September Writing 2020

September 21st

Two pieces of writing concerned with this month’s theme of New Beginnings.

Starting Afresh

We left behind
the steep wooden stairs,
the wilderness garden
with the rosemary bushes
and the pale pink roses
against their stately arch.

Some regrets, Yet God gives us strength
for today and for all that tomorrow brings,

We had to refurbish the new bungalow
new carpets, new curtains, new kitchen
with primrose yellow paint throughout.
Everything new, fitting in our belongings
to make it a home.

Still some regrets, Yet God gives us strength
for today and all that the future brings.

Two years on we are settled in.
White roses grow on brickwork
near the front latticed window.
Rosemary, geraniums and lavender flourish.
No regrets only pleasure and joy
at creation human and divine.

While still God loves us; His compassion fails not.
He carries us beyond our future into eternity.

©Rosemary Orr, September 2020

Beginnings: Taste, Touch and See

There is something exciting about New Beginnings.

Like opening a new untouched book. Or starting a new page of a journal to write in. Running my hand over the clean page and smelling the freshness of paper. Or tasting that new bread recipe straight from the oven. Taste, touch and see beginnings.

What about opening the curtains and watching the new dawn break and sun begin its journey on a new day. Another Covid-19 lockdown walk early in the morning. When the mist still lingers between the trees and the leaves are changing colour as they begin their journey towards letting go. Dying that they may help feed new life. Amazing nature. A new day begins…. Beginnings, Taste, Touch and See.

So many changes, changes bringing new challenges and stretching our inner resources to embrace new beginnings as we learn to let go of the old ways of being, doing and living. Beginnings, Taste, Touch and See.

Life is filled with beginnings and endings. A time and season for all things. This world is forever changing. Yet it reminds me of the Truth. There is One who was at The Beginning of all things.

In the beginning was the word, And the word was with God. And the word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

There were those who had seen Him. Touched Him. Smelt Him and tasted of Him. They wrote. “That which was from the beginning, which we have seen and heard. We have looked at and our hands have touched. This we are telling you and want you to know”. New beginnings are stirring and bringing new ways of living, doing and being.

So now we continue to have a new challenge in Kingdom Arts of how to connect, to share and express ourselves to each other….to fellowship in a new way. Let’s remember it’s all about Him. The One who helps us, who never changes and remains Faithful to His word. A new day, a new way. He is our beginning and He will be there at the end. Never changing.

Shefali September 2020


September 15th

Two pieces by Rosemary Orr

Conquest

We chose the rocky beach,
having walked too long
on strands of silk,
down avenues of lush green.

Now we needed a challenge,
stumbling across stones, boulders,
slipping into pools of slime,
dense murky algae.

We chose the rocky beach
pockmarked our feet,
but we had been somewhere,
leaving not just footprints
in the sand.

God’s Garden

Garden of deep peace
nestling in strong sunlight.
Here we pray for strength,
for encouragement in difficult times.
Nearby daffodils and cowslips
rustle in the cold wind.

The garden is empty
save for the two of us.
We drink some orange juice,
then the early Spring sun
bids us slowly depart.


September 8th

David New has continued to ponder the theme of creation from previous months and has called to mind trees from various periods of his life that have been significant for him:-

REMEMBERED TREES

Seven stately Ash
marked the path that ran
beyond the end
of my childhood garden.
Gentle southwest winds
rustling the branches
“had language for me.”

Pollarded willows
edged the banks
of the old mill stream
while we lazed
in the water-meadow field
with vetch and buttercup and buzzing bugs,
eating double-decker sandwiches.

Towering Elms
crowning the hill of
Beckenham golf course
with trunks too big to be hugged
even by us two boys.
Alas the nineteen sixties
swept them all away!

Golden pendules of Laburnum
overhung the pavement
from garden fronts
of suburban brick-box homes;
brightening up
the daily walk to school.

One big Chestnut tree
covered the corner
of the school playground.
Elegant white candles in the spring;
Abundant summer foliage;
And in the autumn,
Conkers galore.
Overwhelming generosity
from the Creator.
And all for fun!

Bright white slender trunks
mark the parking lots
for fossil-fuelled family cars.
But tiny dancing leaves
are no match
for the carbon-footprint need.
Yet still the white bark shines.

David New 2020


 

August Writing 2020

August 8th
Dandelions

Paradoxical dandelions appear everywhere,
so often not wanted or admired.
Torn up by despairing gardeners,
long roots clinging on like expert mountaineers,
creating chaos on manicured lawns.
But those who really look…
‘What beauty! A joyous, uplifting colour,
like home-spun golden cloth’,
adding piquancy to salad bowls,
and vitamins to spur us on.
But they have the last laugh,
as ‘blown clocks’, they fly with ease
to pastures new in mischievous glee.

