At the foot of the cross: piece of creative writing

It’s been a while since I’ve written, I have no reason or excuse. However, tonight whilst in worship with some young people I felt a little inspire, so I leave you with an ounce of creative writing.

At the foot of the cross

At the foot of the cross,

I’m here once again. 

Broken, here I stand. 

I’m worn out and tired,

But here I stand.

I see your pain flowing down

Not a tear for yourself

Or the blood that you shed. 

You weep alone for me.

My strength fails at your compassion 

And I’m on my knees 

And I freeze.

A hand on my shoulder 

And I’m not alone

A warmth spreads through my bones.

I know that I am loved

And i curl up forgetting all my needs. 

I cry, I sob, I weep.

Emotion escapes

But you keep me here in place, 

In this space. 

I know now it’s no longer a race.

It’s more than a fast living pace.

You cradle me at the foot of the cross. 

Not a place of loss, a place for the lost, 

But at the greatest cost.

So I can sit still in the precious stillness

I dont have to speak of concerns or commitments

I dont have to come with complaint or praise. 

I come and sit in the stillness of your grace.

At the foot of the cross

Through my tears of brokenness,

A smile breaks across my face.

I’m not alone

I’m not so broken 

I’m being reworked not at the greatest loss 

But at the greatest cost.

 I’m here at the foot of the cross

Once again.

Held in your arms I’m priceless.

Held in your arms I’m known.

Held in your arms I’m loved.

Held in your arms I am grown. 

I’m here at the foot of the cross

And I’ve spent my time 

Here in the beauty of your presence. 

You’ve changed my heart from the inside out. 

You wipe my final tears away, 

Draw me closer

And whisper sweetly in my ear

You say 

‘Precious child, you are dear’

‘Stand up, take heart, lay down your load’

‘Pick up my cross and my royal purple robes’

‘This is your path, it’s built for me and you’

‘Stand up, take heart, I am with you’

I’m here at the foot of the cross.

I’m moved off of my knees

I’ve here at the foot of the cross 

And I’m standing 

Reaching out for the hand.

Sharing the burden of the cross

No the burden of the cross is lost

It’s his power upon my shoulders 

Each step along this path I grow bolder 

Untill the next time I find myself there

At the foot of the cross. 

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Psalm 15 – a re-write

Another psalm I have re-write: Psalm 15.

Who, Almighty King, could walk among your hall ways?

Who can be in your Holy place?

The one who walks the narrow path,

Who works towards your will,

Whose language is from your heart,

Whose heart speaks only of you,

Who does not step in the way of a neighbour,

Or any other person.

They do not like those who cause harm,

Or those who do not live for You, Almighty King.

Your people live in your honour, even if it is uncomfortable,

They stick to your truth, Lord.

They share all they have,

And will not be bought or back down.

These are the precepts of your people,

And on this solid foundation they will always stand strong. 

 

 


(These are my own thoughts, not an original translation)

 

A second chance @ Christian Spirituality Week 3

Spiritual Formation was a rather brilliant non-assessed class in my first year here at Cliff. But what is Spiritual Formation? 

For me the image that supports spiritual formation is that of a master potter.  This is image is one that has biblical support which would of course get me brownie points in my essays here, but is also a pretty good basis to life. The image of the potter is God building us up forming us and our spirituality out of clay, building us up and breaking us down, leaving his finger print, and moulding us into a masterpiece where he has left something of himself. This work is not clean or clear cut but rather, rather messy.

What is spiritual formation?
A spiritual hunger for more than spiritual junk food.
A development of our relationship with God moving us to spiritual maturity.
A process for individuals and communities.
Moving towards a Christ-likeness.
A journey of faith.
Painful and pleasing.
Uncomforting and comfortable.
Towards a spiritual identity.
Growth, Unique, unconformity, conforming.
Invisible or often retrospective.
It can be found in our longing and in our absence of longing or in the longer we have to wait.
It can be found in the places of our Gethsemane.
By our streams and forests
In our deserts and dry lands.
Shaping, crushing, painful, lusting.
It is a challenge. A relationship.
It is hard to make sense of.
Further more my challenge this week is to encourage others in there spiritual growth. Do we as a people of God encourage each other enough in this? I challenge you to encourage others in there spiritual formation this week too. 

