Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Advent Calendar by Steven Croft is a book that we read each Advent and have enjoyed it so much. We have not managed to read all the way through but it is so exciting and memorable that it is worth the tradition and we have learnt so much from it. It has really blessed our Christmas and actually made it far more meaningful.

If you have it or get it join the blog...
.. thebook-theadventcalender.blogspot.com

Monday, November 29, 2010

Yesterday i was privileged to be part of the advent service in our tiny local church. Gathered together were the few families and more regular members who make up the very irregular congregation. There were also some people there who I know do not usually come to church but people do pray for regularly so that was very encouraging.

We had met once prior to the service a few weeks ago so that I could give out the scripts and just share how I felt the service would run.

The children were wonderful. They spoke as loud as they could and they read wonderfully. The message came across clearly and it was fantastic that all got a chance to do something and gain confidence.

We sang lots of christmas carols one led by our 11 year old amazing pianist who played the organ and the opening music led by our family of musicians who played the cello and violin (or viola). It was overall a wonderful way to begin Advent.

Our theme was angels preparing to tell the news of Jesus coming to earth. We entitled it 'Panic in heaven, peace on earth'. The play ended with the narrator saying
'The panic in heaven is over and the peace on earth begins!

God sent Jesus to grow up in a simple family
to have simple needs
AND his message was simple.

That God knows us and God wants us to know him.

Advent is a month of preparing and waiting for Christmas.

It is a special time as the goal date is in focus and we all prepare for the day when we give our time and presents to each other.

Remember during this time of panic to find peace

and during our time of focusing on presents to find Gods presence in your life.'

on a personal note we have snow on the ground outside and I am so thankful to God that I have my husband with me again this Christmas.
Hold us close Lord and guide us this advent to be open to your calling and be still in your presence.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

yesterday was one of those typical days when what you really need and want you do not get.
I had planned for the house to be tidy and clean so that I could escape and study for a few hours to prepare for the panel meetings i have this week.

I think i managed to get perhaps 10 minutes in the whole day. I despair. It seems an impossible feat. We had to organise car insurance which took hours and I thought had been sorted and done. We had to find keys to the car we were exchanging which should have been in the draw and I know 1 set I lost ! We had to do so much silly stuff that I thought would take a second and instead took the whole day. I had hoped the family would go to collect the car so I could have time while they were out. But by the time we left I knew I had to go as it was snowy icy dark and cold......and so on and so on....

Where was God's presence in the argument, the stress to get things done, the monotonous asking for things to be done and completed. Do I give up?

The story of Mary and Martha come to my mind yesterday and a comment I had read on it during the week ' We need to learn from each other, not chastise each other, and feel vindicated that we are right.'

so i ask God most humbly to please be with me in my hour before everyone gets up. Help me to organise that time so that i can share these moments with you and find your presence. Help me to organise my day around that contemplate period of prayer.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

may the light of your presence which the saints enjoy
surround our steps as we journey on.

this is sentence that this morning really helped me to understand the thoughts i have recently been having about those who have gone before us and the angels praising God in heaven.

Perhaps because we are approaching advent the thought of those who are able to enjoy (such a simple word for such an amazing experience) the presence of God.

but the prayer that this may surround our steps as we journey on is mine for this week and will hold it close each hour.

This week is going to be an emotional rollercoaster. Today we are taking a loan to buy a car which we pick up this afternoon. On Sunday I am helping with the Advent service and have a confirmation service in the eve for one of the girls of a group I help with, monday I am off to one of the panel who will give their opinion on my vocation to be a priest and then on Tuesday I am off to liverpool with Asher for his Wednesday Appointment for biopsy results and then on Thursday I see the second panel member.

Friday I am booking for us to go and enjoy doing something together which is not emotional!

This week I had a call from a dear friend from our old church who had heard on the grapevine that asher is unwell again and had had biopsy's. I told her that I was going to ring them after I got the results.

This very dear friend is one lady that I had wanted to ask to be a referee for my application to ordination. She has always been someone who considers things very carefully and is honest. She has never said her opinion on my application to ordination and I had felt she did not really agree. So how shocked was I when after telling her I will be begging people from St D's to be a referee she happily said 'oh there will be so many who would be happy to sponsor you. you have so much support here.'

Leave it at that....... my confidence and souls warmth is alight and I feel so much more responsibility to work toward ordination.

