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I’m not ready!

I hate preparations. I hate getting ready and packing for holidays and always drive my wife mad leaving it to the last minute. I give the impression of being disorganised but I don’t think that I am. I can see Viv shaking her head.

In my defence, I try to live in a way that makes me prepared. I don’t pack early because I already know that I have everything that I want to take and know that all I have to do is put my things in a case and do my best to force it shut. Also, I’ve usually been mentally preparing for a little while before. For example, clothes. I know in my mind what I would like to take and in the week before I’ve been avoiding wearing those things or have made sure that they’ve gone into the wash. This doesn’t always work. Sometimes the t-shirt I really want isn’t clean but so far it hasn’t really mattered that much (so far!). To be fair Viv prepares in advance too but we just approach the whole thing from a different angle.

The way I see it, I leave things to the last minute only when I know that the big important preparations are all done.

When I have applied for a job, I certainly didn’t leave things too late. I read through all of the paperwork carefully and tried to identify exactly what was being asked. I then had a better idea if the job was for me. Then I prepared my answers specifically for that place and explicitly to answer every question or expectation set out in the paperwork. All of this takes time and effort, but I figure that if I can’t be bothered to do the preparation then I don’t really want the job.

Now preparation is a real advent theme and advent begins tomorrow. Tomorrow I will be celebrating the hope of Jesus return as lord and judge. With that hope comes a clear warning – Will you be ready (see Luke 21.25-36)?

Will I be prepared? Well the simple answer is NO; at least not completely. There is no chance of me being perfect any time soon, but I still make sure that I’m as prepared as I can be. This is an ‘interview’ that I really want to get right so I prepare myself. I go through the routine I do for a job interview.

First, I carefully read the paperwork! I read my Bible and read that Jesus will come as judge. I read that this will be frightening to many and confusing. I also read that Jesus will return completely unexpectedly. So what can I do? I can’t swat up for a particular day. Jesus would see straight through me anyway and ask me about last week or last year! So there is nothing special I can do, except try to let the Spirit make me into a good Christian every day. I need to make sure that I am as like Jesus as possible so that I don’t need to run around panicking when it’s already too late.

So preparing for Jesus’ return means getting on and living my life for him, day by day – no short-cuts or exceptions. So back to that paperwork again; back to the Bible. In the Bible I find Paul giving good advice on how to get ready. I read Paul praying:

May the Lord make your love for each other and for everyone else grow by leaps and bounds. That’s how our love for you has grown. And when our Lord comes with all of his people, I pray that he will make your hearts pure and innocent in the sight of God the Father. (1 Thessalonians 3.12-13 CEV)

So I need to pray, and I need to ask others to pray for me too. Then I need to pray for others so that they can be ready too. And what do I pray for? To be ready of course… – but what does that mean day by day? I look back at Paul’s advice and find that I am to pray that God will help my love to grow in leaps and bounds, love for those that I meet, in church and out of it.

Wow! The light has just come on. All this preparation is God working in me. I can’t get ready. Only the Spirit can make me ready by giving me more and more godlike love. I need to let the Spirit work in me to make me pure and innocent and full of love. So like Paul I pray:

Father, I’m not perfect – something I’m sure you know only too well. I can never get myself ready for Jesus coming back, I’m barely ready for the things that this world throws at me each day! I pray Father that you continue to pour out your Spirit into me so that I can be more pure and innocent. Father, help me to love as Jesus loved – Oh, and please don’t let me know or I’ll just get big headed and ruin the whole thing! Amen.

Watch out: Don’t let them catch you praying in the cinema!

I’ve just read of the cinema chains Odeon, Cineworld and Vue refusing to show a 1 minute advert from the Church of England (BBC report here). The advert features different people praying the Lord’s Prayer. A peaceful expression of a faith is banned for Christmas. So sad, pathetic even. I pay to see a film but I still end up sitting through adds for things I don’t want and certainly don’t need. I’m sure 1 minute of the Lord’s Prayer would have cheered people this Christmas.

