Gitter in the Sand.

On my Grandmothers mantle piece sat a glass bottle containing layers of multi coloured sand. This little bottle was a souvenir gift from the Isle of wight (Alum bay). The sands are made of three minerals – quartz, felspar and mica. In their pure state these minerals are white with other colours being produced through contamination by other minerals.
As a child I would repeatedly ask my grandmother if I could remove the cork from the bottle of layered sand. I wanted to mix the coloured layers, to move them from order into a place of multicoloured chaos.
To pour the layered colours into a shallow bowl. Creating and uncovering unsymmetrical patterns in the coloured sand. To run the textured colours of history through my hands.
Somewhere in my loft wrapped in newspaper this little glass bottle of coloured sand is waiting to be rediscovered.
A static hour glass sitting out time. The separated colours  never changing.  The sand holds firmly to the stories of the past, tells of traditions and cultures of our ancestors.
We look to the past to discover lessons for the present.
What happens when we change the lens which we see the sand. When we see it’s true uncontaminated colours.

I don’t feel any desire to rummage into the depths of my loft to find the bottle of sand and mix it.
I am learning to see beyond the coloured layers to look at the individual grains, to the true colours/ true self.
During this past year I have started to learn how to see these true colours. To see the sparkle and glitter in each treasured grain ( person ). I’ve learnt the remarkable power of story. The value of spending time just listening.  Discerning the gifts of the spirit working in each of us .
I’ve come to realise and acknowledge that I have gifts too. To not underestimate the gift of being myself. The importance understanding my true colours . I’ve discovered how these gifts are working within me, how they relate to my context .

The gifts of the Spirit are being poured out upon us . I’m beginning to understand that these gifts don’t come in coloured uniformed patterns. We don’t have to comprehend them, but we do need to see them as actual, making them real.
I’m learning to see that it takes bravely and courage to mix the coloured grains of sand. Learning how essential it is to hold onto my true colours. I’m becoming more robust in my thinking and actions. Discovering how exhausting life can be when the landscape try’s to fade and erode my colours.

The colourful bottle of sand holds thousands of years of heritage and history. Its colours and traditions alone are not enough to hold the our future foundations.
God pours out the gift of the Spirit upon us, not as the historic re-enactment of static sand trapped in a bottle, but as the lived reality of the revelation of God, who is ever present and ever new.
It is our joy and privilege, not simply to share in those gifts, but to realise them, to see them sparkle, making them real in our lives, and for our time.
il_fullxfull.99239937

Germinating an Adventure of the Imagination.

We believe in an obedient, realistic and informed orchard.
A fruitful place where the word of God is alive and active.
Strong roots silencing the whisperers of self doubt.
Obeying the formational changes etched in our bark .
We lay our hearts open to love.
No matter what.

Grown on the rootstock of my forefathers.
I am seen and cultivated world wide.
Purposefully cross pollinated.
Persistent and Versatile.
We are the diverse family of Malus.

Before you could articulate my name .
My seeds where firmly placed in your hand.
Germinating an adventure of the imagination.
Growing without end.

Under our knotted wooden frame,Merlin received the gift of prophecy.
I am a symbol of poetic immortality.
A ping of peace.
On the twelfth night it is customary to wassail our elder .
Blessing the fruit, that’s yet to come.
Yet I know that God works in me.
He has called me according to his purpose.

Blown by the Holy spirit to the marginalised forgotten orchards.
I am called to sow seeds that will bloom and blossom.
To dance quietly in the deep pink scented snow.
I cherish and work within nature’s limitations.
Creatively discovering spaces to share the story of Jesus.

IMG_9568

Space To Sing.

Standing transfixed I watch the song thrush. She’s so purposeful in her actions, so sure of what will happen next. In her mouth she bashes a snail against the rock edge of the garden pond.
I smiled at her cleverness and her boldness. I allowed myself the time to ponder, drifting into a place of prayer.
A prayer of thanks for the wondrous bird that’s hoping only feet away from me.
I rarely see a song thrush in the garden. Never before had I had the privilege or delight in watching so much skill used to consume a garden snail.
As my prayers drifted I focused on the Great Tit skilfully picking out caterpillars from the large leafed Verbascuum.
Nature is so harmoniously amazing . Just a few feet from my kitchen window I witness the struggles of life, held in the space of a few minutes during sunrise.
So immersed in my wonderings the tasks of the day seemed unimportant.
I smiled at the boldness of the birds on the patio. Wondering why these birds where so close to the house. My joy quickly turned to concern for the safety of the birds. Worried they would become a plaything for my cat .
Seven years ago we invited a black fluffy kitten ( Grimalkin ) into our lives. She’s grown into a handsome black killer: hunting, birds, rats, mice.
Cats are so inquisitive they have a wonderful scene of exploring all things new.
Why did Grimalkin not hear the thrush tap tap tapping the snail against the rock? Why did her curiosity not wake her morning slumber?
Actually more to the point where was the cat this beautiful morning?
Our faithful friend and companion was involved in a fatal road traffic accident a few hours before I woke.
The song thrush was safe to sing in our garden. The space that was once occupied by Grimalkin was this morning filled with garden birds.
Birds eating and socialising right in front of the kitchen window.

