thoughts on faith, justice, politics and philosophy

Category: Prose Page 1 of 2

There Is Hope

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I didn’t manage to keep up the blog stamina! Never mind. Here’s an adventy poem/prayer for you:

When it seems like life is work,
and work is life,
there is hope.

When it seems like you’re alone,
in a sea of people,
there is hope.

When it seems like money talks,
and you’re silent,
there is hope.

When it seems like there’s no answer,
just more questions,
there is hope.

When your own two feet fail you,
your arms don’t support you,
there is hope.

When your faith is gone,
and your beliefs unsettled,
there is hope.

Whether you’re feeling ill, dying,
depressed, disillusioned,
dissapointed, distressed,
disregarded, downbeat,
deteriorating, damaged,
defiled, disoriented,
disturbed or downright angry.
there is hope.

O come, O come, Immanuel:
bring hope to the hopeless,
rest to the restless,
space to the crowded,
companionship to the lonely,
and love to the rejected.


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Left Behind?

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They were gone. All of them. It happened almost in an instant. At first, people thought there had been some kind of trick played on them. Then they turned on the TV. It had happened everywhere.

God had taken the Christians away. Everyone left behind knew immediately what would follow. Seven years of hell-on-earth, near enough. The world was really in for it now. They hadn’t repented; they hadn’t prayed the prayer; they hadn’t gone to church; they hadn’t believed. And now they were going to suffer the consequences.

Initially there was chaos. Driver-less cars ground to a halt, millions of doctors and nurses and other public servants vanished, world leaders dissapeared creating a myriad of complex power vacuums, churches were looted, and criminal activity spilled out on to the streets as people realised what was happening.

Cars flew off highways. Planes crashed and burned, dropping like flies from the sky. Hospitals couldn’t cope with the shortage of doctors and nurses amongst the carnage. World leaders had vanished in an instant creating a myriad of power vacuums.

Watching from some far away place, all of the world’s Christians had gathered together with God and the angels. They watched from afar as the world burned. One of the angels looked at the screen in front of them, looked over at God and saw him smiling. A wry, knowing smile.

“What’s so funny?”, Gabriel said, concerned and confused by God’s seeming about-turn to destruction and devastation. “I thought we had gone past all of this, now? And the Christians aren’t even there to help”.

“Exactly”, said God, as he watched.

In that moment, one of the looters picked up a Bible from amongst the wreckage of a ransacked church. For fear of what might happen next, and out of sheer morbid curiosity, he began to read.

The man became instantly animated by what he had read. Soon the man was shouting and screaming at others nearby to do the same, and within minutes twenty or thirty people were stood, intently reading scriptures.

One of the renowned televangelists of the time piped up. “That’ll show ’em”, he said, arms folded. “Now they’ll know exactly what’s a-comin’ to ’em.”

Gabriel glanced nervously at God. And then the worst thing of all happened.

In the months that followed the fighting began to die down. People all over the world were counting the cost of the chaos. But something had changed.

“I thought they were due another six and a half years of this, at least” murmured the televangelist.

Fleetingly, God broke his stern silence. “There are many things you don’t know”.

The crowd of Christians watched as society began to repair itself. But it didn’t just repair itself. Society was transformed. Financial institutions and systems were ripped down and replaced, military spending ended, conflicts were resolved. People went out of their way to bring peace. Nobody was left alone – not one person was left without community, without love, without companionship. Old enemies forgave one another. The world had been transformed.

People began to gather together in groups, sharing meals, stories and… reading the scriptures together. As they sat around and read the gospels, a sweetness descended upon the heavens. God couldn’t wipe the smile off his face as thousands upon thousands of people began to recognise his presence on earth.

“I… I don’t understand” said the televangelist. “This could have been so much quicker if you had just answered our prayers and helped us!”

“Oh, it’s quite simple,” said God. “The problem was, they weren’t really ever told about the Way. Just the Way Out. I always knew that the people would hear the good news. I just had to get you all out of the way, first.”

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All Hallows’ Eve

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Tonight we remember
those who came before
and left.

Those who felt assurance
and those who felt
none at all.

There has to be a hope
a reason for this.

Have you abandoned us?
Are you there?
Were you?

Sometimes I’m sure
other times I”m not
Today? No.

Tonight it is dark
and all I see is evil

The nights draw in
The days grow shorter
And I wait.

Beyond the fireworks
then the presents
and the hype.

Beyond Mammon’s tricks
and distractions
you arrive.

The memory of hope
But weeks away

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May Days

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Feeling thankful for my friends, you know who you are…

Signs the summer might nearly be here
scattered showers, the sun appears
staying inside for over 12 hours
staying awake using force powers
completing the geekiest marathon.

A week later running a real race
ten kilometers and a grimaced face
knowing the red rose on my chest
a good steady pace means a good time
and money raised for a great cause.

Exciting new projects in 9-5
even if that sometimes meant 9-5-9
a new dog means more work and play
new excitement and joy, and great excuse
for pensive, theological beach trips

Down to Devon to see an old friend
beach, barbeque, board games,
banter and beaten (at FIFA)
on a warm sunny weekend
a much needed break from the norm.

Depressing election results
silver linings not silver but green
in a sea of purple polluted poisoned
perplexing water-ed down racism
makes me wish for better days.

