Category Archives: Jesus

The Path of Hope

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Flowers will bloom in the wastelands…

Isaiah 35:1-10

The Road of Holiness

35 The desert will rejoice,
and flowers will bloom in the wastelands.
The desert will sing and shout for joy;
it will be as beautiful as the Lebanon Mountains
and as fertile as the fields of Carmel and Sharon.
Everyone will see the Lord’s splendor,
see his greatness and power.

Give strength to hands that are tired
and to knees that tremble with weakness.
Tell everyone who is discouraged,
“Be strong and don’t be afraid!
God is coming to your rescue,
coming to punish your enemies.”

The blind will be able to see,
and the deaf will hear.
The lame will leap and dance,
and those who cannot speak will shout for joy.
Streams of water will flow through the desert;
    the burning sand will become a lake,
and dry land will be filled with springs.
Where jackals used to live,
marsh grass and reeds will grow.

There will be a highway there,
called “The Road of Holiness.”
No sinner will ever travel that road;
no fools will mislead those who follow it.
No lions will be there;
no fierce animals will pass that way.
Those whom the Lord has rescued
will travel home by that road.
10 They will reach Jerusalem with gladness,
singing and shouting for joy.
They will be happy forever,
forever free from sorrow and grief.

What a beautiful passage this is.  Full of hope and promise.

I found myself again this week longing for the strength to hands that are tired and to knees that are weak, and on a bad week, for every other joint screaming and screeching in pain and objection.

At this time of year so many are crying in exhaustion, in despair, in wondering how anything is going to happen.  People are struggling and juggling amongst, despite, or even because of the merriment. People are grieving – for all kinds of things.

And into that comes the Advent message of hope, of God, of his coming to set everything right, of a God of rescue.  The promise of a time when we will have the strength, when flowers will bloom in the wasteland, when wrongs will be righted and we will finally know freedom.

This is our hope.  This is God’s promise.  It is a journey God invites us on with him.

As I wait, as I journey, what am I doing to work with him?  To give strength to those who need it?  To help them carry their burdens? To support those in despair? To plant seeds in wastelands? To right wrongs? To liberate and free? As I long for God to do that in me, I can work with him to bring it about for others.

As I long for God’s hope and promise, what am I doing to enable it to come in my world today.

Come Lord,
bring peace, strength, freedom.
As I long in hope
fulfill your promises
in me
and through me

Amen

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Darkness #Advent

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

Responding to Isaiah 9:2-7 

We stumbled and floundered, we scrabbled and groped our way along.  How could we see, for there was no light?  Not where we were.  Something had happened, something was missing.  Someone had stifled all the light and left us.  Darkness all around.  Real darkness. Total black.

How can I get out of this?  Who will rescue me?  Lead me?  Help me?  Guide me?  Who can bring a light, shine it on my path, that I may see?  I can’t get myself out of here.  Where would I start?

Someone, please, come and save me.

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 Lord,
you know the depth of the darkness,
the place of despair,
where there is no hope and no way out.

Reach into my darkness I pray.

Bring your light,
that I may be able to see a way out,
your way,
guiding me,
onwards,
with you.

Forgive me Lord,
the times that I have made the world a dark place.
When I have snuffed out light,
taken hope,
dimmed the light of your presence;
when I have abused life
and goodness
and justice;
when I have turned my back on you
and on others;
when I have failed to see,
because I wasn’t looking;
when I have ignored your call;
when I have behaved
as if I am the only thing that matters.

 Forgive me Lord,
and bring light,
hope and peace,
to me
and to your world.

He’s Not Here Anymore

 

Saint Elizabeth Catholic Church (Columbus, Ohio) - stained glass, The Empty Tomb
By Nheyob (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12

I had to go
to the place they’d laid him.
I had to go
and continue the task,
to honour
in death
the one we loved so much.

I came,
dragging my cares,
my fears,
my worries.
Wondering,
questioning;
as much about practicalities
as huge theological questions.

The kind of things you worry about,
to stop you worrying about the really huge questions.

But when we got there
our confusion turned to panic.
Someone had moved the stone,
that huge rock
rolled right away.

How could anyone have budged that?

It was the final stopper
on all Jesus had been,
the seal on all he had promised.

The end had come.
We had to face it.
And yet
it had gone.

Moved.

No longer a barrier.

Left behind was
the message,
he’s not here.

It isn’t over,
this isn’t the end.
God has had the final word.
Jesus is alive.

What next?
Who knows,
but Jesus remains with us
God in him.

God taking us
on this journey
on
into life,
hope,
power.

Into life where there was death,
hope where there was despair,
freedom where there things were held down,
power where there was powerlessness.

He isn’t here anymore,
he has risen.

When seemed as if it was all over,
that this was it,
done,
finished with,
dreams shattered,
hopes dashed,
it was only the beginning.

Thank you Lord
that you have other ideas,
a new hope,
a bright future,
new life
in you.

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