September 25, 2016
A prayer for others
Today was my first time doing something “up front” at our newish church in Dunedin. We’ve been attending for almost a year, but I’ve been diligently NOT doing stuff, instead spending energy on completing my PhD.
It was REALLY nice to be back contributing today.
I’d prepared a basket of goodies, which i invited people to select something from as they arrived at church.
There were: shells, lollies, money, coloured pencils, birthday candles, bandaids, puzzle pieces, maps. It was fun to give them out: not least to the boy who kept coming back for more (maybe he was hoping I’d soften on the one money/one lolly rule :)).
We usually have the prayer for others at the end of the service, when the kids are out at KidzTime, but we moved it so they were still in and got to pray with us too.
For the prayer, I’d basically selected a kinda positive and a kinda negative about each item: something to be glad of and something to pray for.
I started by naming the fact that as well as holding a physical item in our hands, we also came holding stuff in our hearts: the good and bad of the week past. The things that brought us joy and the things that concerned us.
And then i prayed through each item. Things like:
Candle: which we light to celebrate birthdays, but we also light candles at sad times, in memory or to pray.
Lollies: which we enjoy/help us be sensible and healthy/help those who don’t help enough to eat: help us to be generous
Coloured pencils: school – kids and teachers/may people who colouring in (as so many do) find connection with the Creator, as they create
Bandaid: for those who hurt and those who heal
Money: too little/too much
Puzzle piece: recreation/that people will have enough friends to play with
Shells: beach walk, whales, bush, birds, beauty of our part of the world/climate change
Map: our neighbourhoods/people who feel lost, that they will find their way home
The things we hold in our heart.
Why did I pray like this?
I like giving people something tangible to hold, and to take away. The physicality of something can help focus our prayer. And it can serve as a reminder of God, and God with us, in the days ahead.
I wanted to help people remember that we can pray with everyday things. So when we colour we can be glad of the Creator. When we hear the rescue helicopter, or a police siren, we can pray for all those affected.
And to see the good and the hard together. That as we are grateful for the beauty of a beach walk, we can also remember those whose houses are threatened by rising sea levels. Not to make us gloomy, but to make for solidarity and concern beyond ourselves.
To create sparks. Sparks that might grow into flames.
I was keen for the kids to be in with us, not because it is the sort of thing that we should just do with kids, but because I didn’t want them to miss out on either collecting something, or on praying together. Kids can do the BEST praying!
I had some people thank me for all the work, but really we just collected shells on a beach walk, I shopped for candles and pencils and the rest were “found” objects from around the house. (We have a very useful bag of puzzle pieces we bought just to give away like this). So it was easy. And it was connective for people. And fun (for me at least!). My shell will be placed with some of its shell-friends in our bathroom, and will remind me to pray for the world God loves.
May 18, 2012
I have a cup that was a birthday gift from a friend…
It’s a gorgeous dusky pink, and says “Believe” on it.
Those who have enjoyed a cuppa with me in my home MAY have observed that I am mildly OC when it comes to cup usage. When I am having a drink with someone else, our cups need to match.
So this “Believe” cup is for individual use. And it has become a sort of spiritual practice for me. Because there are times when I need to Believe. To trust God and to hope.
Times when I deliberately select the cup, as a way of acknowledging my dependence on God and God’s work in my life. Or in the lives of others.
At the moment, it is more about others. I don’t need it for myself. But I shall go and make myself a cup of tea now, believing for A and D and H and K and S. Believing that sunshine WILL break through, and clouds disperse. And praying and believing for peace, wisdom and courage in the meantime.
May 02, 2012
Woven into a tapestry of love
I popped in on some old blog posts and came across a reflection from May 2004 on Colossians 2:2. In it I reflected on what it would mean to create a church community where people coiuld see they belong, could see that their life goes in with the other lives to create a whole thing of beauty.
I felt a sense of loss that i don’t have such beautifully profound things to blog about anymore 🙂 But i thought I’d repeat it here, because it was a lovely image…
And now as i start to type, i realise perhaps there is still some stuff in me that is worth sharing 😉
I’ve/we’ve struggled to find our thread here in Adelaide, particularly in terms of worshipping life. We settled in a church with some fantastic individuals, and lots going for it, but struggled to find the sort of community and missional involvement our dislocated/transposed roots/hearts craved. Also, we needed to transition to a new way of being. As a family we had never not been in pastoral ministry. As a couple, Steve and i had been in primary church leadership for over 15 years. It was weird being in a pew, together! There were opportunities for involvement that were relished, but looking back I realise i couldn’t see our thread.
A geographical move across the city saw a new search for a church “home” and we discovered (and I thank toblerone chocolate for this, but that’s another story) a place where we felt at home. We walked in and were given something to make. There was food. There was a sense of joy, and real-ness about the people there. There were Interesting People.
A lovely letter from the minister was hand delivered, expressing welcome and showing we had been “seen” and maybe even a little Known.
We went back the next time they met and again felt that sense of belonging.
I dare to believe I can see a thread.
I wondered, should i say to the minister, “can we skip the courting and get to the bit where we just jump in boots and all?” Then Easter Sunday came and the minister asked K if she played any instruments, and me if I could help out with leadership of this service.
Delight for me as I realise the girls will have an opportunity to use and develop their musical gifts. And I can Help Out (those who know me well will realise that is what Lynne’s Do Best) with creating connective worship and services that resource life beyond Sunday.
