Saturday, September 30, 2006

Getting exciting!!!

My Brother phoned my dad to let us all know that my sister in law's waters have broken so we're heading towards BABY time. In a few hours time I could be an AUNTY an my dad could be a GRANDAD teehee!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Spirituality of Generation Y

The London Institute for Contemporay Christianity held a day today on the Spirituality of Generation Y featuring research from Phil Rankin, Buried Spirituality and Bob Mayo and Sylvie Mayo-Collins, The Spirituality of Generation Y and the Nazareth Project which is beginning research with Christian youth groups.

It was a challenging morning of quite a lot of BIG WORD stuff and also some reflection on the implication for practice.

Ian has a good summary and will no doubt have some more.

For me the key stuff was as follows:

Young people who took part in the research exhibited a common set of responses to various media which were summarised as Happy midi-narrative: A sense that the world is good as it is with no deeper meaning and that individuals can and should be happy. The flipside of course being that a failure to be HAPPY means a failure on the part of the young person with all too familiar consequences of self-harm, depression etc.

Young people, according to Phil Rankin's research think Church is S**t (this I think may well reflect a reluctance to talk about it rather than an opinion on its nature) and also equate tree-hugging, Christianity and Islam as essentially the same.

Tim Sudworth highlighted that some projects are aware of working with thrid generation non-church young people who are not ANTI church - they have no experience of it to be hostile to it which is of course an opportunity. The other good news from Tim was that the projects which have shown fruit were those which were long-lasting (hurrah for those of us in their fourth year!)

Tim and others suggested that schools work might, rather than helping youth work, in fact be part of the negative influence on young people about church. OUr table discussed this and reflected that many of us preferred a kind of CHAPLAINCY and pastoral role in educational institutions rather than an educative role.

Bob Mayo presented some evidence that, ontrary to popular belief, young people are not part of a spiritual revolution; there is no great number of young people who are "spiritual but not religious". There is however a curious phenomenon of young people praying even though some of them also state they don't believe in God. Bob's reflection on this was the need to turn the private prayer life of young people (which he viewed as formative spirituality) to a public one (which could be transformative). Young people see God as someone who is there when no-one else is. They pray to feel better and seek comfort either when they've done wrong or when they're in difficulty. This lacks any kind of penitential impetus and doesn't CHANGE the young people. He said it was important for us to work towards co-ordinating the WHERE, WHEN and WITH WHOM of public prayer for young people.

He emphasised that PLACE was important as was SPACE - Place being the geographical location and Space being how it feels. He said we should shift our focus from what we do to where we do it. He spoke particularly from the perspective of the Evangelical church but acknowledged that more traditional models of church do have a focus on PLACE using the evidence of the importance of context for young people shown by the reflections of young people interviewed by Spirituality of Generation Y (young people listened to music and in discussions almost always reflected on what the music reminded them of not about the music itslef). As Bob said, "context needs interpreting and also shapes the interpretation." He said, using the churches as shrines could be significant.

Phil Rankin also talked about the importance of context (his research varied a lot to do with context - interviewing young people in a school and young people on a street corner was fundamentally different). He emphasised young people's lack of awareness of their need to God but this should not be confused with a lack of NEED.

His research sometimes made it socially acceptable for people to talk about spiritual things. Perhaps this could be something youth workers do or as he would advocate encourage others to do.

The Nazareth Project highlighted that there is still a BLACK HOLE between the formative and transformative spiritualities.

Ok these are vague notes and the stuff from panel was even more vague.

I had two great quotations:
the church should be "a place of questions not a place of answers"

Someone also spoke of alternative worship as bringin the private prayer INTO the public space by making public spaces which evoked the private space.

Si Jones of Ignite, spoke about fresh expressions and his church saying
"we're not talking about a fresh expression of church, we're talking about a proper expression of church" - this made me think... when is the more true CHURCH - when we share bread and wine or when we chat over a coffee/pint afterwards?

