How much we need hope

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A life without hope is a desperate, oppressive place to be, with little meaning or direction. When things go well, hope flies high, yet when things go badly, hope can disappear amongst the jangling discordant chaos that ensues.

This then is the time to seek hope, to hold on to any seed of goodness within or without you that might bless and alter the dismal, bleak and crushing suffering that can destroy it or cover it over so deep it seems lost.

This then, is where we need God’s aid – for when we can find no hope of our own volition and despair looms too large to block it out, here then the Lord can save us by filling us with His hope.

Hope that brings light, truth, strength, wisdom, comfort; hope that is all powerful, a saving grace from all three, Father, Son and Holy Spirit bringing not only hope but proactive hope carried on the wings of the Spirit, to bring change to the most desperate of moments, for hope is Love in action, come to unite us with all that is good.

May it pour out upon us and renew and strengthen us. Amen

True Suffering

18422973_1481223138615090_1120248344174667756_oTrue suffering is unrelievable. If there are choices that can save you, look for them and make them, God will always help you.

But if not, then throw yourself on God’s mercy and His love, immerse yourself in the Heart of love and there place your awareness, that the suffering you are forced to endure, which may be or become totally intolerable, unbearable, tormenting, tortuous, deeply disturbing, not destroy or despair you.

Here you find God’s grace, touching you in the formless void of inexpressible agony.

For only One who has suffered depths of indescribable, annihilating torment, yet been sustained by love and remained loving still in His heart, can reach out to you and touch you and bless you in that moment that you most need it, whether through the caring of others or through the grain of hope that remains or is found in the depths of emptiness, whether the means to keep going on, in intractable pain, is miraculously present, whether kindness unexpected blesses your life and helps bring much needed comfort and sense of communion, not desperate isolation.

This then is what we pray for, to be given strength in utter weakness, to receive light in the darkness of moments, to accept hope in the desert of despair, to be touched with love in the secret, hidden depths within us, that are in desperate need for comfort, to feel known, seen, heard, cared for in Spirit and in life, to receive multi-layered healing, to find new awareness, possible paths to move forward, to break stuckness, limitation, lostness and feel found in the centre of your being, by God Himself and all who know Him, to cope and still endure the unendurable, for love lives with us.

Amen

(An extract from”Holy Way”, new book out soon.)

 

Easter and Suffering

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What does Easter-time mean when the one you love faces yet another day of screamingly awful, unimaginable physical torment ?

What, exactly, is there to celebrate, all the time she hangs, nailed, in agony, to a cross of gross medical, social and political neglect and denial, lies, manipulation and deceit, spanning decades ?

What does resurrection mean, in this place of no prayer, of no thought, of naked, stripped to the bone, nerve-throbbing-being, where minutes are measured by the moments in between pain and hours by the restless shifting into ever more extreme levels of suffering ?

You might think I am crazy. But on my bike yesterday, Easter day, battling through a strong, cold headwind, I fancied I heard a patch of bright yellow dandelions, singing their hearts out ! Then a pair of black and white gulls, I am no bird expert, darted right across me, I felt their joy.

Another bird soared up high where the clouds hung ragged and broken. A song was born in me.

What was it Jesus said just a few days ago on Palm Sunday : “Even the stones will ring out !!”

It is not written yet, but I have had a go on the dulcimer and I know the chorus is : “The Light has broken through !”

Yes, that is why Easter is so painful for us, yet so full of hope, so critically, so infinitely important.

You learn a great deal about the mystery of the Cross here, that it is so much more than pain; it is the light , the truth, the wisdom and the power of God , shining forth from what is the ultimate healing moment for all mankind.

A friend, who also knows great suffering, phoned yesterday, I am so inspired by his words : “Life is full of small miracles.”

Here is Church

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The spread in the Guardian was a dramatic 360 degree view of St Peter’s Basilica, Rome, hundreds of priests, Pope Francis leading a splendid, in every sense of the term, Holy Thursday service. I was captivated by the amazing photo. It awoke fond memories of Church.

But something in that Holy of Holies was out of place. Then I saw it, right in the foreground the priest with his mobile phone , held up up high , filming or taking a picture, or searching for a signal, I don’t know. But it was sad.

It made me think of Linda and how she might be if she could be there.

But she can never go to a Church, never mind Rome. Her world is a cast-off, battered, old settee and the one room.

But when she prays, when she speaks of her encounter with God in suffering, it feels like the holiest place anywhere.

There is enormous stillness , intimate presence, the space between us suffused with the golden radiance in her deep brown eyes and the power of truth, spirit, knowledge and light sparkling there.

Here is sacred, fragile ground. The slightest wrong movement or word on my part is enough to send her plummeting into screamingly awful depths of paralysis and pain.

Here is Church, here is God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit humbly with us. The very air holding its breath.

The eternal silence. Our little room.

