Advent 2 – Stars in the heavens -Tuesday 5th December – Micah 4:6-13

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There you shall be rescued, there the Lord will redeem you v 10

Many years ago, when I was in a small caravan with my two young children, I had broken my leg. It was in a plaster cast and could not move around easily. Feeling very sorry for myself, I was wondering how on earth I was going to manage, and how could I get the girls to school. At midnight, I heard a knock on the door; it was my father, who had heard about my misfortune and had come to pick us all up to stay with him. Since his death, I have often thought about that incident. It was a wonderful illustration to me of how God redeems and rescues us, and that words spoken in haste can often leave a mark on relationships, yet my father, like God, saw beyond that.

God who redeems and rescues, cleanse us from all that stains our hearts and minds so we may see you more clearly. Amen    

 

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Body Theology….Evidence of a life lived.

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If I wanted to describe my outlook on life, I would use a phrase … I celebrate life in all its fullness’. I know it’s a strange phrase, as most of us would reply ‘and so say all of us’. But what does that mean for us as Christians …when we follow a God whose body was mutilated and tortured on a cross through the death of Jesus., Some people may look at their own bodies and feel shame, disgust, and revulsion.

We need to reflect and reclaim what that means for us in the light of ‘Body Theology’.

Our bodies are how we live and move within God’s world. As St Teresa of Avila clams … God has no body but ours, no feet but ours, no hands but ours, ours is the body with which Christ moves.

So what will Christ feel and see if he moves about in my Body!

Well after three hip operations, two children, a life of enjoying good company, friendships, food and fellowship, pneumonia and various illnesses …this very rounded body is holding out!  Nevertheless, my Body is sacred … with its scars and cellulite, and spots and menopausal symptoms.

My body tells a story of life that I have lived in all of its fullness… some have been painful memories which i would want to forget, where ‘abuse’ has tortured my inner being, yet I want to celebrate God dwelling in me  .

I have loved passionately and deeply, with all of my being, and some scars are deeply hidden, but to love and trust someone, to give one’s Body over to someone else to care for whether friend , relative or lover is incredibility humbling….. God delights in Love

I have played energetically, seeing the sights and sounds of different cultures, different traditions, and different relationships, all have enriched me in many surprising ways, pushing my Body to its limit( for me ) ! … God delights in my Playfulness

I have lived rejoicing in my womanhood, experiencing  being a single mother, breast feeding my children, the menopausal symptoms which can overtake my Body, forgoing food to feed my then two young children; snacking and not eating properly is still a habit I have not relinquished. … God delights in my Faithfulness

I have worked hard, as a nurse, teacher, friend, colleague, and now a minister, and have given 150%, which yes has taken a toll on my Body, through tiredness and exhaustion… God delights in my commitment.

Yet, my Body is a place where God has delighted in all my experiences, and still delights. My Body is still the place of discovery, still the place where God chooses to dwell, and be with me as I explore the world around me.

So… I am not thin , so…. I don’t exercise , yes have yo- yo dieted for most of my life, but God’s Spirit dwells in me and delights in my Body that brings fullness into my life.

I have LGBT and disabled friends who have over the years helped me reflect on my Body, when some have had gender reassignment, some in wheelchairs and to them I will be forever grateful. Body Theology speaks to the deep inner self within us. It bubbles with excitement as we push our boundaries of discovery.

My physical, psychological and sexuality are how I live my life in all of its fullness, and I give glory to God for my experiences so far, and for ones that I have yet to encounter.

What will Christ feel and see in your Body ?

Glorious God

Our bodies have been changed

over the years through disease and injury,

Yet you choose to lovingly dwell within us.

Help us to Love our Bodies that tell the story of the life we have lived

To sense the delight you have when we discover new experiences

And when our Bodies give up on us

Journey with us until we become a new creation.

Amen

I am grateful for the beautiful images of the’ abundant Goddess’ which have helped me explore my own Body Theology.

Difficult relationships

difficult relationships

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6: 31

Relationships !!…..my they can be difficult … but not all of them are thank goodness!!.

However, there was a young girl during my time at senior school, who made my life a misery. At any and every opportunity, she would humiliate and verbally abuse anyone unfortunate enough to cross her path. She was a bully, and like many others, I lived in fear of her approaching me. One day, about 10 yrs after I left school, I saw her make a beeline over to me. I was nursing by this time, but you can imagine how I felt … petrified and sick in my stomach !! My mouth became dry and my hands clammy the closer she came towards me. Then she greeted me with a smile, clasped hold of my hand and started to apologise for her behaviour at school. I was convinced that this sudden friendliness was just a front to conceal a plan. But it wasn’t…. it was real. And even when she was friendly towards me I still flinched and became suspicious of her intentions.

Love your enemies?

It’s hard enough, even when they extend the hand of friendship. To love those who continue to hurt us – its asking a lot isn’t it ?

Yet that is the way of Christ…….. It does not mean liking them, but it means ready to forgive…..,

to put the past behind and to start with a clean slate….

to meet rejection with acceptance,

to wish good rather than evil

 

Can you do that?… I i know i find it difficult, but I am sure I should.

One look at the world with all its tensions and conflicts and divisions and prejudices ….give us a bleak picture of the alternative.

 

Prayer

Forgiving God

You ask us to turn the cheek,

to love our enemies,

are you sure you mean that  ?

 

It is so difficult when they hurt me,

Humiliate me,

Destroy me.

 

Help me to love and forgive all your people,

Even those who would wish me harm.

Soften my heart,

For the sake of Jesus, your Son, my Lord

Amen