Hope for the persecuted

 

N

Along with many other churches, we were interceding for the persecuted minorities in Iraq as part of our worship yesterday,  in particular for the displaced Christians of Mosul, although our prayers extended to the Boko Haram victims in Nigeria as well. We prayed for all those being persecuted and their persecutors too.

During the worship, I found myself watching a movie, as it were. It shifted my perspective completely from the heart breaking tragedy here on earth, with which I was grievingly burdened, to what was happening before the throne of God, which was as unexpected as it was joyous.  As I meditate on it today, I realise it’s all very biblical, but in the moment I was quite astonished – these were not my thoughts.

First I saw a long queue of people coming up to the throne of God. They looked Middle Eastern, from what I could see, and were wearing clean, white robes, although you could see where some had been wounded, bleeding. As each one came to the throne, our heavenly Father placed a crown on his or her head, and said, ‘Well done, well done, good and faithful servant.’  Tears rolled down my face. They were receiving the crown of life, mentioned in James 1: 12: Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Then I saw them waving branches and singing praises to the Lamb, ‘ Worthy is the Lamb who was slain! Worthy, worthy, worthy!’  They were incredibly thankful for what Jesus had done for them; they didn’t seem to be thinking of the price they had paid for their faith at all.  They just loved Him; they were ecstatic, joy filled to see his face.  In a loud voice they were saying:  ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,  to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength  and honour and glory and praise!’  Revelations 5:12

The last scene showed a huge, long banqueting table, covered in glistening white linen, with beautiful dishes and glasses of gold and delicious looking fruits in baskets in the middle of the table. And then I noticed Jesus was walking among them, and sitting down and talking with individuals here and there, and wiping tears from their eyes as they spoke, so tenderly, with such gentle attention and care.  I felt how much he valued each one of them, how deeply he knew and loved them.  And they were saying to each other,  ‘It was all worth it! It was all worth it.’   More tears rolled down my face.  It was all right. They were SAVED.

This morning, I wonder whether the fruit came from the tree of life mentioned in Revelations, which bears a different crop every month. The whole scene reminds of the wedding feast of the Lamb described  in Revelations 19:

‘Hallelujah!
    For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
    and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
    and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
    was given her to wear.’

(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)

The peace that passes comprehension filled my heart and mind yesterday, watching that movie. I knew that my Almighty Lord is really working all things together for good for those who love him, turning darkness into light by his amazing power.  The Wonderful Counsellor does lead and guide us to pray, to give, to act on behalf of the persecuted, so that heaven comes to earth in the coming of his Kingdom of Love day by day, but He also comforts by bringing them to the heavenly joys of  the eternal life promised and reminding us here on earth of the eternal home awaiting us.

He makes everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:11

We are N. Amen

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prayer for the persecuted

arabic-n-christians-iraq1

Our Father, (ours and theirs)

Draw the persecuted close
In the arms of the Comforter
Intimately
To know the peace that passes understanding
Secure in the assurance
Deep within
that

Nothing
no trouble or hardship
no persecution
no famine or thirst
no nakedness or danger
no sword or bomb

Not even when facing death all day long
Not even when considered like sheep to be slaughtered
Not unbearable life,
Not death

Nothing can ever seperate us from the Love of God
Seen, known, proven
in Jesus Christ your beloved son, sacrificed for us on the cross.

And give today daily bread, Father
Food, drink, shelter, clothes
Hope for tomorrow
Confidence for eternity

Strengthen, uphold, sustain
Each Mother’s heart, each Father’s soul
Give childlike joy and resilience to young and old
Angelic protection from trauma

Courage most divine
To stand firm
To remain true
Love most holy
To forgive
To pray for enemies

And glorify You
Somehow to reveal the beauty of You
Pouring out your loving kindness

Inadvertently or intentionally
On those blinded by the Adversary
Light in the darkness pouring through the cracks
Fresh seeds of faith in the Middle East

Let them know they are not forgotten Father
Not by You
Not by us

We are N

Amen.

Are the women of Ireland liberated yet?

 

 

Do you recognise these famous Irish women?
Do you recognise these famous Irish women?


As some of you may recall, I was invited to a public debate on the Vincent Browne show on TV3 on this topic a few weeks back, but never managed to get my spoke in on the night! I realised afterwards that everybody else had two minute speeches prepared, so it wasn’t really a debate, so waiting for an opening to hop in was a waste of time….But if I’d had my two minutes, here’s what I’d have said, more or less.

