Daisies are our silver

Daisies are our silver, Buttercups our gold;

This is all the treasure we can have or hold.

Once upon a time, I used to sing this and once upon a time. my town was a village with a church on a hill top like an island surrounded by farms and small holdings.  The houses were few and scattered, roads and lanes narrow.  The last Tudor house was demolished in the 1960s, the last Georgian one a decade later, I pass beneath the shadow of the surviving wall and gate posts every time I walk up to the church, still on the hill top, the 4th building on one site. Sometimes I wonder; about days long gone, swallowed up by modern housing estates and far too much traffic and sigh.

Yes, I know from local archives exactly where that lady cousin of Henry VIII lived the one renowned for her dancing steps that gave my little street its name, but her house and the well stocked ornate fish pond that provided fish for Fridays and Lent have long vanished.

Nature, however has dug in with greater tenacity, the remnant of the hedgerow and burgeoing brambles spill on to the footpatch and evoke, for me the past. Those school holidays spent picking humble Blackberries for baking in Apple and Blackberry pies.  In these days when items with a high price tag are the only things deemed worthwhile who notices the blackberry bramble?  We leave in times wealth, and, for some, times of poverty; with food banks collecting basic food stuffs to help families in need.  Perhaps not so very much has changed down through the centuries since the First Norman Church was built on the hill top.

My friend is a proud grandmother, happily her grand daughters want for nothing.  She recalls the surprise on little faces when, whilst on holiday she suggested that they pick blackberries as they walked down a country lane. They owned Lap tops for school homework, and more toys than they will ever play with, but these little girls had never picked blackberries until now.  Afterwards both expressed their delight and enjoyed the pie Grandma made.

“The best things in life, are free” my friend replied. Picking blackberries has now become an annual event for these little girls.

Jesus said we would always have the poor amongst us, I hope you and your loved ones will never know what it is to want, recalling that Simon Peter did. Do you recall that standing at the gate called Beautiful one day, he said to a begging, lame man, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you.” Acts 3;6

FORGET ME NOT BLUE

I did the prayers this morning, that’s what folk call making the Prayers of Intercessions in our little church and the part which folk appreciate most about the intercessions? Why that would be the list of Names.. For a small church such as ours this is a long list; some of the Names have been there a long time, even, in a few instances, years. In addition to the carefully typed out Names there are more requests written up in the “Prayer Book” which sits on a small table just inside the porch door, ready for the use of visitors; and then there are the other Names, whispered in the Intercessors ear just as Worship begins…..

No one likes to be forgotten, no one likes to be ‘out of sight/out of mind’

I manage to catch Mrs W by the elbow to ask if her brother-in-law is making progress, now, following heart surgery. Before this, no one had known his Name so I had been simply praying for “Mrs W’s brother-in-law. Now, she tells me, his name is Jack, and yes, Jack is doing just fine. We exchange smiles, and unknown, unseen by her, I see and feel the tiny blue ribbon pinned to my collar.

“Forget me not blue” the invisible ribbon is the colour of tiny Forget Me Not flowers.

At home I muse on blue ribbons that say “Forget me not” and remember that the colour
blue was commanded by the Lord to be used in the making of the curtains for the Tabernacle and priestly garments, I remember the two onyx stones engraved with the names of the Sons of |srael which Aaron was to wear on his shoulders as their memorial before the LORD, so that the LORD might remember them….

Does the Lord forget?
Is the Lord absent minded?
I don’t think so.
But I am.

It’s me who needs the rainbow, the rainbow which when ever it appears in the skies, he will see and remember his everlasting covenant between himself and all living creatures. That is the Covenant I need to remember in these days, and to honour my part in keeping it with God and all living creatures; in these days of global climatic changes, surely I need to remember?

The colour blue reminds Israel, Christian and me that we are called to be, for the Lord, a kingdom of priests and a Holy Nation, to carry on our hearts and in our prayers all people, all living creatures.

The Lord says, that if our mother should or forget us, he will not… We are engraved on the palms of his hands…. I ought not forget….

The sign of the little blue ribbon was given so that I would remember both to pray, carrying the Names [on the list) to value them for what they are, precious to God. Pinned invisibly it is a whisper from another place, “Be careful that you do not forget the Lord” (Deuteronomy 6v12). I will not forget,

Going for Gold

Rainy days, sunny days, Olympic Days,London 2012, this summer is going to be an unforgettable one.

I would not want to forget the things learnt from the athletes of all disciplines and all nations. Through the media of television we have watched and followed their progress, listened to their stories of trials and loss. Many times we have heard, that their inspiration and incentive to press on towards what seemed to be an impossible prize has come from a loved one who has finished their earthly race. Many, many thanks have been poured out to those who have sat with and cried with them in loss, injury, disappointment.

These 3 things, courage, endurance, persistence appear to be common denominators.

Are n’t these the qualities of people of faith?

Without these qualities gold, silver, bronze,or, the finishing line for that matter, are unattainable.

And, likewise neither are our spiritual aspirations; even an answer to simple prayer requires of us that we keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking. Yes what we ask will be given, what we seek we will find and the door will be opened to us, but like an Olympian, like a champion working towards that medal we need every ounce of courage, that we can find and to that courage we need to add endurance to hang in there when the going get tough and to persist in hammering away in our God given disciplines, day after day, after day.

I need to remind myself and remind myself often that my Heavenly Guide is my Coach, or as some like to say, my personal trainer and that I should not take his instruction and advice lightly, above all I need to realise that He is encouraging me,and urging me on to see me win an unfading crown, and so what, if He seems to scold sometimes, is n’t that to keep me running within the rules, above all the Lord is

LOOKING for qualifiers and winners, not tactical players, cheat or bad sports, the disqualified are life and the world’s true losers.