Rant over: See the Advert here:



Of sadness, anger and despair

After the stark evidence of human evil in this world I look for a leader who will lead people to peace not war. I’ve seen what war and hatred can do. I hear President Obama admit that ISIL is the unintended consequence of the invasion of Iraq. I see the videos filled with hatred and violence and I am ashamed to be a human being. I feel an overwhelming sadness that feels like despair. I feel the anger and the revulsion and suddenly the impulse to wipe it all out doesn’t seem so irrational. I read of Noah and the flood and suddenly God’s actions don’t seem so odd.
We, as a race, can be wonderful, but so often we do such evil things. We have so much potential for good but so often we use our skill and intelligence to devise ever more imaginative ways to bring death and suffering on our fellow human beings. If I were God I would probably have given up on these self-righteous apes a long time ago.
I’d make a really useless God.
In my sadness I could find no peace. I want peace, I need peace and long for peace. I sat and prayed for peace. I prayed for peace to come. I prayed for peace to fill the hearts of those who hate. I prayed for love too. Then I stopped. Nothing external seemed to have happened. The world goes on regardless. But everything has indeed changed. My encounter with God has changed me.
I see what God has done and I’m ashamed at myself for my thoughts, as ashamed as I am of my race. I see that God has not given up on me and my kind: It’s not just a grudging last chance offered either. God calls for me and mine to be his children with him as our Father. The Father has sent Jesus to make all of this possible: To make peace between God and humanity. To end our hostility, with love.
I feel my lack of peace draining away. I feel love taking its place. I feel a tiny fraction of the love that turned God’s anger away from just wiping us out as a sick mistake. I feel the love and the love is beginning to make me whole. I realise that my anger came out of fear and the love is driving out that fear – Love is leaving less and less room for fear to hide. Despair seems to have tip-toed away too.
I start to get the slightest glimpse of what it was for God in Jesus to suffer here and die. I see that there is a better way than revenge and yet more violence, then revenge back and more violence and on and on and on. I see a way out. Not an easy way but a powerful way. I see the way of Christ. Christ who is king, here and now. Christ who is king for all eternity.
Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory to God (Luke 19.38 CEV).

Paris Terror Attacks: Hate, evil, anger and revenge!

I’ve just got back home after spending a few days with family and friends. I returned to find that this blog had won “Highly Commended” in a competition run by Network Norfolk. Thank you to those who voted for me but today I don’t feel very much like celebrating.
Today I checked the media for the first time for a week only to read of the terror attacks in Paris. I am not surprised but I am deeply shocked by this act of evil. The evil of Syria and Iraq has come to the heart of Europe. This is evil. Armed men with guns and bombs attacked unarmed people just going about their business. Such a brave thing to do to shoot an unarmed civilian then kill yourself so you don’t have to live with the consequences! As you can tell I’m angry. I feel anger and hatred bubbling up inside. I want revenge and I’m not even one of those personally affected!
I feel God is distant so I pray, I pray for those suffering pain and loss. I pray for peace in Paris, I pray for peace. I feel myself falling so throw myself into my Bible. The Spirit opens the words of Scripture to me and realise just how easy it is for evil to win. How easy to be led astray into hatred. I read Mark 13.1-8 and hear Jesus say to me personally, “Watch out and don’t let anyone fool you! Many will come and claim to be me. They will use my name and fool many people” (Mark 13.5-6 CEV).
Thankfully, I heard Jesus in time; in time to save me from becoming a false prophet speaking words of hate in the name of Jesus! I am like a small child frantic with fear so Jesus holds me and calms my panic. Then and only then can I hear the next words, “When you hear about wars and threats of wars, don’t be afraid. These things will have to happen first, but that isn’t the end” (Mark 13.7 CEV). Only then could I hear “don’t be afraid” spoken to me. I then can let go of my fear and let the Love flow in: The love that is perfect, unlike mine. I let the Spirit work and the Father’s love flow and feel for myself what John meant when he wrote, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 14.18 NIV).
Then, and only then, was I set free to weep. I am crying as I write this. I cry to my loving Father for all who are in pain and suffering. I pray for the healing of those injured. I pray with renewed tears for those caught up in hate. Whatever the cause, hate leads to worship of a god, for sure, but that god is not the god I worship. It is to a false god that hatred leads. That god is father only of lies. It is this deceiver that has welcomed those terrorists; it is this liar that convinced them that he was the God they sought to worship, it is the Devil who reaches out for them now.
I dry my tears and am angry once again. I feel the anger of God at the evil and hatred in this world. I accept that armies may be needed to defend us, but Paris reminds me that when hatred is used to point a gun only evil triumphs.
I turn my anger to God, crying out “Why?” and “How long”. My tears clear once again and I notice that the Bible passages that led me from hate have a single theme. They both look to the end of all hatred and evil. They both look to Jesus’ return as Lord and judge. I pray for the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven in all of its fullness. I pray for the kingdom where “He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever” (Revelation 21.4 CEV).
Jesus hasn’t come back yet. But while I wait, I pray for patience, the wisdom and love needed to make at least a glimpse of that Kingdom visible here and now. As I wait, I hear Jesus say, “I am coming soon!” and join countless voices saying, “Come Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22.20 CEV & NIV).