Rachel from the Romance Academy stressed the fact that place is important and that meeting them where they are may NOT be the best way because tkaing them out of their comfort zone can be more effective in challenging them and taking them to new explorations of their faith.

and my own reflections on it:

Can we trully ever talk about young people as a whole having a world view? I think it's useful research but can it really be applied universally? I remember studying world views when I was translating Latin Saints Lives from the Merovingian period (it's something the Annales school of historians did a lot) and constructing what the world view was proved very difficult and then making links between world views was just as complex. It's a good thing to do but I think for the time it takes it can often end up telling you what your instincts already told you.

From what the researchers said I got the feeling that the role for youth workers lies with empowering young people to grow their spiritual and emotional intelligence so that they can interpret their own existential questions more successfully. Young people may not perceive themselves as having a God-shaped-hole but in each of God's children is the yearning for the Father and for the home that he has for us, whether we are aware of it or not.

A lot of what was said also pointed to a need to really work out WHY we are doing what we're doing with young people. The need for a THEOLOGY of our youth ministry as the determinate of our action was clear.

For me the idea of PLACE and SPACE really rang true with our Chillout worship for young people, our new contemplative service for adults (Cuthbert's Isle this Sunday 8pm!) and the way our church is OPEN each day.

One of the people on our table highlighted the possibility that in seeking TRANSFORMATIVE spirituality we might be pushing a CONFORMATIVE spirituality on young people.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Talk Talk BT update

So I phoned BT today - First off I leave a message to get phoned back "within an hour" and NOTHING, ZIP NADA so after Michael kindly sits on hold for ten minutes I get someone. They have no idea what I'm talking about. They say they have done nothing but do offer to reconnect me to BT of course!

So I phone Talk Talk again and ask for some clarification. Apparently I need to phone DIRECT SALES (as if I'm a new customer I guess). The woman was very helpful and when I asked her why it was disconnected she said that they had been notified by BT on 20th September that my line was pending removal for line rental. Talk talk are going to send me some form of confirmation of this notification with my next bill so I can chase it with BT.

So now I get to phone Talk talk in a different office!

Oh whay joy!

{and some more}

ok so then I phoned the number given to me as the DIRECT SALES OFFICE number which turned out to be customer services again. The softly spoken Scotsman said he would put me through to the right department and so I end up back at the "press 1 for..." section. I press 1 and end up.... yes... back to a South African man who asks me the security questions in order just after I answer them (a bit like that character in Terry Pratchett!) and when I ask if I'm now at DIRECT SALES he says but I'll put you right through to someone. GREAT :o)... or not.
He puts me on hold ofr about two minutes and then comes back to say he's putting me through to someone. That someone turns out to be... a voice telling me how valuable my call is and apologies for the SHORT delay. Twenty minutes of this short delay later... a lovely lady who is, (frustratingly for my complaining hat) really helpful and sorts it all out. Oh and she did the changing my name thing which I still keep forgetting to do since the wedding!

So all that's left to do now is call back BT when I have the evidence from Talktalk of BT telling them I wanted to leave and causing this whole nonsense in the first place!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Rain on my parade

Ok so my lovely day off is going so well (the man has fixed the roof and the tap so there isn't water dripping ANYWHERE in the kitchen now) and then I get a letter from TalkTalk saying

"We've just recevied notification that you would like to cancel your talktalk serve."

er.... NO!

So I phone them up and apparently BT have cancelled my account with TALKTALK? How does that work?

Talktalk were really helpful: Firstly they answered the phone within 1 minute and also apologised AND gave me a number to call BT.

Annoyingly though... BT are "very busy today" and so weren't able to answer me in the first five minutes (ok they offered me a call back service but I'd like to go out so that's not much help really). How can a telephone company have such a poor telephone customer service when other companies do just fine?

So I will have to go out now and call BT when I have the HOUR or so to wait. Anyone else had this problem?

How the demise of Turkey twizzlers could power the world!

Apparently Sweden has been leading the way in the market of new biofuels (yes it's my day off so I got to listen to Radio 4's Kicking the Oil Habit this morning). They are determined to end the country's dependency on oil by 2020 which is fairly bold. As well as using car fuels made from crops such as rape and wheat among the fuels they're using is one which is made from slaughterhouse waste. Surely we would do better to emulate this innitiative with all the spare left over now that we're not feeding this stuff to children as Turkey Twizzlers!

