When you pray, say

To be honest, I get anxious and I’m getting it sorted: I have a manual that tells me that I’m not responsible for anything I don’t have the right or ability to control.

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I thought I’d just let that sink in.

Coming from where I have been, responsible for everything I care about…(wrong but honest), I have prayed for these things.

My children, and my parents, for a start. Reflecting, I could wax lyrical about my brother and husband and the prayers I’ve prayed for them. And on and on for all sorts of people I never thought of as off limits because I have no right or ability to control them either.

When we are thankful, we parents, surveying the landscape of our children’s lives and it is like a sunny picnic, our words flow like bubbling streams, sparkly and fresh and joyful. Our hearts feel soft and tender like a beautiful meadow where the sheep lie down and rest. Our thoughts populate our spiritual sentences like buttercups and celandines, violets and daisies, Hopes and dreams like distant spires rising from the deep green canopies of righteous oaks and fluffy clouds dot the horizons and we are so peaceful with the vista before us.

When we pray over an earthquake in their lives, our hearts bulge, bleeding through the concrete circumstances and pour out like molten lava with desperation and a search for direction and hope, flowing with the invested energy of past ages all spewed out and potentially for ever gone. Our words rip up uncaring order and fling aside mundane bill board issues and pierce unwitting unknowns searching for answers and promises we forgot to file carefully in earthquake proof cellars. The angry tears and broken dreams create a filthy mush of debris where the children were supposed to play.

No I must only be anxious for the things within my control and then I will be free from anxiety.

It will take a while to learn this. Maybe I’ll report back. But don’t wait for the conclusions; they’re outside your control!

Advent

Well, I’ve started the reading the Bible in a year thing that the little churchikins are being asked to do. I’ve chosen the online reading programme from Bible Gateway and today’s, surprise surprise, is Ezekiel 47. After Isaiah 11:9 I feel so uplifted and purposed by that text. I really believe God wants the ‘little Churchikins’ to grow up and become his Bride in matters of the environment, the current witness, the compassion towards all life and creation, yes, people are included and most IMPORTANT and MOST RESPONSIBLE, but we fall short of where the pagans are at, generally.

Anyhow, very fittingly, the Ezekiel is followed in this programme by 1 John. The paradox of sinning or not sinning and being in the Father. I don’t need to stress too much with myself on that one. I know I do sin, I am impatient, lazy, irritable, selfish, too easily upset….another hour of navel gazing or serious self examination would bear a long and more thorough list. However, I can’t tackle the whole of me in this way so time would be better spent trying to do the right thing as each challenge not to be any of the above arises. Jesus is very helpful, I find in this regard.

Lord, sorry for how I still am, specially, when I’m running past my renewal at the fountain date! I come again to enjoy the freshness of your Spirit. Thank you.

I am so excited that it’s advent! wooooperdidoop! I have done the Christmas shopping already! I would love to see the outcome where the most wizely invested ‘shopping’ was done. Maybe I will one day. Baking and making comes next and then, OH JOY of joys! The Tidge comes home. WOOOOOPERDIDOOOOP!!! Then the whole family plus the lovely moo goes on holiday to a cottage ‘in paradise’ as the brochures say! I think this will be our first family holiday since Portugal. Lord, let it be good. Let our thinking and motives be pleasing and  take pleasure in all our time and celebrations and outworkings as a family. It will not be straightforward. We need you to be there as an active participant.

Then it’s back to work and actual ‘calendar’ Christmas. Let me be a blessing. I can’t say I feel ready to be praying about that yet…too far ahead!

But Jesus, Co-worker in parenting, Boss with a Smile, Counsellor, Saviour of all situations where you are trusted, and in this I really know the starkness of my trust, I pray for the Cherub as she goes away this weekend. All she will do all these early year steps to go out for you, hold the ‘golf brolly’ of your protection over her trusting head, hold the ‘baby walker’ back if it seems to race faster than her baby steps can go, walk close beside her, listen to her anxious thoughts and show her what she needs to know about herself and yourself. You are the sum of all our needs and who we are..the inescapable ecstacy of perfection, patiently walking beside us from the grave to the cradle! How gracious that you don’t even ‘hold your hand over your nose’, as you help us out of our mires, let alone shun one of us as we reach out to you. She is one among all the billions you’ll be caring for today. Yet your attention to the detail of the perfect plan for her, will not waver. Glory and honour come from this weekend to the worship around your throne!