©2020 Helen McNichol

God’s garden

The harebells ring out their news,
the Summer is on the turn.
Wild rose petals fall like confetti
Letting the hips fill with goodness.
Bird’s-foot-trefoil and the heather
Ooze with luscious tempting nectar,
ready for the magic touch of bees
turning their harvest into liquid gold.
Children love the clinging cleavers,
sending laughter ringing through the air.
‘He loves me, he loves me not…’
Swinecress mysteriously powders our motorways
like the waves at their native seaside.
Foxgloves sway in the breeze,
oblivious to their future hearty cures.
The honeysuckle’s perfume fills the air,
to join the myriad of other scents
from Earth’s flowering garden.
Along with healing herbs and thoughts,
and ripening nuts and berries,
creating nature’s patchwork quilt.
Resplendent in colour, beauty and form,
to fulfil God’s everlasting gift.

©2020 Helen McNichol


 

July Writing 2020

July 28th

Three short pieces by Rosemary Orr

Prayer

Let me sow peace with wisdom in these difficult times, Let me sow ardour with love in the hearts of all mankind. Give me dignity and patience as I walk life’s winding path, spreading Your blessings to others, keeping us in Your loving arms.

High Street Antics

It’s May and the sun burns on my face.
Four pigeons approach. We watch.
They strut past, flying on to rooftops, then joined by gulls clamour and cry. Shortly a toddler drops a sandwich on the ground. The birds peck then devour playing hockey with the crumbs, soon swooping into currents of warm air.

Returning to Worcester Cathedral, open for prayer in Lockdown.

The yellow stickers on the marble floor like the entrance and exit signs mark social distancing: no longer a holy huddle praying, three of us strangers yet pilgrims, aeons apart in bright sunlight as candles flicker. Ahead the candlestands, by the altar a trinity of light, love and prayer, beckon, and as we leave their flame reverberates in our now warm hearts.

© Rosemary Orr July 2020


July 19th
Everyone Matters

God, You are the Holy Three in One.
We arrive into this chequered World,
a blessed threesome,
man, woman and soul combined.
Different in colour, creed and custom,
but all washed with Your inclusive love.
Who makes the parting of the ways?
The placing into groups.
False valuation of ability and grace.
Unequal sharing of goods.
Disabilities harshly labelled.
Sightless eyes, never seeing beyond the colour.
Quick fire of insults and jeers.
Lack of understanding and passion.

Help us to blend our skills,
fulfilling the need for each other
in equal cooperative measure.
The intertwining of respect and love,
with a mixing of talent and ideas,
and rejoicing in changing ways.
Filling the World with vibrating music
of creative difference.
Being part of each others growth
in a fairer, God driven World.
Sharing His life-giving blood with everyone
so that the lamb can lie down with the wolf
in hope and peace
within a fruitful, caring union.

© Helen McNichol July 2020


 

June 2020 Writing

June 24th
Psalm 104 v 14

He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate – bringing forth food from the earth

I have been helping to clear an allotment of all the rubbish dumped on it.

As I read the above verse I think before good things can grow and we can plant, the ground must be prepared.
I have collected bags and bags of rubbish that need to go to the tip, which I visited today.
It took 1½  hours in the queue before I got to the actual tip. When I was emptying the bags into the crusher, I had the thought that I am so thankful that there is no queue to wait to see God before I can tip out all the internal rubbish in my life and in my thoughts.
As I watched the rubbish, that had been stopping any plants from growing on the land, go into the crusher I thanked Jesus that He does not treat us as our sins deserve; and God has promised that He will not crush us, and a bruised reed He will not break; and I wondered why we wait so long to bring our rubbish to him, where we don’t have to wait, or to queue, or keep a 2 metre distance or wear a mask, and He is never shut or closed.

If we give him our rubbish, our mistakes and messes, then the soil of our lives can produce crops and fruit that God plants and creates and cultivates. I am thankful

© Shefali Hollis
Ordinary Time, can it be?

Thousands dead,
Masks covering faces and fear,
Children stopped in play,
Distances kept,
Church bells silent.

But it is still God’s time.
Lifting hope heavenward,
Blessing the help from every hand,
Recharging praying lips,
The ever presence of Divine love.

Always God’s time.
Keeping alive His Holy Flame,
Stirring hearts with Good News,
Spreading true love across the World,
Now and into Eternity.
© Helen McNichol  June 2020

June 12th
Creation

We hear the words:
Keep your distance, keep your distance.
But our Triune God is saying,
“Come Closer, Come Closer”.
We must listen to His calling,
see His image in Creation,
letting His World vibrate
through our hearts and souls.
Encased within His constant
Love and Care.
Feel the wonder of the sky above us.
a vision of God’s greatness,
an ever-changing backdrop,
with an array of many colours.
Clouds to test our weather people.
A platform for the birds,
to swoop and glide in blissful freedom.
Each day a touch of God’s mystery.
At the breaking of the day,
and the closing in of night.
With stars and moon to lead the way,
His promise of day and night.
Often a scene of our dreams,
and a longing for eternity.
Oceans move around our land
flavoured with the salt
of Holy wisdom,
a cleansing for our souls.
Home for a thousand, thousand
gifts from God.
Sometimes waves lap gently
stilling the soul,
or crashing storms pounding the rocks,
like the power of the Holy Spirit.
Oceans are fed by rivers large and small,
God’s life-blood for the world,
filling arteries of all creatures and plants,
sustaining life and growth.
Embracing Earth with colour,
aroma, purpose and love.
God you are the fulcrum of all life.
Help us to come ever closer
to your unbounded Gift,
nurturing it with healing hands
and God-driven listening souls.

