unholy three

pierced_trinity-_patrick_colhounloads of things have been happening over last few weeks and I have lots of blog posts written in my head which need to find their way via my keyboard to this space …. but time and inclination to write is limited … but

well …. I’ve only come here today really to signpost to the blog of my good, great and amazing friend Andrea. She has blogged here today an amazing poem. Go read!

That is all!

He will come

DSC_1061One of the dangers of thinking deeply into the significance of Advent is that in our dreaming we are at risk of losing sight of what all the waiting and expectation of Advent is about.

The bottom line is that he will come. Christ will return. As Christ was born into his creation, he will come back to that creation and walk this earth again. He will come back to the real earth, the real earth of both beauty and filth.

Archbishop Rowan’s poem, Advent Calendar, points us to this in the simply, deep and beautiful way that only Archbishop Rowan can. I love this poem and share just the first verse.

He will come like last leaf’s fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to the bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud’s folding.

read the whole poem here.

change overload?

there has been a lot of change this month …

the change of leaving the city of Rochester to work in Gillingham
the change to working predominantly alone again rather than being based in a team
the change of moving from a place where I know lots of people to a place where I don’t
the change from being on a staff team of a cathedral to a role of supporting parish clergy
the change of no longer having Tom around who we dropped at Uni last week
the change of Sarah having a new job, and missing the classroom
the change of seeing Gillingham at the top of the division

change has a massive effect
there is not just the actual change itself
but the emotional stuff connected with the change
the normal everyday acclimatised stuff you do not normally notice
but become painfully aware of when it is ripped away
and is no longer an everyday occurrence
causes change, I think, to be quite draining
emotionally exhausting
mind numbing

I am not sure if you can have too much change … well, that’s not true …  I am sure … because 3 weeks in to this new role  I feel drained because, I think, I have been overloaded with change. Change has been their everywhere I turn. At the moment nothing seems constant.

As a pioneer I think I am supposed to say that change is my friend, and that I crave encounters with her spirit. I really do believe that she is my friend and do crave that change in my community. I am also being reminded, however, what a demanding friend she can be. She seems to be ever demanding, constantly there, always calling, challenging, cajoling.

Over these last few weeks sometimes I have felt that I am just clinging on … and on occasions I have found the Psalms to be a great source of strength. Particularly, amongst many, Psalm 121:

I will lift up my eyes to the hills – 
From whence comes my help? 
My help comes from the LORD, 
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved; 
He who keeps you will not slumber. 
Behold, He who keeps Israel 
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your keeper; 
The LORD is your shade f at your right hand. 
The sun shall not strike you by day, 
Nor the moon by night.

The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; 
He shall preserve your soul.  
The LORD shall  preserve your going out and your coming in 
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

That Psalm has been a great provider of strength when I have felt myself becoming over-awed by, or fearful of, the size of the task before me. There have been other times, however, when I have found myself having the conversation with myself that says something like … ‘just stay in today, it won’t make a difference, it won’t really matter ….’

On days like this I have returned to one of my favourite poems which I believe to be truly God inspired through Miroslav Holub which I have blogged about here before if you want to read the poem fully. For this point in time however, it is the following final words through which I have found not strength as with the Psalm, but motivation to get up …

Go and open the door.
    Even if there’s only
    the darkness ticking,
    even if there’s only
    the hollow wind,
    even if
                          is there,
go and open the door.

At least
there’ll be
a draught. 

That inspires me. It inspires me because it reminds me of something pretty cool when involved with mission with God. It reminds me that I merely need to turn up, open and genuine and simply be willing and available for whatever God had for that day.

Not a lot has happend over the last few weeks. But I believe two things: my help is from God, and whatever happens, at least I am causing a draught!

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.