Brahminy’s prayer, and tips for welcoming children

Do you know the child who spends every service lolling on the floor, or chatting quietly to herself at the dolls house, or snipping paper into a thousand little triangles? The child who rarely speaks, never sings and shakes her head violently when invited to participate? The child whose back is to the congregation and who seems oblivious to everything that goes on around her? Continue reading “Brahminy’s prayer, and tips for welcoming children”

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Lady Wisdom and the gender diverse community of God

Pronouns can limit or expand how we think about people; they can limit or expand how we think about God. (Listen.)

Once upon a time, long, long ago, Lady Wisdom called out at the public places—the city gates, the crossroads, the mountaintops—and she said: “The Lord began the work of creation with me. In time before dreaming I was in on the action; right from the word ‘go’ as the earth began.  Continue reading “Lady Wisdom and the gender diverse community of God”

#34: Pester, Persist: #40ways40days

Jesus told his disciples a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’’ And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’ (Luke 18:1-8) 

I have a seven-year-old granddaughter by marriage named Madeline. She is blond, skinny, and tall for her age. When she comes to visit, we cook together. Our most successful dishes to date have been mashed sweet potatoes with lots of butter and crescent dinner rolls made from scratch. From the day Madeline was born, we have been able to look each other straight in the eye with no sentimentality whatsoever. The tartness of our love for one another continues to surprise me. It is easy to forget she is seven years old. Continue reading “#34: Pester, Persist: #40ways40days”

Discerning the spirits: Six approaches

Many of us have had the experience of feeling driven to do something, barging off and doing it, then experiencing that sick realisation that it was not the right thing at all. Many of us have also had someone tell us that ‘God has laid it on my heart and …’; yet their words have left us feeling confused, anxious, coerced or manipulated. Many of us seem to lack confidence in discerning the spirits or testing whether a prayerful experience or prompt is from God; and as a result, many of us seem to mistrust or deny any spiritual experiences at all. And yet, we have faith that God works through the Holy Spirit and prayer: and so, rather than denying all such experiences, we must find ways to discern the work of the spirits, good and bad. Continue reading “Discerning the spirits: Six approaches”

#27: Choose the cheap seats: #40ways40days

On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely … When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honour, he told them a parable. ‘When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honour, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place’, and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honoured in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’ (Luke 14:1, 7-11)

There I sat on the hill, hands folded in my lap, eyes closed, and I started to relax. But then I made a cardinal mistake: I started to think about how holy I was acting, in the face of teenage contempt and shirking; how grown-up, spiritually, emotionally. And this pleased me. Continue reading “#27: Choose the cheap seats: #40ways40days”

#17: Listen: #40ways40days

A woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you.’ But Jesus said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!’ (Luke 11:26b-27)

Listening is a gift we all can develop and use. In fact, listening is probably one of the most important things we do in our daily lives, in growing, and in developing relationships. Listening to those who choose to talk with us and share their thoughts, observations, and ideas can really enhance our lives. This is a gift each of us can give to others, and truly be a friend to them. Continue reading “#17: Listen: #40ways40days”

#16: Ask: #40ways40days

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’ (Luke 11:9-13)

Suddenly our Zaporozhets wildly swung off to the side of the road. Father Raphael, now rigid from the cold, could do nothing to stop the skidding of the car along the ice into a rutted snowdrift, and so we flew into a ditch, raising a cloud of snow. Continue reading “#16: Ask: #40ways40days”

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