Tuesday, January 31, 2006

dew moment

I was reminded again this morning
of the importance of stillness
when God’s refreshment comes upon our souls
like dew.
God has arranged it
so that dew only settles on the leaves
when the heat is down
and there is no wind.
The plant gets the benefit of the refreshing of dew
when it is still
and its pores open up
to assimilate the moisture.
In like manner,
we will become wilted in our ministry
(and perhaps dry up)
if there is no time to be still before the Lord
in centering prayer
to allow the dew of the Holy Spirit to refresh our souls,
a time where one waits in stillness
(within and without)
before the Lord
and there is Spirit to spirit connection.
So many of the other aspects of prayer
(worship, praise, intercession)
naturally demand an investment of energy
and are, of course, part of a growing Christian’s life.
But there is an important place for stillness.

May all that we “do”
be filled with grace
because in stillness
we have received the “dew.

Monday, January 30, 2006

life moments

yesterday I was asked to spend time
with a man recently told
he has only a few weeks of life remaining

his lungs suddenly filled with cancer
his heart now failing
every breath a struggle

when I asked how I could serve him best
his response was that he simply
wanted me to speak of Jesus with him

his desire was that each hard fought for breath
would be filled with the Name
and the Person
of Jesus

and so we sat together
hand in hand

and there came a moment
during those few hours
when Jesus
whom this man had known as his Savior
became his Lord

Lord of his final moments

life was birthed yesterday afternoon
a beginning
in those hours of ending

and this morning I read
of a tiny baby girl
dressed in a pink dress
being found
in a garbage bag
floating on a lake in Brazil

it was her cries that were heard
and caused her to be rescued

a passerby
hooked the bag with a stick
pulled it to the shore
untied it
and found this little child inside

someone's daughter

carefully dressed in a pink

and I am overwhelmed
by life moments

precious to one

and I am doubled over in pain
for this mother
who so carefully dressed her daughter
tied her up in a bag designed for garbage
and tossed this life
that she had birthed
into a river
does Jesus feel the nails even now?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

rod moment

there is someone in my prayers
presently struggling with deep frustration
in the hearing of murmuring and criticism ………..

although much potential on the horizon
his ears and eyes are clouded
by the dust of the swirling words

and my Jesus showed me something
through the life of Moses

Moses spent time in the desert
shepherding his people

it was a tough time
a dry time
but God
the One Who shepherded Moses into the desert
proved Himself faithful
by day
and by night

and even though the people, the sheep
were no longer enslaved by man
they remained enslaved by their own hopes
their own dreams
their own will

and they mumbled
and they grumbled
and they criticized
and they plotted coups

and Moses was aware

there came a moment
when God, Moses’ faithful Shepherd,
in response to the whining of the sheep
for more water

told Moses to
TAKE his rod
to the rock

Moses previously
under God’s direction
had always taken his rod
to hit the rock
causing the water contained within
to be released

this time though
God said
TAKE your rod but do not use it.
this mighty friend of God
and hit the rock
not once but twice

and what was it that caused Moses to disobey
his God
his Shepherd

could it have been he was so absolutely frustrated
with his sheep that he just whacked the rock
because that had always worked in the past
and once the sheep had their water
they would quieten

or was it that he was a little concerned this time
the level of the noise from the sheep
was growing

and what if SPEAKING to the rock didn’t work

was there was perhaps a little lack of trust
in his Shepherd
to provide

in any case
Moses disobeyed
and so
although he saw his horizon
his destiny
he was not ever able to reach it

and I started to wonder
for us
what is our rod
is it our gifting
is it our authority

and are there times God asks us to
enter an area
or remain where we are
with our gifting but not use it

does He say
I have something new for you
and are we able to trust in something we have never seen manifested
are we able to trust our God
who has never let us down
who has always proved Himself faithful
are we able to simply trust ………

and I began to understand the effect
of the mumbling and grumbling
on our shepherds

is it that that causes them to stumble
causes them to vary from their path
causes them to hit the rock when they are to simply speak
causes them to wrap their fist around their rod
and not simply trust …………

