The Brave, the Strong & the Mighty

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The brave are not those who propel their bodies at breakneck speed from coiled expanding rope
Or who neither fear nor flinch from the scariest scenes on screen
The strong are not those who lift great weights or who can hold their breath under water at length
Or who can run a 5 minute mile or build a car or a high tower
The mighty are not those who can scale formidable mountains or rule a nation
Or who make the greatest impression
Or can make a million or maybe tame a hungry lion

No, the brave are those who walk the shiny floors of hospital corridors
Who come face to face with desperation, degeneration or decay
Yet stay and hope or pray
Who make the most of each and every day
Searching for hints of goodness pushing through life’s dirt
And refuse to sigh and walk away

The strong are those who extend hope and healing to the weak and broken
Who get their hands dirty for the sake of showing love, and open
Their arms and eyes to you
Keep hoping
They find meaning in the mess, the madness
Who wipe a brow and squeeze a hand
And advocate for those with no strength of their own

The mighty are the ones who relentlessly pursue justice for the few
Who don’t just talk – but do
Who speak for those without a voice or a choice
And don’t run from hardship or pain, and
Who forgo comfort for the future gain
Of seeing the fruit of love in action
Who know what it means to keep pressing on
When everything’s against them, they find a way to carry on

The brave, the strong and the mighty –
They don’t seem special from the sidelines
They’re mostly under the radar
Without fanfare, fame or acclaim
They just keep on keeping on
Their spirits surging, their hope their song
Undeterred by life’s assaults, they find a way
In the silence, hanging by a thread, they give their all

And if they were to disappear
You’d miss them intensely before they’d barely gone
These are the brave souls, the strong friends, the mighty helpers
Who always think of others above themselves
These are the true winners
Driven by compassion, bathed in light and love
Ever ready to pull others up
They are the ones you can rely on
In your trouble or hour of need

The strong can face any mountain
Overcome it with gritty persistence, with determination
Though they feel your anguish and sense the pain
They will never walk away
The brave promise to go the distance
And always listen
Through the dark of the night
To walk beside you
Through every challenge, every bitter fight
They’ll stay, they’ll be a light
Ever hopeful to the end

The mighty get knocked down
But they get up again

The Love

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Neither bullets nor bombs

Neither peril nor storms

No person, no problem, no harm, no scorn

can separate us from the love

 

Neither life nor death

Neither darkness nor last breath

No danger, no stranger, no blues, no bad news

Can separate us from the love

 

Neither sickness nor strife

Neither fist nor knife

No statement, no hatred, nothing secular or sacred

Can separate us from the love

 

Neither borders nor barriers

Neither heights nor limits

No politicians, no saints, no rulers, no cynics

Can separate us from the love

 

Neither future nor past

Neither status nor class

No law, no dictator, no lover, no hater

Can separate us from the love

Of our Father God, through Christ the Son

 

Death & the Purpose of Living/ Poem

This is a poem I wrote for Good Friday and read this afternoon at my son Dan’s baptism…

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Death hangs in the balance
Shifting tentatively between the
Living
here and now
And closer to beyond
towards eternity

He swings
further in that direction
Every soul
Not just the elderly, the sick, the weak, the dying
Each day, everyone
is moved one step closer
To final destiny
Door to breathing closed
completely

As pendulum swings us
nearer to
meeting our Maker

Make the days count
Let them find meaning
For that is the true
Purpose of living
A life hidden in Christ
For Christ IS meaning

Giving up, surrendering, losing
Is actually
Winning

That, the paradox of faith
Dying to self now
Propels to a Future
and a Now with the
Creator of everything

Death is not the ultimatum
Christ overcame cross
Orchestrating gain from loss
Life outlives death
All is not lost

We are His purchase
Bonded, reborn
made new

At Easter it is declared
Death is fleeting, it’s
Not the End, only
The Beginning and
We all are granted
Reasons for living

Life is bonded to Christ
Through this symbol of baptism
The past does not define
Limits cannot defy
Fear cannot despise
Who we are in Him
No force can diminish
Dark Friday could not relinquish
No one can ever prohibit
His power
At work in us

Only in choosing
To die in these waters
Do we find how to truly
Start living

The Spirit descends like a dove
We are transported above
The supernatural becomes the normal
And we are flooded in
His unending
All-encompassing
Unrelenting, sacrificial
Amazing Love

Love that never fades
never dies
When all else fails
Love holds us, Love guides
and keeps us
Through storm and valley
Through darkest night

The imagery of Good Friday is Cross
Blood, sweat and tears
But for the rest of your years, Dan
Good Friday symbolises
Loss of the old life
And ahead with a new, baptised you
Going forward in faith
Set apart for Christ
This is the start of your New Life

Don’t look back
When doubts creep in
Fix your eyes on the Cross
Stay focused on Him
His love is enough
On this path of faith
Hold on to him
Stay rooted in grace
For This is your journey
This is your race

Remember your testimony
Stay firm in His Word
Til one day you meet
The crowned, nail-pierced Lord

 

 

 

 

Drumbeat of the Heart/ Poem

Two hearts beat as one: Creative Commons Tiggrrr42

Two hearts beat as one: Creative Commons Tiggrrr42

A billion heartbeats reach to the skies
The rhythms of pulses blending into
heavenly music
Through beating hearts, which He
breathed life into
The Father hears a song
And rejoices over us, singing
divine melodies
Rising into a glorious
symphony of sounds
Surging rhythms from God’s heart
to ours
Created for mystery and glory –
miniature drumbeats resounding
into eternity

Zeph3:17 Yahweh your God is there with you, the warrior-Saviour. He will rejoice over you with happy song, he will renew you by his love, he will dance with shouts of joy for you. (New Jerusalem Bible)

The Fight/ FaithWalk (Poem)

Mary&Martha (3)

Mary and Martha fighting within me
One wants to be sitting at Jesus’ feet
The other’s too busy with cooking and cleaning
Distracted by everything that
Really needs doing
And she’s getting mad with
Mary, who’s laid back and smiling
Can’t she see?!….