Friday, November 26, 2010

this is a link to a youtube vid sharing the hallelujah!
I am working my way through the final copy of the Anglican Covenant. My hypothesis based on reading it in the past and clips of it from other sites is that it uses language which enables it to become and be used very much for the interpretation of Scripture and Morality that those in the 'Chair' hold and also that it introduces theological terms and ideas that until now have not been written into religious legal forms and have been fought and argued over by no less than the men such as Eusebius et al.

So I decided as I work through it I will pull out things that I would like to think more about and discuss with others so that I can have a recorded and informed opinion that will hopefully be proved wrong on my worries and fear of this covenant having subtle and designed to allow control over what the Church of England adheres to and holds dear..... I do rather hope i am wrong and that all is well!

(2.2.2.a) to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God” and to bring all to repentance and faith
I question here that it is our role to bring all to repentance and faith. My concern is that if it is a role to bring people to repentance then we have to be sure of what they are repenting from.

“to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and to sustain and renew the life of the earth”
if we have to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth we are declaring here that integrity is our call. My concern is that the issue of sexuality will be on the agenda here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

So much is going on in the church that it could make you boggle with wonder. But then I realise that actually these issues are NOT what is going on in the church by any means.

It is the people who rely on us in the church that is really going on in the church.

Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals, Dedications, Bible Studies, Celebrations, Dispair, Seeking, Discerning, Fellowship, Mission, Evangelism

These are what is really going on in the church and NO MATTER what structure comes in to enable those who take up their time with each other in the church we on the ground are the ones who are the BODY of CHRIST and it is to God that eyes need to be fixed not the debates of people who choose to be part of them.

NO I will sit in my chair and pray.
I will skim the news and lift it to God.
I will get up and go out and do what the Lord commands.

as the meerkat says ' simples stttut '

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Beware the Cares of this world

Yesturday I spent the day really enjoying the thoughts of others through their blogs. I was very tired and had a day off just cleaning, playing with baby and blogging!

But this morning I was very aware how quickly one can become sidetracked from our focus on God. So i resolved to put a link to the morning prayer and oswold chambers on my blog to remind me to do these focuses first and last.

Oh what a Good God we have. Todays Oswold reading:
"Have mercy upon us, 0 Lord, have mercy upon us: for we are exceedingly piled with contempt." Psalm 123:3

'The thing of which we have to beware is not so much damage to our belief in God as damage to our Christian temper. "Therefore take heed to thy spirit, that ye deal not treacherously." The temper of mind is tremendous in its effects, it is the enemy that penetrates right into the soul and distracts the mind from God.'
I do not really want to get into the ins and outs of Bishop Pete's statements but alongside the covenant and the Pope's decision about condoms and so much more I do question how useful it is to be aware of what is happening in the world and have an opinion on it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I feel so sad about the covenant which is being heralded lately and actually is being considered as a serious piece of thinking. I realise people have dedicated years to it but so have i dedicated years to understanding some things I feel strongly about. I would not then work to force the whole church to adopt my views. Anglicanism gone wrong. I think these guys think they are seriously heading the new way of being Anglican since the time we broke with Rome. difference - when we broke with Rome it was a work done so that the people could learn, read, discuss and worship in freedom. Now we are moving back to dominated interpretation of Scripture and centralisation.

It marginalizes those Christ came to include. It is bigoted and medieval and seems also to be contradictory to itself. 'has “the
expectation that Scripture continues to illuminate and transform the Church and its
members, and through them, individuals, cultures and societies” (1.2.5)'

This screams to me of scenes of witches burnt at the stake or Africans or Chinese forced to change heathen ways. Through Scripture we will illuminate and transform ...
I am ashamed of it wholeheartedly and sad sad sad.

Lord God please do not be silent ....... draw a line in the sand and remind people of your silent words

I have stolen the image from a blogsite that again has given me strength.
the main strength is that there can be NO COVENANT when it moves ahead on the strength of fate. here is the link to the blog page thanks to Elizabeth Kaeton
and note the date april 2009. I had not even heard of this covenant until a few days ago and I am an active member of the church.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I feel now that God will not have to send me an email to get through!

I find sacredspace a great site so I am happy to use their image!

let God be God

it is so amazing to be a follower of an eternal yet personal God. I can sometimes feel the depth of wisdom and at others feel like a 10 year old struggling to understand how to even form my own sentences. I am sure my 10 year old forms them better than me as she is a wonderful daughter with gifts of word and my son is wonderful with thought.