Remembrance: A little girl, Jesus and war

While getting ready for this Remembrance time I read about a competition in a church paper (not local to here) where readers were encouraged to nominate people they believed best lived out their faith. Lots of emails and letters went in, mostly nominating people who had:
1. Attended their church faithfully over many years;
2. Given sizeable donations to their church and/ or charities; or
3. Both 1 and 2.
To support these nominations people included lots of references to articles in local newspapers and letters of thanks.
Finally the winner was announced and it was a real surprise. The nomination had been handwritten in crayon by a young girl and had no supporting letters. It simply said,  “Anthony is a plumber.  He helped some people fix up a house because their first house burned down.  He also visits my grandmother in the nursing home and make her happy with his stories and his harmonica playing.  He is a lot like Jesus.  I hope he wins.  But if he doesn’t it won’t matter.  He will still be the same Anthony. Love, Anne.”
That little story made me think that I would like to be, “a lot like Jesus”. I would like to be someone that shows that God is living in me by the way he helps me to live: By the way He makes me more loving, caring, patient and peaceful. I want to show a little bit of Jesus here and now. But how?
Well it’s not too hard for me to do quite well living for Jesus here in a nice home, in a lovely English country town. There are social issues and crime but generally my life is pretty safe and comfortable. But what about people have to do the dirty work so that I don’t have to? What about the police who have to arrest the criminals and keep us safe. What about my granddad in the Durham Light Infantry fighting a war in Afghanistan now long forgotten? What about all those in the military today who know there job is to kill people to keep the bad guys away and keep people like me and my family safe? How do they keep the peace of Christ in their hearts? What of Remembrance Sunday?
This is a messy, fallen world and the Bible doesn’t pretend otherwise.
I don’t know how I would cope with having to kill someone, even as part of a war. Sadly, I’m pretty sure I could do it. But what would it do to me afterwards? What would my faith look like then? Would my faith even survive? I pray for those that face these questions for real. I pray for them to know that they too are loved by God; that, in this fallen world, a soldier can still be a faithful servant of Christ. I pray that in the midst of the horror of war the peace of Christ will remain. I pray because I can only imagine the depth of faith it must take to know Christ with you not just in the heat of battle but also in the quiet time afterwards when there is time to think and remember; and regret.
Thankfully, I’ve never had to pull that trigger or release that missile. But I do agree that it is right that others do go through all of this on my behalf. I am not a pacifist. I do believe that police or military force is sometimes the lesser of evils. So I must support those who fight on my behalf. I need to remember those who have died in warfare. I also need to remember those who were hurt in body, mind or soul.
I pray that some little girl somewhere can write her letter about all that a soldier has done and be able to say that he or she was like Jesus for them.
That’s why this Remembrance I wear a poppy and contribute a little towards welfare of those who have fought and returned, their families, and the families of those who did not come back.

Saints, zombies and Jedi Knights

I admit it, I’m stuck once again. So I’ve decided to go back to the Bible and particularly the Bible passages given for me to work with for tomorrow. I look at John 11.32-44 and I read about Jesus and the raising of Lazarus from the dead.  This is obviously meant to have something to say about saints but I read of someone walking out of a tomb and all I can think of are zombies! It is so irreverent but I can’t help it. I can’t stop myself form seeing a moaning figure stumbling out of his tomb, arms out in front of him, flesh dropping off, hunting for brains.

