Search

Tea and Theology

Tag

light

Space

The following was written as a response to accompanying someone in the last moments of their life. I have remembered it this week in response to leading an All Souls service where the veil between heaven and earth felt quite thin at times…

Liminal space
One meets another
Heaven Earth
Time Stillness
Light Darkness
Human Angel
Vast expanse
Empty…Complete

Stillness prevails
Light shines forth
Electric sensation
Fear subsumed
Breath in
God’s scent
Protector
Guide

HaShem with us
Then gone
Leaving darkness
surrounding seeping
Ticking clock
Furnishings trappings
Restoration complete
except…

Changed
Less one life
Journeying soul
Hand in hand
Side by side
Adonai
Earthly home fades
Eternity awaits

Loneliness

I’ve been reading The Lonely City, which has seemed apt to be reading in the week of World Mental Health Day on 10th October. How is it that the loneliest places can often be the busiest places, where people go virtually unnoticed?

IMG_0082

We live life so quickly that it is possible to avoid meaningful conversations with anyone when there are so many people milling around – the more lonely one becomes, the harder it can be to reach out and ask for help.

6

How soon those who feel isolated or desperate begin to have a slightly distorted view of life.

4 2

Many of us seem adept at presenting a calm exterior with few truly knowing what is happening beneath the surface. Having a small circle of trusted confidants can be helpful, but perhaps we need to be a little more open and honest if we are to positively challenge attitudes to those who live with poor mental health.

4

Where is the hope? Is it easy to identify, to grasp and quantify? Or do we need to illuminate it?

6 2

How can we as the church, and as individuals, support one another when everything feels too much…surely we should be able to admit it, to scream out and join one another in lament?

IMG_0061

Being with someone in their darker moments means that we are also there when hope begins to reveal itself, slowly at first perhaps, nonetheless noticeable.

DSC_0062

Eventually it might become easier to see signs of hope, and possibilities, especially with someone walking alongside. Can we show bravery by being honest with one another when everything feels overwhelming? Equally, do we have the courage to stay by the side of those we care for when they are overwhelmed, and be with them in their times of darkness, acting like a beacon for them?

Attend…properly!

This week has felt rather busy, and as I look back I can see that I have definitely been guilty of cramming too much into my diary and therefore failing to give real time to anything. It has struck me that this is very much the way of our modern world: fit as much as you can into as little time as possible to prove how productive you can be! And yet, I’m not sure ministry is a business of productivity or a measuring of success…if it was, as the Church Times article about Broken asserts, many of us would be failures!

The week began with a baptism in our first service…

DSC_0012

…and the revival of a worship band with me on cajon in our second service.

DSC_0004-2

On Monday morning I decided to walk around a part of the parish: collar, rucksack and trainers on! This is becoming something of a routine, which I love! It gives me the space to respond to whatever comes my way…to attend! I was also combining the walk with a short photo shoot in each church, as setting the churches up on social media was also on my list of things to do for the week! It was lovely just to spend time alone in God’s presence as I worked.

DSC_0004

When I arrived at the second church, there was a lot of activity. We also had a young offender working with us. As I looked at him, whilst he had nothing to do, he looked completely bored and disinterested. God took over as I hauled him into the church, showed him how to use the camera and encouraged him to get lost in it. He certainly did, and there was a huge sense of pleasure as I watched his attention to detail develop, and his eye fine-tune to the potential of the camera. He took some beautiful photos with particular focus on light.

DSC_0032

The real reward came when I asked him whether he had enjoyed it, to which he replied, “I did actually”, and his whole face lit up as a broad smile crossed it – what a privilege! Yet it was one that I didn’t see until I was half a mile up the road, lamenting on how few people I had encountered that morning! I had been responsive, but completely unaware that God was with me in that whole encounter!

DSC_0047

A candle to remind me that Christ is with me was a bit of a theme this week in my encounters! One particular encounter really humbled me, as a woman asked me to address an envelope for her as she could not spell very well. She insisted on sharing every detail of the letter with me, which was a real privilege, and came with great responsibility. I would have been happy to just address the envelope, but I realised that she needed to share.

