Time to let go

“Pour out, I will pour out my Spirit.
Earth shall be much more that it seems.
Both sons and daughters shall prophesy.
Young and old shall dream dreams.”
Arrangement by John Bell of the Prophet Joel, quoted in Acts

Pentecost is when the church story suddenly gets messy. Our church year has been very ordered so far recounting the stories of birth, through the life and teaching of Jesus to the last week up to the cross, resurrection and ascension. But pentecost is when the church story gets messy I’m sorry to say, well, not that sorry because… Pentecost is messy, as it is a time to let go and let God take the reins, the initiative. To let go and let God. That means our carefully crafted plans for mission and ministry might not come to fruition in the ways that we were expecting them, or in ways that fit neatly into the boxes that the diocese or province has for us to tick. God doesn’t tick boxes, God gets the job done, and if we’re willing, we can be a part of that. All of this is only possible for us to be part of if we are first able and courageous enough to let go our control. We’ve begun that journey and process of letting go with the help of Tim Curtis this weekend. We’ve begun the process of letting go of our own plans, assumptions, prejudices and beginning to allow God to speak to us through all that we encounter by walking, listening, seeing and feeling our way around our villages. We need to continue that momentum and do more of it, but beware, if we do we may end up loosing, letting go our control and letting God. I once wrote a chapter for the book ‘Earthed’ called “Loosing Control.” It was about thin places, places much like some of our own area where the veil between heaven and earth is thin, where it is much easier to experience the divine, silencing our minds to the continuous noise and rush of the world around us, if, of course we are open to such a proposition. We began at a ‘thin place’ trying to map the spiritual sense of Llanrhychwyn with Rich Pictures describing our sense of that spiritual place. So I wrote on these this so called ‘thin places’ and where we might find them. An abbey, a pilgrim church, a graveyard, and an un-inspiring place on the corner of a hill, but one of particular significance for one family. It was titled Loosing control. When the proof reader returned my copy, all the times I had used the word loose, they had in their place a spelling correction – dropping and o to make it lose. Perhaps I should not have used the old word to loose, it is too close in speech, let along in writing and very far from the meaning of lose. To loose is to let go, to untie, loosen our grip, our control – but not lose anything at all, in fact quite the opposite for if we are able to loose, let go, relax our grip, our control and let God then the spirit, and especially when we pray at Pentecost, might just come upon us. If we do, we are liable to gain rather than lose. The Rich Picturing process can help us to let go. As we see the pictures of others and the perspectives of other people our own view gets widened so that we are able to appreciate a far broader understanding of the place in which we live. Then, letting go of our own assumptions we might just be ready for the spirit of God to come upon us. But beware for what you pray. Remember that Pentecost is messy. The spirit of God comes to disturb our quiet, ordered life, comes not to comfort as we might understand the word in English as epitomised in the fluffy towels of fabric softener adverts, but Con Fortis with strength. The spirit comes to strengthen greatly our efforts but if only we would allow such to happen. Today is the day when we remember, not the first outpouring of the spirit, but a moment when those gathered as church were open and ready to receive the spirit, and that there was a purpose for the spirit to be on them, for the story of God in Jesus was being shared. We too need a new language in order to take out the message afresh for the places in which we live, interpreting what is going on around us and engaging creatively allowing God’s plan to unfold before us. This will only happen if we let go our control and let the spirit of God lead us. Pentecost is the time to let go and let God.

If we had but a glimpse…

After the Eco-Retreat at Cae Mabon this past weekend...
Pe caem gipolwg yn unig ar y byd fel lle gorffwys, a fyddem wedi ein cyfareddu gan y stori sanctaidd? Wedi ein hanrhydeddu wrth i fywyd cyfan droi’n ddiwrnod o baratoi. Yna, efallai y down yn gyd-grëwyr y wawr, gan ailddychmygu’n ddwyfol gelfyddyd a harddwch coll y creu. Nid yw bywyd a adewir yn segur am gyfnod, yn fywyd ofer. Rhaid gollwng gafael, gadael i’r tangnefedd naturiol godi eto a, chyfranogi’n dyner braf, wedi ein daearu unwaith eto.

If we had but a glimpse of the world as a resting place would we be caught in the sacred story? Honoured as the whole of life becomes a day of preparation.  We might just then become co-creators of the dawn for a divine re-imagining of the lost art and beauty of creation.  A life laid fallow, for a time, is not in vain.  To let go, to allow the natural restfulness to rise up and with gentle ease, to participate; earthed once again.

Women of the Passion

Women of the Passion.

Women of the Passion is a series of ten reflections on an image created by Chloe in chalk-pastel. Originally separate, now gathered here in one place to read in sequence.

The second image was the result of a moment’s inspiration and serendipitous sunlight through a window onto the picture.

Who is She?

She represents the women who followed Jesus and provided for him. They remained faithful where others betrayed or fled.  Then, unexpectedly became the first witnesses to his rising.  But ‘she’ is also is also ‘we’ looking on through the window of the cross to these events from afar.  

Will our response be as faithful as that of those women?

Anointed.

You risked it all in a moment of emotion charged with an energy that heightened the senses as perfumed hands, feet, and hair, mingled for a time.  Physical touch, in kindness, sorrow and love. Knowing somehow another chance would not come.

Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.  John 12:3

 

Questioning.

Hidden in the half light and shadows, were you desperately seeking the truth with a piercing gaze over firelight? When the courage to speak out was rewarded with a betrayal of the truth.

Then a servant-girl, seeing him in the firelight, stared at him and said, “This man also was with him.”  Luke 22:56

 

Weeping.

Anguished tears flow for a moment passing by for the loss, pain and a fear that grips like cords tightening deep in the soul longing for another turning.

“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”  Luke 23:28

 

Witness

Huddled together against the jeering and mocking of the condemned, distant but engaged still.  You who once sustained now resigned, not powerless but waiting, where others deserted, the faithful remnant.

There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. Mark 15:40

 

Enduring

You, there at the beginning, now at the ending.  The sword of sorrow promised for your heart has pierced your soul.  In silent loyal vigil receiving a taste of the bitter cup.  With gritted teeth ‘according to your word’ comfort to another’s son.

“Woman, here is your son.”  John 19:26

 

Preparing.

Still you follow, unwavering.  Quietly you defy authority watching, waiting for the right moment, for swords have no power here.  Your peaceful action, begins the silent revolution-echo through the centuries.  Keep watch.  

The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Luke 23:55

 

Rest.

On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment. Luke 23:56

 

Dawning.

You return expectant, of nothing more than the task of loving service to anoint the departed. You who have been there through it all, now in the final moment as the earth turns to the sun in the quietness of the morning after. Suddenly unprepared

And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. Mark 16:2

 

Revelation.

for the moment you found everything changed confused in disarray both hearts and tomb lay empty before you no place to lay flowers or memorial.  What then now but to flee away until, until before you, not stone, but word softly spoken

So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Mark 16:8

 

Revolution.

calling you by name with tears of sadness and joy unburdened now of your first telling the emotions ride out.  Nervous whispers permeate gatherings of those who misunderstood for now it begins.

Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. Luke 24:10