But myself i am simple and long may it last!

As I mentioned earlier I have had to put aside the Bible really as I found no inspiration when trying to read. Of course I have led studies and such like which have meant I have had to study for that purpose but for my own personal learning and reflection and growth very little.

But once I settled this and accepted that this is where I am and God is still with me so what is God doing I have begun to blossom again. In a new way - actually in the way I needed to. Reflection and contemplation.

Before this period I would study and debate, learn and consider but now I think i am learning to let God be God and me be me.

hopefully that will allow God to use me!

so long since I wrote but I feel so much better. Still very tentative about life but perhaps this is just another step along the way - I think finding God amidst our busy lives sometimes takes for us to make focused decisions to stop and concentrate on various tasks or nothing at all.

Asher and i had a lovely journey up north, i slept and then he slept so not much talk but i think we needed it.

I can tell he is really nervous. For four years we have known God will get us through but now it does not feel like God is saying 'Your OK' just 'I am with you'. which is of course still mind blowingly awesome but now we have to also face the reality of more severe chemo if the biopsies come back with 'naughty cells'.

Where is God in all this? How do I reflect and find God at the fringes of our life?
It is amazing.
I honestly believe that in speaking openly and honestly about these things we are able to then turn to God and hear what ever he shares with us.

I recently watched the 'Big Silence' by the BBC. I found it amazing and would love to see a follow up. People took on silence for 8 days and the way this effected them was incredible. The one lady who kept herself at the centre of her meditations is the only one who came with herself still at the centre of her life. The others all opened themselves to the possibility of God (even though they had a healthy realistic vibe that the God business may not be real) and allowed Jesus a space to be there and they all came out more open, sensitive and changed people. I was really impressed that they did not come out stark raving mad Christians but realistic seeking open people who have a glimmer of having touched something awesome and eternal or unfathomable but real.

There is definately something about allowing ourselves to be open to hearing from God and that requires just bit of space and so with that my coffee made I am off for 10 mins silence before the kids get up with sore throats and chesty coughs!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

off to liverpool today as asher needs another biopsy and they hope to release his jaw so he can open it wider.

I feel nervous in life at the moment as our finances are bad, car broke, computer broke, bank broke!

Oh Lord help us learn to manage.

poor health poor finances and kids are not doing their best at school and i am not doing my best either. so poor us really.

anyway house to tidy that always remains the same!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Lord is my strength and my shield.

Hear us, Shepherd of your people,
forgive us our sins
and, in a world of pretences,
make us true in heart and mind;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I have begun to use the morning / evening prayer that the Archbishops site has set out (homepage -prayer -leftside prayers for the day)

It stuck me how the words resonate a thought that Rona and I have been mulling over that we need to reflect God. She met with a collegue who reminded her of this as he 'talked so passionately about Jesus’ love ' We had read a devotion by Oswold Chambers which encouraged “If a person attracts through his personality, that becomes his appeal. If, however, he is identified with the Lord Himself, then the appeal becomes what Jesus Christ can do. The danger is to glory in men, yet Jesus says we are to lift up only Him (see John 12:32).”

my prayer is exactly that of morning prayer but now I have such a different idea as I seek for my soul to yearn for God I really seek so that I may reflect Gods glory and love.
If my soul does not seek then I am lost. Turn the eyes of my soul and mind to you Lord.

O Lord, open our lips
Alland our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Your faithful servants bless you.
AllThey make known the glory of your kingdom.

One or more of the following is said or sung:

this or another prayer of thanksgiving

Blessed are you, Sovereign God,
ruler and judge of all,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
In the darkness of this age that is passing away
may the light of your presence which the saints enjoy
surround our steps as we journey on.
May we reflect your glory this day
and so be made ready to see your face
in the heavenly city where night shall be no more.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
AllBlessed be God for ever.

But before the close of prayer I must search and think about how to know the HOPE to which God calls and how to reflect that rather than simply speak about what God has done in the past rather I must look to the hope of Christ. Now the final prayer of the morning which in this light struck new cords.

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord,
Allmy lips shall proclaim your faithfulness.
The heavens bear witness to your wonders;
AllI will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.
The assembly of your saints proclaims your truth;
Allmy lips shall proclaim your faithfulness.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
AllI will sing for ever of your love, O Lord,
my lips shall proclaim your faithfulness.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

there is simply nothing I did to deserve or find Gods grace.

