A garden is not made overnight.
There are the thankless tasks to do,
Little by little
Planting and pruning and sweeping and plucking and digging
Watering and supporting
Pointing towards the light.
And then there is so much waiting
Just stepping back and letting your creation grow, change and get on with its living
And then 10 times out of 10 it dies anyway.
What was the point?
That’s I bet what Mary thought
Both the one who grew the seed and the one who by the fruit was drawn.
The former saw her treasured sappling snapped;
Felt a stake through her heart.
The latter wept at the waste
Of a life force that had sought her
Under whose leaves she sheltered
And who gave her a reason to go on.
Some say there is a conspiracy
That Mary carried his seed
And in a way they are right.
Not of his flesh but news
A rumour more persistent than a weed
and a hundred times harder to kill.
That somehow the Gardener lives.
They tried to kill us, Mary
But they didn’t know you were a seed
And today I’m restarting my Garden.
I look down at the stars on my jumper
as I sigh
And I think of those Peruvian skies
Just northeast of Huánuco.
The entire sky was sprinkled with silver
Like molten metal dripping through a colander –
And yet you promised Abram that many children.
I run my fingers through my hair
as I try
to grasp that what I am reading is happening.
It grows back in patches where I’ve stress-pulled it,
kinking awkwardly beneath my curls –
And yet you know every strand.
I scale down my hopes and dreams
as I cry
at the million ways this world is dying and unkind
and really wonder how I’ll keep going
when the going is so bloody tough.
And yet you gave me my life and have kept me growing.
God the stranger who makes his home with us –
Help us keep on loving
and come quickly, Lord Jesus.
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest…
– Isaiah 9:2-3 (NIV)
Bare birches stand out like
Anorexic zebras on a savannah
Just outside Sunningdale…
And I am thinking of you again.
The year is nearly ended;
The darkness has reached a zenith;
The world still reeling at such pain…
But I have started to sing again.
I hear soft playing in the evening
Like prayers coming out through a piano.
Our treasure we hide in our junk rooms…
And I have started to dream again.
People in this city can be terrible
Delaying confirmation for a better invitation
When you reach out to make connections…
Yet I have started to hope again.
‘As long as there are people…’
People kind like you,
I’ll believe in hope and fight for love:
For what I trust is true.
“As long as there are people, Christ will walk the earth as your neighbour, as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you, makes demands on you. That is the great seriousness and great blessedness of the Advent message. Christ is standing at the door; he lives in the form of a human being among us.”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, ‘God is in the Manger’
“Prophets are never welcome in their own town”
They decide to listen to
that holy discontent
That call to become a
divine pain in the ass.
I, like Isaiah,
Am only ever anointed
to fulfil a purpose.
We are called to be filled up
Not merely for fun
But in order to pour out again.
To “give good news to the poor
To bind up the broken-hearted
And proclaim freedom to the captives”.
If the way I must serve God
is by being an irritation
Like the prophets before me
And the parable’s persistent widow
That is what I shall be;
A grain of grit in their eyes
God of Gideon,
Of David’s sling
And Nathan’s tale
Keep me being annoying
A teller of unpopular truths
For your good purposes
Even though it might get on top of me
And I feel fed up of opposition
And flee disillusioned like Elijah
The mother of pearls.
Come away, weary soul
Drink in this mile wide sky
And soak yourself in sun.
It’s time for your vacation.
Run through the fountains
Laugh in the sparkling rain
Bathe in the extravagance
He lavishes on those he loves.
There is Sabbath for everyone
In His good sweet timing.
Turn on the Out Of Office
Without fear or guilt
For you are worth SO much more
Than all you produce or sell or teach
Yes, you sow much less than you reap
And that is exactly as it should be.
Stop; just to see the flowers
And gaze at the mountains and the sea
This land was not laid in vain
It sings and whispers
of the most generous of loves
A beauty strewn like the stars,
Like the jewels of a bride
Who beams to speak of her groom.
Was set apart
The unspoken questions
hang in the air
Like damp laundry
strung up between us
on heavy washing lines.
We keep bumping our heads on it
But neither of us wants to discuss it.
The humidity’s intensified
In these last few times
And I feel like I’m fighting for breath
But the words just stick on my tongue
And once again I fall mute.
I like who I am
But sometimes I wish I wasn’t so
susceptible to stuff
I’m like a weathervane for disharmony
And it makes me ache all too often.
Yes sometimes it’s all in my head
But that doesn’t make it any less real.
Maybe someone could devise a chart
A measuring stick for isobars
Or a Feelings Barometer
To warn those in the area
There’s a high pressure system building
And if I don’t let it out to someone,
soon there’ll be thunder.
Let the rains come
And calm the turbulent convection currents
Plant an anticyclone in my heart
And may the ground I water
Flourish with fruit.
Twinkle among us
The gentle joie de vivre
Sunlight on roof tiles
A fresh new song
Or a really, really funny joke.
Sometimes the sheer fact of life just catches my eye
Chokes me up
And makes me tearful with joy.
We hold in us all the potential to sparkle
if you hold us to the light
So why do we hide?
I know the answer; fear, drudgery
and ordinary times that dull our minds
But just once in a while…
2 Corinthians 4 v 7 – The Message
“If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us.”