There is often discussion about speaking-preaching and being and doing.
IS one more vital than the other?
How many bible verses can we quote to each other to ‘prove’ our point??!!
One such writer suggest than often what we hear may soon be forgotten, which in no way throws doubt on the spoken word.
Perhaps its the human thing to do to justify our own position or calling?
I recently caught up with a mate who is a story teller and artists, as he draws and tells stories. He creates images which stay with you, and so reinforce what is being said.
He has been in recent days working with a large corporation as they transition into a new phase. At one of the venues he was going out to get his morning coffee As he walked past the reception area, where the person who had put all the arrangements in place for the day, was sitting he simply asked if they would like a coffee too.
In 20 years working in that position this person had never been asked if they would like a coffee. This became the talking point among the 100’s attending his seminars. Why? maybe because his actions reflected his words?
Over recent weeks my partner The Ruth and I have taken numerous wedding and funeral services. After one funeral recently someone approached Ruth and commented that when we lead people through this times and as we sit and eat with them it brings calm and offers hope for the future.
So if you’re not someone who gets to speak in public or you’re the silent’ type, don’t be embarrassed , you’re actions are important. Maybe, just maybe, actions do speak louder than word??
God help me to know when to speak up AND when shut up!!!!
It’s been a while since I last wrote anything here. In that time there has been much of the ‘stuff of life’ going on. So much in fact I’m not sure where to start, what to say and what to leave unsaid.
Journeying with people as they begin married life, others who are laying loved ones to rest and hearing stories of injustices endured by indigenous peoples, and those who have endured loss due to decisions made to become the person they believe they are.
I often feel inadequate in many of the situations I find myself in, sometimes its a stranger who engages in conversation.
One of those took place today.
As I was parking the bike a person approached as blurted out How can there be a God when the world is so shit?? (a reasonable question)
What followed was a comprehensive list of what is wrong with the world, conspiracy theories and the like. The conversation, which was one sided, concluded with ‘well I have enough of this shitty world, so everyday i throw myself in front of trucks and buses because I’ve had enough’.
Where is a person supposed to go after a conversation like that? (to the pub????)
So whether we ourselves are experiencing darker moments or we are journeying with others through dark times, may brighter days await us.
Sometimes the words of others best help us understand the darker times. These words from an Elder at Parihaka (NZ)
After the shades os darkness comes the dusk of dawn, whilst before lies the shimmering glory of a fair day. (he maru ahiahi kei muri te maru awatea he pakiarohhi kei Mia)
…then this line from a song called..we’re all in this together we’re all in this together walking the line between faith and fear….. (not sure of its origins but heard it on a cd by old Crow Medicine Show)
This from the good book in Psalms, read at a funeral recently.
He shall cover you with his feathers, under his wings shall you trust:his truth shall be your shield and *buckler. (*a smaller shield fitted to the wrist for added protection?)
Back loitering tonight, its cold and wet. I sense despair on the streets tonight………..mean while many of our senior politicians make excuses about their own fate after the election. Leaders spew out hateful words about ‘others’ who are different…. one multi millionaire business man even suggested we needed a ‘dictator’ to sort things out!! I wonder if there are many who give a ‘*flying f*#k’ about those who live in misery.
This poem, while written in a different time, still reflects,I reckon on our society today. Obsessed with home ownership, status, creating personal wealth and the accumulation of more stuff we don’t need, sadly this includes some of us ‘churchies’ too!!!
They lie, the men who tell us in a loud decisive tone That want is here a stranger, and that misery’s unknown; For where the nearest suburb and the city proper meet My window-sill is level with the faces in the street — Drifting past, drifting past, To the beat of weary feet — While I sorrow for the owners of those faces in the street.
And cause I have to sorrow, in a land so young and fair, To see upon those faces stamped the marks of Want and Care; I look in vain for traces of the fresh and fair and sweet In sallow, sunken faces that are drifting through the street — Drifting on, drifting on, To the scrape of restless feet; I can sorrow for the owners of the faces in the street.
In hours before the dawning dims the starlight in the sky The wan and weary faces first begin to trickle by, Increasing as the moments hurry on with morning feet, Till like a pallid river flow the faces in the street — Flowing in, flowing in, To the beat of hurried feet — Ah! I sorrow for the owners of those faces in the street.
