Saturday, June 27, 2009

do not think so much

a meditation upon Mark's gospel by Barry Hannah...

Do not think so much.
Surrender- believe.
Unprepared, move out to the world and testify.
The words will come. Serve-
from now on service is kingly.
There are no more kings-
serve- help- love- others as thyself.
This is impossible but do it.
You have seen enough- you have seen it all,
the miracles, the walk on water, Father speaking
from a bright cloud.
You were not there but the centurion was,
through the last hour,
the women, faithful, down the hill, waiting and
"Truly this was the Son of God," told the centurion.
To all near the cross. Not you, craven.
the temple did not fall but its veil was rent
top to bottom. enough. you do not need the whole
for it has already taken place.
God is not in the temple anymore.
you cowards, keep running, but now you are mine,
my brothers and sisters.
tell them. help. love. service.
my good cowards, weaklings, doubters,
how i love you,
whom i serve, and will see in Galilee.

poem taken from the gospel according to Mark: with introduction by Barry Hannah

Friday, June 26, 2009

your love is like the morning mist

No wonder CS Lewis talks about the need for us to be thickened up. Reading the prophet Hosea this morning with Pia, I really noticed the passage where the Israelites hear what God is saying and decide to return to him: "Come let us return to the LORD... He will heal us... on the third day he will restore us... ahhhhhhh its all going to be OK." They are really emphatic about it for about two passages. God's response?

Yeah right seacow.

Well it's a little more heartbroken than that... "Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears..."

Ooooooo this resonates with me. Lord thicken me up - I want to last more than just a few hours...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

mini muster

By the way - our team went to mini-muster in Canowindra a couple of weekends ago. How great is that? Mini muster! So many good people! So many good moments. Some sad ones. Missing Strathalbyn friends for one.

We didn't do team reports. Instead we had stalls. A good idea but it meant that I didn't come away with a balanced view of where the teams are up to. I just heard all the really hard things in a series of deep and meaningful conversations. A bit exhausting and probably not as encouraging as it could have been. But I enjoyed spending that time reconnecting with people.

Pete spoke to us about redefining our notions of success. He said love should be our goal - not a good image or a 'successful' event/conversation/relationship. Then he did some mad, loud poetry spoken, hummed, sung. That is when he lost some people - but stubbornly, I LOVE IT! It makes me feel like risks are worth taking. Getting up on stage is a risk. Saying your poems loud and fast is a risk. Being really committed to people (beyond what they would expect) is a risk. I want to be risk-prone.

Of course there is the possibility that I am looking for excuses for all the rash decisions I am making in my life :))

fred smith

ok. obsessing at the moment - but it is in my personality to obsess:

I went out on the open road
with a walkman a whitman a wallet and a kerouac
they say you never know if you never ever go
so I came and went
now I've been there and back

Six weeks on the American Road
the only thing I came to know is
be who you are
go where you want to you're free....

hehee. He's so funny

here's another one:

I played a gig with Chris and Shahn
at a restaurant in Andover, Michigan
Shahn is a vegetari-ahn
but Chris seemed happy to be eatin' fish again

He at the fish, she ate the chips
he paid the bill, she left the tip
so be who you are
go where you want to
you're free...

Ahhhhh dear me. So clever.

I am hoping to organise a house concert in Newie for Fred to perform at. Extended daydreaming about it is a small temptation of mine at the moment. The dreams become so real in my mind and heart. It makes me aware of how important it is to choose carefully the thoughts and ideas I dwell on.

You know, this reminds me of last year when Chris organised for us to sing with Fred at St Albans, our rehearsal (behind a marquis at the Nationals on Easter Sunday 2008). Singing three part harmony, directed by Chris - Mighty Wind style (chris is a genius of harmony) - singing with Fred, learning to imitate his style... oh joy. For the next three weeks I was cutting cauliflower with my body and wandering the starry realm in my mind and heart.

