Category Archives: hope

The Man and The Woman

Blake Adam and Eve

All was well with the world, the whole wide world.  Beautiful, productive, everything with its place and order.  Everything worked and it worked well.

But then, well, somehow that wasn’t enough.  We thought we knew better than God.  There was only one thing that was forbidden.  But oh how good it looked, and imagine the possibilities.  If it’s not good for us, how delicious it must be, how exciting it is.  Just one go – can’t hurt can it?

SO he said, she said, it said… the thought, the chance – go on, you know you want to.

So we did.

Big mistake.

For then shame entered the world, and beautiful innocence left it.  In having just one bite, so much had been lost.  Hate and fear were born, suffering got a look in, weeds were sown, hard toil began…

What was once so beautiful was now not so beautiful, not so enjoyable – spoilt.

Now what are we going to do?

Lord there is so much I have got wrong
Things I have seen and wanted – and chased after,
bad choices I have made,
things that would have been better not done or said,
words and actions I should have done
but didn’t.

They pile up, and make an ugly mess.
But you are the one who can put things right,
You are the one who can restore me
change me
give me your strength and power.

I confess what I have got wrong
I bring it to you.
Sweep through me I pray
cleanse me,
dust me down.
Remake me
in your image

Genesis 3:8-19

Late in the afternoon a breeze began to blow, and the man and woman heard the Lord God walking in the garden. They were frightened and hid behind some trees.

The Trouble with Sin

The Lord called out to the man and asked, “Where are you?”

10 The man answered, “I was naked, and when I heard you walking through the garden, I was frightened and hid!”

11 “How did you know you were naked?” God asked. “Did you eat any fruit from that tree in the middle of the garden?”

12 “It was the woman you put here with me,” the man said. “She gave me some of the fruit, and I ate it.”

13 The Lord God then asked the woman, “What have you done?”

“The snake tricked me,” she answered. “And I ate some of that fruit.”

14 So the Lord God said to the snake:

“Because of what you have done,
you will be the only animal
    to suffer this curse—
For as long as you live,
you will crawl on your stomach
    and eat dirt.
15 You and this woman
    will hate each other;
your descendants and hers
    will always be enemies.
One of hers will strike you
    on the head,
and you will strike him
    on the heel.”

16 Then the Lord said to the woman,

“You will suffer terribly
    when you give birth.
But you will still desire
your husband,
    and he will rule over you.”

17 The Lord said to the man,

“You listened to your wife
and ate fruit from that tree.
And so, the ground
will be under a curse
because of what you did.
As long as you live,
you will have to struggle
to grow enough food.
18 Your food will be plants,
but the ground
will produce
thorns and thistles.
19 You will have to sweat
to earn a living;
you were made out of soil,
and you will once again
turn into soil.”

Taken from my 2015 book Voices Through Advent and Christmas available from Moorleys

Rachel Weeping

Matthew 2:16-18

Not the most pleasant of the Christmas passages!  Certainly not one we include in our cute nativity tableaux…

Yet very much a reality of life, as much today as then.  Angry threatened men (and women) still take out their fear and their need to feel superior on the weak, the fragile and the vulnerable.  People are still weeping.  For their children, their community, their parents – people they don’t even know.  Because suffering and destruction are their lot.

We hear a mothers cry.  The raw emotion of Rachel.  This is gritty reality.  There is no neat happy ending to this event.  It is just left as it is.   Sometimes we need to sit with the pain, the questions, the feelings of hopelessness and the fury – even the thoughts that God has brought it all about.  We weep with those who weep, because words are meaningless.

And yet…This is the world Jesus was born into.  The world he still inhabits.  That is the ending.  God is here with us.

Lord,
into the pain,
anger,
confusion,
questions,
terror you were born.

Into a world of cruelty,
greed,
envy
and murder you came.

Little seems any different,
many feel lost,
afraid,
and threatened;
whilst others bully,
intimidate,
cause pain
and death – physical and emotional.

 Into this world Lord,
bring your peace,
your hope,
your comfort,
your life.

And equip me to work with you.

Taken from my 2015 book Voices Through Advent and Christmas, available through Moorleys

No Place

Luke 2:1-7

We were busy enough as it was.  All these people, coming home to register.  Just two more?  Well I suppose we can squeeze them in, but these are definitely the last two!

We had a nice life, settled, sorted – just going along.  But letting that couple in that night changed everything, nothing was ever quite the same again afterwards.

We opened our lives, and after what happened here, our hearts too – and somehow, without us realizing, God moved in.  Jesus came here.  How could things ever go back to how they had been?

New life was born here, changed priorities, opportunities presented, hope re-kindled.  And with that welcoming of God, came a whole rush of other people to welcome too…

Lord, your coming changes everything.
I thought life was ok,
but then you burst into it.
And everything is somehow different,
even when it appears the same.

You have brought your life,
your hope,
your presence.

As I welcome you
may I make room,
and allow you to have an impact
on what you find there.

Taken from my 2015 book Voices Through Advent and Christmas, available through Moorleys