, apparently not affected by this being the last morning, by our walking to bus stops, mine for work, theirs for the airport, our walking towards goodbye. Until we said goodbye.

At the corner of the Princes Street Gardens, waiting for my bus, I let the tears wet my cheeks, and watched for the moment their bus drove them away. Tears fell again receiving a text message apology for the tears that had started it all, and a message of love, gratitude and encouragement for the one left behind, so far away from home.

That the rest of the day was full of work and writ…

crouching lion hidden no more under winter's blanket

spring's gentle unfolding below volcanic remnant hope's warm eruption

Observing the Sun: Easter Morning

earth turns, tilts
in its ellipsis:
the sun rises slightly
further left each new
spring day
and I wonder
if these words, applied
to a different sun
shine light from a new
direction into an old
familiar story?

Good Friday candles, song and story, and light remains

the sun has completed its long descent toward the horizon,
clouds continue to roll over Edinburgh their slick clear gloss
tourists linger outside the church as locals stride with purpose
for the glass doors, unknotting scarves, unbuttoning coats
to loosen the grip on the body's walking warmth.

within walls younger than the history of the place, for fire
fervour and fortune have all had their way with the building,
ancient tradition comes to life once more in the singing
and the telling of an even older story.

where is God, praise the Lord, why have you forsaken
me, the psalmists' cries ring out beneath foreign wood and echo
off walls and pillars of stone into the bones and souls below

one candle, two, three four five, and the lights extinguish, too:
six, seven, eight nine ten – but the darkness does not take the last.

one light remains and I see for the first time: hope is always

a Good Friday vigil and realisation

I have been so angry.
Internal screaming tearing wounds like those ripped by a flogging.
Bitterness poisoning the purest honey-gifts.
Despair driving a salt-water river despoiling once-rich soil.

Awareness tore down the veil between me and my anger as I heard today, Good Friday, reflections on the stories of Jesus' journey to the cross.

I heard that our anger, the 'swear' words we utter are so often a railing against the Divine, or Life: why else do we use crude sexual language flaunting the restrictions of decency, or the very names of God and Christ themselves?
And the angry red and black swear-word-drawing in my colouring meditation journal of a few days ago made sense now, as it hadn't at the time: what seemed like a general anger at all the world seems now to me to have been anger at God for something very specific.

I am angry because the vocation I struggled to discern during the first decade and a half of my adult life, which was in its discovery and naming so l…

a Good Friday haiku and colouring meditation

Love's Sacrifice

weeping whipped open chasms of life receive death earth waits expectant

stories of Jesus and love

Edinburgh, Spring 2015. Icy wind, intermittent rain, bagpipes and crowds filling the Old Town with noise. A small group walk together through it all, stopping at churches, gardens, castle promenade and ancient site of execution, and hear stories of encounter with Jesus in his last week before crucifixion.

We stepped out of the sheltered foyer of Greyfriars Kirk, having gathered, and as tour groups wandered through the kirkyard, we prayed, heard from prophets and gospels, and sang of Jesus entering Jerusalem.

We met a grave digger, or, as he described himself, a gardener, for in Israel and Jewish culture, the bodies of the dead are given a place of beauty in which to rest, surrounded by aromas and perfumes to cover the scent of decay. This gardener told of the many deaths at the hands of the Roman rulers, and wondered if this man Jesus might cross his path before the week was out.

On the steps of St Giles' Cathedral, above bagpipes and Royal Mile crowds, the noise and activity remini…