© Helen McNichol June 2020


June 11th
Psalm 23v4
‘Even though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil, for your rod and staff comfort me.’

When there’s
Incessant irritation, incurable illness, or isolation, when
Nights of nonsensical notions nudge and seem never-ending, we
Tire and tread the tumult with thundering terror, as if
Obligated.

But
Tending a new timely thought can become a turning point.
Heavens help and honesty, heaves humanity out of hell. There is an
Encourager, an essential eternal energy which eases the effort, by exposing and excluding evil.

Listening to this light, our life can be full of love.
Inward instinct identifies with this illumination. We
Glimpse glory, grasp a germ seed of grace and grow. In my
Heart, I hope for this harmony throughout humankind where
Triumph over tumult is touched like treasure and trusted as truth.

Frances


June 1st
God’s World

Inspired by Psalm 104

In my head I hear His voice
“Look at the wonders I created”
Rest, breathe, my Spirit is here with you.

Birds sing of God’s bounty, sheltered from the wind; hopping along the lush borders of silver green, ever watchful.
Beyond the holly hedge the sheep, constantly grazing, respond to the ever-present bleat of lambs calling them to succour.
Rest, breathe, my Spirit is here with you.

Flashes of sapphire from water tumbling over rock; bubbles in a tranquil pool where a robin drinks perched on the very edge
Golden carp undulating below the lilies in crystal water surface.
The screech of a peacock disturbs the calm.
Rest, breathe my Spirit is here with you.

Children shout, call, shriek in joyful play.
A mower buzzes far, far away and nearer still the bees.
The scrunch of gravel beneath an arbour; where the smell of damp earth mingles with light, fragrant scents from the fallen petals: crimson, scarlet and rose lie with a sprinkling of pine needles.

The warmth, glories and colours of the world.
All of these touching the senses as I listen
Rest, breathe Rejoice! For my Spirit is here with you.

© Barbara Rolison Kingdom Arts May 2020

Thought for The Day

During the lockdown many of us are working in our gardens, tidying and planting. I’m sure this work is still going on in church grounds throughout the land too.

I hope we can all feel God in our lives during this time of confinement during which many of us are going through hours of solitude…….time alone when gardening too and it occurred to me whilst toiling in the garden, Jesus is a gardener, a gardener of our souls.
He plants the seed of our faith, waters and feeds us thus nourishing us through his teachings, he even prunes our souls if we go astray, then rejoices in watching us bloom into Christian people and just like all flora every one of us is unique and special to him.
I hope this helps to make gardening less arduous for you, knowing that what you are doing for your garden Jesus is doing for you!
Happy Gardening!

Scarlett Hemming

May 2020 Writing

May 18th

If you haven’t read it already, do look at the May 16th entry ‘An Epistle of Hope’, before you read this:

Appendix (to ‘An Epistle of Hope)


Sunshine all day long
The stars in the night sky glow
Heavens diurnal course visible through my bay window
Birdsong in the garden
The lawn an Eden green
Everywhere our Fathers springtime pattern can be seen.
Dainty aubretia follows daffodil trumpets
With colourful roses soon to bloom
Winter is behind us now
At last we are through the gloom
Summer’ s pinks and blues, Autumns copper and gold to inspire and amaze us
But soon the winter light will be upon us
So what?
Our Fathers love will protect us
We watch the rolling of His divine seasons
And know that we are part of Gods perfect plan
No need to reason.
Flesh and bone to foliage and flower
All alike and all a show of Gods heavenly power
I will sing of the Fathers love and glory as long as I live
Our beautiful and bountiful Earth
Praise the Lord O My Soul.

Scarlett Hemming


May 16th

This is a parody of Psalm 23, written for today’s audience during lockdown:

An Epistle of Hope
The Lord Is My Shepherd I shall not want
He makes me lie down in the sunshine of my own garden
He leads me through the stillness of the lockdown
He restores my soul
He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake
Even though I walk through the darkest valley that is Covid 19
I fear no evil
For you are with me
Your rod and staff, codeine and paracetamol comfort me and aid my recovery
You prepare a table before me
Despite panic buying in the supermarket
You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me through the lockdown and all the days of my life
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
My whole life long.
Scarlett Hemming May 3rd 2020

May 13th
Pentecostal Flames 2020

The rowan froth of white blossom
Will become luscious red berries
Ready to NOURISH our hungry birds
And fill the jelly pots.