Seriously, I think this country REALLY needs to think about being as RADICAL and bold. It seems so SENSIBLE to turning waste (not only animal waste but household waste too) into biogas.

If you want to know more, listen here.

In the Blogosphere today

Dave has been spending some time with the "little people" and Ian has been thinking about food!

For anyone thinking about what we should be serving young people as far as food goes I think there are various options

a) serve nothing unless it's actually a meal time (and suffer some grumbling)
b) serve exactly what they want (and suffer the sugar high consequences if that's what they want)
c) serve only healthy, fairly traded ethical stuff (and leave some wondering where the coke has gone)

or even better...

d) discuss it with the young people and have THEM work out what they could buy and even MAKE with the fairly traded more healthy stuff that's around.

Check out the fairtrade foundation for all you need to know or Oxfam's page or the stuff on Christian Aid's Mpower site for some other good resources.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

As shoes for your feet

In the North chapel of All Saints' something is afoot...

Sorry couldn't resist that!

This is the description of the installation.

Originally uploaded by Sarah Brush.

In each of these shoes is a passage from Holy Scripture to encourage you in your prayer

As you pause at a pair of shoes, sit with them, look at them. Then spend a few minutes in silence. Then read the passage through once slowly. Pause then read it again. See if a particular word or phrase speaks to you. Spend some time in quiet prayer focussing on that word or phrase. Then read the passage through again. If another phrase strikes you repeat that process. If not, say the prayer at the end and move on.

Passages include:
Genesis 18. 1-16
Exodus 3:1-6
Deuteronomy 29 2-5
2 Samuel 2.31-37
Psalm 31:1-8
Proverbs 4 25 -27
Isaiah 52:7-8
Luke 7:36-50
Ephesians 6:10-18
and others...

My colleague tells me 4 Buddhist visitors rather appreciated it so that is good news.

busy bee

Busy times of late - I'm one of the Chaplains at BCUC our local Higher education institution and it's Freshers' week so we've been introducing ourselves (oh and helping CU sort out the right size gas cannister for the barbecue they were offering!) Tomorrow is fresher's fair so that too will be busy.

However I did set up something blogworthy at the weekend so the next posting is something about that! It was for our alternative/chillout worship session with the young people (unfortunately those who wanted to come couldn't and clearly those who could didn't want to as nobody showed up but it's an installation piece anyway so those that wanted too have still got the chance!

It's inspired by the Holy Ground exhibition that was at Greenbelt last year so not entirely original but it isn't the same so I don't think it's plagiarism!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Creativity burst

Today I have been mostly...

being creative which is a little unusual. Although I should really be bringing together stuff for worship on Saturday and finishing off plans for the first of our confirmation group sessions on Tuesday (I have NINE young people - I started with 3 so I'm a little bit pleased! :oD ), in fact I have been fiddling with logos for our events. Let me know what you think

For our new group Fusion (yes I know it's the name of other things but hopefully they won't mind) It's kind of a take on the Trinity and coming together (oh and the colours just wouldn't work properly - it was suppsoed to be shades of grey but the pc decided mauve and khaki were more fitting for some reason! I think it still needs some work but it is a start.

The other logo has been in my head for a while as it's based on the church's relatively new logo. The church's logo does clever things liek incorporate the two main roads in our town and it looks like the symbol for the diocese a bit too and, and, and...

so I thought we'd play with it to make it a bit less clever (though it does still retain its unintended chopsticks and bowl appeal) and incorporated some of the "roads" to be the letter Y. I did try doing the crossing of the T with it too but it just looked lame.

O I also revisited my role as emergency Latin translator again today - you really would be amazed how often I get called upon!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Heights of love

A friend of my bruv is about to do something rather daring to raise some money for people like his son who need care which of course costs money. James is going to abseil down part of the John Radcliffe Hospital. He describes his reasons why:

As many of you will know Gorge has recently been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and this means that we have been spending a lot of time in the Childrens ward at the JR, The staff here have been so helpful in getting us through this difficult time that I decided I would take part in their Abseil to raise money for the new Childrens Hospital (where we will also be spending a lot of time over the next few years!!!!)