Friday, January 27, 2006

hope moment

today I spent time with a friend
in the simple enjoyment of being together
sharing moments of our journeys
and I was reminded of a story
a true event
told by Jean Vanier
and I will quote from his writing
" A few years ago I visited a large institution in Brazil
It was about ten in the morning.
I was surprised to find a room
with about forty children with disabilities
still in their beds
and not one of them was crying.
Children only cry out when they know and hope
that someone will answer;
they will not waste their energies
if they are certain that nobody will hear.
They will close up in despair; they have no hope."
and I am deep in gratitude for those around me
those who hear me
those who touch me
those who heal me by accepting me
those who allow me to hear them
those who allow me to touch them
those who allow me to accept them
and again
I am filled with hope
hug someone
touch someone
listen to someone
and see
and feel
this man Jesus
in the hug
in the touch
in the listening

Thursday, January 26, 2006

table turning moment

while continuing to behold Jesus
through the eyes and words of John
I see again something new
while at the wedding
there was the possibility of a huge social faux pas
the hosts
friends of Jesus' mom
had miscalculated
and ran out of wine ........
this was very big in those days
Mary, the mother of this man Jesus,
simply brought this to His attention
not asking for Him to do anything about it
she simply spoke of it to Him
and then
she turned
saying quietly and confidently
to those around her
do whatever he tells you
there is much in those words
do whatever he tells you
without question
without hesitation
without understanding
do whatever he tells you
and then
this man Jesus
went to the water cisterns
these vessels
set aside for religious purposes only
sat apart by man for man's uses
and deliberately
overturned the tables of this religious practice
and caused these very cisterns
to be filled with celebratory wine
the best wine
an abundance of the best wine
so there is no need to ask Jesus to do anything
simply present our circumstance to Him
do everything he asks
while being prepared
for Him to overturn
all the religious tables
within our circumstance
who is this man Jesus

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

well moments

who is this man Jesus
although yet deep in the Lazarus scene
I have been watching Jesus' interaction
with the woman
at the well
it was noon
the hottest
most uncomfortable
moments of the day
the well
out in the open
no shade
the woman
shunned by all the other women
of her community
not welcome to gather
at the well with others
in the cool of the early morning
or the ease of the evening
forced to come
in the fiery heat
of mid day

Jesus was waiting
His friends having gone
to the shelter of the town
with its comforts
Jesus waited
in the heat
and the woman came
and this man Jesus
sat down
placing himself lower than the woman
from this non threatening
non authoritative position
he admitted his need
his frailty
his thirst
he asked her for help
all the while
the woman
he engaged her
from a position of vulnerability
and as she gave him water
he gave her life
this woman
used and abused
by her community
was resurrected
by a man
sitting in the heat of the day
tired and thirsty
a man who knew her
had waited for her
and then freed her
from her wrappings of death
as she ministered to
the thirst
and weakness
of his human body
who is this man Jesus

Monday, January 23, 2006

another Lazarus moment

here I am absolutely pooped
after being up all night in prayer
for this great land of Canada

and suddenly
Almighty God
unraveled yet another
piece of the Lazarus story

having already discovered
the two responses to Jesus' absence

and the desire to shelter
Jesus from something

and the offer of Jesus' hand
along the journey
to the place of burial

now I see
that Jesus called Lazarus
out of the cave of his death

asking those around him
those in relationship with him
to free him from his grave clothes

once unwrapped
Lazarus would be absolutely stark naked
in the midst of his community

and isn't that a sign of true community
a willingness to see
and accept
another's nakedness

and a willingness on our part
to be naked
in the midst of our community

or as a friend of mine was fond of preaching:
living without the fig leaf

Sunday, January 22, 2006

choices moment

awoke in the night
thinking of the burqa

thinking of this land Canada

thinking of the choices tomorrow

how easy would it be
for a burqa to be slipped over our head

I know the restrictions of a burqa
but what would it consist of
what would it look like
how would it feel
would it be noticeable enough we would resist its acceptance

a burqa is afterall
simply a not so subtle form of control
to keep things hidden
restrict vision and movement

could it be there is already a
denominational burqa over some

God keep our land
glorious and free

how willing are we to stand on guard

have we fallen asleep on our watch
will we wake up in time

whose kingdom is coming

from sea to sea
and from the rivers to the end of the earth

rise up Oh mighty One
mark us as Yours
have mercy
place the covering of Your Holy Presence over us

