The Mother Heart of God

It can feel like a slippery fish to start using the term mother for ‘Abba’ God. Yet I am reminded today that the mother heart has its source in the same place as the father heart.

Our words are so limited.

Today I am reflecting on the joy and beauty of the mother’s love for us that exists. These are my reflections.

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Anchor Me

The mother’s heart caterwauls loud within

My child

            notice

            see

            love

            include

 

Now I am a mother I can well appreciate

that ‘dreadful’ mother who approached Jesus

to petition for a place of honour for her sons

 

It is woven into the fabric of my life

this constant temptation

to promote

inflate

favour

 

the overwhelming desire, my constant companion,

for others to see

and notice

and love this child who keeps my wild heart in rhythm

 

What truly astounds me though is to think of you God

the mother heart that is from before beginning

            the mother heart from whom all other mother hearts were fashioned

the fierceness of that love

the depth of that knowing and noticing

the wildness of that advocacy

… now aimed at me, in all my splendid imperfection

 

To think I could be loved, as a daughter

by the very one

who longs to gather

whose name is comfort

who lives to intercede on my behalf

 

How well I know the very real need I have for intercession

yet,

just for a moment

 

Let me wiggle my toes deep

into the wet sand of being loved by you

so deep

I am anchored against the waves

so deep

that every sense knows

I am secure in an eternal mother’s love

 

though I may never comprehend its width

or plumb its depths

 

I am, in all my smallness

able to grasp its beauty, just a little

by knowing my own capacity

for mother’s love.

 

Blessings and love

x Miriam x

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Resurrection Sunday

It is the day

for earthquakes that

remove stones that

contained the dead

 

It is the day

to hear the words

Why look for the living

among the dead?

 

The day when angels speak

and mortals quake in silence

shedding their mortality

unlocked and free

 

It is the day to hear your name

on the lips

of the

Resurrected Saviour

 

A day to be embraced

but not to cling

clinging is for the ones

who have something to lose

 

Today is the day

when what is poured out can no longer

be contained:

to time

to location

to a people group

to a gender

to an age

 

Today good news for all people breaks in and announces:

HE IS RISEN

rose stained glass

May your Easter Sunday be filled with joy that cannot be contained, life that knows no limits, the embrace of the One who died to set you free. Miriam x

Holy Week

These are my current musings as I journey Easter-ward.

May it bless you, may you find yourself accompanied on the way toward the narrative of difficulty, death, vigil and resurrection. May you have courage at every part of the journey to wait, to see, to understand and to continue on.

Bless you – wherever you are along the way.

Lords prayer forgiveness

This Week

This is a week to kneel in Gethsemane’s garden

to feel the gravel push hard into thin knee flesh

 

It is a week for letting go

for sweating blood and crying tears

fear

surrender

mercy

 

It is a week to show grace to friends who could not stay awake for us

A week for others to misunderstand the gravity of what we face

 

A week to acknowledge

the heart wants to run

the flesh is weak

the journey may be intensely lonely, despite the thronging crowds

 

It is a day to kneel as light turns to night

to feel the touch of cold hard wind on skin

to long to stay eternally in this moment because the way ahead is dark and dreadful

 

It is a night to remember the One who knelt for me

that I may remember I shall never kneel alone

there is no pit so deep his love is not deeper still*

no chasm so wide he will not cross to make a way for me to come

This is Gethsemane’s week

 *Corrie Ten Boom coined this phrase

 

Christmas Prayer

Hey Lovelies,

I spoke at our church Advent service on Sunday night and I closed with this prayer. May it be a prayer for you this season too.

May we each of us be carried with care and love through this season.

x

stars

God we stand at the edge of this season of wonder. All around us there are noisy carols playing, and family expectations, and things that demand our attention.

Jesus some of us feel as though we have been in the desert for a long time and we’re beginning to wonder if that star has made us a false promise. We’re tired, we’re disappointed, maybe we’re even angry and fearful. Remind us God that we are called to a stable not a palace. Remind us God that we are welcome however far we feel from you tonight.

Holy Spirit – would you breath on us tonight. Would you help us to lay down the burdens we have and hear your voice encouraging us in. For those of us who are stuck in the palace would you give us courage to leave and seek the real king.

In this moment God we hold someone we love before you who seems far away, maybe we even hold ourself as someone far away and we carry them in our heart with us to the stable.

God would you give us back a Christmas of wonder? Would you forgive us for forgetting and make our memories bright with all that you are.

God we give you permission to surprise us again. Help us receive you and love you this Christmas.

For you Jesus are our greatest gift.

 

The Table of Hope

This past week been I was asked to lead communion. During the week I decided I would write a poem… As I wrote I looked at this moving piece of art by Joey Velasco.

Writing is a re-emerging creative place for me, something that is shifting in its style and subject matter and I am trying to let it shift me, not to over-analyse or hold too tight a reign on it.

I share it here.

rose stained glass

Table of Hope

We come sometimes to the communion table, head bowed.

Ashamed.

 

Certain that every other saint in the room has lived a good life this week,

has spent time in prayer,

has behaved in holy ways.

 

We creep to the table like a starving, homeless child

Certain that we could not be welcomed

 

We come to the table aware of our own shortcomings,

Entirely unsure that we could have the courage to look Jesus in the eye as he says,

This is my body broken for you

This is my blood poured out for you

 

We are quite aware that our sin is vast

That we require rescuing

 

What we forget, is that the communion table beckons us to a wider table

A longer table

A table lavishly set for feasting.