The quiet inconspicuous holly flowers
Slowly CHANGE to red iridescent jewels
To deck the homes at Christmas
Heralding our Saviour’s birth.

When raging winds blow
They send wild rose petals flying
Then bulging red hips will grow
Full of God’s RECHARGING food.

The red awakening azalea bush
Is ready to burst forth
In a blaze of blinding colour
Remindful of that burning HOLY bush

Our churches are silent and dark
But the people sing and PRAY
Serving God in a hundred different ways
Greeting the glowing RELEASING Pentecostal flames.

© Helen McNichol, May 2020


May 2nd
Then and Now

Thomas stood outside the door

His head still spinning and aching
with echoes
of that Day

The cruel, unknowing, inflamed crowd,
Shouting,
“Crucify, crucify.”

Women stifling cries of anguish.
People locked in houses,
wracked with fear.

Children with little understanding
filled with future
nightmares.

The driving of the hideous nails
Hammers for building
Not execution

He crept away like Pilate and Judas

But he was in denial, total disbelief
They could not kill his Saviour there on
Calvary

Still at the door, he remembered that word

“Come”

He entered the room
All eyes on him, the doubter
But His Lord’s voice reached his ears
His throbbing head and shaking body calmed
Jesus drew him close, and lovingly led his hands
to feel the water from His side
baptising him once again,
giving peace to his soul.
The healing hands and feet
Filling his veins with
New Life
and Strength to Live Again

—oooOOOooo—

May that miraculous spiritual love
and understanding surround us all
giving us strength to live anew
in faith and hope near to God
Now and into the Future

© Helen McNichol


Two pieces of creative writing from Frances

Luke 10:38-42 New International Version (NIV)
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I Broke the Rules

I’m stuck in a gender twisted society.
But I need to break free.
If scripture was open to me,
I’d sing, “Let me sit at Divine feet
because God’s Word edifies me.”

I must wait ‘til a man reads it to me,
And interprets the Word thoughtfully
through the lens of masculinity.
Naturally, I just sit an’ listen, silently.
But honestly,
I hurt in this “male-female camaraderie”.
Hebrew? Right- just lines to me.
Learning isn’t a woman’s right, you see.
So, I try to commit it memory.
See, my culture has many faces.
Prophets n’ kings in high places:
Adam, Abraham, David, Shem.
Many, many men.
And I’m not saying men of God don’t speak to me –
They do! That’s the point, you see.
I’m a woman who wants to wrestle with theology,
And hear a voice, my voice, with God’s, in harmony.

Who else holds this view, secretly?
Am I the only one? Quite possibly.
Cos, even if we united for our liberty,
Women know, we can’t change society.
I thought, if people knew, they’d slander me,
Ha. They’d say, “Rebel Lady Mary?
You overstep social boundaries.”

Have I prayed for one opportunity?
For a chance to be me, really ME!
Yes – obviously.
Did you hear my plea?
God? Did you really hear me?
Cos, I tell you faithfully,
I never thought I’d see the day,
when I’d have a chance to say,
that not one male head
wanted my cooking, my cleaning,
or held me back from my Hebrew bread!
See, I sat at Jesus’s feet quite openly,
He got me … and my sister-family.
He was and is God to me.
And it’s transformed me.
I radiate his Holy charity,
cos’ I know scripture accepts women like me.

See, I’m a woman whose dreams came true.
I sat with the men
Who meditate ‘em scriptures through
And what’s more, I learnt from a man
who gave me my voice, my platform.
Time stood still and I … I forgot my female form.

Look, I know my story sounds unlikely
But I broke the social rules for all to see.
I’m left with questions buzzing incessantly,
What kind of God encourages rule breakers, like me?
Even speaks of a love that rises higher than conventionality?
And he said …?
Well … isn’t it plain to see?
I broke the rules and he set me free.

Frances Burton

 

Acts 1v14 : “Mary the mother of Jesus stood with the disciples joined together constantly in prayer.”

Praying from a Dusty Floor

My son, Jesus, was executed in a brutal act between religious leaders and the government. The horrors I saw were still vivid in my memory on the day I met the disciples. I hadn’t been able to sleep for days. My jaw and neck muscles were tight and sore with the pain of grief but when we prayed together, even the memories that engulfed me in terror faded along with my worries about the future. The fact that we had all managed to meet there, without being caught and strung up in front of some unofficial council, didn’t seem to be a co-incidence.

No longer sensing the poison of the last few weeks, I sat down opposite the door, leant against the wall and closed my eyes. I began to feel the benefits of rest. I felt held and supported by all of Jesus’s companions around me – we who knew him so well and knew he was a holy man both in the eyes of God and the public. How could I be drawn into such stillness when raw images of his death on the cross had been torturing me? It was an experience that is beyond my comprehension.