The human river dwindles when ’tis past the hour of eight, Its waves go flowing faster in the fear of being late; But slowly drag the moments, whilst beneath the dust and heat The city grinds the owners of the faces in the street — Grinding body, grinding soul, Yielding scarce enough to eat — Oh! I sorrow for the owners of the faces in the street.
And then the only faces till the sun is sinking down Are those of outside toilers and the idlers of the town, Save here and there a face that seems a stranger in the street, Tells of the city’s unemployed upon his weary beat — Drifting round, drifting round, To the tread of listless feet — Ah! My heart aches for the owner of that sad face in the street.
And when the hours on lagging feet have slowly dragged away, And sickly yellow gaslights rise to mock the going day, Then flowing past my window like a tide in its retreat, Again I see the pallid stream of faces in the street — Ebbing out, ebbing out, To the drag of tired feet, While my heart is aching dumbly for the faces in the street.
And now all blurred and smirched with vice the day’s sad pages end, For while the short `large hours’ toward the longer `small hours’ trend, With smiles that mock the wearer, and with words that half entreat, Delilah pleads for custom at the corner of the street — Sinking down, sinking down, Battered wreck by tempests beat — A dreadful, thankless trade is hers, that Woman of the Street.
A ‘mens club’ on one of our city streets.
DREAMS is the name, I wonder if dreams are made or shattered here???
But, ah! to dreader things than these our fair young city comes, For in its heart are growing thick the filthy dens and slums, Where human forms shall rot away in sties for swine unmeet, And ghostly faces shall be seen unfit for any street — Rotting out, rotting out, For the lack of air and meat — In dens of vice and horror that are hidden from the street.
I wonder would the apathy of wealthy men endure Were all their windows level with the faces of the Poor? Ah! Mammon’s slaves, your knees shall knock, your hearts in terror beat, When God demands a reason for the sorrows of the street, The wrong things and the bad things And the sad things that we meet In the filthy lane and alley, and the cruel, heartless street.
Another Winters night out on the city streets
I left the dreadful corner where the steps are never still, And sought another window overlooking gorge and hill; But when the night came dreary with the driving rain and sleet, They haunted me — the shadows of those faces in the street, Flitting by, flitting by, Flitting by with noiseless feet, And with cheeks but little paler than the real ones in the street.
Once I cried: `Oh, God Almighty! if Thy might doth still endure, Now show me in a vision for the wrongs of Earth a cure.’ And, lo! with shops all shuttered I beheld a city’s street, And in the warning distance heard the tramp of many feet, Coming near, coming near, To a drum’s dull distant beat, And soon I saw the army that was marching down the street.
Then, like a swollen river that has broken bank and wall, The human flood came pouring with the red flags over all, And kindled eyes all blazing bright with revolution’s heat, And flashing swords reflecting rigid faces in the street. Pouring on, pouring on, To a drum’s loud threatening beat, And the war-hymns and the cheering of the people in the street.
Life is a blur for many in the ‘most liveable city’ Local Council make it hard for people, often moving them on.
And so it must be while the world goes rolling round its course, The warning pen shall write in vain, the warning voice grow hoarse, But not until a city feels Red Revolution’s feet Shall its sad people miss awhile the terrors of the street — The dreadful everlasting strife For scarcely clothes and meat In that pent track of living death — the city’s cruel street.
You may think that this week’s sign is a bit strange – and you might be right. If you look on Twitter the hashtag #TogetherStonger is the hashtag for the Welsh Soccer team. As of today they are in the semi finals of the Euro 2016 soccer championship. This is unheard of and (being honest) quite unexpected.
So we at the Melbourne Welsh Church wish to show our support for the Welsh Team as they play Portugal on Thursday morning our time. C’mon Wales!
