Last week was the anniversary of the death of a mate.
Leigh was a young man I got to know through working with adolescents in ‘out of home care’.He was 13 when I first met him, alwayslikeable as a teenager.
I reconnected with Leigh after his release from prison.
Together with the support of his Nan, Aunty and many others Leigh began a new journey.
His courage and effort to make change was amazing.
Leigh had reason to be ‘angry at the world’.
He had reason to be angry at some of the people in his life.
From time to time this anger did surface, but he always came through it.
As I sat with his Nan, who he adored and who stuck with him through thick and thin, but never let his sometimes ‘bad behaviour’ go unchecked, we spoke about how much he was missed, and how he believed stuff about himself that was not true. At the table was one of Leigh’s aunties who along with her family adored him too.
We chatted and shared memories of Leigh.
As I was leaving I was handed copies of three letter Leigh had written but never posted.
One to his mother, one to his brother and one to Nan.
As I read these the Leigh we knew and loved, his true self shone through, thoughtful, reflective, caring, loving and honest.
Leigh was part of a very broken ‘system’, one which has been in the spotlight again in recent days. (There were those in that system who encouraged and supported Leigh too).
We miss Leigh, and will remember him for who he was, not for the person he sometimes thought he was, because much of who he thought he was reinforced by a system where compassion and love often give way to harshness and punishment.
It’s been a year since you departed Leigh and those who loved you best, miss you most.
It happened again today as I was was on my way to meet with someone over coffee (again!!).
I was stopped by two strangers who were on for a chat.
The subject heaven and a woman who posts on youtube about her many and varied experiences in heaven.
According to this person there are Hotrods, Harley’s (among other things) and even a flying school, which Christopher Reeves is the CEO of?
The drift is that what ever your passion in this life, your wildest dreams will be realised in ‘heaven’ and your passions continue, only on steroids!!
Having spent sometime thinking about it it occurred to me that we have some ‘out there’ ideas on stuff like heaven, Angeles Demons and the like based on little knowledge or true understanding.
I grew up in an era where ‘end -times’ books, speakers and people with graphs and models ruled the world, at least in ‘Christian’ circles.
What always intrigued me was no one ever mentioned things that won’t be ‘in Heaven’ like poverty, abuse, exploitation, sexism and so on.
I could be wrong…perhaps we need to put what Jesus said in perspective and not take ‘literally’ or personally what said when it comes to the poor, marginalised, prisoners, children,the other, outcast,exploited and abused?
Moreover these are the things we ought to strive for now, no waiting for Heaven!! ‘your will on earth as in heaven;!!
Perhaps it’s all hotrods and Harley’s in heaven,,,,,,,but I think not, its much more, so lets make a bit of heaven here and now and wait to be pleasantly surprised by ‘heaven”!! I hope there is cheese in heaven!!!!!!
meeting many people who are not ‘feeling it no more’ having grown up being told ‘its not a feeling its a reality’, sounded a little too scientific for me, after all we have been taught the ‘rational’, which happens in the head is all that is to be trusted, where as the ‘irrational’ or the ‘gut feeling’ is not to be trusted.
as someone who likes to cook and who worked as a cook for many years, if I look at cooking only from a process of science, it loses all interest and ‘feeling’ for me. Sure understanding what is happening while i cook is important, that ‘feeling’ of satisfaction and creativity is not controlled by the scientific understanding i have of the process.
sadly for many organised ‘religion’ or even ‘modern’ ‘church’ leaves a deep sense for some of disconnect. We have designed a process by which we assume is ‘the way’ which more often than not leaves no room for contemplation, dialogue rather a talk fest often controlled by one or two people.
Have to get back, have to get back the base I need to talk to somebody, I can trust Too many cooks are tryin to spoil the broth I cant feel it in my throat, thats all she wrote
Im not feeling it no more, Im not feeling it anymore Not feeling it no more, not feeling it anymore
When I was high at the party, everything looked good I was seein through rose colored glasses Not seein the wood for the trees I started out in normal operation
But I just ended up in doubt All my drinking buddies, they locked me out
Im not feeling it no more, Im not feeling it anymore No feeling it no more, Im tryin to give you the score
You see me up there baby, Im on the screen But I know better now, its so unreal If this is success, then somethings awful wrong ‘Cause I bought the dream and I had to play along
Im not feeling it no more, Im not feeling it anymore Im tryin to give you the score, Im not feeling it no more
We all know that money, dont buy you love You just get a job and somewhere to live You have to look for happiness, within yourself And dont go chasin, thinkin that it is somewhere else
Im not feeling it no more, Im not feeling it anymore Baby Im tryin to give you the score Im not feeling it no more
I was pretending all the time I was givin everybody what they wanted And I lost my peace of mind And all I ever wanted was simply just to be me
All you ever need is the truth And the truth will set you free
Im not feeling it no more, Im not feeling it anymore Im tryin to give you the score, just like I did before Im not feeling it no more, Im not feeling it anymore Im not feeling it no more, baby, Im just trying to give you the score
Im not feeling it no more, not feeling it anymore Not feeling it no more Not feeling it no more, baby
What happens when a few people,with no idea of what they are really doing, don’t seek notoriety or claim success, are aware of their own ‘issues’ and failings, take risks, love people and seek to see where God is and join in??……….. well you get something like this… children hiding chocolate eggs in the park for other children,whose parents score their ‘stuff’ in this park, where dispossessed people meet, hot chocolate, hot x buns and conversation for those whose backyard this is, a meeting place during the day to converse as together we share life in the simple day to day stuff………….