That time of prayer was like a meeting with the depths of existence – with that which all things come from, are sustained and will return. By God’s grace, in prayer we began a new journey. It was like receiving a gift and we received it. We said ‘yes’ to it. It reminded me of the moment I said ‘yes’ to giving birth to Jesus. It was the same sense of acceptance.

Everyone’s prayers reached a point beyond words or song. Intuitively, we knew that one person’s words would not be meaningful to the rest of us, so we automatically settled into silence. Every one of us received something different from the silence. Our words could not express what was happening. We all rested on Jesus’s teaching which pointed us to what we needed now – the experience of praying together in communion with God and one another.

There was no sound but from the family in the room underneath us. I began to realise the beauty of everyone in the room … each person created, sustained and loved by God. I think we all saw each other in a new way that day. Any personal boundaries which had divided us turned into a recognition of human vulnerabilities – and we could love one another because we saw ourselves as we really were, all frail and in need of love. I blessed everything I could hear, the donkey braying, a boy who had just started crying and his mother who I could hear consoling him.

For a brief second or two, I opened my eyes and looked around. I noticed how the sheer fear etched onto their facial expressions had fallen away, as if we’d all just escaped a whirlwind of living hell. In my own way, silently to God, I started telling him my nightmares. I was completely honest: the crowds, the Temple, Pilot, Judas, the cross, the way he forgave them on the cross. It all came out until my mind fell silent and I felt peace, rivers of peace.

I began listening internally now. I wasn’t listening for a voice. It was as if I was waiting for the sweet sounds of a flower bud to open. I cast a quick eye onto the door. Only half an hour previously, I’d wanted to be in total darkness and had chosen a place where I could see for myself that no one was entering the room to harm us. But within that short amount of time in prayer, my need for security and blackness was already diminishing. There was a small amount of light, shining through the crack under the closed wooden door and I was pleased it had managed to get through – like a glimmer of hope. The warmth of the sun had penetrated the room and seemed stronger than my need to hide – and actually that felt good. The light picked up the dust on the wooden floor planks.

Nowhere in the world would there be this beam of sunlight shining on the dust on this wooden floor. In a flick of a thought, I saw myself as part of it all. Together, we merged into one and my sense of self disappeared. We shared the same creator. I felt eternity was ingrained within me, the others in the room, the sunlight and the dust and it made me feel intensely alive, as if I was both less and more than I normally am.

Although I didn’t want this moment to end, my mind jumped back to when John and I were at the cross of Jesus. The last thing he said to me was, “Woman, here is your son,” and “John, here is your mother.” Jesus wanted me to have a home, someone who would be family to me – who understood what life had been like and what our faith would mean. The pressure of the past began to catch up with me again and I felt as though I’d lost the deep peace I’d been blessed with just moments before.

At that point, I remember my eyes beginning to fill with tears and I prayed, “God help! Your peace is running away. I can’t hold onto it.” I poured out to Him how those last words sounded and how it felt to lose a son, branded a criminal and God heard me and His peace stayed me in that moment and comforted me in my anger. I know I am never alone nor could I be ever alone. “Love your neighbour,” my son had taught us. “Love your neighbour” and “God is love.” All three necessary, all three one and the same.

I glanced around the room again. There was Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. There God was in each of them – the love of God, expressed in infinite variety! And, I knew too that the love we have for others would also be expressed in infinite variety.

Instinctively, I asked for God’s blessing on each one of them and when I asked for his blessing on myself as well, I felt a deeply nourishing warmth in my heart and mind and soul. I knew that we, as a group, were going to heal, relieve suffering, be peace-makers, cultivate justice, preach and teach. We were going to continue what Jesus started. And in that moment, I knew what my role would become.

I am a woman of prayer and I desired an inner path – a life where each day would rise and return to silence, where each moment of silence would surround all those who followed a life of love for God. My sense about what our future would involve evoked a question, “Where do we start?” But I made no attempt to answer it – for it was not my answer that I needed to wait for. I let the question float in the air of that upper room.

The hours felt timeless and complete, still, strong and reassuring, like a boat’s anchor in a turbulent sea. I can clearly remember how I didn’t want this time to end but it did of course. And everything that happened afterwards was the fruit of this time of prayer.

Since then, we have had many times of trial and we have lost sight of that experience at times too. When that happens, we are honest with each other and we re-group and rest until we can forgive ourselves of anything that stops us being in communion. We pray to God that the challenges in our journeys won’t become overwhelming. Even the smallest of negative thoughts can have tremendous power to rock us by building fear within us along with an increasing feeling of powerlessness. We all have those times and we are not alone. From that perspective, humans are not so different from each other. The disciples and I have found that coming to God, as open and as honestly as we can helps us. We do so as often as we can. It allows us to open up to a deeper and more fulfilling truth, which is that we are an unspeakable mystery at one with God. We know that our lives are fleeting, as fleeting as the position of one of those specks of dust caught in the light on that wooden floor.

