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Walking The Labyrinth

I’m delighted to post this ‘reflective piece’ by my friend, Aglaia, following a group exercise of Walking the Labyrinth during a retreat at the Northumbria Community ‘mother house’, Nether Springs on Saturday 12th October 2019. It was shared by Aglaia the following day and expresses something of her apprehension, yet surprised delight at her experience. Aglaia has kindly given her permission for me to post on Ready Writer, for which I am deeply grateful. I hope it will convey something of the wonder of God’s ways.
~~~~~
The Path will not trick me –
It will carry me in the way I should go.
It keeps me safe –
keeps me focused.
It gives me time –
gives me space.
It changes my views.
It helps me look at where I came from –
 and keeps me moving forward.
The path is not made by me.
It is rock, and soil,
It is green, and alive
It is there – before me, and after me.
For all – even the slugs, the woodlice and nettles.
It is a gift – for me – for all.
To be followed.
Yet it gives me space to move along it,
the way I need, the way I want
Slowly, carefully
Heavily, deliberately
Thoughtfully, purposefully
Care-lessly, lightly
With a sway in my hips
My eyes down, my eyes up.
It lets me decide – how I walk
All the while supporting, guiding, enabling, inviting me.
And today – what a challenge !
Others are on the Path too.
And today – what a surprise !
There is room for us all.
What a delight! – encountering others, negotiating others, connecting with others.
And my fears that there won’t be room for me –
that I will have to let go of myself and pick up the others – fade away.
As joy and delight at those encounters, soothe my anxiety.
And the Path says “There is space enough for all’.
And the Path says: “Love yourself, love others – follow me, surrender to me”.
By
Aglaia Barraclough
~~~~~
I came across this photo of Nether Springs’ Labyrinth in the web’s amazing archive – but unsure of the source or the date it was taken enjoy.
https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/media/5602365/labyrinth-20160503171448444_web.jpg?width=1000
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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.

~~~

Calm that raging storm within

Tumult of both wind and sea

Still me into quietness

May Your peace hold sway in me

~~~

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

 

 

 

https://stpetersbentley.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/since-1896-square-200x200.png

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

~~~~

Son, beloved

Love’s expression

Broken body

Dying God

~~~~

Spirit,  holy

Love’s proceeding

Gentle dove

Breathing God

~~~~

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