Is my heart like an Orange!

Sometimes, The Lord has to grab my attention, the sometimes, being, when I am up to my eyebrows in something else; and no matter how hard He is whispering, I don’t hear. Like Thursday. My mind was on keeping an appointment and Quiet Time was definitely finished for the morning, well as far as I was concerned it was,but plainly the Teacher had other thoughts. An orange, big round, juicy, sweet appeared on my mind’s T.V. screen and in glorious 3D.

The Lord had all my attention.

Cut in half this orange revealed itself to be good, sweet and wholesome, through and through.

Just as my heart should be.

But is it?

Do I harbour bitterness? Am I sometimes just a tiny bit sour?

I carried those questions with me for the rest of the day.

I also recalled my Teachers words,

‘A good tree cannot bear bad fruit

‘Each Tree is recognised by its fruit’

‘A goodman brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart’

‘The mouth speaks what the heart is full of’

Back in my childhood big oranges like the one pictured were pricy and my parents had four of us children and so consequently a big round Navel orange was a treat. One afternoon as we were carrying a precious orange each home, my sister dropped hers and unfortunately a large, unfriendly dog pounced on it and made off with it. He was too big to argue with. Sadly Rosie lost her orange. A share in someone else’s orange isn’t quite the same as your own.

Peter the fisherman warns us to ‘watch out’ because there is a devil about. (1Peter 5.8). It is so easy to let ourselves get a little careless when it comes to watching our heart, but we should; after all our heart is what we are offering to God.

‘Pottering’

I have re-discovered the gentle art of pottering. My schedule is a long one with many priorities; the number ones, two, and threes being the tasks that I undertake for others, all very interesting and all unpaid work; what I tend to notice is that the list is getting longer and the number twenty somethings, the chores I like to do are getting farther and farther away from the top of the list. Until, a couple of days ago, when despite a deluge to rival Noah’s flood I decided to consider the lilies of the field. ‘Just have a little ‘potter’ the whisper came, recalling that even the Lord Jesus found it necessary to take the odd recreational departure from His schedule, I thought why not and instead of tackling the first number one, I turned the list upside down and started with those little jobs, that would never get done. Plainly they were niggling away at my sub-conscious somewhere because I feel that my joblist is not half so burdensome; without setting targets, deadlines it is much shorter and I am much happier – liberated. I don’t know where I found these words but they are so good.

‘The years of my life, the days of my years, the hours of my days,

They are all mine.

Mine to fill quietly, calmly, But to fill completely, up to the brim.Image

This should teach me

The Lord does not lack a sense of humour, as I was musing, His Spirit whispered “Psalm 104”  So I turned to Psalm 104 and read about the Lord’s blessing of water in a dry and thirsty land. It really is a most beautiful Song of Praise, the psalmist sees our lovely Lord wrapping himself in light as it were a garment; and riding in His chariot the clouds on the wings of the wind.  In the bible translation I use, water is mentioned 10 times in the first 16 verses and it is verse 16 that speaks straight to my heart.

‘The trees of the Lord are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that He planted. There the birds make their nests; the stork has its home in the Junipers.’

I don’t have one single Cedar of Lebanon in my jungle although they were introduced into England in 1680 – but if I had, I would be pleased that it was well watered and as a tree of the field (Isaiah 55.12) I clap my hands with joy because I feel well-watered.’

Rainy, blue days

I am thinking that I am getting older, I suppose it takes everyone awhile to acknowledge that. Today I have made a decision, just the one and that is to take some time out for myself. It is true this summer is definitely rained off… The ground is waterlogged, the side paths down to the bottom of the churchyard are beginning to resemble bog more than path, and snails, slugs and the like are super abundant; but no butterflies. Not a single flash of white or blue hovering around the luxuriant Budelia whose branches heavy with rain are threatening to cut off the pathway winding down my garden. Really, it should be easy in such circumstances to consider myself grounded and take a home retreat. In reality that is not what I find. The washing basket is demanding attention, there is always the odd corner in need of a dust, and the phone does n’t take a day off. So, here I am weary, rained off, determined not to notice that I am getting older and about to plant out Lupins and Primulas, lovely blue ones and wishing for a flash of blue … Just a tiny hint of a butterfly wing on a rainy day, thinking to myself even the boldest little Bird is huddled up in its nest

Listening is not so easy

Been helping my little friend William prepare for his confirmation, this coming Sunday, 8th July.  William is just 11 and asks a lot of questions, some quite difficult to answer, but we have been thinking of Jesus our Good Shepherd, and, thinking of ourselves walking a long the road with the Lord and the 12 disciples.  We concluded that listening is not so easy when you’re amongst a crowd of friends all with a lot to say.  We can be so talkative, so wrapped up in the latest gossip, or clowning around as friends do that we lose sight of the tour guide up in front, we fall behind, turn the wrong corner and hey, we become the lost sheep!  Oh yes,the Tour Guide has been talking to all of the party all of the time; calling out directions and pointing out the sights, but we have just not heard and now we are lost.

Hello this is me,

A very busy church warden and maid of all work, who finds that time spent just listening to the quiet and gentle whisper of leaves in the trees provides me with a space to listen.  Like very many christians I believe that the Lord speaks to us today, but finding that still place where we can hear what He has to say, is not so easy.  So I am hoping that this page will become a space where I can both listen and share the things the Holy Spirit is whispering to me today, and make the acquaintance of other busy, but eager to listen people.