I would really appreciate it if you could sponsor me for this event and I will let you know how I get on.

So pop over and donate some money to a good cause and a brave guy!

I Am Thankful...

I found this in an old email from a friend and before I deleted it to bring my inbox total down below several thousand I thought I'd salvage ot to the blog.

I Am Thankful...

For The Wife

Who Says It's Hot Dogs Tonight,

Because She Is Home With Me,

And Not Out With Someone Else.

For The Husband

Who Is On The Sofa

Being A Couch Potato,

Because He Is Home With Me

And Not Out At The Bars.

For The Teenager

Who Is Complaining About Doing Dishes

Because That Means She Is At Home,

Not On The Streets.

For The Taxes

That I Pay

Because It Means That

I Am Employed.

For The Mess

To Clean After A Party

Because It Means That I Have

Been Surrounded By Friends.

For The Clothes

That Fit A Little Too Snug

Because It Means

I Have Enough To Eat.

For My Shadow

That Watches Me Work

Because It Means

I Am Out In The Sunshine.

For A Lawn

That Needs Mowing,

Windows That Need Cleaning,

And Gutters That Need Fixing

Because It Means I Have A Home.

For All The Complaining

I Hear About The Government

Because It Means That

We Have Freedom Of Speech.

For The Parking Spot

I Find At The Far End Of The Parking Lot

Because It Means I Am Capable Of Walking

And That I Have Been

Blessed With Transportation.

For My Huge Heating Bill

Because It Means

I Am Warm.

For The Lady

Behind Me In Church

That Sings Off Key

Because It Means

That I Can Hear.

For The Pile

Of Laundry And Ironing

Because It Means

I Have Clothes To Wear.

For Weariness

And Aching Muscles

At The End Of The Day

Because It Means

I Have Been

Capable Of Working Hard.

For The Alarm

That Goes Off

In The Early Morning Hours

Because It Means That I Am Alive.

And Finally.

For Too Much E-Mail

Because It Means I Have

Friends Who Are Thinking Of Me.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sermon 10th September evensong

First Reading Exodus 14.5-31
When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the minds of Pharaoh and his officials were changed towards the people, and they said, ‘What have we done, letting Israel leave our service?’ So he had his chariot made ready, and took his army with him; he took six hundred picked chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt and he pursued the Israelites, who were going out boldly. The Egyptians pursued them, all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, his chariot drivers and his army; they overtook them camped by the sea, by Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.
As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back, and there were the Egyptians advancing on them. In great fear the Israelites cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, ‘Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the very thing we told you in Egypt, "Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians"? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.’ But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the LORD will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.’
Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward. But you lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the Israelites may go into the sea on dry ground. Then I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and so I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army, his chariots, and his chariot drivers. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gained glory for myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his chariot drivers.’
The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. At the morning watch the LORD in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, ‘Let us flee from the Israelites, for the LORD is fighting for them against Egypt.’
Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.’ So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the LORD tossed the Egyptians into the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.
Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great work that the LORD did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the LORD and believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.

Second Reading Matthew 6.1-18

Jesus said: "Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
"This, then, is how you should pray:
"‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
"When you fast, do not look sombre as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

There is a contrast between these two readings this evening. We have Moses instructed by God to stretch his hand over the waters of the red sea and part the waters to let the Israelites cross and then close again on the Egyptians and the New Testament with Jesus instructing his disciples to keep their acts of righteousness secret. Is this a change of heart for God? A lesson learned.