It is All Saints’ tomorrow and here I am sitting thinking about zombies. It’s not that I have nothing to say about saints but I’m not sure I have anything new or much to add to my post from this time last year “Second hand dress and halo for sale – any offers?”. So perhaps the Spirit wants me to think about zombies? It sounds daft but it could be true. After all, that is what most non-Christians would be doing. Indeed, if I went out with a clip board and surveyed people in any city, told them briefly about a man walking out of a tomb and asked them what they pictured – If I did that then I am pretty confident that the most people would think ‘zombie’, particularly if they are 40 or under.
This just brings it home to me that I can’t take it for granted that anyone outside of church is going to have the faintest idea about Jesus or what God is doing through him – still less care about either. Even Christians today are mostly not that inspired by the stories of saints of old. I think that the stories of men and women who lived the faith in ages past feel so far away from today. It feels as though I should start my story with, “Once upon a time” or perhaps, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…. ”.  The stories of the saints may be good stories but they seem as real to most people as Hansel and Gretel’s bread crumbs or the Star Wars films and Jedi Knights.
I try again with the Bible; I try to get zombies out of my mind. I read that Jesus meets two saints Mary and Martha, they tell him off, Jesus weeps and a dead friend is granted life from the dead. Mary and Martha and Lazarus are all saints, famous saints too. What’s more I am starting to see how their story could be relevant today. I spend a lot of time with the dying and the grieving. Sadly, death is very much a part of life and no one can escape. This saint story is relevant, really relevant.
What do I learn – I learn that as a saint,  I can cry and I can get angry about death; just like Mary and Martha. It is part of my humanity to feel that searing pain of loss that makes my heart feel like dust and ashes. Jesus seems to have felt something of that pain too and wept. So now I know that I can bring Jesus with me to someone in grief. Through the Spirit in me Jesus can sit in me with a grieving widow, and weep. That is a saintly thing to do.
I read more and I find that Jesus can do the impossible. That Jesus can heal even death. So I too can and do pray for healing even when all medical hope is gone. That too seems to me to be the saintly thing to do. But sometimes, as I’m praying for healing, I get a clear sense that healing will not happen here and now, healing will only come after this temporary physical death is through.
That leads me to the last book of the Bible, to Revelation 21.1-6 and I read:
 Now I have something truly amazing, even more amazing than someone healing a dead patient. Now I know that a saint is a follower of Jesus who knows of a healing that goes beyond physical healing. A healing that isn’t time limited – after all Lazarus still died and was buried. A saint seems to be someone who lives (or lived) a life that made this reality clear to those around them here and now. I pray that I too can be a follower of Jesus that, in the midst of the tears, death, suffering, crying and pain, can bring a little comfort that is greater than all these things. A comfort that comes from claiming these promises of heaven, and claiming them for me and for people here and now.
I can see something of what a saint is now. A saint is a earthy human being who like Jesus feels the joy and sorrow of this world, and doesn’t hide themself away from either. Even more, a saint is a earthy human being with one foot on earth and one in heaven, where already, “These things of the past are gone forever.” Knowing this I see that a saint is greater than any Jedi Knight, and greater than any hero from myth – a saint is real too and I can be one!
A saint is someone who knows that the reality of the Father’s love is more mind blowing and ‘out of this world’ than any fantasy, new or old. I want that for me, for you and for everyone, that’s what keeps me going.

I dare you to dance and sing the faith!

I love music – All sorts of music. I listen to a wide mixture of different music from rock to folk, from baroque to Christian pop. When I was a teenager it was mostly heavy rock that moved me. I even modelled my identity on that music – I was quite an angry teenager. Later I was moved by the songs and hymns I learned as a Christian. I learned to appreciate some classical music, then folk through the discovery of Maddy Prior. In her teens my daughter got into some very extreme music. She left some out for me and to her shock I loved it. Any Christian who really wants to understand the pain of many young people really needs to listen to Maralyn Manson. He is shocking and disturbing but the pain and anger in those lyrics needs to be felt.
Music reaches places deep inside. Places that I for one often try forget about. It gets into and rattles the part of me that is very basic and raw; not ordered and civilised. I am attracted to music that stirs up the deep cauldron of emotions inside me so that powerful feelings bubble up to be expressed: This leads to dancing and singing, tears and laughter, it leads to an honesty that can be more than a little embarrassing. And do you know, I don’t care!
I see too many of my Christian brothers and sisters living lives that are far too safe. Even so much of Christian music encourages us to stay in the safe confines of the church fellowship. True, we need to spend time together being built up and strengthened in Christ but only so that we can go out as spiritual fighters for Christ. We have been too afraid of change, too afraid of life. We have retreated into our spiritual castle. Safe behind our church walls we feel secure and wonder why no one is hearing about Christ; why the rest of the world is forgetting about Christ.
We can even use the Bible as a barrier against the world. We can retreat into a world of Bible jargon, of ‘salvation’, ‘redemption’, ‘sin’, and ‘judgement’ – we are moved by these in-words and forget that there are whole generations who don’t even know who ‘Jesus’ is!
What an amazing insight from Paul, the Bible is ‘God-breathed’. In other words the Bible gets it’s authority not from human beings but from the Spirit. Old and New Testaments record God’s Spirit speaking to and through human beings and events. God’s Spirit continues to speak through those recorded words. BUT I have found that God only speaks through Scripture when I let the Spirit take those words off the page and bring them to life: The written Word only comes alive when the living Spirit reveals what they are saying to me here and now. This can be through an inspired speaker or alone in prayer, but either way it is the Spirit that brings the God’s Word to life.
When I listen to the Spirit speak through Scripture then the Bible comes to life. The Bible becomes a vibrant collection of powerful music that stirs my soul. The Bible becomes an Olympic torch leaping into flame as the Spirit ignites it. The Bible becomes a bright searchlight shining out as the electricity of the Spirit flows through it.
This Bible Sunday I pray that all Jesus’ people will let the Holy Spirit bring the Bible alive. I pray that the flame of God may shine out from the Bible and set the world alight. Equipped for every good work – Step out: Go on I dare you to dance and sing the faith!

