Sunday, 20 March 2011

New Blog for Spiritual Reflections and Explorations

I am feeling a greater need to explore my beliefs at present so I have decided to set up a new blog, which I'm calling Spirituality and Sustainability.  Please feel free to visit.

I have moved on since I started this blog and my beliefs have changed.  I did consider calling the new blog Living Faith again, but on doing a google search I found there is a Catholic blog with that name and I didn't want my new website to be mistaken for that.  I also came across a website called Spirituality for Life, which was my second idea for a title.  It looks like it could be interesting and the author may think a bit like me, but I haven't checked it out properly yet.

As my faith or spirituality or whatever I have these days has encouraged me to try to live more sustainably and that seems to be an important way that I can express what I believe, Spirituality and Sustainability seemed appropriate, if slightly clunky.  Hope you don't find it too much of a mouthful.

I look forward to walking with you on the journey.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Voices for Peace in Cologne

We saw this display just in front of Cologne cathedral when we were there mid-December. We didn't realise what was about to happen in Gaza.

Click on the images to see them full size.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Voices for Peace in Palestine

From Jewish Voice for Peace:

Dec. 28, 2008: Jewish Voice for Peace joins millions around the world, including the 1,000 Israelis who protested in the streets of Tel Aviv this weekend, in condemning ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza. We call for an immediate end to attacks on all civilians, whether Palestinian or Israeli.

If you want an end to the violence in Gaza as well as the violence coming from Gaza sign the Avaaz petition.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Musings on Martha and Mary

Our parish church has finally started a house group, so I went along to see what it was like, and liked my first impression. We are using some ancient Scripture Union material entitled Serendipity, which just sounds dated, but it was OK.

Last night we looked at Luke 10:38-42, when Jesus dropped in on Martha and Mary and Martha got in a tizz trying to impress Jesus and his mates, or maybe it was making dinner for 15 people or more than got her fussing and fretting, but anyway she thought Jesus shouldn't have encouraged her sister Mary to sit there listening to him while she, Martha, had so much work to do? Or did she?

Jesus' answer could seem a bit strange. He tells her,
"Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her."

Now, when people dropped by on you for lunch or dinner in those days, it was important that you gave them a drink, maybe washed their dusty feet, and fed them. Of course this was the women's job. A lot of women like to show they care by feeding people well, and maybe this is what Martha was trying to do, but Jesus sees her as worried and distracted, so there seems to be more going on. I don't think Jesus would have minded Martha wanting to be hospitable and I don't see this as suggesting spiritual nourishment is more important than feeding the body. Jesus was a man who embraced all that it meant to be human, after all. So I think Martha must have been running around in unnecessary small circles and Jesus was reminding her to stop fussing, stop feeling she hadn't already done enough, perhaps, and sit down, relax and listen to him.

This strikes me as the eternal message we all need to hear. Stop striving, when you've done all that is really needed for the day, for the event, or whatever. Stop worrying over what might, or might not,happen and things you cannot change. Relax and take time to sit with friends and family, chatting with them and listening to what they have to say. More than that, take time during the week to listen to Jesus, God or your inner promptings to check your life is on the right course for you, and that your life is balanced and you've got your priorities sorted.

Monday, 8 September 2008

A prayer to God, the Light of all life

It was my turn to read the intercessory prayers at church again on Sunday. During my holiday I read J.Philip Newell's new book, 'Christ of the Celts' and found it very interesting as well as affirming. I really love some of the ideas the Celts had, such as that the light of God is at the heart of all that has life. When the Bible says that God made light on the first day, they didn't necessarily take it literally, but understood it to mean simply that God's light is fundamental to all life.

This was confirmed for them when John, the disciple the Celts looked to as their authority, refers in his gospel to 'the light of life' and 'the light that enlightens everyone coming into the world'.John also says, 'The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it'.

At the beginning of September, when the days are growing shorter and the weather is often gloomy, it seems a good time to remember that God is the light of the world and his light and love continue around us and within us however dark it may seem.

Another thing the Celtic Christians believed was that God's love and light is very much at the core of our being, since we have been made in the image of God and also God made us and all creation from his own substance.

So not surprisingly I chose light as the theme for the prayers.

