Thursday, March 19, 2009

To one who hurts

Not sure how to explain this. I have had several friends suffering this week, one in particular very close to my heart. Sometimes I don't even know how to pray for them, simply hurt for them. But I believe that I can join my inadequate, broken love to the perfect love of God for them, until my longing for their healing, given back to Him, becomes a prayer for them (I'm struggling for words here)..

This my love
Reaches blindly
To enclose you in my soul
To shelter you from the sun by day
And the moon by night.
To stretch beyond my limitations
And hold your heart secure.

This I cannot do.
In my human smallness
In my broken wisdom
How can I contain your mystery?

I would carry pain for you
Heartbeat by heartbeat
Measuring your pace
Breath for breath enduring
In this tense and aching silence ..
Would you even know?

Pain cannot be divided
For my power is as zero.

But I will take this longing
And become a prayer
Seeing Perfect Love once more
Nailed to our agony.
I will nail my soul to Him
To His dereliction binding;
Letting grace flow through
The tatters of my straining
As He holds the world,
And you;
Healing in His wounds.

Monday, March 16, 2009

You are my inheritance ..

And You are my inheritance.

Not in the musty attic
Of a tired imagination
Where we keep forgotten playthings:
Our old, outgrown gods.

Nor in the best room, on display,
Inside grandma’s glass cabinets
Or stacked on modern shelves
The challenging conversation piece
To which friends must respond.

Nor in the family room:
Knocked about and battered,
Sat on by the children,
Worn and torn.
Misused for years, then broken carelessly,
And tossed out and replaced.

Nor in the kitchen
Hoarded and not shared,
Greedily devoured
In a moment’s desperate hunger,
And souring inside.

But in the intimate rooms
Where I hold you close
And you hold me, promising,
That oneday, someday
I can come to Your house
And stay forever ..

… lodged in living light.

Friday, March 13, 2009

No monsters here

Things are not always what they seem, and people who live by denial will end up, so sadly, paying a heavy price ..

There are no monsters here – the day burns bright
The peerless sun glides through the matchless sky
And all is clear, drenched in revealing light,
And nothing hides, no lingering shadows lie.

Here, crystal tea parties upon the lawns
And ladies in pale dresses sit at ease
And crystal conversation, soft, adorns,
The social sweetness everybody sees.

Here smiles come ready made and laughter clinks
Like silver spoons in teacups going round
In dervish motion, and the sugar sinks
In liquid silence, crystalline and drowned.

Keep your nails short, lest talons should rip through
This painted canvas, beautifully displayed
Make sure, make sure, in everything you do,
That all your anguished efforts are repaid.

Intact! Intact! Here let no rudeness thrust
Through these defences, brittle and so dear.
You hold it all together, for you must
How else can you believe it is sincere?

How else? How else? The monsters stay below
In careful crafted caves beneath the ground.
We only see the things we choose to know:
Nothing distasteful, darkened or unsound.

And who, in this bright landscape so desired,
Knows what those banished monsters darkly do.
Or where they lurk in corners old and tired,
To wait the hour when they devour you?

Monday, March 09, 2009

Let down ..

because we have all had those moments when we felt betrayed or devalued ..

The eyes that turn away
The words that dodge and weave
I know I am betrayed,
I falter, shrink and grieve.

Like flowers thrown aside
Before their scent is done
My offering is despised
My moment overrun.

I shape my public face
The while my heart descends
Into a bitter place –
And the bright world pretends.

I learned long, long ago,
To hide my strickenness
To cover up the shame
Of vulnerable distress.

Yet in the hidden depths
I wrestle with the pain
Of wearing once again
Rejection’s burning stain:

Is everything I am
And everything I do
Uselessly offered up?
They’ve turned to something new!

Yet, oh my Lord and God
Here in this breaking place
I garner shards of me
And lift them up to grace

Lift them up to the One
Who was despised and torn.
From Whom their faces turned,
Whose crown was pressing thorn.

Here I will yield my pain
Here will let go my load
Out of this lonely hurt
Into the hands of God.

Here where the Crucified
Bore even worse for me
I will lean in on Him
Sharing this agony.

Here I will know Him more
Than in the sunlit hour
Learning His perfect love
Held by His hidden power.

And as the waves of pain
Crash on my breathless shore
He will hold fast to me
And I will know Him more.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

education and learning

Learning and education

Well, I’m 1 ½ weeks into my masters course, and, not surprising, feeling slightly overwhelmed. I expected this, I knew that I was breaking into a whole new subject area, since my previous degree was in theology, the half-a-degree I dropped out of in 1975 was in Social Work (covering a little sociology, anthropology, psychology, and, thrown into the mix, a year of Italian, which I did as a general arts subject because someone told me that no one ever failed it). At school, back in the dark ages, I did high level maths and physics because I had to (that was my father) but my joy was in English. And here I am studying Adult Education .. (No wonder I keep asking God what he’s up to in my life – I can’t see the pattern).

But you see, I expected most of the overwhelm to be purely intellectual – learning the jargon and thinking and methodology of an entire new discipline. And, of course, dealing with that little voice inside me that now has to acknowledge that I got through my undergrad degree, but seriously questions whether I’m capable of doing a Masters. Mostly I try to ignore it! What I was not prepared for was the personal impact of some of this stuff – already! I think back over myriad bible studies etc and question the relative agency of “teacher” and “learner” – who sets the agenda? I immediately see that this is why my husband and I have never been able to co-lead – our natural styles fall at very different points along the continuum.

I read about a guy called Freire and his educational philosophy, kind of the educational equivalent of liberation theology, and realise that this process (labelled by some as “insurrectionary”) was exactly the process of self-education I was unconsciously using as a child to distance myself from the “dominant culture” of a dysfunctional family. I’m still processing that one. Then I find myself reading about the next guy’s approach and find myself saying, “Ah! An admixture of Skinner and Piaget!” I haven’t studied either of those guys since 1975 – what vault of memory was that locked away in?

And of course, since one of my conscious goals in doing this course was to work out better teaching methods in the church, I already find myself critiquing the approaches of various people and institutions that I know (since a little knowledge is a dangerous thing). I don’t think we’ve done very well (and I’m thinking denominationally here) in working out how to teach absolute truth in a way that empowers the learner, instead of leaving them with a sheep-ish undiscriminating dependence on the “experts”? How do Jesus’ teaching methods compare in this respect? When did we lose that incredible balance?

Hmm .. I’d better go read some more ..