As I saw and understood and as I see and glimpse Gods grace there is never anything that i do that makes this clear rather God is there always and his grace is there always and his atonement is there always. My eyes and understanding glimpse this at times and it is a humbling and awesome experience.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Over the last 2 years perhaps longer I have really struggled with my prayer and bible reading. I would not say that I was a saint before this period in my life but I certainly felt closer to God. I certainly enjoyed reading Scripture and engaging with it. I certainly loved theology and digging deep.

During this time I have felt a null, a bored mind boggling silent attitude. My prayer has been one way and quick. I have found myself short of things to pray for within myself. I know there is the whole world to pray for but in my prayer time I have forgotten this and wondered off into lists of to do or people and happenings before realising that my time for prayer is gone and 'opps I forgot'.

Trying to reflect has been hard and trying to internalise what is going on or trying to move forward has been none productive.

I have found that just learning to allow what is happening to happen much more productive. So I have really just put aside trying to pray, put aside trying to read Scripture or study books. I have really just allowed myself to get on with life.

I think it has been hard and not much fun either. Having God in my daily life in a way that I feel is leading and blessing and reviving is fun and exciting.

But i feel now that this tide is changing direction and I am beginning to feel the deep ocean again. I have felt that I am on the beach just lapping up by the sand and now I am on the turn and perhaps this time I will experience the Mediterranean warm seas rather than the North sea which is perhaps where I have been up to this point!

oswold chambers Glory to Jesus the Son of God

I have totally copied the Oswold Chamber Devotion for today as it is so amazing. It speaks so clearly to me about how we as Christs ambassadors need to be so that the glory and message of God is given to people rather than how Gods ways are revealed in our lives. So much to say but I think this says it all>>>>>

The Christian worker has to be a sacred “go-between.” He must be so closely identified with his Lord and the reality of His redemption that Christ can continually bring His creating life through him. I am not referring to the strength of one individual’s personality being superimposed on another, but the real presence of Christ coming through every aspect of the worker’s life. When we preach the historical facts of the life and death of our Lord as they are conveyed in the New Testament, our words are made sacred. God uses these words, on the basis of His redemption, to create something in those who listen which otherwise could never have been created. If we simply preach the effects of redemption in the human life instead of the revealed, divine truth regarding Jesus Himself, the result is not new birth in those who listen. The result is a refined religious lifestyle, and the Spirit of God cannot witness to it because such preaching is in a realm other than His. We must make sure that we are living in such harmony with God that as we proclaim His truth He can create in others those things which He alone can do.
When we say, “What a wonderful personality, what a fascinating person, and what wonderful insight!” then what opportunity does the gospel of God have through all of that? It cannot get through, because the attraction is to the messenger and not the message. If a person attracts through his personality, that becomes his appeal. If, however, he is identified with the Lord Himself, then the appeal becomes what Jesus Christ can do. The danger is to glory in men, yet Jesus says we are to lift up only Him (see John 12:32).
A firends blog considered really the effect of the new culture in which we live and tried to understand 'where we went so wrong' as her title post declares. Here is her post and my response. I am posting here because this is just where I feel God is leading me to respond in the future through my ministry and so I want to remember these points and words.

Sunday was an exhausting day, and I only did half of what the vicar went on to do. However, the issue which arose for me was this:
We did a baptism (I say ‘we’ because I led the service and preached – 3 mins only and my vicar did the baptising bit) on Sunday after two services. There were about 120 people there, predominantly young – 20′s-ish folk. The couple weren’t married, and I imagine a lot of the young parents there weren’t also. When they arrived they wouldn’t come inside until the vicar went out and called them all in – despite it being past the time of the service. I was in a cassock alb, and clearly a ‘church’ person. Hardly any of them could meet my eye as they walked in and I handed them a book. Yet, probably 90% of them were wearing poppies.
So, as a group they understand to a certain extent doing something altruistic, even in the most minor sense. Doing something (such as buying a poppy) which is ONLY for someone else, and not something they will ever see a direct result of is a good thing. Yet the vast majority of them were so out of their comfort zone in a church. They didn’t know how to behave, whether we were going to be criticising, judging or exclusive, or just plain weird. The service went well, although the responses were almost inaudible, despite there being so many there and them all being urged to participate. The sermon was well received as I saw some people visibly soften when i talked about Jesus’ light shining through the darkness of death.
Yet it seemed so alien to them to have been there. They obviously love the couple so much that they were prepared to put themselves through that. It was a palpable experience of what the Pope keeps referring to now as “Aggressive secularism”. How did the world ever come to this? And what has the British Legion done to achieve its aim so successfully? Is there a ‘secret’ that the Church could use, an idea or focus that we could tap into so we have the same positive effect on people that Remembrance Sunday does? Rona iwanttobeavicar.com

