Topsy-turvy

Topsy-turvy kingdom rules –
Surely these were made for fools!
Things that Jesus says – though jewels, they
Turn things on their head.

‘Work for God’s kingdom night and day –
Don’t count the cost!’ we’ve heard Him say.
But now He’s said….. well, come what may, ‘twill
Turn things on their head.

Here today they turned us down –
Greeted with an angry frown! cried
‘He’s not welcome in this town – He’ll
Turn things on their head!’

Fire from heaven would destroy
His enemies – now that’s a ploy…
But no – He’ll not such means employ to
Turn things on their head!

And so he makes clear Kingdom rules,
Says ‘those who disobey are fools!
Life lived thus is filled with jewels – so
Turn things on their head!

‘My Kingdom rules say love your foe –
Never ever wish them woe.
Work for love and peace – yes, go now –
Turn things on their head!

‘I’m the vine – be grafted! See?
Then the fruit you’ll bear will be
All that’s in my heart’ said He –
‘Turn things on their head!

‘Love for hatred brings release.
Be done with strife – now work for peace.
Joy will flow tho’ tears ne’er cease – we’ll
Turn things on their head!

‘Patience ‘til the time is right –
Kindness fills dark souls with light.
Goodness leads you through the night – let’s
Turn things on their head!

‘Faithful to your final breath,
Gentleness won’t fail in death.
Self-control a golden thread to
Turn things on their head.

‘My will? That all will see My face
Full of love and endless grace.
Then all will rest in My embrace –
I turn things on their head.’

Inspired by lectionary readings for Trinity 5 2016: Luke 9:51-end & Galatians 5:1, 13-25

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Voices

Ceaseless whispers hissing in my soul,
Voices urging loss of self-control.
‘Hurt, destroy yourself! You don’t belong!
These people are too good for you! Be gone!’
Ceaseless whispers sending me away,
Away into dark tomb where light of day
No longer shines – I don’t deserve to live.
‘twere better were I dead. I’ve nought to give
To all those folk who try to keep me safe –
Me, ungrateful wretch, unwholesome waif
Who skulks around the graveyard breaking rules
Of clothing, housing – lifestyles made for fools
Who cannot see the hopelessness that reigns
Within my soul – and so they use their chains
To shackle me, to tie me to one place.
I see their fear….. I feel my deep disgrace…..
But I will not be bound! They’ll not hold me!
I’ll break their chains and run! I will be free,
Free to hide, freeze, starve – to run away.
I never should have seen the light of day!
‘twere better had my body lifeless lain
Still-born in crib, than that I live with pain
Of ceaseless whispers hissing in my brain
‘No good! Misfit! Your efforts are in vain’.

Then comes a man, a stranger in this place
Who walks right up to me, looks in my face…
No fear see I in him… and in my heart
A flame is kindled – just a tiny spark
Of hope… until the voices start again
Their ceaseless whispers, racking up the pain
Which drowns all other thought, all other sound
Until I hear his voice which echoes round:
‘Come out of him! Enough I say, be gone!
This man, this child of mine, he does belong!
I gave him life at birth, I set him free
To live in love, in joy, in peace – to be’

Suddenly the voices start to shout –
I have no power to stop them crying out
‘No! No! You, Son of God – don’t torture me!’
And yet my heart would say ‘please set me free’…
But voices stronger cry out louder still
‘Don’t make us leave! We’re happy here – don’t kill
Us, don’t send us away!’… He asks their name –
‘Legion, for we are many – and our game
Is to control, destroy!’… He says “no more!
Go, leave this man!’ suddenly, before
I’ve time to think, to feel – I know they’re gone!

I see my nakedness but feel no wrong –
For I’ve been victim here – there is no blame.
And now at last he calls me by my name –
My true name which at birth my father gave
The son he loved. That name which now will save
Me from disgrace. This man who set me free
Now clothes me, speaks to me – and we agree
That though I’d love to go with him, to leave
This place of pain and shame, yet that would grieve
His heart and so I stay, and will proclaim
To all who’ll listen that there is no shame
In pain or sorrow, sickness or dismay
For always there is hope that brightest day
Will dawn – because for certain sure, you see,
All that this man has done to set me free
He longs to do for all – his power holds true
For you, and you, and you, and you, and you.
For now I know his name – his name is love.
And that’s enough.