And … I decided blow it (literally) and have offered to also play flute. So I’m looking forward to my everything-that-has-breath praising the lord in that way for the first time in too long. (Think I may need to practise though).
April 27, 2012
“Thanks for your support”
This is triggered by something on a website, not by any recent event, so no need to guess what “event” I’m talking about as there ain’t one!
I don’t “get” “thanks for your support” language from service providers.
I choose to bank with a particular bank/shop at a particular shop because of the service they provide. I don’t “support” them, or at least that is not my aim. I’m not going to become a more loyal customer because they thank me for something i don’t intentionally do. I will become a more loyal customer because of what THEY do: provide (appropriate) goods/services at a reasonable price.
Having said that, there ARE exceptions, times when would consider “supporting” a provider. When i would choose a small independent cafe (that makes great coffee) over a large chain. But only if they provide a service that works for me.
Sometimes we’re encouraged (particularly in churches in my experience) to “support” something that should be fun/enjoyable. Shouldn’t we go to the quiz night or the movie night because we’ll enjoy it rather than to support it? If it’s not enjoyable/lifegiving/engaging/uplifting for people, is it worth doing?
An exception here can be missional… it’s important that there are people present to make an event hum, to build connections with others who come along, to “run” the thing, to make it happen. But churches should surely be running things that are connective and appealing to the people that are part of them, so if people from beyond themselves come they have like-people to build connections with.
So DON’T tell me to come to support your event. Frankly, it makes it sound needy! Tell me why you’re doing it and what you hope to achive and I’ll put on my boots and be in!
Mothers Day Prayer (repeated)
Popping this here again in case it is of use/a blessing to anyone….
Mothers Day prayer
I wrote this pastoral prayer for mothers day (several years ago)
With loving thoughts of, and prayers for, all the women I know, love, respect who inspired it…
God, it is mothers day.
And so we think about mothers and we think about children.
We think about others and we think about ourselves.
God, we pray for new mothers:
women who are today celebrating their first mothers day.
Be near to new mothers.
May they know the joy of precious moments with their babies
as well as your strength and sustaining
amid the interrupted sleep and constant demands.
God, we pray for mothers who have lost a child.
Through miscarriage or death
Through the breakdown of a relationship.
Be near to those mothers
May they know a growing sense of hope, love, joy and peace
as well as your strength and sustaining amid their sadness and pain.
God, we pray for mothers who long
for a better relationship with their child
May you help them do all they can to heal rifts,
Whilst realising that it is not only their responsibility.
Help them to reach out and to let go appropriately.
We pray for women who parent alone
Thank you for their courage
Sustain them as they seek to be both mother and father
to their precious children.
Place others alongside them to help and encourage them.
We pray for women who long to be mothers
Comfort them, heal them, sustain them, be near them.
We pray for babies for them, in your time.
We pray for all mothers
Give them an ever-growing love for their children.
Help them enable their children to grow and develop
Give them courage and grace as relationships change
God, we thank you for our mothers
For the women who bore us and birthed us
For the women who fed us and cared for us
For the women who loved us and disciplined us.
Some of us find it easy to thank our Mums
for all they have done for us
Some of us wish we could speak words
to mothers we no longer have.
Comfort those who mourn
Give courage and strength to those who need it
Grant us all an appreciation of those who have
“mothered us” appropriately
be they birth mothers, adoptive mothers,
dear friends or others.
In Jesus name
February 28, 2012
Looking back at old posts on washing machines (sigh) reminds me of why i like/d blogging.
I enjoy writing about snippets of my life
and I’m glad to have that record of those times
(not least to confirm washing machine is well out of extended warantee
when the box of manuals/receipts is in a box somewhere in garage)
1 i can mop quite quickly
2 it is handy the laundry slopes slightly (the right direction)
3 perhaps i put too much in the machine
4 the laundry floor is now nice and clean
August 11, 2011
And self control
May need to stick with self control for a while longer. Kayli made chocolate chip cookies. They are very small, but very moreish…
Working from home is a challenge on many fronts. The thing i miss most is the ability (when “stuck” or needing a micro-break) to wander off to chat to a colleague. At home there are no colleagues. There are chocolate chip biscuits and facebook.
Both of which are fine in moderation. 🙂
I’ve worked from home for at least a component of my work since moving to Christchurch in 2004. It is hugely convenient for a number of reasons. I think it is good for a part of my week, but i would to be elsewhere for a part of my week. In contact with real people, perhaps.
August 10, 2011
I’ve struggled to “isolate” gentleness as it seems to go/grow hand in hand with so many of the other fruit. Patience and kindness for example. Maybe it’s a peach to their nectarine, or a mandarin to the orange of patience and the tangelo of kindness. Or maybe i need to sit with it for longer.
So I wasn’t sure whether to stay with gentleness, until it was clearer or to move on… I moved on, but i’ll be back.
August 08, 2011
the ‘yet will i praise GOD’ gritting your teeth and sticking with it moments… when we hold to our beliefs and read the Psalms for a reminder that we’re not alone in our sense of not-right-ness.
To receive faithfulness is like wallowing in a “just right” hot pool or sea, fully embracing and refreshing.
To be faithful is to remember that sensation, even when the source seems far away.
August 07, 2011
“Goodness” was yesterday’s fruit of the day.
Recalled Psalm 23, “Surely gooness and loving kindness shall follow me all the days of my life”. (Specifically recalled the Keith Green version of the song, which clearly dates me).
Nice to imagine being followed, pursued perhaps by goodness, by loving kindness. Pursued by God.