Led Reflections – Maundy Thursday

In their final evening together Jesus knelt before his friends and washed their feet. Though he was about to go to the cross he still loved and served his friends. May we too have strength to love those near to us in these difficult days.

A quiet meditation for Maundy Thursday.

Holy Week

A couple of years ago I did the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius with my spiritual director. I found as I set out on the journey to the cross that I didn’t want to walk with Jesus to the cross. I just wanted to be there on Sunday. It is something in me that still needs changing – this ability to enter lament, to be present to pain. May we all have courage to allow ourselves to enter pain and to receive love even there.

Miriam x

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I don’t want to walk with you to the cross

don’t want to pass the jeering crowd

or be present to the lonely abyss of Gethsemane

 

I want to stand on Sunday’s horizon

and say

it’s okay Jesus

            look resurrection will come

 

So, like the crowd I condemn

and the disciples I judge

I abandon you

on your walk to the cross

 

I leave you alone

so alone

human man

acquainted with suffering and grief

 

I really just want

the resurrection power

the triumph of the lamb

the roar of the lion

 

so I climb up to my privileged position

and wait at the dawn of Sunday

ready to sing my alleluias

where a stone is rolled away

 

and as I abandon you

I acknowledge I have abandoned others

on their difficult journeys through

death’s valley

preferring to whisper hope

from resurrection’s empty tomb

 

instead of being empty accompaniment

into the cave

where death seems

to have the victory

 

I am afraid of accompanying you

and afraid of accompanying others

I am a broken disciple

 

would you hold this unfaithful

uncomfortable hand in yours

as I attempt not to run away

 

to hold the course for

Gethsemane

Golgotha

and

tomb

 

for as long as my small strength holds on

With Ancient Women

I find myself, these days, unexpectedly in conversations with ancient women I never met.

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I’m about to stand up and speak about Leah, the one Jacob didn’t want, and I stop and have a whispered conversation with her.

Not exactly to her or with her. But I hold her in my heart – hoping I will do her justice, this ancient grandmother of my Messiah.

I’m stitching thousands of words at the moment and they all belong to women. It’s a big project and it will take me a long, long time but it’s transforming me too.

Right now, it’s reminding me things like, the first person to name God is a slave woman. Isn’t that so beautiful? In the light of sexism and racism and all the awful things that people say about the rejected and the downtrodden, God, of all the universe, allows Godself to be named by a woman, a slave, sent out into the desert to watch her baby die.

Wherever your heart is at today. However you are struggling or rejected or looking at the tsunami of insurmountable opposition remember the One who has always held out hands, and noticed and listened and allowed the outsider to speak aloud the sacred name.

courage dear heart, courage

Miriam Jessie x

 

The Room

I was asked to give a talk on the value of creativity recently. I finished it with this poem.

May we all take up the room!

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THE ROOM

we stand here on the edge of a room

this room, our lives

we observe the players

moving across the floor

admire their skills

the grace with which they carry themselves

their confidence

 

but this room is our life

this one wild life we have been given

with such generosity

 

to stand in the world at this time

on this whenua

with these skills

with this voice that might ring out and make its story heard

 

are you hanging out at the edges?

convincing yourself to shrink so no-one will notice what you lack

allowing the brilliance of others to loom large

overshadowing your horizon

 

throw off the cloak of small surrender

and waddle like the toddler you know yourself to be

stand

in the centre of your life

and sing

or dance

or build your sandcastle

 

will you fall and fail?

or hit a wrong note

or find you can only create something imperfect?

 

yes, you will

 

you will be weaker than you’d like to be

disappointed in the gap

but you will be growing steadily into

skills that will one day inspire others

 

every child must crawl, or bum shuffle, or commando their own way to walking with confidence

so it is with us

 

if we are to be more than outputs measured by economic scales

if we are to tell the story we would like to tell

let us start today

with one small thing that brings us joy

 

apologising not

for taking up space in this life

 

may we hold life with wonder

do our thing with bravery

 

let us be curious,

let us be joyful,

let us be courageously creative in a world that invites us only to small perfections

 

let us take up space

let us own

the room

miriam jessie

x

Friday: For Inspiration

Dear creative hearts,

Today I want to bless you in your creative pursuits. I am so encouraged by the story of Bezalel – filled with the Spirit of God for the express purpose of creativity.

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For Inspiration:

May you know the deep wellsprings of life that bubble up from creative expression,

May your creative works bring life and encouragement to others

and may your ear ever be tuned to whispers of life and inspiration in all you do.

inspiration