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Ataraxia

Greek for undisturbed or untroubled “ataraxia” is a place of inner peace or calm, in spite of external circumstances. St Paul wrote these timeless words: “… Your life is hidden with Christ in God…” so adding to the Psalmist’s poetic insights recorded in Psalm 18 (recommended reading). In this reflective ditty I see a movement from inner turmoil (the reality of many of us) to a place of “ataraxia” found through abiding “in Christ” and I pray this will be your felt experience today.

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Calm that raging storm within

Tumult of both wind and sea

Still me into quietness

May Your peace hold sway in me

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Under shelter of Your wing

May I rest from all alarm

Safely held in strong embrace

Kept from all that could cause harm

~~~

Living in that spacious place

Rock of Ages split for me

Trusting in Your loving care

Hidden there eternally

~~~

Image result for calm

 

 

 

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I’ll be in church on Sunday NOT because I have it all sorted, or feel better than anyone else, BUT precisely because I screw up badly and frequently, need an abundance of mercy and grace, and appreciate journeying with those in the same boat (we call it fellow-ship)

I’ll be in church on Sunday NOT as a pastor/leader or in order to parade any ‘gifts’ God may have given me, BUT simply as a faltering human being trying to make a little sense of himself, this crazy world and an unfathomable God

I’ll be in church on Sunday NOT to wallow in my own circumstances, or draw off attention to myself, BUT to transcend my personal bubble, and engage with both the universal and the eternal – it’s not about me !

I’ll be in church on Sunday NOT because I HAVE to be, from some imagined legalistic obligation, BUT because I WANT to be, in a rather pathetic attempt to worship the One who is utterly and eternally committed to me

I’ll be in church on Sunday NOT because I am a super holy person, or have enormous spiritual stature, BUT in order to acknowledge my weakness, and to identify with folk who lean, unashamedly, on Everlasting Arms

If that makes any difference to you, perhaps you’d care to join me – it would be great to have you walking alongside

Make The Main Thing The Main Thing

Celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost in all the main traditions of the Christian Church

Two texts:

Matthew 28:18-20

“Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

2 Corinthians 13:14

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

Briefly stated:  We believe in ONE God, who reveals Himself, fully and equally, in three PERSONS: God, the Father; God, the Son; and God, the Holy Spirit.

Personally I find this ‘diagram’ helpful:

That said, however, I do not regard Trinity as a matter for cold analysis, or idle speculation – Trinity defies explanation, is an unfathomable Mystery, and yet is an invitation into relationship. In this I find myself in agreement with Eugene Peterson as he writes: “Trinity insists that God is not an idea or a force or a private experience, but personal and known only in personal response and engagement” – (Christ Plays In Ten Thousand Places)

Both the liturgy and hymnology of the Church, as developed over the centuries, has provided a vast resource both for private & public devotion. Here’s one verse of a truly magnificent hymn which will be familiar to many:

Holy, holy, holy
Lord, God Almighty
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee

Holy, holy, holy
Merciful and mighty
God in three persons blessed Trinity

Not in the same league as the above hymn, here’s a ‘poem’ I wrote in honour of the Trinity:

Perfect Father

Love ineffable

Gracious giver

Genius God

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Son, beloved

Love’s expression

Broken body

Dying God

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Spirit,  holy

Love’s proceeding

Gentle dove

Breathing God

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Three in One

Love enfolding

ALL who come.

Accepting God

When I published this on Ready Writer, I added: “Unashamedly Trinitarian, I am deeply grateful for the remarkable insights contained in William P. Young’s allegorical work: “The Shack” – which is available in both book or DVD format, and which I’m happy to recommend.

A few years ago I also wrote a ditty (song) which again reflects on my very limited understanding of Trinity:

You are my Source

You are my Centre

You are my Home

Where I belong

 

So, may I know You

And may I grow like You

Lord may I make You known

Wherever I go

The Father is Source, the Son is Centre, the Spirit is Home —  and to know Him, to grow like Him and to make him known is my life’s vision and purpose.

So, a concluding Prayer, from Universalis, directed to our God, Who is Three in One and One in Three

God of mercy,

you revealed the great mystery of your Godhead to men

when you sent into the world

the Word who is Truth

and the Spirit who makes us holy.

Help us to believe in you and worship you,

as the true faith teaches:

three Persons, eternal in glory,

one God, infinite in majesty.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

AMEN

 

 

 

 

 

Journey

I’ve been a Christ-follower since my teens, in the mid-1960s, and marvel at the vast range of hymns and spiritual songs out there, pertinent to all kinds of moods and seasons. Just occasionally in recent years I’ve come across a ‘belter’ that I’ve never heard before … this is one such. Its lyrics are special … yes, one of those you wished you’d written yourself !! So it’s with great enthusiasm that I commend Joy Dine’s brilliant hymn to you. In a ‘meter’ which fits with many ‘well-known’ tunes, I find “Ode to Joy” as appropriate as any – do enjoy and let it speak for itself.

(My own photo: a section of Hadrian’s Wall, northern England – June 2012)

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God who sets us on a journey
to discover, dream and grow,
lead us as you led your people
in the desert long ago;
journey inward, journey outward,
stir the spirit, stretch the mind,
love for God and self and neighbour
marks the way that Christ defined.

Exploration brings new insights,
changes, choices we must face;
give us wisdom in deciding,
mindful always of your grace;
should we stumble, lose our bearings,
find it hard to know what’s right,
we regain our true direction
focused on the Jesus light.

End our longing for the old days,
grant the vision that we lack –
once we’ve started on this journey
there can be no turning back;
let us travel light, discarding
excess baggage from our past,
cherish only what’s essential,
choosing treasure that will last.

When we set up camp and settle
to avoid love’s risk and pain,
you disturb complacent comfort,
pull the tent pegs up again;
keep us travelling in the knowledge
you are always at our side;
give us courage for the journey,
Christ our goal and Christ our guide.

 Joy Dine (1937 – 2001)