The patients are plentiful but the doctors are few!

Doctors – I try to keep as far away from them as possible! No offence to any doctors reading this but I take illness as a personal insult and so I suspect that I’m not a good patient. I think, “I’ve got too much to do to be ill” and so keep away from doctors. Somewhere in the deepest and darkest part of my mind I must be associating doctors with illness and so if I don’t go near them I can’t be ill. There’s no logic to it. In fact a regular check up is probably a good way of avoiding being ill. But logic never seems to get too far when up against deep and vague fears. I can hear the voice deep within huffing and puffing at my logical brain, muttering “Lots of sick people at the doctors – can’t be good for you!”
Even if I did want to go to the doctors I’d need to be very ill or very patient. My doctors’ surgery will only make appointments for the same day or the next. The problem is these are booked up the moment the surgery opens and so the only advice is try again tomorrow. I’ve now found that most are booked before the surgery opens! How? Well I looked into it and found that they now have an online appointments service. I’ve signed up for it and I’m told that I can bag an appointment 1 second after midnight. The only other way is to say that it’s ‘urgent’ and I’ll get seen that day; or go direct to the hospital, of course.
It’s all so frustrating for me, but it is downright dangerous for the weak and elderly who often don’t have internet access or the energy to push. They grew up to be strong, to get on with things, and not to make a fuss. They phone and phone the surgery, then give up. It is wrong. But I also know that it isn’t entirely the fault of my doctor. I know that the practice is seriously short of doctors.
To change a famous phrase from Luke 10.2, “The patients are plentiful but the doctors are few!” We need more doctors to heal us when we’re sick. But looking at this world the sickness goes far deeper than just illness. I’ve seen teenagers and young men trying to sell drugs to school children – that is sick. I have seen families that are falling apart who seem to be taking it out on the children caught in the cross-fire – that is sick. My list could go on and on but it would just be too depressing. As a minister I see so much of the goodness in this world but I am also ‘privileged’ to see and work with those suffering the effects of the very worst of human nature. I see the selfishness and greed, the pettiness, vindictiveness, violence and cruelty. I know that I am so privileged to live in my lovely country town, but the sickness is here too, just not as bad.
We need a doctor to help our society with its sickness – we need Jesus the one sent to bring healing. That is I think why I’ve been called back to parish ministry – not to be the doctor – no, to encourage people to visit the Doctor, the God who can make them well and whole. Not that I’m perfect but as a sick person I have found the Spirit to be a great doctor for my soul. I am finding healing and I want other people to know how good it is. That’s all – I’m certainly no better than anyone else, maybe more blessed but that’s all I could claim.
Turning to the life of Jesus written by the doctor Luke I read that I am to proclaim ‘peace’ (Luke 10.5). Oh, how I need peace myself as I rush around. But still there is a peace inside that the Spirit maintains. Once again it’s a gift, and I want to share it. I turn to the same passage of the Bible and find that I am to let people know that the, “The kingdom of God has come near to you” (Luke 10.9). The kingdom where the very trees have leaves for the healing of the nations (Revelation 22.2). A vision of a new Eden to come that is right there for anyone – a free gift to all.
I love this job. I’m a salesman of sorts, with the best product in this world … or the next!