 

It’s 24 hours since the song thrush appeared. This morning I was again sat watching this beautiful bird enjoying its breakfast on the patio.

Before I was even aware of my cats death the birds moved into her space.
I no longer have my friend in the garden but I do have a safe place for the birds. Something beautiful happened when the space she held was no longer hers.
My cats space has been filled with a space that will sing. It will be awhile before the space inside of me will sing, but it will.
Grimalkin has helped me understand why spaces are not ours to hold.
When we hold spaces for anger and pain. We have no space for love. When we hold onto words that need to be said. We have no room for forgiveness.
Gods love transforms us. But we need a space for that love to grow.

Theirs beauty in Grimalkins empty space – quite simply because it’s not empty. When I look to the empty cross I see Jesus love. It’s beautiful because Jesus rose from the dead and left the tomb empty. If the tomb was not empty, then the cross would have remained a symbol of execution. If the tomb were not empty, the cross would have been the supreme symbol of cruelty and despair and not love and hope. It is the empty tomb and makes the empty cross a thing of beauty.

My encounter with the song thrush has shown me that no space is mine. By saying ‘yes’ to Jesus I need to give all my spaces not only the physical spaces, but the spaces in my heart too.

I offer the spaces in my heart to be filled with love. So much love that God’s light and life and love might dwell in me.

B3072492-85E0-4B81-B5F4-D6B037A1CA28.jpeg

John 20:11-15 The Message (MSG)
But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?” “They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.” After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize him.
Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?”
She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.”

Wrestling with compost.

It’s strange how certain activities trigger memories that unlock a world I have yet to understand. Physical actions gently push my mind, nudging my world closer to the words that I struggle to comprehend. Words that need to find a place in my heart. Require a practical understanding so I can relate to them in my own way. So I can learn to pronounce, remember and recognise them. To understand what they mean to me and others. I need that word to become visual almost tactile to revival something of it’s self to me. It’s a slow often frustrating way of learning. Taking time with just one word, allowing it to guide me in practical way.
The word Koinonia came into my life this week. I must have heard it before but for some reason I locked onto the word and tried to unpick what it means to me.
I discovered my answers while wrestling with a large heavy bag of compost. It sounds the most unlikely of places but together my faith joined my gardening world and made their magical connections to Koinonia.
I was taught at horticultural college to shake, turn and mix a bag of compost before opening it. It’s hard heavy work that I often question. I wonder how many other people get hot and bothered turning over these brute sized bags? Theirs no written notice on the bag “ exhaust yourself by shaking and mixing bag before use”.
Yet I know by putting in this effort my seeds/plants get the best compost to grow in. In the wrestling I mix all the nutrients and soil types within the bag. Ensuring my little seeds have everything they could possibly need to grow.
I never lose the wonder in planting seeds. It’s the endless possibilities, a unison between the creator and creation. My role is to mix compost, seeds, water and love together.
It’s that mixing that connected me to koinonia. It’s a community of love in which we grow. Its a seamless interchange of mutual love which unites the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The more we live in communities of love, the more we can grow into the image and likeness of God who created us.
It’s that powerful incredible linked togetherness with others and God, at the same time being profundity at one with nature.
We are together as a family, as community. Expressing our need to be feed nourished fed and healed by God who is a community of love.
When wrestling with my compost bags, I mix love. Providing that micro community within my glass house. A community that loves, feeds and nurtures my seeds.
We are not as good as we could be at mixing ourselves. I never realised just how much we must move and mix within and outside of our community in order to grow.
Sitting in the same seat in church each week, doing the same things can slow down our growth, and the growth of those around us.
Sitting in the same seat has a lot todo with habit. When we do the same nothing changes, we expect the same.
Moving and mixing is difficult, it challenges us to sit among different people. To get to know someone new, to see a different perspective, to notice things we have never seen before.
When I walk into church this Sunday, I will sit somewhere different. Challenge myself and those who sit with me to change seats each week. Making us more open to change and growth. Mixing with those we do not know.
Maybe in that mixing we will build a stronger community. A Community that together can reach out to heal our wounded planet. A Community of love that grows flowers and fruits in likeness of God who created us.

IMG_8899

Hebrews 10:24-25 The Message (MSG)
22-25 So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.