I dream of a Church which is represented in the pulpit, in the kitchens, on church councils and elders’ boards, in the pews, in mission, by women alongside men, people of colour alongside white, the working classes alongside the middle, the so called outsiders alongside the insiders – all gloriously subverting what the world would have us believe as the way things will always be to reveal the rich and patchwork beauty of the Kingdom of God.
I dream of a Church where we value voices and stories that are different to our own. That we would embrace discomfort-at-difference – turning away from our kneejerk ‘how can they make this more comfortable for me?’ instead running with determination towards ‘what can I learn about Jesus, about the heart of our God through this person, through this different way of speaking / praying / worshipping / living?’ Continue reading
I listened to this song by Nina Simone yesterday: I wish knew how it would feel to be free.
My profoundly beautiful friend told me that this was getting her through a hard day or two in the office. I had heard it before, but as I listened to it alone a little later on I heard it as if for the first time, tears filling my eyes as the weight of the words washed over me through the melody’s indomitable rise and fall.
I imagined it must have been a spiritual, written during times of slavery. Some quick googling showed that it was actually written in the 60s, but that it indeed served as an anthem for the civil-rights movement. As I listened over and over (as I am prone to do when I latch onto a good thing..) I found it surprising just how much it moved me, how profoundly, well, spiritual, it was, how close it made me feel to the God I know and love in my core. Or not surprising at all, I guess. Songs, ‘dangerous songs’ as Walter Brueggemann calls them, borne from the furnace of the deepest suffering; songs that speak of a wild hope despite all that works to suppress it – no surprise at all, I guess, that flowers that blossom by the grace of God and the strength of the human-meets –Divine Spirit in the land marked by suffering are the most astoundingly beautiful.
I wish I knew how it would feel to be free.
I wish you could know what it means to be me; then you’d see and agree that every man should be free.
My one word for this year is ‘wonder’. I would estimate I’ve spent a good 2% of the year so far in a state of wonder. But my attention was called back to the word, to my commitment this week as I heard a quote by poet Mary Oliver: ‘I want to know that I spent my life married to the bridegroom of amazement’. How on earth?! I thought as I worked long hours, increasingly grumpy and coming down with a virus. I prayed a simple prayer, though: God, help me. I don’t want to miss it. But I can’t see it and I don’t want to try. But I want to want to.
And today was a little miracle. To preface – not a flashy, write home about miracle. But I believe in the mustard seed, in the small being enough, the glimpses of glory being some of the most precious reminders of heaven-right-now. Continue reading
Continuing with the tree-theme, this morning I got into work early. Yesterday had gone pretty disastrously so it was with a distinct ‘eurgh’ that I stepped out into the cold to unlock my bike and cycle in. It was only when I rolled out of the drive that I saw it. Pink, orange, deep blues, shades of grey, gold… A blaze of glory, filling the sky. I let out an audible noise and stopped for a minute, feeling it warm me up from inside. I rode towards it all the way into central London, watching the colours shift as time slipped by. Continue reading
I’m curled up in the rich Autumn sunlight, looking at the last of the yellow leaves on the tree outside the window. I just noticed these leaves – lingering when all the others have fallen. Directly in the sun’s gaze, I guess the leaves know they’ve caught a good spot and are soaking it up, every last ray, for just a few more hours.
Autumn this year has floored me. I don’t know if it’s just that I’m taking more notice, but the leaves seem to have stuck around a lot longer than I expected. They began to turn not long after September, very much in line with our shift into a new season in every possible sense. Move outs, move ins, new jobs, new vocations, new routines. The leaves turned as we did and I was grateful for their companionship. Continue reading
These are golden days that we are in, and I love that we both know it. The spontaneous laughs of disbelief that we should we lucky enough to live for such a time as this.
And of course I will go all thoughtful in a minute with the usual prescribed dash of melancholia so before I do may I say: I think you are wonderful. I am loving dancing along the ridgeline with you – with grace in our hearts and flowers in my hair. I am so grateful to learn what it means to partner with you, learn how our lives and hearts intersect at this very sweet spot.
I could give you two versions of my 2014 so far.
Small-Talk: I’ve got the training contract with a law firm that I had tried hard – working night jobs alongisde internships while scouring the half-off aisles and eating near-compostable vegetables – to get. The boy I have loved since meeting him years ago in Uganda has moved from Canada to London and we are making a go of things. We can do normal things like meet for lunch and call each other at human hours of the day. Hello late twenties – I’ve got my stuff together!
Beneath the bedcovers: The start of a corporate career which surprised me as much as anyone and left me wondering what on earth God could want to do with me here. A persistent cough which burrowed its way into my lungs and decided to camp out for two months. The boy is here on my doorstep – he’s going to have to see it all. Oh dear.