Monday, 24 December 2012

The war on Christmas

Scandal and stables and slaughter! The coming of God encounters resistance. No way! No room! No survivors! All because men love darkness instead of light, and this is the depravity of our beloved Christmas story.

He comes, and we say it is impossible.
He comes, and we say he won't fit here.
He comes, and we try to rid the world of him.

But what the darkness cannot comprehend, it cannot overcome. For the Word of God will not return empty. His coming will accomplish what He desires, and His desire is for us.

His desire makes a way through the impossibilities, his desire finds a place to dwell even in darkness, his desire brings the dead to life, and this is the miracle of our beloved Christmas story.


Sunday, 9 December 2012

The first of this coming

And the first we felt of you was not the strong healer’s arm or even the babe in arms – but here, a flutter of feet within. Yes, we held you hidden before we beheld your glory. First, first, a kick from inside, and we wondered, could that be you? And then it came again, and we smiled full. For we had the inclination, the hope of your being there, but now the evidence of the thing unseen!

You begin your descent as the smallest of seeds, emerging from a holy shadow. The immaculate whisper of conception before the joyful shout of arrival. Your coming to us is from the inside out. We do not need to be merely decorated with the divine. All the glitter of heaven could not light up our blackened hearts. But the Most High became the most low, the Light of the world implanted, incarnate in the dark womb of the soul.

And we feel you turning, twisting, growing till there is no denying your presence, and the only way to see you is our own turning inside out – for we are changed most by birth – and when all hope of containing you is futile, then and here is your coming.


Thursday, 29 November 2012


Behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples...

In raw moments the question pierces: Is the light I profess truly greater than this present darkness? As the cold winter night presses in and howls at the windowpanes, will I withstand or will I be shattered? And if the glass should fly, will I too be extinguished?


Sunday, 25 November 2012

new world breaking

There’s a new world breaking, breaking into ours
There’s a new light rising, pushing back the dark
There’s a healing falling, covering our scars
There’s a new life pulsing into every heart

There’s a fire burning, purging all our sin
There’s a Spirit blowing with a mighty wind
There’s a river rushing, making deserts green
There’s a fountain flowing, washing sinners clean

There’s a kingdom coming, coming from above
There is mercy streaming from the King of love
There’s a Father calling, calling wanderers home
There’s a Saviour running, reaching for His own

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done
Here on earth as it is in heaven
The King has come, His work is done
Now His world is breaking in


Thursday, 22 November 2012

everything we need

Oh yes, we have everything we need.

A sun-dappled path, a bit of mud for fun, the confidential whispering of trees.
Strong legs and lungs and space to run, and a warm house to run into when our noses are cold.
A cup of tea and a cuddle in the chair, time to sit and not be rushed.
Time to gather up the moments of the day into an armful of praise to our Father.
And love, love, love, that is poured out, covering, binding all together!

Yes, this is life abundant. To have our days filled with meaning because He means for us to really live, in the midst of all these good and perfect gifts.

And so the striving for something other fades away in the light of this living.
Our fires are lit with contentment, and we are rosy in the glow.


Sunday, 11 November 2012

Broken: A Remembrance

People die, and people kill, and everyone dies a little more inside, for aren’t we all the same family? Broken people break people, and how much more can there be till our one giant heart splits right in two and all the red runs dry? And who will put us back together?

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.”*

All, all of this because we want what we have not been given. We believe the serpentine lie, that what comes from God is not enough. That what we need must come from elsewhere. And since God is all and only life, the elsewhere can only be death, the nothingness that is not him.

So we eat and are soon eaten up by this rotten discovery, and the disease spreads to the core. The disease turns us against ourselves, and our diagnosis? – Incurable, terminal cancer. Our enemy is death, but who can kill death? And who will put us back together?

All, all are fallen in battle. One death is the death of all, for aren’t we all the same family?

And the God of life weeps giant tears over this valley of bones, weeps himself dry, till tears take the form of a man and the shape of the cross. And he swallows the bitter pill, drinks death to its dregs, makes it part of him till he lies like one of us.

We did not ask for this! But this is what is given!

And the tide of red turns, and death is taken up into Life. One death is the life of all, for isn’t he now one of us? The broken God invites us into his heart and here puts us back together. And this life is gift, this life is sacrifice, this life is love, and it is the only way to live. To live in what he gives – this is the only way we can be whole.

*James 4:1-2


Friday, 9 November 2012

Baby bear

Oh my baby boy, flushed and warm with milk, snuggle-sized and sleeping –

In these tender moments I marvel at my reality, you here with me.
Now you are my teddy bear, a growling, grinning bundle that fits just so in my arms.
Even so, you are growing, tumbling out of babyhood into more and more boy-ness. You stretch and roll and reach and I cannot contain you as I once did. I cannot hold all of this life, and I was never meant to, but I catch my moments when I can. That crooked smile of contentment, that chubby arm around my neck, that face buried soft in mine. Moments turn into days, and days fly by quick as autumn’s leaves.
The seasons shift and you shape into the boy you will be, the boy with a heart of a bear, and I pray for strength in all this shape-shifting. You will outgrow my arms and one day I may fit in yours, and that is the pain and joy of mothering a son; that is the reality we share.
Know that my arms will always be open and my prayers will always be fierce and my strength will never be enough, but His will be and we will both tumble into that. 


Friday, 26 October 2012

making holy

In the midst of the day, the noon of it all, the pressing in walls
I make a space
I make it holy

I turn the chair
Away from the mess, the ever unfinished busyness
I turn toward the window
To a horizon deep and wide

I set this place apart
I set my eyes and heart above

I turn the page
And let the Word wash over the mess
(The only housecleaning I may get to today)

It sets me apart
It makes me holy
Fills all this space

Till I turn and turn and turn
And everything is horizon
And everything is holy


Saturday, 22 September 2012

When you don't know how to pray

When you don’t know how to pray. . .

Tears can be prayers, dripping from a bruised and smoldering heart, silent messages collected in His bottle. He knows the language of tears.

Groans can be prayers, too deep for words, yet the Spirit sighs along with you, and He knows the mind of God, the will of God, and intercedes for His purpose. He doesn’t need words to know your heart.

Drops of blood can be prayers, the stress and the sacrifice, laid on the altar before the Priest who ever lives and pleads for you. Because of His pain, yours is lifted to the Father in perfect intercession.

When you don’t know how to pray, there is One who does, One who is praying right along with you. You can have peace that surpasses understanding, knowing it is not your words and your work that matter, but His Word and His Work.

When you don’t know how to pray, pray past the how and into the Who – He hears.

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