The horrific fire at Grenfell towers in London has affected many people. As many people watched the tragic events unfold, we witnessed the pain and horror of a terrible nightmare, which to date have caused 70 deaths and many more yet to found in the ashes of the burnt out building. Yet we also saw heroic actions of people, ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Interfaith communities coming togther, bridging communities and love being shown in action, as strangers helping strangers and friendships forged in the shadows of the fire of devastation.
As I prepare for Sunday morning worship, I have struggled to verbalise the juxtaposition of people’s pain and loss and the compassion of volunteers, neighbours, and friends.
Here is a hymn I have written for this particular context.
The Tune is The Skye Boat Song
Come Loving God, heal our desperate world,
Numb with our sense of loss.
Harassed and helpless, we wander alone,
Holding our wounds and hurt.
We pray to you, all Loving God,
Through you our kingdom comes.
Love that brings Hope,
Hope that stands strong,
Breathe through the pain and fear.
Flames that engulf, as smoke hits the skies
Pain that torments the soul;
Help is nearby by the hands that reach out,
Showing Gods care for all…… Refrain
Seeing your people close to despair,
Takes all our courage Lord;
Tears that well up and stings eyes and hearts
Heal our world, Lord we cry…… Refrain
Bless all the people now in your care,
Bless those who seek on earth;
Bless those who seek for justice and truth,
Bless as we sing this prayer.
©Ruth Dillon 2017
Tune Skye Boat Song
God who breathes through all creation,
Breathe through all hearts
as we stand on the cusp
of another year.
As we smell the freshly baked bread,
as we drink the heady wine,
may your food energize us,
heal us and
enable us to love your people
and be part of restoring your Kingdom
of Justice and Love.
Lord who delights in all human experience,
Delight in all people lives
as new opportunities come before us.
As we hold an anxious hand,
as we embrace the rejected,
may your tenderness
encourage us to live life in all its fullness,
and to enable others
to recognise the Divine spark within themselves
and so be part of restoring your Kingdom of
Hope and Truth.
Spirit, who dances to the music of a heartbeat,
Dance to conversations
that will bring wholeness
to people this year.
Direct us to those who are needing healing
whether physical, emotional, psychological sexual or spiritual;
people who are yearning for a ‘voice’
Whether man woman or and child,
regardless of age, race, culture gender or ability.
May your Shalom,
Be the gift your bring to us,
and may we use your gift wisely
to restore your Kingdom of Inclusivity and Wisdom
(c) Ruth Dillon 2017
To you is born this day in the city of David, a saviour who is the Messiah, the Lord Luke 2:11
Since the beginning of time itself, God has tried to communicate with us, first with individual people, then specific high priests, and then the prophets, but all that was not effective.
Now, God Immanuel, God is with us!
God dwells in the fragile life of an infant, the task is completed. The Infant Jesus will grow and develop, will touch people’s hearts and minds as he walks the dusty paths in his country of birth. God’s story will in time unfold, a story filled with love, compassion challenge, and death.
The heavens are singing and we are in awe.
May our wonder and amazement remain with us as we follow the life of Jesus, but for now, let us be content to savour the arrival of the Babe of Bethlehem.
Babe of Bethlehem, Prince of Peace, and Life giver
As we kneel, we bring the gift of our very self to you.
It is not wrapped in fancy paper, but it is a priceless gift
- My heart
The people who walked in darkness, have a great light Isaiah 9:2
Today is the last shopping day before Christmas. The lights are still twinkling, the cash registers are slowing, the Amazon parcels have hopefully all arrived, it is finished.
Now we can sit back and wait for the arrival of Jesus. But wait!
Isn’t that what we have been doing, waiting for Christmas?
Maybe the question needs to be asked, what area in your life would you want Jesus to light up and illuminate and transform, the difficult relationship, challenges or situations?
Sometimes when arriving at our destination, we sit a little bit longer in the car, gather our belongings in the overhead locker on a plane journey, wait a little longer in a queue.
Jesus is saying to each one of us, wait a little longer, don’t rush, savour the moment in the here and now, for I am worth wait, the darkness has nearly gone and my light will shine brighter.
Never more does our world need the light of a shining star, but now
As you gently rise in the sky tonight, shine brightly
So all can see you
Those who live east, west, north and south
Those who have lost sight
Those who do not know you
Those who need a light to guide their way.
Enfold us and take us to the place where Jesus will be born.
Love never ends 1 Corinthians 12:1-13
Love came down at Christmas.
What a wonderful image.!
A love that is pure, honest, true and faithful,
A love to illuminate and radiate,
A love to encircle and enrich
A love that is far reaching and faithful
A love that heals hearts and heartaches.
Whatever our interpretation and experience of human love, God’s love is deeper and richer than can ever be envisaged.