Frances Burton

Based on a book by Simon Small entitled: From the Bottom of the Pond – The forgotten art of experiencing God in the depths of the present moment


April 2020 Writing

April 21st
Reflections on our world

In the blessing of the morning
Early shafts of sunlight stream through the branches.
Reflections on the watery surface ripple in the slightest breeze
A draft that flutters the leaves and causes petals of cherry blossom
to slowly drift onto the canal and float.
The piercing cry of moorhen and louder trills of the blackbird
whose chorus hails the new day.
A glimpse of hawthorn soon to open in fragrant white billows.
My senses are alert, all is hushed and I am stilled
In this moment of quiet solitude
I thank God.

© Barbara Rolison, April 2020


April 15th
Be Still and Know that I am God

I’ve heard they’re coming today,
They’re passing through our village.
I wonder, if I prepare some food, will they come and eat with us?
I could get the best dishes out,
I could cook something special,
I could put a clean cloth on the table,
I’ll sweep the floor, and dust around.
So much to do, So little time.

I hear voices, Are they here already?
I’ll run and meet them.
Jesus, Jesus, would you come to my house today?
Come and rest awhile. Join us for lunch.
So you’ll come? It won’t take me long to get the food ready.

The Master enters the house. He sees Mary.
Martha busies herself with preparing lunch.
But Mary sits at Jesus’ feet.
She listens to his every word.
Fascinated by the stories he tells,
The truths he reveals, the love he expresses.
Transfixed by his presence, her heart is at peace.
Caught up in the moment, her anxieties slip away.

“Lord, Lord, don’t you care, Mary’s not helping me!
She’s left me to do all the work by myself.
She just sits there as if there was nothing to do.
It’s not fair. I am doing all this on my own!”

“Martha, Martha. It’s ok. I am with you such a short while.
So little time to share with you the truths of the kingdom.
Truths that will sustain you in the days ahead.
You have such high expectations of yourself
For everything to look right, — to be just so.
Mary has opened her heart as she has listened to me.
She has received my love. She has given me her time.
She has been filled with eternal truth
No-one can take that away from her.”

So, I reflect,
And I see within myself two very different parts.
The one -full of agendas, things to do, people to see.
The other-longing for his presence, His peace.
Am I free to choose, which one will I be today?
Will I rush and stress, exhausted with self-imposed deadlines and expectations?
Or will I slow down, will I sit at his feet, and listen to His will for me?
Peace, perfect peace.

Ruth Campsall
Luke 10: 38-42


April 2nd
A renewed Resurrection

They nailed Him to the cross
With companions on either side
Storm clouds grew darker
Earth preparing to break apart
Birds flying unsettled
Scattering for shelter
Woman’s tears falling silently
From horror-struck bodies
The soldiers tossing lots
For ill-gotten gains
The braying fickle crowds
Thinking they knew best
But the sacrificial forgiving Jesus
Poured love on all he saw
He stretched out his hands
To believers and questioners alike
His feet pointed to God’s created earth
The land he knew and loved
His head so near the God
He worshipped and adored
There on the cross
Man and God were one.

Can we in this world’s crucifixion time
Become one with God
Reflecting His Holy teaching and caring
Drawing nearer to each other
Crossing divides of hearts and bodies
Honouring our diverse planet
Helping healing and new growth
Letting the rhythm of his words
Beat through our hearts
Washing away our fears
Replacing tears with hope
Lord hear our prayers
And lead us to a renewed resurrection
Under the shelter of your
Everlasting Love.

©2020 Helen McNicholl

 


Easter Garden Haiku


 

March 2020 Writing

The Garden

In the garden
New growth, leaves and buds and scents of spring
Of citrus, of herbs, sage, borage, rosemary
Fragrant flowers and the heavier fragrance of lilies

In stark contrast
The sepulchre
A tomb hewn from rock, unused, simple,
Empty!

In the new light of dawn, Mary came first to the tomb, distraught and weeping
Grieving sorrowfully for the Lord she saw cruelly crucified.
She stooped to look inside,
Two angels seated in the place where Jesus had lain
They asked
“Woman why are you weeping?”

In anguish she turned away to see a man waiting
“Woman why are you weeping
For whom are you looking?”
The Lord she loved, unrecognised through the tears and misery,
Until He spoke her name
“Mary”
She knew His voice
The first to see the risen Lord, she cried out
“Master!”
With absolute belief in His resurrection, she was obedient to his command.

Whenever He calls your name
Will you know His voice?

Will you listen?

