About robryan65

fallible human, creative, Christian, team vicar HT Greenwich Peninsula, real ale, rum and malt whisky drinker dancer in another life - expressing personal views.

Look again at ‘Look, I’m wearing all the colours’ …

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As I said in an earlier post … I have known Zara and Rikard for nearly 10 years.

In that time they have become two of my my most trusted and loved friends. They are beautiful people, very loving and very welcoming and on top of that they have both been blessed with amazing creative skills. One of the highlights of my ordained ministry was to be able to bless this lovely couple’s marriage.

Anyway … if you’ve read my previous post  you will also be aware of the real pain that they both experience and live with on a daily basis. So please,  go here again to watch the video … or here to Rilkard’s page. They have done a massive amount of work and are so so close to the target to make this photo storybook a reality. They have already raised £7283 and only need another £1677. That’s amazing!

Today … instead of buying shit you don’t need … go here and pledge to make a real difference in enabling Zara and Rikard to publish something that, really, we all need!

Thanks.

Burma update …

Min Aung Hlaing, the head of the Burmese military, is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Rohingya villagers, and the rape of thousands of Rohingya women. The United Nations has said what his military has done could be genocide, the most serious crime in the world.

In Kachin State and Shan State his soldiers are also attacking civilians, driving thousands of people from their homes, arresting, torturing and executing villagers.

Despite these horrific violations of international law, the British government is refusing to support the UN Security Council referring Burma to the International Criminal Court. A referral to this court means that they can investigate the crimes that have taken place and seek to prosecute those responsible.

Email your MP and take action here.

If you live outside the UK, you can email Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson here.

Min Aung Hlaing and his military are terrified of this happening. British MPs who have called on the British government to support a referral have been banned from visiting Burma.

So far Min Aung Hlaing has paid no price for what he has done to the Rohingya. Thinking he can get away with anything, he has been stepping up attacks against other ethnic minorities in Burma.

Getting the UN Security Council to refer Burma to the International Criminal Court won’t be easy. China and Russia will be opposed. The only way to overcome that opposition is to build global support for a referral. The British government should be working to build that global support. Instead, on this issue, the British government has the same position as China and Russia, they don’t support a referral.

Britain is the formal lead country on Burma at the UN Security Council. Others follow their lead. By refusing to support a referral, they are protecting Min Aung Hlaing, encouraging him to believe he can continue to get away with the mass rape and killing of ethnic minorities.

If you live in the UK, please email your MP asking them to support Early Day Motion 1219, calling on the British government to support referring Burma to the International Criminal Court. (An Early Day Motion is a kind of petition that only MPs can sign, and we know from experience they can influence the government).

Email your MP and take action here.

If you live outside the UK, you can email Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson here.

Thank you for your support

Anna Roberts
Burma Campaign UK

Help build the campaign – donate today!

building community c

barn-raising.jpgThe other morning I received these words from my Richard Rohr daily thought:

I am interested to see many more forms of intentional community than what we see today. . . . I would like to see the equivalent of Jesuit Volunteer Corps communities connected to every parish, where young people might commit to live for a term of two or three years, committed to the work of justice and peacemaking. [2] I would like to see the parish encourage members to purchase homes in the vicinity of one another and in neighborhoods where there is greatest need, as an expression of the parish’s work. . . . I would like to see every parish have a version of a L’Arche community. [3] I am interested in the construction of simple homes, affordable and available for both poor and rich, to create neighborhoods where all can live and interact and be helpful to each other.

As I reflect on the future here on the Greenwich Peninsula I am challenged as to how this might look. As I consider moving in to a new setting in Newham I am pondering those words and feel challenged. I believe intentional community to be the real energising thing in ministry …. pairing it with cathedrals and parish settings grounds and earths it in a powerful way.

More pondering, reflecting, contemplating.

Waite on Solitude

IMG_0458On Tuesday evening I attended an amazing Sion College event which, this time, was held at the East India Club. The subject of the evening was ‘Solitude’ with the speaker being Terry Waite.

Wow is all I can say.

Terry spoke amazingly without notes for 10 to 15 mins. He was humorous in sharing some stories, humble when sharing of his 5 years from 1987-1991 held as a hostage and deeply profound when reflecting on how that 5 years , most of being in solitary confinement, had affected his ongoing life and work.

Two of the simply most awesome comments he shared were that although he would never wish to repeat the experience that he was ‘the better for it’ and that he found no problem forgiving his captors. The latter he said was due to being able to take the time to understand the reason for their actions (he then digressed a little on to the current Middle East situation and the West response … maybe I’ll blog about that at a later date) … I would hope I would be able to do the same in such circumstances but am not sure I would be as bold as this man who not only forgave but has been back on a number of occasions and has continued in his work of hostage relief even offering to go to Iran in 2007 to negotiate with those holding hostage British sailors.

I jotted down a few other notes which hit me …

When engrossed in rough times he made some suggestions of outlooks to get though the experience:
have no regrets about what you did to get there
avoid self pity
don’t oversentimalise your situation
take the experience as an opportunity to get to know yourself better

Those are incredible words coming from a person held and deprived from all human communication for 5 years. I’ve reflected on them for a few days and it seems to be that they comprise some pretty good advice for most of the stuff life can throw at us, particularly the using of the opportunity to learn more about yourself rather than be pitiful and descend spiralling into a victim mindset that is particularly quite common for the who suffer from the imposter syndrome.

Thank you Terry for an amazing evening .. and thank you to the new people I met around the table for adding to what was just a great all round evening.

