The Blessing Of Not Being Too Important

The blessing of not being too important
There have been days
when we’ve been loving to our friends
and kind to our enemies.
There have been days when the sight of someone in need
has prompted us to reach into our pocket
and do what we can… all we can…
without even being asked.
There have been days when we’ve worked quietly,
behind the scenes
on behalf of the people we love,
letting them believe that their success is all their own to enjoy.
There have been days
when we’ve stood up for people who struggle to stand on their own
spoken up for those who could not make themselves heard
Days when we’ve borne witness to people’s grief and pain
and with our presence, helped it become bearable.
Not all our days have been like that.
Maybe not most days.
On other days we’ve made ourselves
a bright star
at the center of our own universe.
Our friends and enemies simply planets in orbit around us
Those in need,
those in sickness, pain or grief
difficult to see clearly in the light we have for them.
We find ourselves annoyed when others (probably at the centre of their own universe) ask us to revolve around them for a moment.
We find ourselves resentful
at the weight of sole responsibility for the wellbeing of the world.
And you,
loving God
come to us again,
Gently remove us from the centre of the cosmos
And take from us the need to be everything to everyone.
In your forgiveness,
we find freedom.
To be as good as we can
To do as much as we can
To love all we can
And let you take care of what we can’t.
Creator of worlds within worlds,
Forgiver of wrongs within wrongs
Whisperer of dreams within dreams
We give thanks.
Amen


Source: Gareth

The Next Change

I’m in one of my favourite places in the world.
I’m sitting at my kitchen table, a mug of extra strong black coffee (from Cuba!) beside my laptop and while I write I’m pausing to gaze out the double doorway into our back yard.  Whoever planted the garden here was a big fan of citrus.  The lemon and lime trees are swaying gently in the wind, annoying the cat who is intent on catching a bird hopping around on the lawn.  A few years ago I’d have gone out and made some noise to save the bird, but the cat’s glory days of hunting are well behind her… She moves a bit slower than she used to, so unless the bird walks up to her and sticks its head in her mouth, it should be pretty safe.
A plane flies overhead…  a tiny seaplane with floats instead of wheels.  It’s about to land on the bay which I can’t see from here but can smell this morning… a touch of brine mixes with the citrus in the air. The cat lazily tracks the plane across the sky, dreaming of the one big leap it might take to bring it down and feast like a king.
There’s been a lot of moving over the years; I’ve lived in 23 different places over my 43 years of life.  Nowhere’s quite perfect… in one place I’d sleep fully clothed under an enormous doona and wake up shivering at 5am because the room was so cold it was damp.  There’s always something that is uniquely enjoyable about where I find myself.  In this place, on this morning, it’s the garden. 
This place in Williamstown wasn’t something we planned. It was a bit of a last straw, grabbed when the house we were renting was sold out from under us and we couldn’t find anywhere in an area which would work for us both. We came here not as something that we wanted but the least-worst option at the time. It meant I would have to face the Westgate and the Monash pretty much every day, and I braced myself to deal with some tiredness and stress from that.   
But it turns out that the taste of strong black coffee and the smell of citrus and the sea means I’m starting the day in a calm place. Should the drive to work bring unwanted adventure I’ll handle it ok.  And tonight I’ll walk along by the Yarra, watch the small boats bobbing on the water, and the container ships dwarfing the city behind them.  I know as I nod to the families who’ve come down to the river to eat together as the sun goes down, whatever stresses I’ve been through over the course of the day will fade a little into the background.
We don’t often look for change.  Change often happens to us rather than for us, and when it comes it can bring chaos and drama.  We can find ourselves scrambling to try and make good decisions in bad circumstances.  Change hits us that way as individuals, and it hits us that way as a church.
We might find ourselves in a place of change over this coming year. Change that we seek out, perhaps. Change that comes to us unbidden, almost definitely. Luckily, we’re not alone.  We are in a community of belonging at Coatesville. We belong to a God whose love for us is the one thing that doesn’t ever change.  Our experiences together, of God and of each other, suggest to us that whatever chaos change may bring, we might find ourselves in a place of peace and joy.


Source: Gareth

Not yet time to sleep

We thought it was over, loving god
We had done our very best in your service
Been faithful apostles
Spoken your word of life
Performed works of comfort and healing
Lived out the kingdom of heaven.
All this we had done in your name,
But the world is what the world is.
And peace is sometimes met with violence.
Joy met with cynicism.
Light sometimes surrounded by darkness
A hand stretched out in earnest is sometimes slapped away
And so we were ready to down tools,
And if we’re honest with ourselves
There was some comfort to be found in that.
At the end of a long day of hard work
It can be right to settle in your chair
Sip your drink and close your eyes.
And yet the voice of Jeremiah
Calls to us across the generations.
That as the old passes away, the new comes to replace it
That as we mourn the old things we did
You are doing a new thing.
A covenant written on our hearts
A new word to catch us up and
Hurl us back into the world
You move within your people
And once again your shalom moves upon the earth.

Source: Gareth