© Barbara Rolison Kingdom Arts March 2020

Beautiful Moments

“She leads a seedy life”
The Pharisees murmured disapprovingly
Mary knew that!
Today she didn’t care
The crush she had on Jesus
Now was absolute devotion
She poured the costly oil of Nard
Burial oil over his head and body
Absolute love in a single act
Wiping it with her hair
Soon again expressed at the foot of the cross
Risking all for the world
Tears welled up again three days later
As she preceded the others
To Jesus’ tomb in that garden of beauty
But she looked around and saw nothing
In that desolate veil, only an angel
Then she turned, behind her a figure
A half familiar face
The gardener she surmised
Tears welled up again
He spoke unexpectedly, “Mary” he said
The tears ceased
She looked up
“Rabbouni” “Master” she cried
Then she knew that love had come again.

© Rosemary Orr, Kingdom Arts March 2020


In the garden

What’s happening Lord?
You who understood everything I’d ever done
You who gave me hope, hope like I’d never known
You who gave me peace and love so tangible,
My life transferred from misery and mediocrity?
Promise of eternal life, with you the Son of God
The Son of God, the promise of the Father,
Crucified, this eternal life drained from him
Hung on a cross ’til Death came and took him from us.
He who healed and raised the dead
Now dead himself.

How can it be? We, his followers and his mother
Looked on. Powerless, we watched
Until he breathed his last. Our hearts broken
Shattered into a million pieces.
Pierced with a sorrow like none before.
So, we took your body and with great care
Prepared you for burial,
Our tears wrapped up in your linen cloths.
Everything we longed for lost and and buried
With you, as you were placed in the tomb. Secure.

And so, I came today. I knew not what to expect
But wanted to be close to you. To sit by your tomb
And remember… remember all that was good.
All that was … gone
Now even your body is gone. The tomb is empty
There is nothing left. Just empty promises
—- and SILENCE —-

Where are you? Where have you gone?
“Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”
“What, who is that? Do you know where he is?”
“Mary”
“Master”
And thus, the revelation came
Scales not tears fell from her eyes
She could see Him
He is risen. His promises are true
There is freedom
And life forever more in His presence

HALLELUJAH!!

©Ruth Campsall


Why do I weep?

I ask myself the same question
My broken heart and life
Touched by your gift of acceptance.
Your eyes have pierced my soul
And you see me… the real me
And so, I weep…
For you. my loss. my friend, the man who captivated My heart
And set me free
Why would I not weep.
I weep for all the women who
Have not yet touched you,
Who are still suppressed
I weep because I have learnt to express My heart…
Where have they taken you?
I weep because I can
You see me. you know me.
Catch my fears in the bowls of
Your hands….
I weep ….
Because I can.

© Shefalie, Kingdom Arts March 2020


February 2020 Writing

Moses

The water flowed
The bitumen and pitch safeguarded the basket
Loving watchful eyes
Saved the child
As God protects us in our ever changing lives
Cradled by moving holy water
And weeps for our lost ones
Those who never see light
But are life-long shadows
Ever flickering on souls
Some with short glimpses of life
Leaving footprints so deep
No tears can ever erase
Others left in strange “receiving homes”
Struggling to find their true identities
In their bewildering world
But their cries are heard
By the reconciling loving God.

© Helen McNicoll Kingdom Arts February 2020

Moses

Born but separated
From all that is familiar
Smell of mother, of home
Voices
Warmth of womb, holding darkness enclosed
No sounds, but warm, encased, entombed
Smell of mother’s linen surrounds me, comforts me
Water running
River upholding, sound of wind
Alone, drifting separated, waiting
Found!
Crying, wailing, an unfamiliar touch and voice
Soothing voice of sister, saved for a purpose for all I know
Yet separated
Mother’s arms, Mother’s breast, now safe, familiar for a time
Born at such a time as this for the greater good?
Possibly
But I miss my Mother and family
Born into one world separated into another
A purpose carved out, a basket, a river
A journey
A destiny for a people

© Shefali Hollis  Kingdom Arts February 2020

Giving Back to God

What is this cradle that holds so small a child?
Strengthened on the outside, placed amongst the reeds
How long? How long will it last?
Will it float away?
What will happen to my dear baby boy?
My longed for child will you be safe?
Have I really let you go? My heart aches
Dear God what plan do you have for one so young?
Surrendered to you as I let him go I look to you
My daughter calls what’s that you say?
Will I come to care for my son?
The one I released just moments ago
Already returned to me
My God how can this be?
Truly your goodness is beyond measure
This must be part of a bigger plan
I take him back for now but he is given to you
And I, his mother will watch to see his life unfold
A deliverer of your people you say?
Just as you have rescued him he will rescue them
I gave back to you the gift you gave me
So now I wait and watch.
© Ruth Campsall  Kingdom Arts   February 2020