Thy Kingdom Come

P2P_Facebook_Profile-1Today is Ascension Day where, in the church, we remember Jesus leaving the disciples and ascending into heaven in front of them, still carrying the scars of the crucifixion.

We are being encouraged, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, through Thy Kingdom Come, to join in a global wave of prayer between today and Pentecost which is in 10 days time.

At Holy Trinity Greenwich Peninsula we regularly pray for the community and for the next 10 days we are particularly highlighting prayer by receiving prayer requests from residents which we pray for on our Friday morning Prayer and pastry meeting at 8.00am in The Prayer Space.

Across the East Greenwich Parish there are other opportunities to pray as well. So … have a prayer request for you or w=your family … then please get in touch as it will be a privilege to pray for or with you.

 

naieve optimism?

shapeThe Richard Rohr daily thought today ends with these words:

Without connectedness and communion, we don’t exist fully as our truest selves. Becoming who we really are is a matter of learning how to become more and more deeply connected. No one can possibly go to heaven alone—or it would not be heaven.

Inherent Goodness can always uphold you if you can trust it. I call that goodness “God,” but you don’t have to use that word at all. God does not care. It is the trusting that is important. When we fall into Primal Love, we realize that everything is foundationally okay—and we are a part of that everything!

I’ve been pondering these words all day.
I’m asking myself ‘how do we trust?’
For some it can be a tall and seemingly unachievable challenge.
Today I was pretty humbled after doing a pastoral visit to a family living here on the peninsula. This family are living in the midst of a real challenge in their lives; the outcomes could be quite scary and yet the faith and trust of these people is outstanding. It’s unwavering. There have been tears and confusion, but the trust has never lacked. I walked away from their home fully believing I had been welcomed into a holy space. I went to pray and bless as the parish priest, and I did, but I returned much more blessed, much more conscious of God,  than I could ever have hoped to have left them with.
I get the connectedness thing of Richard Rohr. Just yesterday I was talking with a good friend, whilst tasting a nice malt, around how we are all connected and if we could only just realise that how the world would be full of people who loved and cared for each other. I guess that as we trust more we become more connected and as we become more connected we trust more …. the opposite is that we become less connected and less trusting which is how I see the direction going in the communities and the world I inhabit. Rather than connectedness this results in suspicion or fear.
I rote an essay recently as part of my MA around the subject of the beautiful film of The Shape of Water. (If you’ve not seen it …. go see!) I quoted these words from an interview about the film with Guillermo del Tor, the director:

‘We live in a time of fear, and hatred and rage. Every day on the news, and every day in social media and every day in our lives,  we’re told to fear something, fear the other, fear the other religion, the other immigrant, the other gender; and it is a time to embrace the fact that there is no us and them, but only us, and that’s what we have.’

 
That’s a powerful and quite horrible image of fear that breeds when we are disconnected. It results in suspicion, brokenness and a sense of needing to achieve alone. In such a climate people will always put themselves first and neglect the other.
All we have is each other says del Toro. I think that connects strongly with the words of Rohr today.
We are meant to connect.
I get that.
but … and there is always a but ….
How do we work that out in the world?
What is the secret … how do we love … how do we trust as a default?
Can we or is that a simple naieve optimism?

You are Enough

enoughTonight at HTGP I led a meditation rater than shared a homily. I was inspired by a photo from a friend, Tracey Affleck, who kindly gave me permission too use it tonight in our worship (its the one I’ve pasted next to the icon in this post). Thank you Tracey!

The photo has profound and important words and I have placed it next to the icon that shows Jesus with a disciple resting their head on Jesus’ shoulder. I think that disciple realised they were enough. I wonder if meany of us are able to realise that truth?

Tonight I wanted people to leave knowing they were approved of, that they are enough… not because I say that they are … but simply because I think God and Christian theology says so and that tonights reading in John 15:9-17 says so. I feel quite strongly that we hear too often that we need to improve, that we need to do better, that we will only be acceptable when we do something, or achieve something, or look or sound a particular way. We have taken on board a lie that says we will be more acceptable to God when …..

There is no when.
We are all acceptable to God.
More than.
Jesus says ‘You did not choose me, I chose you!’.
You can’t get much clearer.
As we are …. we are enough
You are enough.

Anyway you can hear the meditation here … and I’ve printed the text below for those who like to read as well.

Meditation John 15: 9-17   You are enough 

‘As the father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.’

Abide in my love
Abide …. meaning: accept, acknowledge, consent, 

concede, submit or live with

Accept you are loved by God

acknowledge God loves you

consent to receive God’s love

concede that you don’t have to earn God’s love

submit to knowing you are great in God’s eyes

live with the knowledge that you are enough

How does the sit with you?

can you believe it?

Being enough

not having to change to be loved

loved as you are

because

you are enough

How do you view your relationship with God?

a servant?

a subject?

God watching and waiting to catch you out?

or a friend

a friend willing to lay down a life

for you

Is that strange?

undeserving?

difficult to embrace?

uncomfortable to hear?

but hear 

‘as the father loved me, so I have loved you’

because

you are enough

God knows you

totally

the good and the bad

as well as the ugly

the habits and stuff you hide

embarrassed over

bathes in God’s light 

It’s easy to love someone at the start of a relationship

in that idealism and infatuation

but then it becomes more difficult

as you notice stuff

different views

different niggles

harder to turn a blind eye to those irritations

God knows you

totally

all of you

even the stuff you hide from yourself

and yet

God still chooses to love you

You did not choose me but I chose you’ says Jesus

Jesus chose you with eyes wide open

knowing everything

there is about you to know

embrace that thought

tell yourself

in your mind

that God loves you

God loves you

God loves you

Because 

you

are 

enough

Amen.