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God’s Outrageous Promise

Genesis 18: 1–15

A Son Promised to Abraham and Sarah

The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, ‘My lord, if I find favour with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.’ So they said, ‘Do as you have said.’ And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, ‘Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.’ Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to him, ‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ And he said, ‘There, in the tent.’ Then one said, ‘I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?’ The Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, and say, “Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?” Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.’ But Sarah denied, saying, ‘I did not laugh’; for she was afraid. He said, ‘Oh yes, you did laugh.’

 

You turn up in the strangest of ways Lord.

As I sit
doing nothing really,
resting from the heat,
taking the air.

As strangers passing by
who I can’t help but invite in,
to offer respite from their journey,
shade from the heat,
an opportunity to wash,
refresh and feed.

And in them,
in that action
you speak to me.

God of presence
how will you appear to me?

Who are you bringing before me today?

Who are the strangers
who have so much to teach me,
to show me,
to point me to you,
to truth,
to hope?

Who are you asking me to entertain,
to feed,
to give rest?

Who are you calling me to tend,
to care for,
to refresh?

To listen to?

To receive from?

Who is bringing your word to me
that I might have missed
if I hadn’t invited them in?

How are you going to speak to me?

Please don’t play with me God
you know the pain I carry
deep within,
the feeling of failure,
of emptiness,
of letting this precious man down.

Don’t toy with my emotions
and allow me to hope.

My hope is gone,
my time is over,
what I believed was my purpose
has slipped by.

And yet
you turn up
and make an outrageous promise.

God of promise
who made such an outrageous promise to Sarah,
what promises are you making to me today?

What are you calling me to
that I can’t believe?

What are you asking me to trust you about?

What faith, trust, promise can I carry for you today?

I offer you what I have,
however I feel about it
and leave you
to do the rest.

Bless me
in the unexpected,
the outrageous,
in giving
and in receiving.

May I see you,
invite you in,
hear you
and join with you
on an outrageous journey of faith.

 

Washing

Jesus Washing the Feet of his Disciples (Albert Edelfelt) - Nationalmuseum - 18677

John 13:1-20

This is it!
Resonances clanging,
echoes chiming
in my heart and mind.

This is what Mary did,
so recently.
Poured out her all
in an offering.
She gave her everything,
now Jesus is giving his everything.

He,
God here among us,
King of all kings,
kneels
at our feet
and gently,
tenderly,
lovingly,
washes them.
Soothes them,
cleans them,
deals with the cuts and blisters,
and gently pats them dry.

***

Our feet,
as wandering disciples
had been the tools of our trade,
what took us with him,
the sign of our following
and wanting to be with him,
to walk in his footsteps.

He stoops
to bring refreshment,
healing,
and the ability to go further.

How can I let him do this?

Surely I should be washing his feet,
showing my service to him.

But no,
he wants to tend me,
restore me,
and refresh me.

To not let him
is to turn my back on him,
to all he offers me.
He wants me
to learn to tend others,
and like with everything else,
he shows me the way.
His way,
the on your knees way,
the not afraid of dirt way,
the not too great for this way.

Lord,
may I learn
and live
as a washer,
a kneeler,
a restorer
in you.

 

Taken from my book: Voices Through Holy Week and Easter available through Moorleys

VoicesThroughHolyWeekandEaster-1

Voices

Firstly I want to say a belated huge thank you to all those who bought a copy of Voices Through Advent and Christmas.  I hope that you all enjoyed it and it helped you into Advent and Christmas.

A second print had to be done, and indeed I have no copies left of that (though Moorleys do if you want to get in early for next year!)

As a follow up to that Voices Through Holy Week and Easter is currently at the printers.

2016-01-11 08.29.52

The Easter story is familiar to us.  We travel it year after year. Voices Through Holy Week and Easter seeks to breathe new life through the characters of that journey as they work through what is happening, what it means for them – and what it might mean for us each day.

The readings follow the account of Holy Week and beyond from all four gospels.

They are questions, hopes and fears – the reactions of the characters involved.  Brave followers of Jesus, who in this week didn’t always feel brave, but in the bravery and integrity of Jesus found his promises more than  fulfilled.

The question for us through all the story is ‘What about me?’, where the readings culminate.

The readings can be used in worship services to bring a different accent to the voices, or for personal reflection  as we journey through Holy Week to Easter and resurrection.

The books will be priced £4.50 and will be available as soon as they arrive from the printers.

To order please contact me on voicesthrough@outlook.com or available from Moorleys

Thank you again to everyone for your support.