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Showing posts from February, 2019

Midweek Musing. On poetry with the gathered people.

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Recent gatherings I have led and attended have featured poetry that has held people, moved people, helped people, in their worship, prayer, and grief.



Poetry as Liturgy When I preside in worship gatherings, poetry features heavily. The poems I both compose and choose look and sound like poems more often than not. Not all prayers are poems, or even poetic, and there is no rule saying they ought to be, or not. This is simply a feature of my approach to liturgy, for which  I draw on my being and craft, poetry.

Each Sunday, I post on my other blog a prayer-poem inspired by one of the lectionary readings set for the following Sunday. Very often, I myself will use that prayer-poem in gathered worship when I am liturgist. Not always, as sometimes the liturgy or preacher take a different direction that needs words other than those I had composed, sometimes several weeks earlier. Usually, I then choose poems, or prayers, or prayer-poems that others have written, also inspired by themes and the…

Midweek Musing: on Holy Hope

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Reflecting on Luke 5:1–11 and 1 Corinthians 15:1–11 at Wesley Uniting Church, Canberra. 

Three words, ideas, movements, occur to me from the stories this week. Honesty. Hesed. Hope. and three different ways of pronouncing ‘h’ – silent, flegmatic, and neutral.



Honesty. Paul and Peter both, in their different ways, name themselves as ‘sinners’. Paul says, I do not deserve to be called an apostle because I had been persecuting the church of God. Peter says I am a sinful man. How much baggage do you think we’ll trip over, now, as those phrases, I do not deserve, I am sinful, enter the room? These ancient stories have travelled far, and collected quite some baggage along the way. And so have we. Particularly with the language of ‘sin’.

What is your response – yes, that, the emotion stirring in your gut at the thought of being undeserving, sinful; and those, the thoughts and memories hovering in your mind at the idea of not being worthy. Pay attention. See where that baggage is, and perhap…

Diary of a chronically exhausted vicar. Episode 21.

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I wrote last about adjusting the rhythms of my daily life, for the new circumstance brought about by this exhaustion. I have had to adjust my expectations about life in this new city, too.



After the intense and intentional connections with many communities and activities in my first year in Edinburgh, I had thought to do the same in Canberra.
But my work is different here, and my energy and attention was needed for getting to know the parish and the people I serve.
My health is different now; the energy I had at the start of the PhD is no longer.
My story is different after three years in Scotland, after earning 'Dr', after returning home, but not to my home town. I have a wide and scattered network of friends, and less need for a big circle here.

I shall not berate myself for being immersed in my community of faith - the wisdom is that this can become unhealthy for ministers, without the balance of relationships beyond the congregation. Rather, I will embrace this as a gift a…

fall, water

for Mary Oliver, January 2019 
this one this wild this full abundant precious cup:  life overflowing