Wondering Wednesdays – alternative psalms

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Sometimes fairly random second hand books arrive through the post long after I thought I wanted them.  Sometimes I do put things in my wish list and go back to see later.  But when books do arrive I don’t always remember the source of the suggestion for looking at a book.  Today’s extract is one such book although as I read it I find the poem I read out on Easter Eve and remember again why I ordered it.  It was first published in 1981 but the writing speaks to me powerfully today as I imagine I did back then.  I sometimes get frustrated at work when people comment about how old some of the books students quote are – if they are not from the same discipline it can be hard to differentiate between classic and out of date.  This book is a classic.  It is Psalms of a Laywoman by Edwina Gateley.  The one I want to share is Let your God Love You.  I have thought a lot about God’s gaze, through my own study on shame and also in Stephen Pattison’s book Saving Face.

Be silent.

Be still.

Alone.

Empty.

Before your God.

Say nothing.

Ask nothing.

Be silent.

Be still.

Let your God

Look upon you.

That is all.

God knows.

God understands.

God loves you

With an enormous love,

And only wants

To look upon you

With that love.

Quiet.

Still.

Be.

Let your God –

Love you.

Edwina Gateley Psalms of a Laywoman Franklin:  Sheed and Ward 1999 p59

 

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Honest Christianity – childlikeness

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This last week Sally and I were at Mill Grove (http://www.millgrove.org.uk/) for a meeting of the Child Theology Movement.   For a long time I have been interested in theological perspectives on children and am delighted when I find books and articles that take my thinking forward.  There is one such article in the current edition of the International Journal for Children’s Spirituality written by Robyn Wrigley-Carr which talks about ‘Proclaiming and cultivating ‘childlikeness’:  a subversive thread in Christian anthropology.  There is a reference to the Child Theology Movement in the article but also to some theologians from much further back.  I was particularly taken with these reflections:

In the midst of increased urbanisation and the frenzy of population growth in many of our cities, we all, children and adults alike, need green spaces for play and rest, so we can be humanised, for something essential regarding what it is to be human when we become dominated by  technology and the built environment and don’t have time to be still and quiet – attentive to creation, to ourselves and to the Divine…

In addition to this immersion in creation, we all need rest, for when we work incessantly, we lose our ability to play which is a childlike attribute.  Alongside playfulness, when we are constantly busy working, our weariness makes us unaware of our ‘unawakeness’, our lack of attentiveness to our surroundings and to ourselves.  But getting off the conveyer belt of activity and rush, escaping the demands of email and mobile phones in the wonder and spaciousness of creation can bring forth this ‘childlikeness’ as we reflect upon what is happening in our lives as we encounter the Divine.

The picture is the garden at Mill Grove complete with toys – when is our next opportunity to play?

Vol 23(1) p45-52

Wondering Wednesdays – growing wild

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These primroses have somehow appeared in the garden. We didn’t plant them and have no idea how they got there!  They are technically in the lawn but Paul strimmed carefully round them.    I do sometimes reflect on how it is perception and culture that labels something and how we don’t always cope with the things that seem to be growing wild.  They don’t fit our idea of order, we are not in control of them.  So this Wednesday I am being grateful for the wild, unexpected things which bring joy and I am looking out for them to see how God might be working in ways I don’t expect!

Honest Christianity: look again

image_fbc89a02-9102-483d-a4db-0be15694e25020180410_204328 (2)I I am sure like me, you receive lots of photos, images etc over social media every week. This is one of the ones I kept, I am sure you can appreciate several reasons why. Stopping, slowing down is something many of us have learnt to do even though it is against our instinctive nature.  Being down at the level of where a child sees from, their eye level view, their perspective offers a different vantage point . At the hospital I enjoying kneeling on the floor by the bedsides, eye to eye with our patients. (Harder to stay down for very long and getting back up)!! One of he many things I appreciate about how my colleagues at the hospital relate to the children, is that the children don’t get spoken down to. They are genuinely respected and listened to.

This week, Sally  and I have a Child Theology Movement Trustees meeting. The picture is another take on the mandate of Jesus to take seriously the blessing, perspective of children, of being like a child. we owe it to them, ourselves and it seems, for the coming of the Kingdom.

Friday photo – uprooted

We often walk to this Weir on the Cotehele estate and visited again this week. What surprised us was the uprooted tree. It had looked so big and strong but clearly wasn’t! All of us have vulnerabilities but they can’t always be seen so grace and kindness will usually be the most appropriate response to situations which might naturally evoke a different reaction.

Wondering Wednesdays – the value of play

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This is a holiday week so blogging about play seemed apt. I have had a growing appreciation of the value of play as an adult, largely due to some of my colleagues who are passionate about it! Thanks Dawn and Sian. Thus I was drawn to a book called Playful Awakening. Early on in the book she lists the six key elements of play and the related words – this appeals to me as sometimes I spend a lot of time looking at a thesaurus to try and find the right word.
Anticipation: interest, openness, readiness, expectation, curiosity, desire, exuberance, wonderment
Surprise: appreciation, awakening, stimulation, excitement, discovery, arousal, thrill, astonishment
Pleasure: satisfaction, buoyancy, gratification, joy, happiness, delight, glee, fun
Understanding: tolerance, empathy, knowledge, skill, insight, mutuality, sensitivity, mastery
Strength: stamina, vitality, devotion, ingenuity, wit, drive, passion, creativity
Poise: dignity, grace, composure, ease, contentment, fulfilment, spontaneity, balance

I wonder which of these I will experience this week, hopefully all of them!

Di Gammage Playful Awakening London Jessica Kingsley 2017 p52 {c) The Strong