The Saturday of Light
The In Between Days Liturgy
Father forgive us, for we know not what we do.
In the Eastern Orthodox Churches, today is known as the Saturday of Light, it is the first celebration of Easter and the first time the “Hallelujah” is used since the beginning of Lent. The sadness of Friday has passed and the faithful wait for the Light to shine in the darkness once more, renewed for the beginning of the liturgical year.
We give thanks for the traditions of the faithful in other places.
The Church has a history of making solemn the celebrations of it’s seasons. We, called to live in hope and joy, more often than not live in the struggle of fear, of doubt and in ignorance. It is only what is appropriate, for on this night long passed, those followers of the Light sat in mourning, in disbelief and in terrible fear. For the Light that shined around them had gone out and they knew not where to find Him. The land had turned to darkness, the veil was rent, the women wept at the foot the cross, His disciples had fled in mortal terror. Only John stayed, to keep comfort His mother and to hear that sinner’s great prayer “truly, this man was the Son of God”.
LORD we are scattered like sheep with no shepherd
Lifeless He hung there, bruised for our transgressions, heavy with the weight of the world. The Jesus of the miracles, of the parables, of the teachings, the Jesus of the highways and the byways, somehow, had become the Jesus of the garden, the Jesus of the trial, the Jesus of the cross. Where should they turn now? He had the words of eternal life, and now, that life was over. Were they condemned because the light had come into the world and that light was the light of men? What now when there was darkness? Where is light in the darkness, where is faith, hope, joy, love? The darkness of this Saturday was darker than any before.
Between dark and light
Between death and life
LORD grant us Faith
and strength to keep searching for the Light
Scripture is filled with stories of darkness, from the creation in Genesis, the barren womb of Sarah, the slavery of Egypt, the time before the Torah, poor Jonah in the belly of the great fish, that time when there were no prophets in Israel and God had taken the light of revelation from the people who would declare His truth. Beside the rivers of Babylon, exile, genocide, the darkness prevailed. Hope was lost, doubt was everything, and in the hearts of men and women, terrible fear.
LORD in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER
Yet…..God in the darkness is still the God of light, even the darkness of a new tomb, sealed by rock, and guarded by enemies. He clothes Himself in light as a garment, He made two lights in the heavens, He made the stars also. He is the God of Life we are never to forget, those stars are meant to remind us of the glory of the creator of all light.
LORD we seek you in the glory of your creation, light our path we pray
We too are in darkness, sometimes, in despair, loneliness, loss, uncertainty, in the fear that things will never be bright again. We stumble in the darkness of our own faithlessness and arrogance, in the dark night of legalism without grace, judgement without justice, crown without cross, in the darkness of plenty in a land barren of salt and light.
You LORD, only you, be our light in the darkness
For the Jews, the new day starts at the sunset of the old, a new beginning in the darkness of the day before. Night before light, blackness before the morning, the waning moon before the rising sun. The Rising Son.
LORD the Son rises.
Life must overcome, the life that is the light of women and men, of girls and boys, of lost and found, is rising. This is the story of tomorrow, and the story of tonight. For what went on in that tomb was life besting death, which now will have no sting. Mourning has been soothed with the oil of joy. Beauty for the ashes of despair. This is the Good News of the light and of life. The Son is rising anew, for the first time, forever.
LORD we pray
for those trapped in darkness, LORD we pray
for those who prefer the darkness, LORD we pray
for those in the darkness of addiction, LORD we pray
for those who suffer abuse, LORD we pray
for those who abuse, LORD we pray
for the wealthy, LORD we pray
for the poor, LORD we pray
for those in war, LORD we pray
for the soldier, LORD we pray
for the child soldier, LORD we pray
for those without a safe home, LORD we pray
for those seeking refuge, LORD we pray
for those without clean water, LORD we pray
for those stricken with illness, LORD we pray
for those who minister to them, LORD we pray
for those without power or voice, LORD we pray
for those in power, LORD we pray
for us, LORD we pray
for the weak, the weary, the sad, the broken, the fearful, the despairing, the grieving, the hungry, the ignorant, the doubting
LORD hear our prayer.
It is the custom of Christians to wait until the new night of tomorrow, to kindle the candles that brighten the new year. We of faith, gathered here now, in faith, knowing that tomorrow is already history, light these candles, because for us, tomorrow is here, tomorrow has already come. Life and light are ours, the new light of tomorrows miracle shines in our hearts, darkness is no more. The life is the light of women, and men, and we prefer the light.
Let us light these candles, and go forward, bearing the light into the all our tomorrows.
LORD, in your goodness, hear our prayer
broken people in a broken world working on mending together offering hope where it would appear there is none to be found light where often there is only darkness love where love is often lost
Have been reminded again over night of the fragile human condition and the need to belong and to be loved. We talk much about community, but often live in isolation, we speak of solitude, but are often lonely, we speak of peace, but are fearful, we long for love, but are often embraced by rejection.
sitting around a fire recently having enjoyed a meal and conversation with friends old and new, i was reminded we are not all privileged to enjoy such times.
just a few days later i was asked if i would pick up a person I had known for around fourteen years who was just being released from jail. i was honoured to reconnect with this person as we begin to journey together to connect in with community.
The picture called Jesus in the breadline, says it all really, Jesus is not far from anyone of us.
Taking to the streets, not in power rather in weakness, not by stealth rather transparent, not to overpower rather to empower, not as masters rather as servants not to do rather to be, not to speak rather to listen, not to be examples rather to example, not to presume rather to learn, not to take God there, rather meet God there.