It all depends on what you mean by liberated.

A bit of a cop out, I know.  But if we’re talking about political and legal rights, access to education, equal pay for equal work, all the things the last generation of Irish feminists fought for, then you have to say that we have achieved equality of opportunity. Here’s a list of things that women of today take for granted, but ordinary Irish women (in the Republic) could not do in the 1970’s:

1 Keep her job in the public service or a bank when she got married.  The marriage bar in the public service was removed in July 1973, on foot of the report of the first Commission on the Status of Women. In 1977, the Employment Equality Act prohibited discrimination on the grounds of gender or marital status in almost all areas of employment.

2 Sit on a jury  Mairín de Burca and Mary Anderson challenged the Act and won their case in the Supreme Court in 1976. The old Act was repealed and all citizens over 18 who are on the electoral register are eligible for juries.

3 Collect her children’s allowance, without her husband’s written mandate! The 1974 Social Welfare Act entitled a mother to collect the allowance in her own name.

4 Get a barring order against a violent partner  In 1976 the Family Law Act, Ireland’s first legislation on domestic violence, enabled one spouse to seek a barring order against the other where the welfare or safety of a spouse or children was at risk.

5 Live securely in her family home  Under Irish law, a married woman had no right to a share in her family home, even if she was the breadwinner! Her husband could sell the home without her consent. Under the Family Home Protection Act of 1976, neither spouse can sell the family home without the written consent of the other.

6 Get the same rate for a job as a man  In 1970, almost all women were paid less than male colleagues doing the same job. In March 1970, the average hourly pay for women was five shillings, while that for men was over nine.  Legislation on equal pay was introduced in 1974 and employment equality legislation followed in 1977, both as a result of European directives.

You see, personally I’m very glad of all these changes, and grateful to those who took on the legal battles that brought them about; it meant that I was one of the first generation of Irish women that really experienced this equality of opportunity.  Now, in my daughter’s generation, as many women go to college as men – the world is their oyster. If that’s liberation, then I’d say we’ve got it!

However,  some are not satisfied with equality of opportunity, many feminists today want equality of outcome.  This is what lies behind campaigns for 50% women TDs in the Dáil,  and the gender equality programme in the EU, for example, where the Institute for Gender Equality tracks such things as the gender pay gap, the glass ceiling and so on. (If you ask me, that shows just how institutionalised feminism has become!)  This suits the economists as much as the modern feminist movement, as the State really needs the maximum number  of productive economic units (i.e. women working) to offset  the fall in birthrate across the West.

So for some feminists the patriarchy is alive and well in all the places of power. The problem is that many women are not all that bothered about equality of outcome in reality.  In the Netherlands, for example, many younger women feel that feminism has run its course; it’s no motivation to stand for election or pursue a career full time- almost 80 % of employed women there worked part time in 2012.  In Ireland too, we’re delighted with family friendly work policies and choose in vast numbers for part time work when it suits our families, seemingly not too concerned about our careers, nor the gender pay gap, which does not look at equal pay for equal work, but compares the average earnings of men and women across a state.   In Ireland in 2011, for example , 46% of women were working, with women’s earnings averaging 94% of men’s, even though over 80% of part time jobs were taken by women. I don’t hear anyone complaining….

It seems when given equality of opportunity,  different groups of women demonstrate different preferences, however galling that may be the sisterhood! Catherine Hakim’s preference theory suggests that we divide roughly into three groups by preference in affluent, western societies: Home-centred women (10-30%) , Work-centred women ( 10-30%) and Adaptive women ( 40-80%), who make decisions based on the need  or opportunities of the moment.  In surveys done in Ireland, 13% of women were found to be home-centred, another 11% were work-centred while the remaining 76% were adaptives by preference.  The economic and social environment will determine the exact breakdown of percentages in reality.  So in 2011, 28% of Irish women were at home, and 46% were at work: the rest were students, or retired, or unemployed.

For many Irish women equality of opportunity is enough: they have real choice about what they do.  And that’s an issue for militant feminism today. Where the women’s movement 40 years ago was fighting for things most women agreed on, now feminists can find themselves fighting for “rights” (reproductive rights, for example), which other women perceive as “wrongs” (abortion on demand, for example).