The God of surprises

I love most sea food. I say most because there are some fish that I just haven’t been able to bring myself to try, at least not yet. Jellied eels are one food that still defeats me, they just look ‘wrong’ and all of that jelly just repels me. One thing that I do love are anchovies. I remember when they seemed to come with every pizza. I miss them but usually forget to ask for them specially. I love them but the ones in the tins are just so salty. The other day I was in the delicatessen in our little town. It is always dangerous for me to go in there: Well it is mostly dangerous for my wallet and my waistline. This time I spotted a pot of anchovies in oil and asked to try one. The assistant (who hates fish) carefully ‘fished’ one out for me. I held it by the tail, dropped it into my mouth whole and stared at her in shock. I think she thought that I was about to throw up, but then I smiled. The taste was so completely different from what I had expected. There was no saltiness at all. I could taste the fish and an intense sweetness that I was just not expecting. Never in a million years did I ever expect to be able to describe a fish as sweet, but there was the proof on my tongue.

I love it when life throws up surprises for me like that anchovy. I particularly like it when I discover something that I could never have imagined before. It thrills me that God has filled this created world with such variety, wonder and freshness. At the very least it can be a partial antidote to all that is wrong. I have found God to be the God of surprises. The more I think that I have got to know him the more I discover something new about God. It is this that, at least in part, keeps my relationship with God vibrant. It is this that makes it a relationship rather than merely an academic study of the strange concept of ‘God’.

The fact that God is the God of surprises should be no surprise. It is very much the experience of Jesus’ followers and of the early church described in the New Testament. The disciples were utterly shocked when Jesus said to them,

“It’s hard for rich people to get into God’s kingdom!” The disciples were shocked to hear this. So Jesus told them again, “It’s terribly hard to get into God’s kingdom! In fact, it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into God’s kingdom.” (Mark 10.23 -25 CEV)

The disciples new that it was only God who could bless someone, so it followed that it must have been God who blessed the rich with their riches. So no wonder they were shocked at Jesus’ words. If the ‘blessed’ couldn’t get in to God’s kingdom then how could anyone get in? What chance was there for them? They were shocked by this, but eventually realised that Jesus was saying that getting into the kingdom of God was a gift that only God could give, not something that anyone could buy with money or even with good living.

The disciples had many more surprises to come to terms with, not least that Jesus would have to suffer and even die if the way into this kingdom was to be opened to anyone at all. Then later, after the resurrection, almost everything that they had taken for granted about how God wanted them to live was changed:

The Sabbath – gone very quickly. Indeed, the first Christians considered the Jews lazy for taking Saturday off.

Food laws – again these went in the first few years of Christianity as all foods were declared clean.

Circumcision – the central mark of Jewish identity for any man. But this quickly went too.

Jesus – God and human – something blasphemous to most Jews.

The Holy Spirit – the third person of the Trinity – again blasphemous to most Jews.

So what surprises has God go in store for me now? What is God trying to show the people here where I live? What is he trying to get us to see? It could be valuing again something that has been considered to be old fashioned. Here I think about how the old 1662 Prayer Book worship attracts people even today, and its use seems to be growing again.

Surprises, by definition, are a surprise so how can I be sure that I hear God and respond? Honestly, I don’t have any guarantee. But I have found that taking time to listen and respond to God makes it that little bit easier to be ready for His surprises. Listening to and with others helps too. I’ve found so many times that the things that I get confused about are crystal clear to others around me.

I get this feeling that God is saying something surprising and challenging about the refugees, about the natural world, and the climate, about family life, what it is to be a Christian, and so much more. I once wished to be one of those early Christians, right at the start of it all: With all the changes, challenges and surprises around at the moment, perhaps I have been granted my prayer.

God is the God of surprises, so be careful what you wish for, God might just answer your prayer.

A sea of books

A moving new poem:
A sea of books

I set sail on the sea of books;

My fleet of novels

Bravely bobbing

Cover-sails fluttering

Amid a wind of acclaim.

Hope was not enough

Armour against the tides;

Their bright flags faded,

Tattered and ragged,

Ripped by the storms.

Then came the days

When piracy threatened

And every author cried

“It’s a jungle out there!”

And eyed others askance,

Seeing fellows as rivals

And former friends as foes.

The sea became too busy,

Impossible to navigate,

Books thronged, thick as flies

On a week old corpse.

I called my books home

And weary and gratefully

They came back to harbour,

Hulks in a haven,

Safe from sinking and shame.

Source: A sea of books


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