the pregnant pause … a beautiful post …

I am loving this today from Cheryl … and for the first time ever I am happy to start thinking about Advent/Christmas early.

Perhaps our mistake is thinking

that love will always come
in the shape we have known it:

a happy ending
a new beginning
a christ-child.

In this pregnant pause
while the earth holds its breath
waiting for what
it does not know,
let us have the faith
that even we,
with all our wise
and cynical
would not imagine
the shape that love
will take

and instead just
have the faith
that it will come.

Amazingly beautiful. We simply cannot imagine the shape of love …. so I believe I need to stay alert ad look for clues … in case in my brazen dismissal I dismiss the unexpected love of God.

prime time loving (the girl next door)

Just read this stunning and clever poem from harry baker over on jonny’s blog.
You really need to go and have a read!
I can sense the proud admiration pouring from Mr Baker senior!

and i walked in to the darkness

I visited the Tate Modern today particularly to experience the latest installation in the Turbine hall, Miroslaw Balka’s ‘How it is.’ It’s worth a visit and while there I wrote some words:

and i walked in to the darkness
boldly going
where half the Tate Modern had been before
sinisterly drawing on my vulnerability
into its cavernous ebony abdomen

sitting apart,
all ears to my impenetrable surroundings.
the anxious hubbub of others discovering a path
strangers finding their way
tentative echoes
nervous laughter
uneasy questions

and then
the memories of past mortals
pulped into morbid carriages and containers
dreaming of freedom
until their realisation of horror

where are they taking me?
what is going to happen?
a total historical darkness
stretching beyond the temporary
assaulting the blindness of our minds

blindness we are content with?
the alternative requiring us

Dull conformity?

Having time on my hands, combined with not being able to move that fast, means I am able to reflect and re-read stuff and contemplate while I am preparing things. (I have a few things such as achievement evening at school, leading worship on Sunday morning in Canterbury, that I am thinking and planning on).

While searching for stuff and inspiration I came across an old Steve Turner poetry book from 1992 called The King of Twist. The back cover quotes, ‘in these poems he takes on the fears and pressures that threaten to lead us into a dull conformity and explores the ‘wise madness’ that offers a way out’

I found myself not only distracted by the grittiness of his poetry but also by how uncannily appropriate some of them are for today despite being written 16 years ago – it goes to show how little progress we have made in reality. Does it mean we have drifted into a dull conformity, a dullness that no longer speaks out but chooses to stay, well … dull!?

What is a gun for?
A gun is for making things.
What does it make?
Orphans, widows,
grief …

The father holding his dead child
in the smoking Beirut rubble
loves his child with a love
every bit as big as my love
even though he has no money
even though he has not read Shakespeare,
even though he was not born in the West.

A reflection from my silence

Empty room.
Just a solitary gentle thump
of a heart realising
that it is beating
into the presence of its creator.
The Creator.
The heartbeat of me
daring to dance with
the heartbeat of God.
Too often an impersonal pogo
but now an intimate waltz
in the space we have created.
Two becoming one
realising as they beat
they are made to dance together.

Advent 9: creative expressions

‘To know the creator, we need only to look at the things he has created. The way to learn about God is through the letters of scripture and through the species of creation. We should listen to these expressions of God and conceive of their meaning in our souls’ John Scotus Eriugena (quoted in Disturbing Complacency)

To grow in understanding of god, we need to listen to the word and listen to the creation, to look at the word and look at the creation, to become involved in the word and become involved in the creation. Passivity will not bring us to a point of greater understanding; there is a need to be proactive here.

Today I went for a walk and tried to sense God in creation:
I felt the cold wind
and remembered that sometimes God has a sharp word for me
I felt the rain
I saw a worm burrowing into unseen territory
and was amazed by how little I know
and remembered those times when God has refreshed me
I saw the rushing clouds
and felt God tell me it’s ok to rush sometimes
I touched the tall steady tree seemingly unaffected by the wind
and was reminded that there is also a reason to grow slow
I touched the bare plants
and heard God say he is a God of seasons
I observed two magpies playing on the breeze
and understood that humanity is created for relationship
I observed the stretching, climbing, covering wisteria
and acknowledged how much I need to be covered in God
I saw the silver birch
and to my mind came the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh
I returned
and sat with my cup of tea
gazing some more on creation
and heard the ancient echo from God
‘He looked over all he had made
and saw that it was very good’

Sabbath poem

I love this poem bu Ruth Haley Barton pointed to by friend Jonny Douglas this week.

For everything there is a season…

Sometimes on the Sabbath
all you can do is
settle into the soft body of yourself
and listen to what it says.
Listen to
the exhaustion that is deeper than tired-ness
the hunger that is for more than food
the thirst that is for more than drink
the longing for comfort that is more than physical.

On the Sabbath
body and soul reach out for time of a different sort
time that is full of space rather than activity.
time to watch the burning bush in your own back yard…
the movement of the wind among bare branches…
the last leaf that clings to the branch before its final letting go.

Letting go is hard,
letting go of that which no longer works
that which no longer brings joy and meaning
that which is no longer full of life.

It seems cruel
That something that used to be so beautiful
should fall to the ground
sinking into the earthy mud along with everything else that is dying,
no longer recognizable for what it used to be.
It seems cruel but it is the way of things.

One generation gives its life for the next.
One season slips away so another can come.
One crop of fruit falls from the tree so that more can be borne.
One wave recedes while another gathers strength to crash upon the shore.

It seems cruel
but it is the rhythm of things
And rhythm has its own beauty.

You won’t find Jesus on Myspace

This is cool from Re:Jesus.
Thanks to Ian for pointing it out.


While I was away I had space to chill with God and I wrote a poem as part of my worship in that time. My inspiration was this picture, Chrysalis by Sieger KÖder, of the inside of the Jesus tomb, with light breaking in through the cracks. It struck me in a powerful way throughout the morning.


Light breaking in,
piercing the darkness of the tomb.
A beautiful, yet sharp, reminder
of the cruel nails
piercing his flesh ’til death.

Only … then it seemed like
the darkness was pouring in
as the hammer chimed.
The end of hope.
The final breath quietly taken
of the creator who breathed first.

This piercing reveals the truth.
The promise pouring out
from the sides of the stone.
The secret hidden from time
within the mountainous
mind of God.

Rays, impatient with desire,
impregnate the darkness
of the pregnant tomb.
Hoping the secret of nature
had been written into
the God story itself.

First light again bursting upon
the new creation,
the new time,
the new relationship
the new risen Lord of time.

A New Day Dawns

This is a powerful prayer written by Alison Browne, a brave young woman who died on June 1997, aged 21, from cystic fibrosis. This is one of the last poems she wrote. I am using this as a basis for my reflections today:

When I am strong I will fight,
And when I am weary of the fight
I will rest in you,
Knowing that you can carry me for a time.

In my fight I will draw strength from your love
For your love cannot be beaten –
When I am alone,
When I fear the icy touch of fear,
I will take it in my hand
And hold it out to you,
And in the heat of your love
It will melt away –

When my heart feels isolated,
When no one cam comfort me
And the crowd serves
Only to remind me of how alone I am,
I will look within myself where you wait
And I will remember to allow you to love me –

Then, when the joy is so strong
That I cannot take life in quickly enough,
I will remember to take a moment to sit with you
And appreciate the beauty you created –

And when the night comes,
I ask only that I be alive with peace and faith,
So that I may not fear
The new day that lies beyond.