Sunday, 30 December 2012

Litany to the Holy Spirit (from a tweet by @artsyhonker)

She quoted the third verse in a tweet about being awake in the middle of the night... 

by Robert Herrick

Litany to the Holy Spirit

IN the hour of my distress,
When temptations me oppress,
And when I my sins confess,
Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

When I lie within my bed,
Sick in heart and sick in head,
And with doubts discomforted,
Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

When the house doth sigh and weep,
And the world is drown'd in sleep,
Yet mine eyes the watch do keep,
Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

When the passing bell doth toll,
And the Furies in a shoal
Come to fright a parting soul,
Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

When the tapers now burn blue,
And the comforters are few,
And that number more than true,
Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

When the priest his last hath pray'd,
And I nod to what is said,
'Cause my speech is now decay'd,
Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

When, God knows, I'm toss'd about
Either with despair or doubt;
Yet before the glass be out,
Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

When the tempter me pursu'th
With the sins of all my youth,
And half damns me with untruth,
Sweet Spirit, comfort me!
 When the flames and hellish cries
Fright mine ears and fright mine eyes,
And all terrors me surprise,
Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

When the Judgment is reveal'd,
And that open'd which was seal'd,
When to Thee I have appeal'd,
Sweet Spirit, comfort me!

Sunday 30th December - the Eye of the Storm

We allowed the storm to pass over our heads as darkness descended and watched the lightening illuminate the structure.

I don't remember much about today's sermon. I was too busy designing my Christmas-thank-you card, and Happy-New-Year-to-all-the-people-I-didn't-send -a-Christmas-card-to.

The reading was from Acts, something about Paul going on again about getting to the end of a race (dud metaphor for me - unless you are talking about a race to get the right answer in University Challenge or some such).

Anyway, I've sketched out my card, based on the stars in the fabulous centre decoration in the church. Somewhere in the sermon, the vicar talked about "following your star", and somewhere else a phrase like "Living inside God's Grace is like being in the eye of the storm - I wasn't paying enough attention to get more than the gist of it.

"Sermon notes" - or rather, design for New year's Card

I do feel as though I have been in a little bubble, a kind of "eye-of-the-storm" ever since my mother had her stroke on 30th October (date permanently etched in my memory).

God, I'm SO tired.

Actually, I can keep going fine - just keep on responding, reacting, responding, reacting...

My father is some ways is on a more even keel, but also showing definite signs of wear and tear. He has locked himself out of his flat twice now, and has currently lost his keys somewhere in his flat. Luckily we live near eachother in the same town, and he has a spare set, and we (husband and I) have a spare set each. The tubes from his vacuum cleaner have gone missing (has the plumber taken them, thinking that they were leftovers from the new bathroom?) Our electric cooker has given up - gave up on Christmas Day hahaha - but we have a microwave and a slow cooker and the repair man will come on 2nd Jan...

react, respond, stay in the calm place in the eye of the storm...

Keep your eyes on the star, and follow it carefully...

Hi there, 2013! How's it looking? Which is my star?


Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Christmas Day Sermon 2012

I'm just jotting this down as I don't want to forget this....

This is part of the sermon; 

"Zechariah was High Priest in the year that Jesus was born. Before the Romans came along, the High Priest kept his office for some time, but the Romans decided that he should be changed every year.

The punishment for becoming pregnant outside marriage was stoning, and it was the High Priest who pronounced the sentence.

Mary's cousin was married to the High Priest of the time; when Mary went to visit Elizabeth, she was also visiting the man who would decide whether she should be stoned to death... the proof of God's part in all this was the fact that Elizabeth, long past the age of child-bearing, was also pregnant, and that Zechariah had had the experience n the Temple."

The rest of the sermon concerned the contents of a giant cracker; the words Love, Joy, Peace, and maybe more, but I couldn't see and didn't listen properly at that point.

Regarding Peace; the Greek word translated as "give" in the phrase

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled ...."  John 14:27

is a word with a legal meaning connected with "bequeath", which we associate with things left, or given in a will. 

I missed most of the rest of the sermon as I was "pondering these things in my heart". The "peace" bit came to mind as I was working out how to respond to total failure of the cooker partway through cooking the Christmas Meal later on! (We took everything round to my father and finished it off there...)

Christmas was a Mad Day anyway, with visiting my mother who was entirely pissed off at being given cauliflower cheese for Christmas Dinner (she is on "soft diet", but could actually have managed most of the Christmas Dinner - I don't know why someone didn't choose it for her. But that's something for another day). So she was crabby and cross - which is her current default state a lot of the time at the moment. Smoked salmon sandwiches at dinner time, and turkey sandwiches and stollen at tea time helped, but life isn't going her way at the moment. She's not managing to be at peace with the things she cannot change, and save her energy for the things she can change. 

Whoah! The world isn't giving us peace at the moment - I am constantly amazed that I feel so even-keeled and, dare I say, untroubled, by what may, or may not, lie ahead. John 14;27. "And that you can tie to" as Mrs Susan Baker says in the "Anne of Green Gables" books. 

Boxing Day 2012 - Real Life

From @CSLewisDaily on twitter:

What one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life -- the life God is sending one day by day.
I have been rather prone to whinging about how busy I am, and how I can't get anything done becuase of all the interruptions and demands and bits and pieces that generally just get in the way.

Hang on a minute! All these "interruptions" are in fact just "Real Life"!
Now I come to think about it, there have been lots of moments of peace and quiet; I just haven't recognised them for what they were.
For example; all those nights when I have woken in the "wee small hours" and lain awake for a little while. Switching on the light and reading would be unkind and selfish. My husband needs his sleep too! So I try and lie still, and think, or plan, or "day dream", or even pray, without interruptions, without a timeclock running in my head.    
Then, sometime later, I wake up, and it is morning.
Let the timeclock start!
Let "Real Life" begin!
"Westward H-o-o-o-o!" (It's at this point that I tend to find myself singing "Three wheels on my wagon, and I'm still rolling along...." )  
Westward Ho!
If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8;31)