IMG_3901

Other encounters reminded me of the need to not only attend with people, but also to be mindful of ways in which they might practically need help. Gardens are beautiful, but can become extremely burdensome to someone who is housebound. Whilst they might not ask, can we do something to help as a church?

IMG_3890

That tied in with a brief exchange I had with STAR (Supporting Tenants and Residents) when thinking about how we could support their work in the parish. They said the one thing every agency struggles to provide at the moment is time…Attend!

IMG_3910

Lectio Divina also reminded me of how Ruth attended her mother-in-law, refusing to leave her side despite being given permission.

IMG_3893

Then I was reminded about the need to attend to the community – where is God already working? What is going on that we can join in with? This was part of an art exhibition of prisoners’ work, and was one of the most amazing drawings I have ever seen!

IMG_3909

Again and again I have come back to thinking about attending, being fully present in the flesh, being pervasive, almost, in our world.

Attend!

Attend! Listen! Watch and wait but what will I see? What will I hear? What am I even waiting for? A miracle, a bolt of lightening, the transfiguration or Jesus coming on a cloud in glory? Maybe one day, be prepared as they say; but no, that’s not what I mean. I’m talking about attending in the here and now; immanence rather than transience…being God with skin on or the hands and feet, eyes and ears of Jesus. Attend! Listen!

There is something in the saints saying God is with us come what may; God incarnate in you and in me. So attend, listen to that voice deep inside the soul.

Take care not to attend so much that you fail to see what is right in front of you though. Gazing up to the heavens, desperate to hear God’s guidance I almost didn’t see the hope offered through an exchange with an offender; the woman struggling to cross the road; and the man desperate to talk and be heard, had I not heard the pervasive plea from God, “Me in them not me for thee!”

The light was good…

#690 “God saw the #light and it was #good…” #genesis1v4 See the lights on your path, and know that it is good – would it be possible to see the light without the #darkness which highlights it?

Light

#664 The Lord is my #light, my light and #salvation. In God I #trust, in God I trust. 

Catch the Light

#643 The sheer #beauty of the #illumination which occurs when #light intersects with #darkness makes me wonder whether both are necessary…if there was no darkness, would we appreciate the light for its power and beauty?

CSC_0126.jpg

Darkness into light

#639 “You, O Lord, are my lamp; you turn our darkness into light.” The #light and #peace of Jesus be with you. 

Salt and Light

DSC_0008.JPG

#558 I preached at our #eucharistservice this morning on being #saltandlight and Jesus coming to #fulfilthelaw. #Salt was a valuable commodity in Palestine in Jesus’ time. It was valued for its potential to purify, preserve and lend flavour to all things. #Purity reminds us to be mindful of our standards of honesty, diligence at work, contentiousness, and moral standards. The #preserving quality of salt was likened by a Roman historian and philosopher to putting the soul back into the body – I love that! It serves as a reminder for us to preserve ourselves from corruption. #Flavour speaks of the vividness or radiance of life. If we are living as Christ calls us to, with Christ at the centre of our being, we will be radiant – we will shine with the reflection of Jesus’ light!  Saint Augustine said “Love God and do what you like.” This sounds flippant but when you realise the way God loves you, the only option is to answer that love – this is the greatest task in life and more binding than any obligations of law. I pray that we may find our flavour and radiance, that we will shine with the reflection of Jesus’ light though our words and deeds this week. Amen.

Image of God

#557 This week I’ve had a number of #conversationsaboutGod – quite normal in a theological college – and I’ve been struck by our inability to #express the #natureofGod in a way which fully symbolises God. This photograph is a starting point with the #cross, #light and #tabernacle all as different expressions of God’s presence here with us, but it doesn’t seem quite enough. For anyone reading this, I would like to invite you to photograph something which symbolises God for you and link it to this post with an explanation. I’m really interested in how different people understand God and would love to hear from you! Thank you in advance!

DSC_0182.JPG

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