It is impressive how real and good those memories are, probably because I went over them so many times. I have done the same thing with my baptism. Now the goodness of that time is stored deep within and when I am tired, afraid, down... I can bring the memories out and their very atmosphere lifts me. Thanks God for your good gift of the imagination.

talking of atmosphere... my current favourite Fred...

lazy dazy under Virginia skies
deep in the summertime
porch swing, six string
swattin' away the flies
sippin' the local wine

couple o' weeks down on the farm
watchin' the days go by
feelin' the sunshine on my arms
and I'm...
deep in the summertime...

Extracts taken from Song of the Open Road and Lazy Dazy from Fred Smith's amazing album, Texas.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

definitely cyclical

Confessing to feeling down and distant from God to a friend on 'the emails' recently.

She asked some really good questions and as I ponder them I begin to suspect that these feelings (which seem to come to me often when I am stressed and stretched) are more a product of immediate circumstances than of the deep truths to which my life is connected. And if you can understand that mangled sentence I congratulate you.

Well - listening and pondering help and I am listening to Elvis Costello's psuedo-bluegrass album. Here is one to ponder...

Is this not a pretty tale? Is this not a riddle?
A bow shoots arrows through the air;
a bow drags notes from a fiddle.
But who is the beau of a woman's heart
That a king may send to battle?

Is this not a pretty tale? Is this not a riddle?

If red is the breast of a soldier's tunic hung with a silver medal;
and red is the thorn that protects the rose
(a deeper red than the petal);

how deep is the red our redeemer bled
the debt of our sins to settle?
How deep is the red?

Elvis Costello, 'How deep is the red?' from his secret, profane and sugarcane album.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Ahh. Words and beauty. The first time Tim Winton's protagonist sees the ocean and men surfing in it:

I couldn't take my eyes from those plumes of spray, the churning shards of light... death was hard to imagine when you had these blokes dancing themselves across the bay with smiles on their faces and sun in their hair...

How strange it was to see men do something beautiful. Something pointless and elegant, as though nobody saw or cared...

Or when he first surfs on his own real board:

I will always remember my first wave that morning. the smells of paraffin wax and brine and peppy scrub. The way the swell rose beneath me like a body drawing in air. How the wave drew me forward and I sprang to my feet, skating with the wind of momentum in my ears. I leant across the wall of upstanding water and the board came with me as though it was part of my body and mind. The blur of spray. The billion shards of light...

It's as close as I'm ever likely to get to being there myself. Thanks Mr Winton.

extract from Breathe by Tim Winton, Penguin books, Camberwell VIC, 2008.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I've got blisters on my fingers


I'm agin 'em.

Against that is. I think life is too busy. Or maybe that is just life as a school teacher who is on a Cornerstone team with too many awesome people to spend time with and a million possibilities for good things to be doing. I be feelin' stretched, do ya hear me? Stretched! I used to feel like this all the time and I don't think I want to go back to Stretch-ville.

I would, however, like to become Queen of the Sea with a thousand loyal dolphins to command and pretty fish making up songs and dances for no other reason than to spread the joy of living in an aquatic kingdom. Yep, that's me right now... getting ready for a big squishy fishy party.

Or perhaps I could sit in a corner on my own. A corner with a comfortable chair, lots of natural light and a pencil set with eraser, sharpener and paper.

Still, I'm glad to be this side of First Year Cornerstone Studies. It's great to see the hardships of First Year are paying off in my experience of team. I just had this brought home to me because we had the new lot of First Years visiting us and it was a BIG reminder of how hard things were last year.

All of those difficulties have become money in the bank - it's putting all your money away for a big purchase: you don't realise the benefits while you are saving, but one day there's a big payoff. I feel like my First Year struggles became, all unexpectedly, a wealth from which to draw on for the difficulties still to come.

So I don't need to be Queen of the Sea. I'm becoming a different kind of Queen. As Paul Kelly says in his beautiful song

I sought whom my soul loveth
I sought him by my bed
His right hand doth embrace me
His left under my head

He brought me to the banquet house
And when I looked above
Then I saw his banner over me was love

the gift that keeps on giving by Paul Kelly