Saturday, January 21, 2006

communion moment

while immersed in communion last evening

the bread
held in the wine

entering every portion of white

through the process
of being entered

and I thought about my journey
the mountains
the valleys
the deserts
of the last few years

there was a season
of man exerting his will
and the storm of doubt that ensued
knocked me off balance for a bit

when I was hesitant to listen
to hear
to even seek
the Voice
the One

and these words tumbled out from deep inside

Living in a land of deep shadows
At the edge of the huge wingspan of a raging river

I have come to learn
I have come to lean and love

There is noise
But everything is quiet

I touch the seamless garment of silence

Night is leaving

I stand on the shore and watch
Feeling the weight of my life
Begin to drop
And I realize why dawn
Is called mourning

The rocks echo ancient rhythms
Heat slams into my skin

And I remain upright
Solely because the tendrils of my being
Cling to a cross

Friday, January 20, 2006

friday moment

while sitting across from one another
gently exploring
and sharing
there was a hearing
a touching
the Heart of God
'though the skies outside were grey
in this little corner office
the Son broke through
and there was such life
in the warmth of His Presence
it was just a moment
and could have been so easily missed
yet this moment
changed the course of my day
and this too
was church

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

would you moment

when winter lingers
and I need to feel the spring
would you awaken the song
within me

Monday, January 16, 2006

who is he moment

arrived home yesterday
after four days
in the teaching
and the Presence
of the Lord

although entirely devoted to Jesus,
His Father
and Spirit
for years and years

I am now left burning with the question

just who is this man Jesus

all that I thought I understood
had discovered
had accepted
had been taught

barely begins to unfold
the mystery
of this man Jesus

because of being away
our community
who weekly
comes together
around the table
did not take place yesterday

and so
this evening
in the midst of our gathering
as a centrepiece
on the table

I will place my question

who is this man Jesus

Sunday, January 08, 2006

2nd church moment

so, here we are
one week later

we, who were 18 last week
have morphed into 32 ………
including a 4 day old
our California friends
and our houseguest

as the door kept opening
I soon realized
we are now too many to even think of fitting around a table
let alone having enough dishes
knives, forks or spoons

and so there was an eating in shifts of sorts
really made no difference

there was still an abundance
of food
of joy
of music
of laughter

no one’s plate remained empty for long

more importantly
every hunger was met

I started to jokingly ponder
the need to set up a committee
a building programme
hire a nursery worker

but then ……………

we simply laughed

and worshiped

and prayed

and loved

and laughed some more

and church today was glorious

Saturday, January 07, 2006

bread moment

last evening was spent with some very special people
it was in 1995
this gentle couple shared
a message of love
a simple message really
and yet one perhaps because of its very simplicity
so many are unable to grasp
to believe it is that simple
that true

a California pastor
his wife
and mother of their three boys

this beautiful couple
in love with each other
in love with their Father
His Son
and Holy Spirit

it has not always been easy for them
pastoring never is
marriage brings its own set of challenges
parenting too

and there is the cancer
that invaded his body
but never his spirit

while sitting under their teaching
back in 1995
my heart started to beat with a new rhythm
and my life was
still is
forever changed

after three days
they went back to California

it was a year and a bit
before I realized
I had never said thank you

so I wrote
just a short note

to my great surprise
and deep delight
they responded

we have communicated ever since

through their sons
one by one
leaving the nest

through the change in pastorates
and then again
and then again

through the cancer

through the loss of their funny tree climbing dog

and now
this couple
who taught me so much
have come
from the warmth of California
to the ice and cold of Ottawa
asking me to teach them
of the poustinia