Dear God, who is the light of all life, help us to be aware of your light and love within us and around us. When the evenings begin to draw in, when life is difficult and we find it hard to be hopeful, when we feel down and everything seems dismal, and when, eventually, we realise our own lives are coming to an end, help us to know that your light and love are always there deep down inside us and all around us.

The darkness shall not overcome the light.
The Light of God within us and around us is greater than the darkness.

O God who gave us life, who inhabits the realms of shimmering light, help us not to lose sight of your light when the news all seems bad, when money is tight, when life is uncertain, when the neighbours are annoying, when family life is not a bed of roses and when important relationships seem to be falling apart.

The darkness shall not overcome the light.
The Light of God within us and around us is greater than the darkness.

Tender, healing God, let your gentle, forgiving light shine into all the damaged, hurting parts of our lives so that when we feel strong we may be able to reflect your loving, healing light into the lives of the people around us.

The darkness shall not overcome the light.
The Light of God within us and around us is greater than the darkness.

God of light and peace we remember all the people in the world who suffer because of war, hurricanes, floods, famine, drought and the oppression of injustice. We ask that you will bring justice, peace, healing and plenty to these people. Give us the guiding light of your wisdom to make choices that do not add to the world's problems and to see when we are being dazzled by the bright lights that bring only a fleeting and hollow satisfaction or when we are being blinded by our own selfishness and greed.

The darkness shall not overcome the light.
The Light of God within us and around us is greater than the darkness.

Heavenly father and mother of us all we remember those known to us who are unwell or going through difficult times of another sort.

(Read list from weekly sheet.)

Let us now take a moment to quietly remember any others we know who need our prayers.

The darkness shall not overcome the light.
The Light of God within us and around us is greater than the darkness.

O great Light of the universe illuminate us from within.
Make us lights set on lamp stands that shows others the way;
with a generosity which spills into darkest corners,
with a level of understanding which reveals what is true,
and a strength of love which glows amidst distrust and fear.

Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

A sign of sanity

I'm pleased that the Church of England synod have voted to allow women to become Bishops. I don't think being a bishop is an easy job, and I wonder if they are really needed, but I do believe women should be allowed the same job opportunities as men, not only because this is what women expect in the 21st century, but because the Bible teaches that God made both men and women in his own image. Also, to my mind, being a Christian is about fairness and helping people to fulfill their God-given potential. That seems to be an important part of the Good News Jesus came to tell us.

Monday, 7 July 2008

A prayer from my heart

This Sunday was the first time I read the prayers. I was told by someone who does this regularly that we have a pretty free hand in choosing the prayers, but they should include a response.

This is the prayer that I wrote, and read yesterday.

Dear Father God,

We read in the Book of Genesis that you brought the Earth and everything around us into being. We also read there that you made everyone one of us in your own image. Throughout the Bible we read about your love for us and your desire for us to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.

Help each of us here today to know your tender love for us and that you accept us just as we are, even though you know us better than anyone else does.

Hear the prayers of each of our hearts, dear God.

Mothering God, bind up the wounds life has inflicted on us and heal the hurts in our lives that keep us from loving our neighbours and from following your Way as well as we might.

Hear the prayers of each of our hearts, dear God.

Spirit of God, guide us and empower us to follow more closely the Way of God, which Jesus, the Carpenter from Nazareth, showed us while he lived on this Earth. Help us to share our heavenly Father’s concern for justice and peace and for the poor and needy. Help us to see how we might be able to express our love and concern in ways that are practical, respectful and appropriate.

Hear the prayers of each of our hearts, dear God.

Creator God, you made all things and all you made was very good. Show us how to respect the fragile balance of life. Guide us by your wisdom to make decisions that will care for the environment, cherish the Earth and preserve its resources and fruitfulness for the generations to come.

Hear the prayers of each of our hearts, dear God.

Loving heavenly Father, we bring before you all those people known to us who are suffering with illness and other difficulties. We pray that you will bring them the help and healing they need and reassure them of your loving presence.

We also pray for people not known to us, in this country and also far away, who suffer because of bad government, the greed and aggression of others, or natural disaster. May they know your love by the help they receive through your agents.