But now I’m on to another aspect of women’s lib, the sexual revolution, and that I’ll leave for the next post.

 

What if we read the Scriptures like Jesus did?

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12

When I read this verse, I’ve always thought of all the miracles that Jesus did, more than his preaching and teaching, and I’ve just felt so challenged, because I know that miracles are impossible without the power of the Holy Spirit. But why do I think that preaching or teaching or even understanding Scripture is any different? What if we read the Scriptures the way Jesus did by the power of the Holy Spirit???

What if we read the Scriptures like Jesus did?

The first time I said that out loud, I felt like a bit of a heretic. It seemed so ……far fetched. Yet in Charismatic circles, doing miracles and healing by the power of the Holy Spirit like Jesus did is something that’s longed for, taught and practised all over the world, so why don’t we long for, teach and practice understanding the Word like Jesus did by the power of the Holy Spirit? (Still feeling a bit out there with this^…)

Because we could get it wrong? Well, that certainly applies to doing miracles too. Because we could drift into heresy? How sure are you that you’re not a heretic right now? Or is it because we think we’ve mastered how to read the Bible? There are SO many different camps with that idea.

The historical/critical school, for example, use archaeology and history to discredit large sections of scripture, but believes in the moral teaching of what’s left. (Not my cup of tea!) Others use archaeology and history to defend the accuracy and trustworthiness of the Bible, (more my cup of tea) but differ hugely in how to interpret it – just think of the variety of views on the supernatural, Israel, the Book of Revelation, Creation (just to mention a few thorny issues). And that’s just among those who look to the Bible as God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16).

Frankly, I get quite fed up of it all. What if we could just read the Scriptures the way Jesus did???

My own approach to reading the Bible has changed over the years. As a new Christian, I read the Bible as a love letter from God to me; so I really just read and read and read until a passage leapt out at me and I encountered God in my heart. It was primarily devotional. That’s how I got baptised as an adult: I suddenly saw that you needed to repent and believe BEFORE you got baptised, something I clearly could not have done as a baby. (Acts 2:38)

When I was bothered by a scripture, I’d pray and ask the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, to lead me into all the truth. John 14:27 was the mantra of God’s Kindergarten, the Catholic Charismatic prayer group I belonged to at the time. Since we knew we knew nothing, we had to depend on the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name,(who) will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. We were so hungry for the truth.

Then I got more sophisticated. I found out about Strong’s Concordance, Bible dictionaries, Bible Studies and all manner of wonderful aids to understanding the Bible. But the book that really changed my approach to the Scriptures was Reading the Bible for All its Worth*. It was such an eye opener. I saw the need for exegesis, – putting a book in its historical and literary context so that I understood what it meant there and then before rushing off into an application here and now. It introduced me to the world of hermeneutics (bible interpretation) and gave me an approach to understanding the scriptures as a whole beyond haphazard personal revelations. I just loved it!

And so that’s how I’ve been reading the Bible ever since: carefully exegeting the original, intended meaning in its historical and literary context before applying it to our modern life. Seeking to understand a topic by investigating it in scripture from beginning to end, weighing the cultural and the universal principles. And also listening for the the Lord’s voice in devotional reading…

But in these last few weeks, I’ve become increasingly conscious of a strange paradox: Jesus did not approach the Scriptures that way! Neither did Paul and the other apostles!!

Jesus quotes from every book in the Old Testament as divinely authoritative, but without setting it in its historical and literary context or even commenting on whether it was originally fact or fiction. In fact, Jesus does no exegesis whatsoever; He usually applies the scripture to the question at hand in a very simple, direct way:

39 He answered, ‘A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

50 Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.

And that’s just Luke 11. After the resurrection, this is what He taught his disciples: And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (Luke 24:27) You could say his understanding of Scripture was very self-centred, or Christocentric. (That is a word, isn’t it?)

Could we read the Scriptures in the simple direct way the Jesus did?

It does seem that’s how the apostles read the Old Testament Scriptures: in a Christocentric way, looking to understand more about Jesus and the significance of his life, death and resurrection. From his letters, it’s clear that Paul taught new, Gentile believers to read the Old Testament through this lens. In some cases, this involved a radical reinterpretation very far from the original intent and meaning as understood at the time.