January 2020 Writing

Waiting and Worshiping

Waiting. Not a popular word in our 21st century society of instant gratification
Where seemingly all we need is just a click on a screen away
Where marketeers convince us we need things we’d never considered, and need them NOW
Simeon waited
Anna waited
What was the difference?
They knew God
They’d heard God’s promises, quietly, uniquely, individually
They both knew his voice
They trusted him
But how did they wait? What did they do with their time?
Were they passive? Were they bored?
Were they discouraged? Frustrated
NO!
They believed what God had promised, and they gave thanks in advance
They waited prayerfully, but also with a heart of worship.
They were fully convinced, confident that God would be faithful
They knew he would do what he said he would, and the time scale didn’t matter
(After all for God, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is just a day)
How are we waiting for God to bring into being promises He’s made to us?
© Alison Moore  Kingdom Arts   January 2020

Anna

There is a saying; you’re a long time dead.
But you were such a long, long time living.
Living In the temple for many years you waited,
For many years patient in prayer,
For many years fasting in faith,
For many years trusting in the Lord,
Watchful until the Holy Child was revealed.
Your faith rewarded you praised the Lord
In certainty you proclaimed
“Look no longer for redemption, for I have seen the Messiah.”
©  Barbara Rolison Kingdom Arts   January 2020

Simeon’s Prayer

Oh Lord, my soul has yearned to see your face, to live in your courts with praise.
I have feared for future generations and have asked daily to see the Messiah.
Your people have suffered at the hands of others and I have such love for them as well as the Gentiles.
But today you did a great work.
Today I saw the Messiah and now I can leave this world in peace.
© Frances Burton  Kingdom Arts  January 2020

Patient Waiting

Simeon and Anna
The Holy conception from God
Then a time of waiting
As Mary pondered and prayed
Birth within the stable
So long ago
A Saviour to awaken the world
Shake the unbelievers
Fully recognised by the patient
Simeon and Anna.
Leading the way to full belief
Young and old being united
Can we stay the course?
However long or short
Hard or smooth
With patience for the unfolding grace
Spreading the fragrance of belief
To others far and wide
Calming minds and bringing
Helping the unfathomable Godly peace
To hover over the world.
© Helen McNicoll  Kingdom Arts  January 2020

The Temple

At Bethlehem the shepherds were watching their flocks
They were lowly, humble men, no ladies I think, and their job was to protect the sheep from wolves or robbers then.
A sheep’s job is to eat grass;
Sheep’s wool grows then when they are shorn, their wool warms people. Maybe those shepherds who came to see baby Jesus had a sheepskin in their packs to give to Mary for a blanket
Mary had been waiting 9 months for her baby.
Right at the beginning, with the Angel, she had agreed to have a most irregular pregnancy. Anyone who is pregnant has worries; will the baby be alright?
Will I be alright?
She waited whilst maybe the people in the village tut-tutted and stared.
So afterwards, when she and Joseph took baby Jesus to the temple.
The words of Simon and Anna must have given her so much encouragement,
Affirmation that God was in charge
Perhaps she hugged them.
I hope so.
©  Janet Kingdom Arts January 2020

Waiting in the Temple

Waiting, always in the waiting room,
How long…
Praying, asking, seeking, searching..
Remembering
Sitting in the shadows of your wings… closed away, waiting
How long?
Shall I give up, give in, will it ever happen whilst I live. Is it true?
Will the answer find me here?
Come… My heart waits in silence…
Only to you God do I yield… I live to serve.
To Pray, asking, seeking… looking.
Up from the shadows.
My heart races, light streams in.. a baby is born..
Rivers burst within as I look upon his face..
Truth rises up, a song dances from my lips and for all the long years of hoping, trusting, weariness, doubting and faith
Waiting is over and the answer to life,
My life, your life… every present and future citizen of this world will find themselves in you..
Waiting is fulfilled.
Fulfilment
It is over.
Relief, joy. I dance in the streets..
It’s been fulfilled… Waiting is over.
©Shefalie Hollis  Kingdom Arts January 2020

October 2019 Writing

Goodbye is not the end

Today people will gather to say Goodbye
You are no longer with us in body

But …….

Every time I walk past your house
Every time I see Charlie or the children
Every time I look at the photos
Every time Judo is mentioned

You are alive.

That laughter is there to bring you back
Just a memory away
Good times live with us for ever

© Pam Summers
Kingdom Arts October 2019


I will go with you

I will go with you
I know in my heart and with my whole being I need to stay faithful to you
Show me the way
I’ll journey with you to your homeland
I’ll put my trust and faith in your God
My God
You show me the way
I will go with you.

© Barbara Rolison
Kingdom Arts October 2019


Two together

Two walked together along the dusty road
Both carrying a heavy load
Unseen to human eye but known
To the one above whose plan is working out

When humans see hope and despair
God sees his plan working down the ages year on year
Naomi and Ruth are looked on as a hapless pair
His plan will come to fruition no matter what or where

Boaz owned the field where Ruth went gleaning
What attracted him to her we don’t know
But it fitted with His plan
In due time Jesus was born
Who benefits all mankind

© Les Linton
Kingdom Arts October 2019