A spontaneous catch up leads to
late night post-pub scotch eggs
freshly fried snacks for hungry men
carefully crafted culinary creation
Much better than the usual kebab.

A trip up north west to see a friend wed
Then over to Sheffield to rest my head
a sunday well spent relaxing and thinking
the long drive down south, time to reflect
it’s been a good month, has May, in the end.

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Beech Cathedral

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Introducing my friend and housemate Kandace, who is a very talented creative writer…  here’s something she wrote a while back.

Beech Cathedral
Any Sunday morning in November.
Church bells peal in the distance
summoning the people to worship
in a language they do not understand,
a language they refuse to learn.
My ears hear, my eyes see:
the grey stone fortress
replete with shadow and mystery,
penetrated by sharp, compact rays of coloured light
pulsing through the cracks.
I have knelt in that place to marvel and to wonder
to be pressed down by the heavy air
and weighty sense of a Being greater than myself
resting His hand upon my head.
But today, my feet are etching a new way.
We have searched the Scriptures,
sieving them for nuggets of gold,
elusive revelation which we hope will bring life.
Some claim to have grown rich in their mining;
but I wonder if they are still trapped
deep underground in labyrinthine tunnels,
destined and determined to scrabble in the mud.
There is a revelation at surface level, plain for all to see
if they have eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart to understand.
Today I worship unenclosed by hard grey stone,
outside of the tunnels that thread
through the pages of Scripture;
I worship in Beech Cathedral,
satiated with every spectrum of light and brightness.
The gold is beneath my feet and above my head
showering blessings upon my crown with each sigh of wind.
A roof of orange, red, gold: fiery flames
burning like incense up to the pale sky beyond.
The mighty pillars are living and breathing,
centuries old, straight and strong as iron bars
yet honestly displaying the gnarled evidence
of attacks and affronts they have borne
patiently over the years.
There is the hush of the wind, the silence of the air
and the music of all creation
to lift my heart above the treetops.
With every other creature, I marvel
that the King has hidden the treasure
of His Kingdom all around us.
It is His pleasure to give it.

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The New Year

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So this is the new year
… and I don’t feel any different
you’re still not here
we’re still nowhere near
the place I wanted to be.

They say time heals,
but the pain is still real.
And I was once found,
but now I know I’m lost.
Wandering around the desert.

Will I find hope again?
I think so, over the horizon
Somewhere there’s life.
But you’re not here (or there?).
Either of you.

Okay, so it’s a new tax year, technically. But it’s still a new year. And it got me thinking.

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Jesus Said: Reprise

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Jesus said to the man,
“Go, sell everything you have.”
And the man grieved.

Jesus said to the man,
“You’ll be with me in paradise.”
And his friend laughed.

Jesus said to the man,
“Get up and walk.”
And the teachers scoffed.

Jesus said to the woman,
“Your sins are forgiven”
And they were dumbfounded.

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Sell your possessions”
And they did.

Jesus said to Saul,
“Why do you persecute me?”
And he stopped.

What does Jesus say to you?
Will you? Do you? Are you?

Something to think about.

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A Liturgy

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I’m toying with some ideas for the end of the Omega course. One of the current ones is to use the model of the traditional eucharistic service to explore our doubt and our questions; and to open us up to the ridiculing of our own traditions and ideas.

Here’s a taster liturgy. Hat tip to messieurs Palin, Cleese, Idle, Chapman, Gillam and Jones.

Good Morning
A blessing! A blessing! A blessing!

You’ve got it all wrong.
You don’t need to follow anybody.
You’ve got to think for yourselves.

You’re all individuals.
Yes, we’re all individuals

You’re all different
Yes, we are all different

You’ve all got to work it out for yourselves.
Yes, we’ve got to work it out for ourselves

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Jesus Said

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Jesus said,
It’s not OK to be gay.

Jesus said,
Don’t actually sell your possessions.

Jesus said,
Love them on purpose.

Jesus said,
Women shouldn’t lead churches.

Jesus said,
I really, really like loud trendy music –
especially the really soppy stuff.

Jesus said,
There’s a rational explanation
for everything.

Jesus said,
The poor will always be with you –
so don’t worry about helping them.

Jesus said,
everyone should aspire to a mansion,
and a jumbo jet.

Jesus said,
You can be saved,
but only if you pray the prayer.

Jesus said,
the Bible is basically part
of the godhead.

Jesus actually said,
lots of other things
far better than these.

Don’t fall for the lies.

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Llanilltud Fawr

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I haven’t set foot here in seven long old years
everything looks so familiar; yet distant;
the same winding streets have newer faces
and familiar landmarks seem little-aged.

Contrasting spirituality: old, and new
The new found in the old, ancient traditions
The old, still standing on a street corner
Yet it seems dated now. I’ve moved on.

Church posters proclaiming the need for repentance
and signs of “no public right of way”
Irony not lost on this bedraggled cynic,
finding my home now with Illtydd.

A brisk strut to the coast; stopped in my tracks
by memories of times gone by. Happier –
youthful and full of promise; treasured;
times I’ll always remember well.

Waves lapping at my feat I cast my eyes
over the misty spring horizon
My eyes wander over sprawling pebbles
then back to the ocean; forever divine.

You were there alongside me today.
I knew your presence. We walked together,
wept together, smiled together,
laughed together and pondered together.

I discovered You here – all those years ago.
I’m grateful for that today.
Thank you.

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