Narrow paths

Sometimes it feels

like you’re halfway up a mountain in the dark

and it’s started raining.

And you wonder

Will I really see the sunrise?

How my feet are aching

And some people gave up and got the train.

Choosing short-term gratification over pain.

(And I almost don’t blame them.)

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For we must be Christopher, Simon, Theotokos

Daily taking up our crosses to follow in Jesus’ wake.

Walking the narrow path, our Via Dolorosa

Choosing every day to lay ourselves down;

Dying to ourselves, to live.

This life price of sacrifice

It’s not going to be for everyone.

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It’s still Friday

not yet Sunday

And yes some days

when pressure is relentless

and the world ageing frustrates us

It takes guts to keep going

and I see crosses on every tree.

Photo copyright of @JamesOMCraig and used with permission

Do you want the truth or something beautiful?

(The name of an album by Paloma Faith)

A rich young ruler comes to Jesus, says, ‘what can I do to be saved?’

You won’t like it, he thinks.

The ugly, naked truth.

Not that the truth isn’t beautiful and beauty isn’t true, but there are just some pills you can’t sugarcoat.

And in this instance, you can either have pretty or you can have truth.

You can cling to your money, your precious, or you can invest in the Bank of Heaven and walk away today penniless.

Which is it to be?

And you – you today, YOU:

What would you do?

Meat the Word

Go on then, God.

Act it out

Put your money where your mouth is:

Incarnate yourself

You say that’s what you’re about

The Word fleshing out,

lifting Isaiah’s cries off the page

making them Matthew’s memoirs of Herod’s rage.

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Well, that’s all very well way back when

Being Immanuel then is nice enough

But what’s that to do with me today?

I could really use a Messiah right now

Do you do house calls, Mr Soul Doctor?

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OK, I wouldn’t call myself a cessationist, but

y’know

I don’t FEEL very spiritually keen

in this flabby, fatigue-ridden body with these dull-as-dishwater people I see

if that’s not too gnostic of me.

Moan, moan.

How can God be divine if he’s left me alone?

What? You want to use ME now? Well, fuck.

You refuse me my Xbox and fancy chocs and would have me give away

my second coat to Lady Muck

or perhaps my neighbour Lord Lazy of Skid Row?

Not likely, kiddo, I’ve earned those things.

And I deserve a little break from my hard work moaning, don’t I?

Someone’s got to tell everyone else they’re wrong. Right?

Oh.

Come, Holy Spirit.

Hard Times of Young England

An updating of a traditional English folk song, with apologies to Billy Bragg & Steeleye Span whose much superior versions inspired the creation of mine

Come all fellow graduates of two or three years

All those who are struggling to forge a career

And tell of your problems with measures austere

Saying O, the hard times of young England

For young England very hard times.

You’ve taken your place in the job centre queue

If you won’t do cold calling there’s no job for you

So what’s all the graduate talent to do?

Saying O, the hard times of young England

For young England very hard times.

You want to stay local to work and invest

In an outlying region that has caught your interest

But if you don’t live in London you’re rather hard pressed

Saying O, the hard times of young England

For young England very hard times.

Two months on the dole and your savings are spent

So it’s back to your parents’ to save on the rent

With youth unemployment at twenty percent

Saying O, the hard times of young England

For young England very hard times.

Your find yourself temping, which pays for your train

Was uni just three years of effort in vain?

But with some out there worse off you can hardly complain

Saying O, the hard times of young England

For young England very hard times.

You need more experience in business, they say

So you become an intern and work 9 hours a day

But you can’t work forever without any pay

Saying O, the hard times of young England

For young England very hard times.

For forty-five years baby boomers we learn

Their wages and pensions have toiled to earn

That we can’t buy their houses is not their concern

Saying O, the hard times of young England

For young England very hard times.

So now to conclude and to finish my song

Let’s hope that austerity need not last long

And I may soon have occasion for to alter my song

Singing O, such good times for young England

For young England very good times!