21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise. 24 These things are being taken figuratively: the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: this is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother…..31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

That’s a complete upending of the original meaning: the Jews were the physical descendants of Sarah, the children of promise, but with one bold figurative interpretation, the believers in Christ are the children of heavenly Jerusalem, the truly free spiritual descendants of Abraham and Sarah. It’s no wonder Paul had to run this by the apostles in Jerusalem. (Acts 15) And they accepted and endorsed it! (2 Peter 3:16)

How could they dare to read the Scriptures in that way? I remember reading somewhere that we modern day believers couldn’t do things like this with Scripture any more because only the early apostles had the authority to do it, and now the canon of scripture was established, it was no longer necessary or possible. That now sounds suspiciously like the supposed cessation of miracles after the apostles to me. I wonder….

Perhaps I’m just nostalgic for the simplicity of my early Bible reading, when I was so hungry for God. Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. (John 14:23)

Perhaps I am just tired of all the often bitter disputes over the Bible out there. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. (2 Tim 2:23) It’s all so far from the love for which Jesus said his disciples would be known.

Or perhaps we really could learn to read the Bible the way Jesus did……in spirit and in truth.

^ Really just thinking out loud……….no heresy intended.

* Still a great book! It can be downloaded here: http://stockholmlife.se/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/How_To_Read_The_Bible.pdf

Knowing your purpose in His

“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.” Haggai 1:9

Recently I’ve had the privilege of attending two different events for pastors and leaders in the church in Ireland. They were very different in style, but yet both had one purpose: to bring together the Body of Christ in real, practical unity. To be honest, these events felt so fresh to me, because of the openness and willingness of all to honour and believe in one another.

The first event was the ARC Exchange in Newbridge, Co. Kildare, which drew people from across a range of new, evangelical, pentecostal and denominational churches from both the North and South of Ireland. That we are all there “together in one place” was in itself exciting. (See Acts 2:1) But even more so was the purpose of our meeting: to promote and financially support the planting of life-giving churches in Ireland in order to gather the harvest of souls into the Kingdom, regardless of doctrinal flavour. Setting up the Association of Related Churches (ARC) gives us a practical means of supporting Christians of all shades who are called to start new churches in Ireland – the most effective (and biblical) form of evangelism.

I had been asking the Lord about the harvest visions so many have been receiving for Ireland, and here was a beautifully practical answer. At the meeting in Newbridge, the Lord has started to build a New Bridge between all different types of churches, so we can truly work together in advancing His Kingdom, bringing in His harvest of redeemed people, which is the purpose of the church after all.

The second event was the River of Life Gathering held in Athlone, where pastors, leaders and intercessors came from all across Ireland, just to wait on the Lord. Oh how good it is when we come together in open hearted, authentic unity – there the presence of God is like anointing oil flowing down the Body from the our head. Jesus Christ. Fergus and I were just so blessed on the one day we could be there…wonderful freedom in worship, knowing the nearness of His presence, enjoying encouraging words of prayer and affirmation – it had been a long time since we’d experienced that much love through the body!!!

Even more importantly, we were seeking His Presence – not much point in trying to work without it really, is there? As Moses said, “If your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now.” (That’s how he talks in the Message….) It’s so darn tiring trying to do stuff, even good kingdom stuff, without His presence leading or carrying us, as it says in another translation. I spent quite a bit of time repenting, as we waited in His presence in silence. And it was GOOD!

By the end of the day, I truly felt God was reminding me of our great Christian heritage in Ireland: the roots from which much fruit is still to come.* A French lady brought a prophetic vision of an enormous golden wave breaking over Ireland and flowing on into Europe, (with which the Lord challenged my unbelief); then a Danish couple mentioned how their nation first heard the message of the Gospel through Celtic monks, confronting me with the reality that He had done it before, bringing revived Christianity back, through Irish saints, to the darkened lands of Europe in the 6th-8th centuries.

Then I felt the Lord say “You are NOT their descendants!” That shocked me into attention! Obviously we cannot be their descendants physically, since they were monks(!), but I had sort of presumed we were their spiritual descendants. Not so. I believe there remains an apostolic mantle awaiting a new generation of saints to pick it up.

