Saturday, 16 December 2017

The envelope challenge

Advent is a season of doors, of openings, of a million little surprises... Anticipation, hopes fixed on an arrival. Underneath hope there is longing, underneath longing, dissatisfaction, the sense that something is fundamentally amiss, a question that the heart doesn't stop asking... What could arrive, what could arrive to change it all?
Awaiting a child of promise is not exclusive to the Christian tradition, many religions understand there is a destiny over certain people to bring a special message to the world.
So I return to the envelope as a meditation. Imagine the envelope carries the answer but what is the question? What is the deepest longing of my heart? What is the message that the world needs to hear to put things right? and then imagine, imagine opening it!
Now I imagine you are a shepherd, poor and weary, in ancient occupied Palestine awaiting, maybe not even believing anymore that change will come and suddenly an angelic message comes to you in the cold night. 'Unto us a child is born.' And now you find yourself in an underground cave staring at this strange gift, a child of promise wrapped in cloth, silent as an unopened envelope. What will he do, what could he possibly say, to make any difference to these darkened days?
Stay there, stop and stare, until you find the question that is most deeply lodged in your heart.

In Christian understanding what sets Christ apart from other prophets is that he did not bring to the world only a message, but a Person, the very Heart and Spirit of God, and in doing so He opened a door into a new dimension. 'The Word became flesh and dwelt among us' John 1v14

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Pro active

If evil is active, goodness must be too.
Good actions build good relationships, good lives, good societies, they have the power to eliminate evil. But it makes me wonder how often are my actions genuinely good? What do you think a good action truly is? When we describe people as good what do we mean? 
Goodness for me is often linked to consistency, honesty and sacrifice, looking to the needs of others and acting in a way that brings lasting benefit.
If I am honest my actions may be often be entertaining, friendly, or creative but I am not sure how good they are. In the same way that evil acts done in selfishness have destructive effects, good actions through unselfishness must create deep rooted and positive changes, one step at a time.

Perfect timing

Today my thoughts turned to the concept of time and how may different ways we experience it. Being on time, in time, out of time, time wasting, time lapsing, time sharing, time flying, pushed for time, playing for time, winning time, biding our time, spending time, passing time, taking our time or loosing it. Life often feels like a chaotic soup of hopes and guesses, decisions, hesitations achievements and failures swirling through time with the clock constantly ticking. Yet sometimes, just some times, an event, a meeting, a happening takes place that seems to come from somewhere else, a place of perfect timing...
In Greek philosophy there is a word for it : 'kairos' the opportune moment in which something occurs and it came to be understood by Christian theologians as the timing of God. It is this sense of the word that is employed in the verse :
Romans 5v6 ' you see, at just the right time, when we were powerless, Christ died for the ungodly' 

Friday, 1 December 2017

Something that changes everything

As i stepped out into the snow today I remembered why as a kid I anticipated snowy days with such eagerness. Mainly because of the higher probability of having a day off school, but that was just part of the wider sensation that a snowy day could just come along and change everything. Your timetable, your view, your play, your attitude even!
It proved to be as true today as back then! When I saw the same sparky look in the eyes of my local coffee shop barista, we broke into a flurry of enthusiastic conversation. I smiled knowingly at the people I walked past in the street, I walked slower...
Before Christ's birth the people of Israel, amongst others, were waiting for something, someone, who could come along and change everything. Looking back it's fair to say the arrival of the little babe Jesus to the world changed quite a few things!! But not necessarily in the way that was expected.
On a more personal level I know Christ has changed everything for me, sometimes I take it for granted, I guess sometimes I need to look out of the window of soul again like a little kid and wait for him to come along like a snowy day :-)

La salida de la casa hoy, pisando la nieve, me hizo recordar por qué, como niña, anticipaba días de nieve con tanta ilusión. Por la mayor parte era por la probabilidad incrementada de tener un día sin cole, pero esto solo formaba parte de una sensación más profunda, que un día de nieve te podría venir y cambiarte todo. Tu horario, tu vista, tu jugar y hasta tu actitud!
Se probó igual de cierto hoy que en aquel entonces. Al ver la misma mirada brillante en los ojos de la barista en mi cafetería local, nos emocionamos hablando. Sonrisas comprendidas al pasar a la gente en la calle, y paseos mas lentos ...
Antes del nacimiento de Cristo el pueblo de Israel, entre otros, estaban esperando a un algo, a un alguien que podría cambiar todo. Mirando atrás se puede decir que la llegada de ese pequeño Jesus ha cambiado bastantes cosas, pero igual no de la manera que se esperaba.
Hablando a nivel personal, Cristo ha cambiado todo para mi, a veces no lo tomo en cuenta, a veces necesito volver a asomar la ventana de mi alma como una niña pequeña y esperar su venida tal como un día de nieve!