You know I’ve just got to …
Run all these errands, tick off my list
Take care of the kids
Hurry to the shop,
Dash to the library
When will it stop?
You tell me,
When will I stop and
Listen to Jesus?

Mary and Martha fighting within me
Martha’s got the edge today
She’s the one who’s always saying
“I need to…”, “We’ve got to…”, “I must…”
She’s busy and stressed
Also somewhat depressed
‘Cause she realises she’ll
Never
Get everything done

But don’t you know
Some things can wait, Martha
Like striving and fretting over
Temporal things
Just take a moment to
Breathe in some fresh air
From His Word
Grasp a ray of light
Through his divine touch
Then you can carry on
Yeah, then you can carry on
With a smile on your face
After
You’ve met Jesus

Move over Martha
It’s your turn Mary

In Good Company: Flawed People/ FaithWalk (And poem: Handling the Clay)

Creative Commons: UNAMID

Creative Commons: UNAMID

At a recent church event, I heard something quite revolutionary, something I’d never really thought about before.

Ed Walker, the founder of Hope Into Action – the Christian charity which houses the homeless, (frequently ex-prisoners), said that a third of the Bible was written by murderers (think: Moses, David, Paul). Yep, the Bible.

I’ve thought about this many times since. And I’m struck by the realisation that God loves to use the weak, the downcast, and the broken to demonstrate his power and grace at work. The Pharisee in me finds it hard to accept that. I want to prove myself and show God what to do, and when. But He doesn’t operate like that, his ways are beyond mine and his schedule doesn’t run on Greenwich Mean Time!

Just as those heroes of the faith, I’m learning more that we don’t have to be perfect, we only need to be available, to be pliable. Willing to let ourselves be fashioned into His liking through the directions in which we’re steered. I may not be a murderer, but I’ve hated at times – which is equally sinful in God’s eyes. I’m just as flawed, still unworthy to be His child, or to be used by Him. And yet I can choose to place my life on His unique potter’s wheel, and let myself be shaped into a work of art that reflects his glory and creativity.

I wonder at the image of the master craftsman, taking lumps of misshapen clay to form something admirable and good for purpose. The time of moulding and shaping will likely be messy, uncomfortable and uncertain. Sometimes we may wonder, What on earth is God doing? It may seem hard to believe the direction He’s taking us, when other obvious routes appear simpler.

But it’s all part of the process of learning to trust. The poem below, that I wrote during a dark time, spiritually speaking, reminds me of the conflict involved in this process, in the struggle that arises when we allow ourselves to submit to the potter’s creative handiwork.

Handling the Clay

Will you still love Me even when I never answer?
Will you still trust Me even when things get darker?
Will you listen to the truths I’ve written down
They’re staring at you on the page, just look down
And read about my vision for you, my perfect plan for you
See I’m leading you through the valley, and it’s rocky along the way
But you can still look up, ‘cause after going through the valley you’ll get to
The mountain top, get to the mountain top
I’ve promised you some good things but first you’ve
Got to stop and take this in, take me in to the deepest part of
You, though wounded and fragile, I will
Form you back together into something beautiful, something beautiful
If you’ll just let me be the potter everything
Will be alright
Just let me be the potter
For I know how to handle
The clay, yes I know how to handle the clay
Will you come to me with your turmoil today?
Don’t walk away, don’t walk away
For I am the Potter and you are the clay

Poem for Boston: Marathon Monday


Expectancy in the crowds
Runners push themselves to the limit
Breathless and bubbling with pride
Destined for glory
Racing towards the finish line

Eyes focus on the final stretch
A race against time
Passion compels to keep going
Even under the strain

Oh the pleasure of a momentous day! When –

Loud blasts dismay, flames invade
The unthinkable shatters
Dreams strewn in the gutter
Anticipation smashed by shock
Coursing through veins like a smack in the face
Into a heart of absolute terror

No cheers or jubilation
Explosions steal the day
Fear overtakes and crying commences
Chaos tears through, taking centre stage

Blood on the streets
Carnage surrounds
Fear etched on their faces
Destruction blasts the joy away
People panic and fall on this

Horror filled Marathon Monday

It was never meant to be this way
Why did this have to happen today?
Goals and dreams smashed in pieces
Despair and dread assume their places

Anything can spoil a day
But they never thought it would end this way

Pain inflicted on purpose
A hellish scene to behold
Utter disbelief, complete shock
How can someone choose to act this way?
A moment of madness brings
Devastation

On this April Marathon Monday

But there is hope in humanity as
Arms reach out and legs run into
The commotion
Caring hands help heal the wounded
Swift to repair, to hold, to revive
Nothing can impede the human spirit
Forged by God himself, made in His image

Love will overcome
And Boston will rise
To live another day
But may never be quite the same

Oh the heartache of a single day

May freedom ring out once more on Patriots’ Day