How do we show our faith by our acts of faith if our acts of faith are to be kept hidden from others? Unfortunately I’m not sure I have a complete answer for that one I’m afraid but I do have a partial one. An act of charity is charitable if it serves the one who is in need but if it serves also the one who gives it is not charity. If, in some way, we gain something from our acts of faith other than a closer relationship with God then it puts up a division between us and God. I read a book some time ago which has stayed with me. It is based on the wisdom of John Cassian. Cassian discovered these 8 thoughts as the things that even in the midst of meditation of isolation from the world in his ascetic eremitic life. Even he as a solitary monk found that seeking God only physically wasn’t enough. These eight thoughts burdened him and kept him away from God. The book talks about the 8 “thoughts” that keep us distracted from God. These are much like the seven deadly sins but with some differences. The thoughts are Food, Sex, Things, Anger, Dejection, Weariness of Soul, Vainglory and Pride. Cassian and the author of this book have much to say about each of these but I think for this evening, the two that really concern us are the last two. Vainglory and Pride. For me these are continuously the hardest to overcome – not to say I am not troubled by the others at all but these two seem to be the more insurmountable of them all.

Working for a church and being what some people might call a VISIBLE Christian means that many people I come into contact with KNOW that I do what I do in response to my faith in God. Whether it’s working with a group of young people like yesterday or acting as Deacon this morning at the 9.45. It’s clear that I am doing something CHRISTIAN. When I do something really up front like youth work or leading a service is that people kindly congratulate or thank me for something (which of course ppl are free to do). The trouble for me is when I take that thanks as a reflection of something _I’ve_ done. This is when the vainglory comes in. Instead of something being the work of God through me, I can begin to think it’s ME doing it and of course that vainglory eventually leads to pride. I think particularly for those of us who serve, we can also feel pride in our own humility (a pride in our own lack of pride) which is a difficult cycle to exit. Each time you think you have cracked it with one of those eight thoughts, the relief of feeling that you’ve DONE IT can lead to vainglory and the spiral to Pride can begin. This I think is what Jesus was talking about when he was telling his disciples how they should do good works.

I’m not saying that ppl shouldn’t thank those who help but I am saying that it produces for the helper that temptation to feel vainglorious. To take the glory rightly due to God for themselves and when that self-glorification accumulates to become proud of it all. In fact, Moses, from our first reading was later chastised when he recreated a miracle to produce water in God’s name and struck the rock when God had told him merely to invoke God’s name. God reprimanded him for his showiness. I think in the incident we heard tonight, God was left with little option but to allow Moses to show the Egyptians but I think God took that and other instances of Good men later becoming proud to heart which may well have spurred Jesus on to say what he said about works.

I don’t think it a mere coincidence that Jesus gives advice about works and prayer at the same time in the reading we heard tonight. This morning we heard form the reading of James’ letter asking how we can have faith without works. The combination of a personal spiritual life with an active charitable life of service is fundamental to the life Jesus called his disciples to. In fact the prayer that Jesus teaches his disciples is one which roots them in prayer in order to enable them to serve. It is a prayer which contains SO MUCH in such a few short lines. In our prayers we used the exposition by St Francis of Assisi and I’d like to explore it one more time with you now. Jesus gave the words now known as the Lord’s Prayer to his disciples and those words are used across the world in many different languages, in fact one of my favourite moments at TaizĂ© is when some 5,000 people join together in saying the Lord ’s Prayer in their own language. It is an amazing SOUND which doesn’t feel discordant in any way. Yet Jesus gave them not as a form of words to use but as a model for prayer. We used it earlier this year as the basis of an alternative prayer zone in the North Chapel. We had many ideas for it that we didn’t even use it is SO FULL and yet something we use so often that we might not remember it’s depths. My own youth leader, a former curate here taught us many things which I have forgotten but he taught a few I remember. One thing I remember he taught us was that when we say the Lord’s Prayer to focus on one line. This was based on one of the desert fathers who had gone in to the desert to pray the lord’s prayer and came back days later saying he got as far as Our father and no further as there was so much to think about in that one line. So as your lips form the words of the Lord’s Prayer, have your mind focussed not on one of the eight thoughts but on one of these twelve lines.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Magazine malarky

Ok so Phil is chucking out a collection of all the Youthwork magazines EVER (going back to advice given to Adam and Eve about their sons' and all the arguments they had, no doubt!) but in the process has unearthed a priceless piece of our youthwork heritage. Ian, sorry chum but it is Grrrrrrrrrrreat!