 

This communion table is a table of Hope

An invitation

A portal into a life lived in lavish communion,

In wild feasting

With the one who made the table

 

Our saviour is a carpenter too –

Sometimes I think of him making chairs of every shape and size

And engraving our names,

my name

your name

on the back of one

 

The table we come to this morning is vast

It stretches out through space and time

Across geography

This eternal table

Invites us to a love that is impossibly wide

As is the love of God

 

A love we cannot measure

A love we cannot fathom

 

A love that directs us to a table of feasting

Where there is a chair with our name on it.

 

Let us come to this table reminded of the invitation extended to us all

To be loved with the

Vast

Wide

Never-ending

Love of Jesus.

 

Be blessed dear friends xxx

Justifying Ourselves

Today I’ve been listening to the song of Valjean from the musical Les Miserables. I’ve felt incredibly challenged by the lyrics and how easily they challenge self-justification.

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You can listen to it here.

Here are the lyrics:

He thinks that man is me
He knew him at a glance!
That stranger he has found
This man could be my chance!
 
Why should I save his hide?
Why should I right this wrong
When I have come so far
And struggled for so long?
 
If I speak, I am condemned.
If I stay silent, I am damned!
 
I am the master of hundreds of workers.
They all look to me.
Can I abandon them?
How would they live
If I am not free?
 
If I speak, I am condemned.
If I stay silent, I am damned!
 
Who am I?
Can I condemn this man to slavery
Pretend I do not see his agony
This innocent who bears my face
Who goes to judgement in my place
Who am I?
Can I conceal myself forevermore?
Pretend I’m not the man I was before?
And must my name until I die
Be no more than an alibi?
Must I lie?
How can I ever face my fellow men?
How can I ever face myself again?
My soul belongs to God, I know
I made that bargain long ago
He gave me hope when hope was gone
He gave me strength to journey on
 
[He appears in front of the court]
 
Who am I? Who am I?
I am Jean Valjean!
 
[He unbuttons his shirt to reveal the number tattooed to his chest]
 
And so Javert, you see it’s true
That man bears no more guilt than you!
Who am I?
24601!
Valjean is suddenly presented with this wonderful opportunity to be truly free. A life no longer pursued by Javert. How easy it would be for him to think, ‘oh great. God has seen my hard work and he’s freeing me.’
But the one who knows God, who knows redemption and forgiveness must deeply know that our freedom is never at the expense of another.
Paul and Silas knew this in the dark of a prison cell, beaten and put in stocks – that earthquake that loosen their shackles seemed like a freedom gift from heaven.
But their freedom in this instance would have cost the jailer his life.
We want to think we are more important, the rules don’t really apply to us the way they apply to everyone else, our rights are worth defending at all costs. It is so easy to justify ourselves, to think about what we are doing and why it is so good/right/justified.
Slavery, racism, division, oppression…. these things cannot belong to the person who truly knows that every life is of equal value.
It’s easy for Valjean to justify this circumstance – he is a factory owner, the mayor, people rely on him – he has campaigned to be a light in his community. He is making a difference. This other person is probably poor and has no power or title.
Justice comes at a price.
We can live free but it will cost us – it might cost us financially missing out because we’re not prepared to compromise on things that come at the expense of others or dishonest business practice, it might cost us friendships, it might mean we are marginalised with the marginalised…
Yet in this story we also see the bright light of redemption. Because we have an

This innocent who bears my face
Who goes to judgement in my place
The truth is that we are condemned, we are broken, we have damaged others, we have been complicit in silence or in action and we deserve the sentence.
But Jesus.
The innocent who bears our face – whose full humanity allowed him to go to judgement in our place.
And so we are faced with the great irony
But the one who knows God, who knows redemption and forgiveness must deeply know that our freedom is never at the expense of another.
because
our redemption and forgiveness has come at the expense of another
May we all have courage to confront our own desires to justify the behaviours in us that come at the expense of others. Maybe it’s the way we purchase (ouch), the way we make friends with some people and leave others out (ouch) maybe it’s the protective boundaries we put around ourselves, our families, our communities to keep ourselves in and ‘others’ out (ouch).
As I say, these are things that challenge me deeply. As a dear friend puts it, ‘I am a hypocrite in transition.’
Do we have the courage to not allow our freedoms, our comfort to be at the expense of others?
May we know what it is to have been loved so deeply that an innocent went to judgement in our place, and may we see that value in every other.
May we be brave and may we be agents of justice and freedom.
x

Being undone

It feels like it’s been forever, but that’s okay the journey is not measured in how often we spill our beans it’s measured in the daily living – sometimes a triumph and other times a disaster.

Today this quote undid me:
“Here is what we seek: a compassion that can stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it.” ― Gregory J. Boyle
 
It’s so easy to be a judger, to find that unintentionally even, we see an issue and not an individual, we look through lenses of fear and make distance our safety net.
 
Gardeners have to get close enough to the dirt to plant seeds that will spring into life.
 
Maybe if we’d look to see individuals and draw closer rather than back away we might be over-awed by the courage, grace, tenacity and grit that is required every.single.day just to live in their shoes.
 
It’s easy to forget those sobering words
‘with the measure you judge, you will be judged’ – Matt 7v2
May we all tread lightly in judgement and extravagantly in loving kindness.
Be loved and be loving, wherever you are today xxx