we prayed last evening
the words suggested by Jesus

Our Father
In heaven
Holy is Your Name
Your Kingdom come
Your will be done
Here, this moment, in us, on earth
As it is in heaven
Give us this day
Our daily bread

and we stopped
in the realization
that our bread for the day
was simply being together
in the Presence of our Father


and I wonder now
while they yet sleep
what my bread will be this day

Friday, January 06, 2006

Lazarus moment

for several years now I have had this rumbling in my spirit
about the death and resurrection of Lazarus
I study and study
ask questions
search out hidden truths

much has been learned
yet still I have been unable to move away from that passage

just yesterday
another piece was unraveled

Martha ran to Jesus with her
“where were you!” words

Mary waited until Jesus asked for her
but then
she greeted Him with exactly the same words

the same words
but so hugely different

the difference being these same words
came from 2 disparate hearts

Martha spoke words of accusation
Mary spoke words of wondering

but it is the next thing that happened
that is new to me

Jesus asked
“where have you buried him? – take me there”

their response was an expressed desire to shelter Jesus
from the stench of death

is there an area, a time, an event
that has caused something in me to flicker
even to die

and is Jesus asking me to take Him there
so that He can call forth life

have I not been willing to take Jesus
into that situation
thinking to shelter Him from the stench of it

is He now asking
to go with me
Hand in hand
to that very spot

so life can come forth

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

fruit moment

thinking over the last few days
about the difference between success
and fruitfulness .........
with success comes strength, control
perhaps respectability
fame ..
fruit on the other hand
is produced through vulnerability
a child is conceived
in vulnerability
community is the fruit born
through shared brokenness
intimacy is the fruit born
through touching one another's wounds
success might bring momentary happiness
but it is the taste of fruit
that brings sustaining joy

Monday, January 02, 2006

church moment

yesterday we gathered around a table
yes, there was yet another turkey
with all the stuff that goes alongside such a bird

but our focus was not the turkey

there was a caring
a listening
a touching

these were all deep thinking people
and there was a respecting
an honoring
of one another’s thoughts
a seeking to hear and to understand
sometimes with a gentle challenge
sometimes with a nod in agreement

I asked each one
to share the desire of their heart

and there was such beauty
as these tiny jewels were tenderly exposed in our midst

there were no grandiose “world peace” words

these were simple
cries of the heart

not surprising really
it was a cry of loneliness
that fell from the heart
of the one who had been
and always will be
a pastor

it was this cry that seemed to catch fire around the table
tears started to flow from many eyes
hearts softened and opened and enlarged

although already 18
around a table designed for 12
instinctively we pulled our chairs closer to one another

there was a physical touching
a spiritual touching

it was shared that the seeking of love
from a position of loneliness
can be fraught with danger

suffocation can result

there is only One who can satisfy this cry
and we determined to seek Him together
to love one another
while pursuing the One who is Love

a guitar was gently strummed
fingers tapped on the stretched skin of a drum
lips kissed a flute
a song was beautifully breathed over us
as we cared for one another

and so
for many hours
through the day
into the evening

around the table

with the breaking of bread
and the drinking of wine

we had church

we were the church

and although around separate tables today
we remain
the church

Sunday, January 01, 2006

new moment

attended a wedding last night
fancy clothes
eating, dancing and laughing through midnight -

was it prophetic?

the bride being the Bride

as I think of everyone
I pray for something much deeper than a happy new year
I pray for joy
I pray for healing
I pray for unfolding of destinies
I pray for fulfilling of hearts' desires
I pray for wisdom
I pray for discovery of identity
I pray for intimacy
I pray for much much touching
I pray for love - given and received
I pray for acceptance
I pray for understanding
I pray for reconciliation
I pray for unity

I pray for the bride
to be the Bride.