Consistent?!?!? What?

The consistency of Jesus. This term keeps cropping up amongst our lectures. Why did people follow Jesus… he was consistent. Why do we use his approach to spirituality he was consistent. The Gospel a biographical piece of work, not much character development, but rather, consistent. Jesus was consistent. Wow, not sure if I was to right down my top three reason to why everyone should follow Christ that consistent would be up there. Or would it?
Consistent what does it mean?
the definition straight off my mac:
consistent |kənˈsistənt|
adjective
(of a person, behavior, or process) unchanging in achievement or effect over a period of time : manufacturing processes require a consistent approach.
• compatible or in agreement with something : the injuries are consistent with falling from a great height.
• (of an argument or set of ideas) not containing any logical contradictions : a consistent explanation.


Jesus the Consistent. We often talk, teach and sing about God being unchanging, the same yesterday, today and forever. Jesus is I suppose God but not until this last week did I ever think of Jesus as consistent. A character you could rely on. Revolutionary, radical, relational thats Jesus a nice piece of alliteration. Consistent, how can some one who turns the world on its head, overthrows tables in the temple, washes his disciples feet, forgives the prostitute, accepts the gentile, walks in the desert and is himself baptised, be consistent. 

Revolutionary, radical, relational, that was Jesus, consistent? His disciples must have seen it though to give up there nets, something they could constantly depend on. Even Jesus talks about in Mark 4: 35-41

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (NIV)

“Do you still have no faith?” in the man that is consistent?

I look at my life, as why apply this only in a blank theological context with no experience to back it up, and I look at the lives of my family and friends, so I know its not just me. And Jesus is consistent. We, humankind, however are not. We are flakey and flukey and flit from place to place. Yet God, a trinitarian God at that still walks with us. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Im sure in the past I have described God as a God of the Unexpected. The God who is transforming, and loving. A god whom we should fear, and respect. A God who is revolutionary, radical and relational. A God who gave his son to die in place of my sin. A God who gives hope, share in our vulnerability and is our strength.

Today, I recognise my God, my Saviour and my present help as Consistent!

A second chance @ Christian Spirituality Week 1

I have been really challenged by many things in the last few weeks. What came top – and its not a new challenge to the way I work – was do I actually take enough time out. Burnout is an ever-growing concern placed on those within all forms of ministry in the 21st century, because most are not satisfied unless they are juggling 21 things! Furthermore I felt a great desire to re-do the Christian Spirituality module here for level four (first years), I did it last year, but I feel due to the fact that it is a credited module that I did not get out of it as much as I could of. So, this is my second chance at Christian Spirituality. Time out to learn something away from assessments, that I shall be documenting on the World Wide Web, and highly likely that as the course looks at some of the Spiritual disciplines, that I shall be attempting to use them in my life and practice them where possible.


Why is spirituality attractive in the 21st Century?
It could be suggested that many feel that there is something greater out there, that holding on to a spirituality can often make them feel included. Its placed out there by consumerism, it offers an escape, confidence, hope or a way of dealing with or ignoring the root of the problem. It can be safe, or it can be something more wild. A way of drowning out real life, or of having some control, or giving it over or being free. It’s a way of being.


When looking over a handout tonight we where asked to pick our favourite definition, and being me I decided to be awkward and use only half a quote. Spirituality is… ‘about living “the whole life at depth”’(1)






Looking specifically at spirituality as a Transforming experience in the bible
2 Cor 3: 18 says ‘And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.’ It really struck me that the God we worship as Christian works within us he changes us, and this has an outward outworking, we shine his glory.
In Philippians 2: 13 ‘continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.’ This God works in us. Our spirituality is a daily act of recognition of this transformation both inwards and outwards.


What can God do?


My challenge for this week, (or homework for the rest of the class) is to take five minutes out (maybe stick in a worship song, or sit in silence, or go for a walk) and ‘allow God to make you aware that you are a living miracle.’ (2)


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(1)Sheldrake. P., A Brief History of Christian Spirituality, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2007) p.40
(2)Henderson, Gwen, Christian Spirituality lecture 17th Jan 2011, at Cliff College