To fight... the unbeatable foe...
To bear... with unbearable sorrow...
To run... where the brave dare not go...
To right... the unrightable wrong...
To love... pure and chaste from afar...
To try... when your arms are too weary...
To reach... the unreachable star...
This is my quest, to follow that star ...
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far ...
To fight for the right, without question or pause ...
To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause ...
And I know if I'll only be true, to this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie will lie peaceful and calm, when I'm laid to my rest ...
And the world will be better for this:
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach ... the unreachable star ...
from Man of La Mancha (1972) music by Mitch Leigh lyrics by Joe Darion
Wilderness: Something characterized by bewildering vastness, perilousness, or unchecked profusion.
We know that Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days & nights. But he didn't have a timetable or a schedule when the Spirit took him there. He didn't know for how long, or why he was there. To him it must have felt like this could be his life now. Right on the back of an amazing encounter with his father God, the start of a new chapter in his life - he ends up being led into the wilderness where everything he believed and trusted in is questioned. Hard, painful temptation to turn his back on everything he knew to be real and true.......
We know the Israelites were in the wilderness for 40 years. But they didn't have a timetable or a schedule either when God took them there. They didn't know how long they would be there - and for some of them it was indeed their whole lives. Right on the back of an amazing encounter with God as he led them out of Egypt into a new chapter in their lives - they end up in the wilderness where they have to learn how to be a community again. Everything they knew about life was related to being slaves, and so God needed to teach them how to be free.....
Wilderness looks different for every one of us. But whatever it looks like there will be hard questions, pain and temptation to turn our backs on everything we know to be true. There will also be teaching, learning and new growth but we won't know how long for. There's no pre-agreed timetable or schedule.
God's leading, God's timing, God's teaching.
Our learning, our questions, our growth.
Our trusting that for however long, in whatever way our wilderness comes upon us - we are held by the one who loves us and will never leave us.
"My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you! During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you." Footprints
Love is more than just a game for two
Two in love can make it
Take my heart and please don't break it
Love was made for me and you
I've been a bit wary of writing about films so far because it's so easy to spoil other people's enjoyment (and the plot!) - so if you're planning to watch 'Lars & the Real Girl' you might want to look away now!
Actually I'm going to tease - because this is a film you should watch. For me it was a story of love and acceptance - not in a mushy 'will she get her man' kind of way - but in a heartbreaking, soul searching, tough, questioning kind of way. The kind of love that doesn't have to be a transaction, but is simply offered - the kind of love that is part of our growing up. Love that doesn't judge or condemn, but simply accepts.
The rare kind of love that in the giving sometimes changes and heals the giver as much, if not more than the receiver. The kind of love that makes us real..............
O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.
O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.
The choice is a stark one - do I settle for a safe life driven by fact, surety and rules (most of which start with 'must not'), or am I brave enough to face the challenge of stepping into the questions, the unknown and the uncomfortable to seek the deeper, richer, more authentic life?
"It is not death that man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live" Markus Aurelius
See at at
"What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8
I came across this new liturgy for Maundy Thursday from
Mark Berry today which touched my soul.................
Where I dismiss others
Where I abuse others
Where I ignore others
Where I ridicule others
Where I use others
Wash me clean
Where I elevate myself
Where I think only of myself
Where I want only for myself
Where I gather to myself
Where I hold to myself
Where I value only myself
Wash me clean
Where I seek for power
Where I seek for control
Where I seek for praise
Where I seek for status
Where I seek for fame
Where I seek for wealth
Wash me clean
See it all at markjberry.blogs.com/scraping.pdf
"I will give you a new heart and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony stubborn heart and give you a tender responsive heart"
I've had an unexpected 'detox' for the last five days - probably caused by either a dodgy supermarket sandwich or a rogue piece of scampi, it was both unwelcome and unpleasant!
It's given me 'food for thought' though - about the regular need for more than just a physical detox. Time to think about wider aspects of my life - how I use my time, my relationships, where I am with God and the things making me happy and deeply unhappy at the moment, all challenged me hard about my 'heart condition'.
It's easy to slide into being 'hard hearted' without even noticing it. Pain, inaction, bad decisions, laziness or an attempt to protect ourselves from being hurt again can all conspire to harden our tender hearts - by letting this happen we risk becoming separated from the things and relationships that inspire, capture and breathe life into every day....................
So, as I gently, slowly - and very carefully - move to a more normal, (but hopefully healthier) diet, so maybe I need to do the same in other aspects of life right now - I suspect the resulting detox won't be any less painful, messy or challenging but will be worth every step...................
As Charles Swindoll once said: “life is made up of 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it”, we had a lot of life happenings and reactions to look back on!
We can rarely control what happens in life, but we can always control how we react to these happenings - what attitude we have, what course of action we take, and as a result, what kind of a person we will become. Sometimes our present situation can feel so overwhelming that it's easy to lose sight of all that went before and all that is to come.......
Anything that is close will always look like it's really big. If you hold a finger up to your eyes, it looks HUGE. You can block out people and even whole buildings! Often the big things than trouble us can become totally overwhelming. They can look larger than anything else and block out other situations, people and even God. How often do we let our circumstances and the way we react to them, close in around us and squeeze God out?
Imagine being really close to God - so close that he just keeps getting bigger and bigger. How would that affect our perspective? When Jesus asked Peter to step out of a boat and walk on water Peter needed to keep looking ahead. The things that he was afraid of didn't go away, but while he looked straight at Jesus, he was able to walk above it. The moment his fears got the better of him, and his trust evapourated, he got wet feet!
I love the Narnia books - in 'Prince Caspian' when Lucy sees Aslan the lion again she runs to him for a cuddle, and is suprised to see he looks bigger. Usually as we get older and bigger it's quite the opposite - things (like creme eggs for example...) look smaller and smaller! But Aslan says to her "I am not (bigger). But every year you grow, you will find me bigger".
The more we grow, the more questions, the more struggles - the bigger we find God to be.
The more I know of God, the more I realise I hardly know him at all, the bigger he gets and the more thankful I am.......