A Fresh Outlook

The very first story I ever heard was that of Jesus inviting his disciples to come and have breakfast on the beach, by the Sea of Galilee, it went home in such a close way that I never forgot the fish count, 153. It went straight to my heart, my memory.

Over the last few months I have been listening to the gentlest whisper;

‘Come and have breakfast!’

And that, has been my spiritual experience, a quiet, leisurely breakfast with the Lord – precious.

Perhaps that is why, since no one else, wanted the job, I volunteered to come up with something for our baptistery/font for our recent flower festival. Now I’m not a flower arranger, I like to see my flowers growing, or else in a vase, so this is what I came up, I thoroughly enjoyed it, Working in the whole space, by myself, with sand, shells, pebbles, pot plants, net and silver fishes made by children’s hands, and you know every now and again, I am sure I heard the lap of water …. Here’s the finished,( not so masterly), masterpiece. It was good to be a little girl again!

Fishers of Men

Fishers of Men

My favourite story can be read in John chapter . I feel sure that this little bit of child’s play has given me a whole fresh outlook on life.

May you be blessed

Knowing

Thank you dear friends, for your faithful comings to this blog, while I have been away, away in the sense of not writing, I wish I could say that I have been travelling to distant parts, but sadly that is not the case – the only journeys made have been to places just around the corner, yet, sometimes just around the corner is just the place we should be, and, after all Jesus did not travel very far either.

I have a new friend on Word Press who left a lovely comment about fancy altars, and she is quite right, our surroundings, and church trappings can be a distraction and draw our thoughts away from the One we visit church to worship. The Sacred Space that He would choose is our heart, the worship He prefers  our awed silence, following those special glimpses of Himself which he gives when we pray.

I hope that your Pentecost was special and holy to you, Pentecost Sunday in the U.K. was followed by a Bank Holiday on the Monday, and for once, I was un-busy and  found time to make a picture of my own, just coloured pencils, my watercolours, don’t get much of an airing nowadays – and yes, its a Mandala, nothing to do with Zen in this case, just me, musing on the dove pictured in a small round stained glass window. I expect you know that the large, round, Rose Windows in cathedrals and churches are in reality Christian Mandalas, cut a nice, big, round and juicy orange into two, and you find yourself with 2 Mandalas.

Now, I know that some of you are very deep thinkers and into all kinds of things, so if you think my mandala gives you an insight into my personality – you are welcome – and if you choose to comment – that is welcome too.

Knowledge, self knowledge is very important to a Christian, and to know another in a deep friendship – a sacred thing – the most sacred thing (at least to me) is God’s knowledge of us.

If I can share from a favourite Psalm.

“How precious to me are your thoughts, God” How vast is the sum of them! Were I too count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with you.” (Psalm 139; 17-18) (NIV) – Precious thought, even while we are sleeping, He is with us.First Light 001May you be blessed.

 

Maundy Thursday

whisperingleavesblog:

This is my church, so one pew filler with whom I have a lot in common. Please take a look

Originally posted on tidesandtidings:

There are times, there are seasons, good days, bad days, but what if today was our last day, and we knew it?

If we were given a choice how would we spend it?

With family, friends, with those we love and with those who love us, I suppose that is the answer most would give, and there can be no better. It is what our Lord Jesus did, and at the end of it he shared in the Passover Meal, as he had so greatly desired to do with his friends and disciples .Many thousand, thousands will be sharing in Holy Communion, simply to remember on this Maundy Thursday

My church, St Giles, Rowley Regis will be doing just that, gathering together with brothers and sisters from nearby Knowle Methodist Church and other free churches we shall remember, and let our Saviours words, his encouragement to serve, wash each…

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Catching a breath and taking regard

So here we are looking down the road to Holy Week and Easter. I am so glad that life is less rushed, less busy, despite my Martha ways, I am really a Mary, delighting in just being at the Masters feet.

How strange it is, that just when we should be slowing down in readiness for Easter Day, that Churches get busier and busier. I am so sure that all the preparations, the Bustle and Hustle, the sacrifice of time and effort, is never so sweet to the Lord Jesus as that precious half hour, when it is just Him and us, and in the stillness we are who we are, no pretence, no fuss, just Him and us.

Somewhere, in the book of books, we read that the Lord regards us from on high, and you know I like that word “regards” – it’s not as though the Lord so much as looks down on us from lofty heights, but that He sees us as we are, takes us we are, and still finds something to love in each one of us. He knows us through and through, (Psalm 139 says it much better than I ever could) God is truly acquainted with all our ways, but still loves us. And that love I know for myself when I am still, when I am quiet, when like Mary I look up and regard my Saviour’s face. When Mary looked up and regarded the face of Jesus on that last visit to their little house, when Martha peeked through the door, what did they see there, weariness, sadness, resolve. I would be happy to hear your thoughts on that, I think He noticed their looking, and was comforted by their regard, yes that word again, I think he read love in their looking, and that in his looking back was Love, regard.

However you prepare for Easter, let the Lord Jesus bless you, just sit still, be yourself and look up. 

