Life as a City Friar

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Pencil and Ink

As the challenge of following Jesus in the moments of each day and week continues something has occurred to me. It is that I prefer to work in ink and Jesus prefers pencil and eraser. I prefer a journey from A-B whereas he prefers to wander and take in a mystery tour. I want definition and shape and he is happier with impressions and suggestion. I like to think I am in control when he actually is in control. It is in short a realisation even a confession that in the everyday I am living in perpetual strain and struggle with Jesus. On the surface I follow him- I read the Bible and enjoy true communion with him but underneath in my heart of hearts my will my desire is alarmingly strong and well. To yield means to lose. I don't want that, my pride, my ego, would be disenchanted with that despite the fact I would be yielding to the One who has yielded everything for me. How ridiculous is that? 
So I need a new pencil and eraser so that I can learn to rest and enjoy blurred mystery which is flexible and changeable which can be rubbed out without shame or failure but in order to walk better and live more. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


Last night I got to share my heart. A small bunch of believers invited me to share some thoughts on prayer. I found the Spirit stirring profound thoughts and words of the nature of God as Trinity; of His longing for our participation in His wonderful other-centred life; of his existing heavenly conversation - Jesus and the Spirit communing with Father. It was so rich. The word which kept spilling from my heart up on to my lips was JOY.
Prayer is participating in the JOY of the Trinity!
I shared about prayer walking and the wonderful freedom it is not to imagine situations in a prayer meeting as you study the carpet at your feet, but to engage - see people, situations , possibilities and to pray out there. Fabulous stuff!
By the end I think God had touched us and opened our hearts to a whole freshness of praying in the Spirit.
They want me back - next time we will actually go out and prayer walk. Can't wait!

Monday, 4 February 2013

The Spirit's Drama

Rising generation
Voices declaring
Holy words - Holy ways.
Falling generation
Eyes open seeing
Holy mysteries - Holy intent.
Messages, dreams , vision
Pouring forth from heaven
Released on earth
The Spirit's joyful drama.
Drama in the skies
Drama on the earth
Scarlet blood gushing
Blazing flames rampaging
Acrid smoke billowing
Eclipses complete
Black Sun
Bloodied Moon
Sun and Moon
in cosmic choreography
Your Dance, your drama
Your Day God
Your holy holy holy Day.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Eyes and Ears

God has blessed most of us with eyes that see and ears that hear. In so many ways these two senses enable us to absorb the sights of God's creation and man's disfigurement of it and hear the glories of birdsong and the anguished cries of grief-stricken children and everything in between. What marvellous gifts! I am so thankful Father for hearing well and seeing clearly - with the help of new glasses.
But God uses these two senses as they function relationally. His desire is that we see him and hear him. The seeing is that incredible gift of vision, seeing the Transcendent One - creature gazing in awe and wonder upon the Creator. Moses was denied such vision but the disciples were afforded it. They saw the Transcendent God, and he looked into their eyes. Heaven and Earth gazed into one another's depths. Followers of Jesus ever since his Ascension "see" him no longer, but from time to time he reveals himself. Vision and dreams the prophet says. Visions and dreams the Spirit gives. Behold your God!
There is a "seeing" which is granted to some - the Samuel-type anointing. The Seer sees God in his eternal Triunity and sees things from the Throne as He sees them. A seeing that is not merely informational, but is also revelational. There is a Revelation of the eternal to the temporal of the transcendent to the touchable. The lesser is empowered, enriched and expanded by the greater. A walk through Ezekiel stumbles on "the things I show you" . God's heart is to share himself and how he sees things.
There is a hearing in the heart. A reading of the Scriptures causes our soul to vibrate like a plucked stringed instrument. A sermon preached causes a tingling in our spine. A lyric reduces us to tears of gratitude. We hear with our spiritual ears. But there is a hearing which is placing ourselves in His presence. Our eyes focused, our ears attuned. We are alert, attentive, waiting, waiting. We are like a concierge ready, alert, anticipating God's every move and ready to respond to his slightest indication. We live for him, to do his will, to respond to his desires. That is the "door-keeper in the house of my God". Such seeing, such hearing, such attentiveness is simply love - loving to do whatever he says, whenever he says it. " I have come to do the will of Him who sent me..." What a life! Loving God, gazing upon Him, seeing him, hearing him, serving him. It is no mistake that time and again God says " he who as ears to hear let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the church."

Monday, 22 February 2010

Mist and Fog

The walk is breathtaking. the adventure with Jesus is real and everyday. But...what happens when the mist and fog descend - when He takes you to the valley where you cannot see three feet in front of you?
I get sacred. I am disorientated. I don't know where to put my foot next. I freeze. I am paralysed. I call out. I am at the end of myself.
Now I know why He led me here, so that I would stop living on my own flesh resources - so that I would trust Him. I call for Him. He does not answer. I am scared stiff. I call and call but my calls rebound off the face of the fog. Is anyone there? Is God there? Has He left me alone? Is this a God-forsaken place? "God why will you not answer me? Why have you gone off and left me? Why have you abandoned me?"
As that final question forms in searing pain in my larynx and explodes in desperation from my lips so I hear not a rebound, but an echo in a different voice. It seems to travel the ages. The fog becomes a backcloth against which I see Him hanging there on a tree - I hear Him calling from the tree. A strange sense of communion envelops me. He is here where I am or am there where He is? It matters not. I am not alone!
The Spirit stirs, faith rises, relief dawns. Did I not say " I will never leave you or forsake you"?
I still cannot see, but I know that He is with me as He said. He heard my cry. He reassured my frightened wee soul.
Why the valley of fog -the fear - the terror- the anguish? - So that you would grow to know me -to trust me - to discern my hidden but very real Presence with you.
The fog lifts. "Shall we go?" "Yes Lord, let's go."

Monday, 15 February 2010

Walking the Landscape

Ordnance Survey maps are meat and drink to any serious explorer. What is the first things you see as you look at one? Gridlines - that mesh of perfect squares covering the surface of the map. Gridlines give the ability to pinpoint location.
However not all of us go through life with a map in hand. However we do have diaries, be they electronic or paper. These tell us what we are to do, where we are to go and when we should be there. Diaries rule. They dictate life. They are tyrannical. However they do give us control of hectic lives and make us feel secure.
Back to the map. What else do you see? You see features of the landscape, contours indicating hills and valleys. You see features of the townscape, streets and buildings. Land and town scapes come to life for the seasoned map reader.
God gives a stark choice - live by the safety and security of the gridlines - always knowing where you are and where you are going. Or "come and walk the landscape and townscape with me". "You will never really know where you are because I am in control. You will rarely know where we are going, but I will never leave you. You will often feel insecure but that is my invitation to trust me. You will go where I go, you will stay where I stay. You will walk with me , work with me and learn how I do it. I will teach you the unforced rhythms of grace."
Habakkuk saw and articulated "the righteous shall live by faith".
So gridlines - doing life in safety and security or walking the landscape - in company day in day out with Jesus. Sterile or fertile? Predictable or creative? Alone or in company?
What's your answer? To be sure both will be blessed - that is not the point.
Which is the life that will richer, fuller be?