Dialogues, monologues, sketches, poems, rants, theological and liturgical bits and bobs and miscellaneous other verbal doodles...
Remember the Sabbath Day...
It was this time last year that things started to seriously unravel for me. A lifetime of bad work habits, exhaustion, financial pressures, a backdrop of low-level depression, physical injury preventing me from doing the sport that was my safety valve all combined to create a new experience for me, that of acute anxiety... I'm in a better place this year than last but there is no doubt that the headlong rush from the beginning of September through to harvest is taking its toll, exacerbated by the loss of my wonderful pastoral assistant John Mbayo, who has gone to Edgehill College to be trained for the ordained ministry, and the incapacitation of another colleague. I then read this piece by April Diaz on "Mommy Needs" via Scot McKnight's Weekly Meanderings on Jesus Creed... I may not be a "Mommy" but I recognised the experience:
"My days are out of control recently. I'm working way too much. Way. It's a unique season of ministry where I've finished most days with a list of "to dos" longer than when I've started the day. Every single day has dealt with painful emails, difficult conversations, disappointed followers, misunderstood decisions, and awkward transitions. Literally, every single day. It's a season I hope to leave sooner than later. Tears have defiantly fallen more often than I'd like. I've been hanging on by a thread while passionately casting a vision of a new thing I believe God's calling our community toward [Isaiah 43:18-19]. Most days I feel a complicated tension of intense conviction and a weary beat down."
She goes on to outline how she was forced to take some time out on her own... And whilst factoring in time for family and particularly Sally over the past year has been important in me getting back on track in this past year, me time has also been vital... On a practical level that has meant a negotiation with my employers at the local hospital where I serve as a part-time chaplain, and a return to my old practice of Mondays off...
Cue a discussion last Monday with my wise 10 year old son... When I went to pick him up from school, which is part of my Monday routine, he asked me had I been doing any work. I said no, that I had been having a lazy day, which I had enjoyed even more because it was shaping up to be a very busy week (which it has been).
"Would it not be a better idea to get ahead with the work today then?" Ciaran asked.
And I was forced to explain to a 10 year old that over the last year I had rediscovered that no-matter how much work lies ahead, I needed to get my rest before trying to tackle it, so that I could give it my best... Working from rest rather than resting from work... There will always be more work to do... the to do list never gets any shorter because so many of the things that I do are weekly tasks that need addressed as soon as I have completed the previous one...
Don't often post other people's stuff here... But I found this so powerful that I thought I should. It's a performance poem based on John 4: 4-30, and I have attached the original YouTube video below. A word for women, and men, everywhere... "to be known is to be loved, and to be loved is to be known."
I am a woman of no distinction of little importance. I am a women of no reputation save that which is bad.
You whisper as I pass by and cast judgmental glances, Though you don’t really take the time to look at me, Or even get to know me.
For to be known is to be loved, And to be loved is to be known. Otherwise what’s the point in doing either one of them in the first place?
I WANT TO BE KNOWN.
I want someone to look at my face And not just see two eyes, a nose, a mouth and two ears; But to see all that I am, and could be all my hopes, loves and fears.
But that’s too much to hope for, to wish for, or pray for So I don’t, not anymore.
Now I keep to myself And by that I mean the pain that ke…
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful... Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."
John 15:1-8 (ANIV)
In the mid 19th century, while Ireland was laid waste by potato blight, imported from America, France was devastated by another American pest…
A short responsive psalm for us as a call to worship on Harvest Thanksgiving Sunday, and given that it was pouring with rain as I headed into church this morning the first line is an important remembrance that the rain we moan about is an important component of the fruitfulness of the land we live in:
You tend the land and water it And the earth produces its abundance.
You crown each year with your bounty, and our storehouses overflow with your goodness.
The mountain meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are filled with corn;
Your people celebrate your boundless grace They shout for joy and sing.