Fresh expressions of church really come in here as we encourage congregations to explore ways of telling people about God in places where they are. In the church I think we are providing people with a space where we can show a glimpse of Gods love. We are a people who have met God.
We attract people by revealing God. Its God job to meet them and we often never really know how or when that will be.
The British Legion is selling something while the church is offering a life style which demands action. I think people are so used to deciding now how they will live that buying a poppy is part of that choice while going to church is less of a choice than a whole lifestyle change.
You either dress in Gok style or you don’t. Its a bit similar. I think Gok style is ridiculous while others think it is stylish and fun. I would not be seen dead in Gok style unless in a drama!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

I now use my consider the way as this blog was more about what I am learning in the bible and over the past few years I have struggled to focus on my learning so have moved into reflection on my vocation instead. They should come hand in hand I know but it seems that I am learning something from my nothing!
interview today at westcott.

I was not going to try Ridley but now I think I will just to compare.

I wanted Westcott because it teaches liturgy and tradition which I feel God wants me to learn.

Lets see.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

For me, why a priest? Because I feel called to seek out ways of ensuring people understand what worship is, that they can worship in truth and wisdom. I feel God is calling me to share the mystery of the eucharist and build up the body of Christ in unity, power and peace with a vision to know and share the Gospel. I also feel God is calling me to create a space within the church that is open for people to explore and feel welcome; the church building should be a place used by people, a place they can come in and go out. The body of Christ – the church should be a people who welcome with loose hands, who support with a firm hold and who love with endless passion; and it is to this that the nation should be attracted.

Friday, November 05, 2010

this little excerpt really suprised me today. I am just shocked at two of the statements which really boggle my mind. 1. that women return love rather than love and that 2. salvation has anything to do with the importance or recognising the importance of femininity.

Here are just two excerpts from the article not bothering to suggest anyone reads it!

'Ferrara: According to John Paul, men and women were not created essentially the same. Masculinity and femininity are not just attributes; rather, the function of sex is a constituent part of the person. Men and woman both express the human but do so in different and complementary ways. Believe it or not, this was a radically new idea to me.

The differences between men and women lie in the way they express love for one another. Men have the more active role in the relationship: The husband is the one who loves while the wife is the one who is loved and, in return, gives love. True authority is exercised through service. As John Paul II says, "To reign is to serve."
The Catholic Church is one the few institutions, maybe the only one, left in the world that recognizes the importance of the feminine not only for the proper working of society but for our salvation'
I read on WestCott House website about being prepared for Mission in unfamiliar contexts. p6

The Cross and the Tomb are empty and so in many ways we sacrifice ourselves in ministry. We empty ourselves in giving to other sacrificially and we give our selves to others in service but my thought lies in the less easily grasped realisation that after Jesus rose from the grave he was seen with people confirming the scriptures, sharing the bread and wine, meeting with friends and being present in their daily lives.

And so it is essential our ministry is not only self emptying. It is essential that our ministry is fulfilling, sharing, alive and real.

today the readings of the lectionary communion service are taken from the passages of Phil 3 and Luke 16 ( i have gone for the whole passage as it spoke to me deeply)

As I read phil 3 i realised that it is by the Holy Spirit that we work for Christ and fulfill or are part of his ministry. So thus we must spend time being in and with the Holy Spirit and rest in the word and discover what Jesus is calling and saying to us this day that we might learn and be renewed. So our ministry is in the living God
who is touching, renewing and strengthening.
Then I see verse 10 of Phil 3
10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
somehow... somehow.....
and then the passage that has always spoken to me and I had forgotten when I pulled up the study in relation to my thoughts of earlier:
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

And on the side I just love Luke 16 such a spanner in the works!
off to an interview tomorrow for a college I am applying for.
I feel empty really as I think about it. I know I want to get things done for it in prep but I still focus on the house and getting the family sorted so things can run well here while I am out for the day.

Lord don't beat me up but take my hand and heart reach deep into my soul and teach me which way to go.