But thinking about it – #TogetherStronger is a great idea. If we’re honest (and by that I mean Welsh Soccer fans) we don’t have that many world class, top name players. (One of our strikers doesn’t even have a contract for next season yet!) Apart form Gareth Bale we don’t have any world beating superstars. In fact mention the names of the Welsh team to most soccer fans and they’ll know a few of them and have heard of some of them but we don’t have a team of over paid stars like, say, the English soccer team. Most of the English players are household names in football – well known and well paid players who play for big teams and expect success. By comparison the Welsh boys were just pleased to get to the Euros at all – it’s our first major championship for about 50 years.
To get to the semifinals is a huge achievement for Welsh football. It shows that a star team can beat a team of stars and that we are greater than the sum of our parts; that we are #TogetherStronger. To Chris Coleman (the manager) and all the staff and players we can only say well done, keep it up, you’ve made your nation proud!!!!
If I was asked to go and talk to the Welsh team before the game I would give them this advice from Joshua – it fits the hashtag #TogetherStronger (and it can apply to all of us as we face the various problems in our lives).
Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. GOD, your God, is with you every step you take.” So Strength, courage, don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged – we are #TogetherStronger be that with teammates on the pitch or with God in life!!
A true Christian path would lead them into the untidy stables of the poor and oppressed, to shovel shit with the Messiah. Instead they remain spiritually shipwrecked, floundering on the shoals of their own ambitions and indifference, slick and ridiculous in their genuflections to greed.
From B Cockburn: Rumours of Glory: on thoughts of Brennan Manning
Over the past seven weeks I have had time to read and reflect while a fractured ankle healed.
I read, listened to music and watched movies and documentaries.
I was challenged as to how and why I do what i do as i loiter.
I was challenged as to my responsibility in the communities i live and move, so now I’m back on my feet, i need to implement the “KISS’ method……. KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!!!!!
Graeme has more than his fair share of U2 songs on that blog – he has looked at both these songs.
U2 are not a ‘Christian’ band although Bono and the boys do claim to have faith. They are not overt about their beliefs but they are very open about their stand on social justice issues, bigotry and their stand for what is right. Both these songs touch on those issues.
In their song ‘Where the Streets have no name’ Graeme sees a correlation with one of the beatitudes –
This U2 track is essentially about persecution, it’s about racial divides, it’s about the ghettos and does not just reflect Belfast during the 1980’s but across the world. It’s a global issue. People who are persecuted for the colour of their skin or where they are born, persecuted for their nationality, or their religion. Persecution runs deep. It’s this that Jesus is touching in this the eighth beatitude “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus is giving hope to those who were enduring life at the hands of the oppression of the Roman state and the religious institution of Judaism.
My U2 GPS has taken me where the streets have no name – these could be the streets of Melbourne. Over the past few months the ministry team of the Melbourne Welsh Church has increasingly been coming across people for whom the streets are not nice places to be; homelessness, persecution, feeling cut off from family or friends to name but a few of the situations we’ve come across. These nameless streets can be lonely places especially when you cannot find what you are looking for (whatever that is).
The Church is supposed to be a place of help for these lost people – in another of his blogs (this one on ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for’) Rev. Dodds examines the idea that many have doubts in the value, not just of Jesus, but of organised religion.
You could not be blamed if you have second thoughts about organised religion or that you have doubts about faith. It is not wrong to question, It’s not wrong to doubt. On the contrary it would be very suspicious to many if they met someone who seemed to have it all sewn up. You know the kind, that perfect person that does not have any problems, no issues, no worries, no questions, no brokenness and answers to the name of perfect Peter. I’m not sure that they person really exists. I have encountered many people who have said they have no issues, but scratch the surface and there they are.
The roadmap of life is not easy and wherever we get our guidance from, whatever GPS we use, there are some things that are universally right – the stand against injustice; working against prejudice; the value of all people – to name just a few.
If we wander where the streets have no name and spend time with those who still haven’t found what they are looking for we must be prepared to be the church and take the values of Jesus with us – those values that Jesus showed to those of his time that walked those same streets – let us take with us love, forgiveness and grace to name just a few. If we show people those gifts then maybe hey will be a step closer to finding what they are looking for.
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
Guest conductor from Wales National Eisteddfod of Wales blue riband winner / soloist 2 other blue riband winners 5 local Welsh voice choirs Congregational hymn singing Projected 700+ in attendance. Wow….should be wonderful!!!