Give wisdom and discretion to the Tidge. Help her wrap up and deal with all that needs to be done and left ready for her return in chilly, uphilly January. Please set a steadying angel on duty with her now, to protect the work of her heart and mind and soul, and to have her place in Newcastle warmed and ready and inspiring for her when she goes back. Protect her from within and without. Thank you for all that you have done for her and in her this 1st term.

I lift Marianne up to you. Such need still and so much clinging to breakable straws. Set 7 angels around her. Help her to think and meditate with wisdom. Lead her along straight paths. Focus her integrity on you. I don’t know where to begin, but you do, so I pray begin there and have those angels fight valliantly for the ground the enemy will give as you command. My prayer is that she is on a more level, brighly lit place day by day. Go angels of heaven! Be sapped and defeated angels of rebellion and defeat, because defeated you are and toothless is your scowling leader. The blood of Christ is Marianne’s cover. She will not be lost.

Take the Shuster home for a good break and show him what your heart beats with for him. Let the relationship overtake the tactics project, or all will loose its colour. I pray for him to value the things you value and to leave the stuff you never asked him to hold. Thank you for your perfect plans and timing which are the tools to reveal the one thing that matters: Your Love.

Keep Esther’s vision bright with yourself. Bless her, bless her Timothy and Cara. The tetrarch’s brother comes into this prayer room, looking for the king, perhaps. But he has not seen you. have great compassion. His suit is all in rags but he thinks its just come out from the cleaner’s. His hard earned papers and expensive entry visa are all he has, but he has not taken the birth certificate from your outstretched hand. The lines of weariness and pain threaten to claim exclusive copyright on his biography. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I stand and plead that he is granted clemency, sight, life and love, birthright, citizenship, clothes, a home. purpose in eternity. O God, what can I pray?

I am all tired out. I want to sit here in the straw and look at the King in swaddling bands. His humility is almost impossible. I bring all the unanswered questions here to this place of paradox and simply thank you for the whole nonsense of Christmas because I know you’re mid project for the final and full revelation of Love. In the midst of all the adult judgements, I’ll stay here with the baby and sing.

La lallala la la La hallellujah!

Luke 19.40

I am stone

I am grey stone

I am green grey stone

I am stone

White stone

Greystone

I am black stone

I am white

Greenstone

Small grey

Roundstone

Flat

I am sharp young

I am tired

They are beach

And each voice is added as the waves crash

and roll

and suck back and tumble and tickle, roar and moan

against the breathing shoreline

eating it

feeding it

punishing and renewing it.

These voices, these stones, they sing psalms of bitter grief, or joy

Its their story.

Added

Voice by voice

each aeon

by day, by night

Under waves,

between rainstorm

heavy drownings

and blanching sunlight.

I am smoothstone

stone is all.

pumice:

and heat and terror

sandstone:

and boredom

tedium, sinking amnesia.

I am greenstone, white-veined

torture

wrought me.

The earth’s indigestion

spewed me.

The adolescent sea

soothed me.

The political unrest

of allstones

has worn me, and borne me here.

Luke, 1940.

I am Luke.

Mrs Jones brought us here.

I never saw the sea before.

I miss Mum and Dad and Mrs Finnegan and Harry who lives up the street.

But George is here and I brought Grady, who smells of home.

His threadbare nose presses my cheek, soaks up my tears, helps me to sleep.

The beach is exciting and I need a stone for the top of my castle.

Voices

There is no Boy

No such place as Handpalm

Legend has it one

was skimmed across the waves within a wooden shell

The sea cracked it open and he was its kernel

Shalespeak!

All the oppressions of  our groaning, melting and crystallizing

have been without Boy.

If not Boy:

No stone.

Only shared silica and sulphur and agonies of rending,

Cleaving, pounding, breaking and rounding:

A ‘stone’ a  mere  pause in the melting.

Yet I am green.

Though we are blind,

I am seen.

Boy chooses me!

Warmed as I’m lifted,

I arrive in handpalm.

Now this sandcastle is my Hosannah!