Palm Sunday

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Today is Palm Sunday. It is a glorious sunny day with a hint of cool in the air still. The daffodils still lingering, the hyacinths glorious and the tulips announcing themselves to the world. Spring at its best – the garden and the light are calling. Stuck indoors with acute hypersensitivity to noise, light, movement, chemicals, the garden beckons still, to come and celebrate Palm Sunday by giving thanks for all that is generously given by God, in nature especially, to bless this special day.

Yet across the fields, a mile away there is an event with an appallingly loud PA system, blaring out every word, unbelievably loud, so that they might as well be shouting in our garden, tormentingly noisy and painful.

The peace and the beauty, the stillness, the wonder of the day are wrecked for us. Every noise hurts, every word grates, harms, results in shaking and ends in paralysis.

It is surely not a fair transaction, in this spiritual place, that the person most in need of communion, the one in tormented nightmare suffering, is being battered ; our space invaded by a loud speaker system that has disregarded the privacy and respect for people’s lives across the fields, while they enjoy their celebration.

So we are left trapped in the cold and dark indoors, in a moment that could actually, for once, be blessed by the fresh air and the beauty of the garden, if it were not for this cacophony of sound, way too loud for anyone, ill or not.

We are for celebration and rejoicing, however why is it that so many seem to take that right for granted and do not take into account those more sensitive and vulnerable, who surely should have an equal right to prayer, praise, thanksgiving and the sunshine and fresh air on such a wonderful day, in their own home, without such an offensive and catastrophic noise assault?

Yet still we choose to celebrate Palm Sunday, despite the aggravations and torments.

So what does Palm Sunday mean to us? It means make your path straight, as prophesied by St John. It means make your life Holy, it means celebrate who you are, show yourself and what you stand for and be bold as Christ was. It means be humble and be true to your path, as He was.

So all these things we celebrate and all these things we strive for, within a context of suffering few know, few can imagine, few seek to understand and few bother to try and comprehend and then take in to account.

Despite the aggravations, the torments, the trials, the injustice and the ignorance and selfishness of others, we still cling to God and say ‘Help us make our paths straight and bring meaning out of our suffering.

Help us celebrate all that is good and of beauty, even in the hiddenness of our lives so that we can still ‘stand tall’ and be who we are, even if it is invisible, God sees and knows and loves us and celebrates with us, all that remains of goodness and hope in our own hearts.

And we pray for better days ahead, we pray for hopeful moments, we pray that God will heal and save us, we pray for wisdom, discernment, understanding, kindness in others, we pray for genuine concern to be awoken in those who are ignorant and hurtful to us, we pray for a banishment of all that assails us, we pray for hope to bless our lives, we ask that truth and beauty shine in us like a beacon, inspiring all, blessing all, lifting all, bringing healing and light to the world.

We pray that we can be all that God has made us to be and we celebrate that gift today as we remember Jesus riding on a donkey through the palm strewn streets ; the people shouting Hossanah!

Save us now.

Amen

Tend your life in Lent

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We hope, when able, to share some reflections throughout Lent on following the path of the Holy Way; how to change your life through the power of the Trinity.

Day one

Take a moment to be still.
Calm your thoughts.
Look innerly toward God.
Ask the Holy Spirit to come and be with you, to transform your life, this day and always
Feel the Father holding you gently, encouraging you to open to His Loving presence.
See the face of Christ before you, looking at you with such compassion.
And share with them all, in whichever way you can, whatever burdens you are carrying, right now, however small or large or seemingly impossibly huge.

Stop and give yourself the space to do that.

If you feel that you need forgiveness, ask.
If you feel that you need comfort, it will be given.
If you feel you need help, name it.
If you feel you need love, open and receive it.
If you feel you need healing, claim it.

Know that the awesome Power of the Trinity is with you and will help you.
Each one brings a unique gift to you.
They will hold you in the Very Heart of Love where all mercy flows and love is complete.

They will see your need, even if you cannot articulate it fully and they will respond with power and grace.

They will hear and see you.

The Spirit will rest upon you and we ask that you feel that loving energy in a gentle tender way, today, right now.

Feel your burdens touched by love as you move through this day.
Remember the Heart of Love is real and ever present, waiting to come to your aid.
Only ask then wait.
Somehow love will touch you.
May your day be blessed.
Amen

Father hear me
Son see me
Spirit guide me
Thank you!
Amen

ASH WEDNESDAY

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Ashes are the focus of today, so burned and seemingly lifeless, yet from the ashes the Phoenix rises. We place ash, from the fire, on our plants because it is full of nutrients; amazingly life comes forth, strengthened and sustained.

The invisible goodness of the ashes brings strength to the plants and beauty to the world. Let it also be so in our own lives.

May God tend our lives this Ash Wednesday and bring forth new and unexpected growth, so that we can transcend whatever suffering we have to bear and feel fed, watered, blessed and encouraged to grow in new ways, to find the light and move towards it, just as the bulbs waiting in the ground do so.

As Spring comes in, may we blossom anew, bringing our own unique beauty, our special qualities to the world.

May you be blessed and grow , held in the Heart of Love, empowered by the Holy Trinity. Amen