inspired by lectionary Gospel reading for Trinity 4 2016: Luke 8:26-39

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Driven by love

Burning like fire in the heart of the soul,
Jesus, the Son of God, comes to make whole
All those who lie dead in darkness and night –
Jesus, the Son of God, comes to bring light.
Reaching out, touching the dead one – no fear
Of ritual defilement stops Him drawing near.
The laws and traditions the people all kept,
This prophet called Jesus repeatedly swept
Away by His actions as, driven by love,
He showed them the heart of Our Father above.
Eyes once tight shut are now open to see
Jesus the Son of God loves even me.
Heart of stone melts in the heat of the day,
Rigid adherence to laws melts away.
Called to life, brought to life, now by His grace
I’m free to live, love, free to share His embrace
With all who still live lives of darkness and fear –
By His grace, in me Jesus still will draw near
To all who are sorrowing, all those in pain –
To touch the untouchable, bring life again

inspired by the lectionary readings for Trinity 2 2016: Luke 7:11-17 & Galatians 1:11-24

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God in all things?

 

God in all things?

Truly?

Is God in all things?

A beautiful sunset, a sleeping child,
A rose in bloom, a mother’s smile…
A father’s strong hand, a lover’s caress,
A hug from a friend, my deepest distress…

Hold it right there! What’s that I just heard?
My deepest distress? When the sun is obscured
And the lightning strikes, the tsunami floods in
Sweeping all life away – or so it seems…?
When grief shreds my heart, when my body is wracked
With pain, when for lust a child is attacked?
When I’m sinking in mire, when I can’t find firm ground,
When all hope is lost, when the darkness surrounds…

Is God in all things?
Is God truly in all?
Is God?
Dare I say it?
Is God at all?

Is God in my doubting, my darkness, my fear?
Or does God hide away when the fog fails to clear?
Does God simply watch from the side-lines, wait
For the act of destruction which settles my fate?

Is God in the darkness?
Is God truly in all?
Is God?
Dare I say it?
Is God at all?

A child in a manger,
A refugee flight,
A victim of prejudice,
Sought out by night
For fear of the others –
Yet offering sight
For the blind, healing, hope
For those life leaves behind…
A man in a courtroom,
Falsely accused…
A whipping, a taunting,
Face battered and bruised
By a crown of thorns
Pressed down on his brow…
As he hangs on a tree
Is God in all things now?
If not now, then never…
At this moment of death,
Of defeat, the man says
With his last gasping breath
“Into your hands, my Father, my God, I commend
My spirit” – and still the night had no end
As darkness encompassed the earth at noon,
As the sun was obscured, earthquake rumbling on.
Grief, despair, darkness had won the day.

Until three days later the stone rolled away…

Yes, God is…
In darkness as well as in light
Yes, God is in all things,
In both day and night.
As I face the tsunami of life I proclaim
That God is in all things,
In both joy and pain.
Yes, God is…

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When all else fails…

When we are weak:
Lord, be our might.
When all is dark:
Lord, be our light.cross empty tomb adapted
When bound in chains:
Lord, bring release.
When turmoil reigns:
Lord, be our peace.
When danger’s near:
Lord, be our power.
When others jeer:
Lord, be our tower.
When all seems lost:
Lord, hold us tight.
When high the cost:
Lord, pay the price.
When pressures mount:
Lord, take the strain.
When in despair:
Lord, bear our pain.
When full of sin:
Lord, wash us clean.
When all alone:
Lord, be our friend.
When wracked with doubt:
Lord, give us faith.
When all else fails,
Lord, hold us safe

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Dancing Delight

Head in hands with eyes closed tight,
Sudden shock of dappled light
Breaks upon my shuttered sight
As sunlight dances through the leaves
Joined but lightly to the trees
Madly, gladly blown in breeze.
Clapping hands, I laugh with glee –
At one with sun, with leaf, with tree
Blown in breeze and moving free.
Bubbling joy now puts to flight
All darkness as the world shines bright,
The whole earth dancing in delight.

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Dawn

Soft are the shadows that swathe my sight,
Velveteen darkness of deepest night.
Hushed is the silence that holds me tight,
Soothing, caressing my wait for the light.

Time was I feared the night had no end.
Darkness, once threatening, now comes as a friend –
Enfolding, embracing. I now comprehend
In waiting is peace on which I can depend.

On far horizon the darkness abating,
Shadowy shapes now illumine my waiting.
Whispers of birdsong a cradle creating,
Receiving the promise of new dawn now breaking.

Sudden the light bursting forth from the sky,
Shattering darkness, delighting the eye
Flooding the world, chasing shadows away –
Rays of the sun bringing glorious day.

Where there was nothing but black velveteen
Now a myriad colours of radiant sheen
Immerse my whole being, make all fresh and clean.
Gone is the dark. Now the light reigns supreme.

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