Lord's Prayer reloaded - the Sermon

Earlier this year I helped set up an alternative worship experience based on the Lord's Prayer. Now I've just swapped with a colleague so I'm preaching at BCP evensong on Sunday evening and the Gospel reading is the Lord's prayer (plus extras) and I know I can't use the same kind of things because it is a different audience but I will be using some of the same inspirations - which IS appropriate as I'm sure the Holy Spirit knows what s/he/it's doing.

I'm quite lucky as I've been thinking a lot about prayer recently anyway - what with Augustine's bit the other day at morning prayer and Michael's first contemplative service last Sunday evening (which was a wonderful bit of calm in a rather hectic week) - yet the problem as always isn't what to say but what NOT to say. There are some really BIG things you can say about prayer and many pointless things too. There are things that some people will find incredibly useful and which will leave others cold.

So far I've read through a lot of things which wise people have written about prayer; Augustine, Cyprian of Carthage, Theophan the recluse (who? - that's what I thought but then he WAS a recluse so...) unfortuantely, reading all these WISE people on the subject doesn't always help

Sometimes it's easier if someone has a RUBBISH idea about something because to me that sparks me to think of something more erudite, more aposite or more inspirational. IF I read these wise words, my response is to go... "yeah.... wow.... yeah".

However having abandoned the wise words for a while I remembered somehting I had used for the Lord's prayer stations which was an exposition on the Lord's prayer by St Francis of Assisi and so I've started my own. It reminds me of when I was a teenager being advised to think of just one of the lines of the prayer whenever you said it. To focus on just one aspect fully rather than go through the routine of it all.

So, for what it's worth here is my demonstration that I'm NOT St Francis of Assisi!

Our Father
the one we know, an intimate relationship wiht one who loved us before we even knew you.
In heaven
not with us but in our home where we will one day be with you again.
Hallowed be your name
May we praise you with due honour and respect your name as special not something to be used improperly or claim your authority for our own ends.
Your Kingdom Come
What Jesus taught was right and just, may there be a time that The Love of God and neighbour becomes a reality on earth
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
May we follow your call as clearly as if we were face to face with you as the angels and departed saints are. May we give up our own ideas of what should be done and follow your way in truth.
Give us today our daily bread
Make sure we have all we need. You know what we need, Jesus told us that and yet we already knew that too. Let us have just what we need not too little or too much so that we can do your will distracted neither by pride and plenty nor by poverty and hunger
Forgive us our sins
Wipe away all that stands between us and you God; all the rubbish we fill our minds and our days with; the stuff we shove to the back because we too ashamed to look at it; the things we do to impress others or tease them or make them look smaller than ourselves
As we forgive those who sin against us
only through your strength and graceful forgiveness can we do it. God we can't forgive others unless we follow your own example of forgiveness. Help us. Give us the strength to accept people's mistakes and hurts against us.
Lead us not into temptation
we know we don't have the strength to resist every, or sometimes any, thing that pleases us but goes against you and others, God, help us to avoid places and people that lead us to that temptation and give us your grace and strength to face them when we have to
But deliver us from evil
In this world full of fear, God we see so many shadows when it is your light that shines in the darkness and is not extinguished. Help us focus on your light and see the light in others not the darkness. Lead those tempted by darkness to your light. Build trust between people on earth through us.
For the kingdom the power and the glory are yours
It's your creation and your plan, not ours; it's you who deserves praise not us; it's your kingdom we're building not one of our own design
Now and forever
For all time God, it's You; the same yesterday today and forever. No-one on earth can make that claim but you. You are there for us always
Oh yes! It's all true help me make it true in my life.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Augustine words

Wonderful words of wisdom from Augustine this morning at morning prayer. Well obviously not from him directly but from some of his writings...

To use much speaking in prayer is to employ a superfluity of words in asking a necessary thing; but to prolong prayer is to have the heart throbbing with continued pious emotion towards Him to whom we pray. For in most cases prayer consists more in groaning than in speaking, in tears rather than in words. But He setteth our tears in His sight, and our groaning is not hidden from Him who made all things by the word, and does not need human words.

Pretty good stuff I think. If you like that have a look at the rest (esp chapters 15-20)