Imagine our world surrounded by the cleansing light of God
Imagine creation in harmony within its source
Imagine all people immersed in the generosity of the Spirit
Love came down at Christmas, and love never ends
Infant Jesus, you nearly ready to be born,
Accept the world you are about to live in,
for we need your redeeming presence more than ever.
A love that will banish fear, conflicts, and hatred
A love that will banish dishonesty and greed
A love that will raise the lowly and bring Good News
It is blessed to give than receive Acts 20:15
In this passage, Paul is writing to the elders to the church in Ephesus. He writes a letter sent by a courier, as he wanted to arrive in Jerusalem and could not spare any time stopping off in Ephesus. Yet there were things he felt he needed to say to them.
It seems that he knew he would not see them again (v25), so his task was to prepare them to keep the faith that he had previously proclaimed to them. Paul even sensed that betrayal could be present within the Elders, so instructs them to be alert and never forgo the faith of Christ, that he had taught them, to remember the life Jesus lived, and so by living the life of disciples we must support the weak. His emphasis on giving rather than receiving comes directly from his own experience. As the transformed Paul, he has experienced what it feels like to be accepted and loved and offered hospitality, ‘to give rather than receive’.
These words are not just for Advent but for all time, for it is only when we arrive at the stable, we are humbled at God’s gift to us in Jesus.
You looked for a way to reach humankind,
to show us what it really means to accepted and loved
And so You gave of your very self,
and came to dwell here with us,
as a humble fragile infant.
As your soft hands reached out from your crib to touch the shepherds, the warmth of gift to us softened hearts, and still does today Amen
We have gifts that differ according to the grace give to us Romans 12:6
What can we bring to the crib on Christmas morning? A Christmas carol written by Christina Rossetti, answers that question.
Christina was born in 1830 and lived in London with her two brothers and one sister, who all became successful writers and artists, and she herself become a successful Romantic poet.
She was a committed Anglican, but suffered a nervous breakdown as a teenager. She always felt she was never good enough, as she saw her siblings rise to success, and so she delved deeper into religious fervour.
We all ask that question ’what can I do’ or ‘what gifts to I have to offer God’s world’. The last verse in the well-loved carol ‘In the bleak mid-winter’, captures the desperation that Christina had to encounter the Living God. However I think this applies to every individual who is serious about discipleship, walking and kneeling before the crib.
What can I give him
Poor as I am
If I were a shepherd,
I would bring a lamb ,
If I were a wise man,
I would do my part
Yet what can I give him
Give my heart. Amen
…but she out of her poverty, has put everything she had Mark12:44
The story of the widow’s mite has been told and retold over the centuries and pulpits. The meaning is still as vivid now as it was 2,000 years ago. Generosity is at the heart of the Gospel, it is not so much what we can afford to give, but giving with a spirt of generosity, to share everything we have. That is a huge challenge, as many families and individuals are faced with unemployment and using food banks on a regular basis.
Yet generosity is one of the vital elemsnts of discipleship; generous with time , our gifts, our food , our belongings our home and yes our money.
In your wisdom and love
You have joined us together
So that here below
We share with one another
The heavenly treasure
with which you have enriched us (Therese of Lisieux)
Leave your gift there before the alter and go first to be reconciled to your brother or sister Matthew 5:24
Reconciliation and healing are vital to the disciple, but we cannot walk the way of Christ, if we have broken relationship to fix first.
The scars of family disagreements can last a lifetime and the majority are ‘internal’, so one really sees them. The healing of wounds, whether old or new is what Matthew is referring to here. Matthew’s Gospel focuses on relationships and is the most caring of the gospels. It matters to Matthew that God has the last word, not you.
So during Advent arrive at a place where you can send that email, or even better make that phone call, and in our’ arrival’, may we will find peace.
Be with me Lord this day
So I may trust your guidance
in difficult relationships
and restore brokenness to blessings
She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus Matthew 1:21
Well, the angel certainly has taken the joy out of the pregnancy question, ‘Is it a boy or girl?’
As a grandmother, I watch children playing with a different perspective. Yes, I am in awe at how quickly time passes, and they grow up before my very eyes, but I look and wonder at their potential and possibilities which lay before them.
When I was seconded to Jamaica during my ministerial training, the children there taught me song, which I often hum to myself, reminding me that we are all possibilities.
I am a promise
I am a possibility
I am a promise with a capital P
I am a great big bundle of potentiality
And I’m listening, listening to hear God’s voice
And I’m trying, trying to make the right choice
I am a promise to be
Everything God wants me to be.
I wonder what Mary hoped for, for her son who was to be named Jesus ?.
God of the Arrival
May we all be the potential that you crave for us
May we all grasp the possibility that you place before us
May you delight in our flourishing and blossoming