This painting, a watercolour, was made by a friend, who died recently. She suffered her illness patiently with true Christian hope, desiring to be re-United with her dear husband Bert. I think it is a Red Kite, regarding the fields below, from on high.



Lord, open our eyes and we shall behold your glory

Lord, open our ears and we shall hear your call

Lord, open our hearts and we shall know your love

Lord, open our lives and we shall reveal your glory

(prayer from The Open Door by David Adam)

With my kindest regards,

Jean

I haven’t been here for some time

I haven’t posted here, for some time…

I have been busy, occupied in preparing accounts for Auditing, getting church maintenance problems solved…. The list goes on, is long and boring, so I won’t trouble you with adding any more to that score.
I have kept my quiet times though, have been blessed with rest and quietness through them, and there have been other little things which have given such joy, the carpets of snow drops, crocuses in the church yard, and now the daffodils, even on the busiest of days such things give us little buckets of calm and refreshment. They are worth stop to look. I’m told we have a woodpecker in the churchyard now, I’m keeping a look out. He’s been heard, not seen.

Because Eastertide draws close I would like to share this poem with you, written by A.E. Houseman, it makes me smile, because I have seen a lot more than twenty springs.

Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry now

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands without the Woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now if my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves with fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

A. E. Houseman

Now, go look for a cherry tree or a woodpecker,

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The photo is a detail from a lovely window in the Cathedral Church of St Philip, Birmingham, depicting Christ in Judgement.

First Snow

We had our first snowfall, of 2015, overnight. I took the picture in the churchyard this morning.

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A stroll around some of the paths told me that I wasn’t first visitor, Imprinted alongside the tracks of small birds and animals were human, wellie treads and dogs paws. No matter what the weather man and dog must keep to their schedules. And so must Mother Nature, I don’t know how long the snow will be around but I can say that in a very short while there will be a carpet of snowdrops to replace the snow-blanket.

I love little snowdrops (botanical name Galanthus Nivalis) but other names are Candlemas Bell, Our Lady’s Taper, Fair Maid of February, in France they say Perce-neige (snow piercer) and Eve’s Tears.

Eve’s Tears is a name with a story, but not a biblical one.
‘Long, long ago after Eve and her husband had been swept out of Eden, Eve sat crying, crying, crying. A kindly angel came to comfort her. Now, Eve hadn’t seen a single flower since the Fall and the snow had just kept falling, falling, falling. As he was speaking to her the angel caught a falling snowflake in his hand. Breathed on it and let it fall to earth as the first snowdrop. The story goes on to say that the humble snowdrop blossomed every February until the birth of the second Eve, the Virgin Mary and still does every Candlemas ( 2nd February) in her honour.’

Well, I’ll be looking out under the trees for the snowdrops, until then I’ll be following in the footprints of the Lord, in the snow:

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control (Galatians 5 v23) as best I can.

Wishing you all, rather belatedly, a very Happy New Year!

Laws of Heavenly, Planetary Motion

During my prayers, my mind started to wander, my thoughts turning to 2015, the New Year…..

365 days = 1 year = 1 complete journey of planet Earth around the Sun, a good few years ago, I learnt Kepler’s laws of Planetary Motion, but before my mind was completely attracted there, God drew my thoughts back to himself,

See what I see?” He asked gently and closing my eyes as we were taught as little ones, I saw, in better than glorious Technicolour, our Solar System; the planets, the moons, asteroids, meteors, comets. I mused on the thousands of small bodies, bumping, colliding, like lost sheep … How quickly my thoughts were drawn and attracted by those lost sheep, but again the Lord drew my thoughts back to Himself.

“Pay attention,” he said. “Apart from those lost sheep, what do you see greatest in number?”

“Oh their Moons,” I replied, like a child given a big jar of sweets.

God chuckled. I heard that quite plainly.

“True,” the Celestial Architect said. “The number of those children of mine, for whom their Sun and God is heart centre is much smaller, than the number of those who circle around, celebrities, that’s what they call them, today.
But don’t you see that out of the planets only one supports green and growing things, only one has blue seas and life? Why do you suppose that is.”

“Ah,” I said anxious to be thought smart, “Unless you know otherwise, Lord, it’s because Earth is just the right distance from the Sun, and just the right size. Having just the one Moon might help though, not a lot of tidal turbulence causing too many conflicts.

“Hmm,” God said quietly, “Remember this, to follow Me is to orbit Me as True Sun, to set Me apart as your One, True Heart Centre, orbiting at the right distance is to fear God, (reverence in worship, rare these days), to be just the right size is to have true humility, remember that my Mercy follows you all the days if your life, I am your True, Constant friend, never leaving you or forsaking you.”

I cried a little, knowing that His words are true, and I share them with you my fellow planets on the same journey, if there is something that you can respond to, may the Lord bless your response, and if not then Bless you all the same, that is another thing I have heard Him say, always bless, never chide.

May the year ahead of you be Merry and Bright,

Your friend, Jean

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