The earliest Irish Church named 12 apostles, most of whom planted congregations in monasteries in Ireland; at least one of them went to Scotland -Columcille – and from there the gospel spread throughout Britain. Later, Columbanus went to France where “Luxeuil Abbey became the “nursery of saints and apostles”. The monastery produced sixty-three apostles who carried his rule, together with the Gospel, into France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. These disciples of Columbanus are accredited with founding over one hundred different monasteries.”**

In this year, when we commemorate the Battle of Clontarf of 1014, I sense GOD calling his Irish church once more into His bigger purpose. I see Him building a bridge from the Celtic apostolic era to our own as we take steps to pick up that mantle for our nation – beyond our individual callings into His Great Commission, and into His ultimate plan of salvation for the people of Ireland, Europe and the world. As Jesus said, I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out. (The Message)

Let’s take up the call to our generation. Let’s pick up the fallen mantle of the radical Celtic apostles. I, for one, just want to know my purpose in His –
Irish Bride.

His Irish Bride

*For an interesting prophetic word about building on the old roots, check out this vimeo. http://bespokeninternational.com/

**If you’re interested in digging out some more gems on Celtic Christianity, this link gives a good start. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celtic_Christianity

Rediscovering Radical Grace

At our church, Cornerstone Dun Laoghaire, we are exploring what it means to be an Antioch church – something we’ve felt called to be since the beginning of our journey, which started 30 years ago, this year. Paul Perry spoke on Sunday about what the Antioch church carried – a radical word of radical grace which led to radical discipleship, and a missionary church ready to take the gospel to unreached harvest fields. My heart was stirred. Again.

Over 30 years ago I first encountered that radical grace – the Lord of all the earth became real to me in all His glory, authority and majesty and I just wanted to run and run and take His beautiful gospel to the youth of Ireland and Europe that the Lamb might have the reward of His sufferings. A charismatic Catholic, my first real step of radical discipleship was to follow Christ into the waters of baptism as an adult believer in Munich, Germany in 1982. My second step was to decide to stay on for year, because He spoke to me through Luke 24:49 “but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” What a promise that was!

I simply believed and planned to stay, much to my family’s consternation. At that time, they had no point of reference for people leaving the Catholic church to follow God. They were sure I was in a cult and even called for the Archbishop’s cult specialist to come and try talk me around. I remember bawling my eyes out when my Firm Foundations bible study for that day brought me to Matthew 10:37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me…” And so, despite my Daddy’s tears – the only time I ever saw him cry – I returned to Munich to pastors Mark and Janet Furlong, because I so wanted to be worthy of Him and become a true disciple. It was years before my family really spoke to me again. The promises of God are often costly.

I lost virtually all my friends, except my charismatic ones, and even they did not always understand what God was doing with me. You see this radical bunch of disciples also believed in God’s Perfect Choice, which essentially meant no dating under any circumstances, trusting God for your life partner, if that was His plan, and only marrying the person whom God had confirmed to you and your pastor as God’s perfect choice. Even then, you were expected to have your fist kiss on the altar on your wedding day – that was our understanding of sexual holiness! And yes, I got plenty of jibes about it from Christians in other churches! But to this day, I’m glad that I was encouraged to focus on the Lord above all else, and set my affections on Him, the only true Beloved. It certainly saved me a lot of unnecessary distraction! And even though I would not now recommend that approach, I am thankful for how the Lord used it to teach me such dependence on his sustaining grace and learn forgiveness in the midst of misunderstanding.

And if you look at the church in Antioch, you see it was birthed by a bunch of persecuted saints. Acts 11: 19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. This was the very first church to reach the Gentiles. They found out that the gospel could even reach those who knew nothing of the covenant of Abraham; God could clean up even the unclean by power of the gospel.

And so it was here back in 1984, with rookie pastor Mark Habgood at the helm, this church was birthed with a bunch of young people and students – many were saved and baptised, and experienced the power of the Holy Spirit, at a time when you could count the number of charismatic churches in Dublin on one hand. The Bible Workshop on UCD campus saw miracles weekly as they prayed for the sick. In TCD, a creation/evolution debate was won, with Ernest Walton, Nobel prizewinner as chair.* And in 1987 we sent out our first mission team to help plant a church in Paris, and again in 1990, members of the Dublin church went to start a church in Delft, the Netherlands. We had very little money or support, no big mission group behind us, just faith in the Almighty GOD who was doing the sending. We left jobs, put all our savings into ministry training, got jeered at by family members and colleagues alike for our troubles, but the hand of the Lord was with us, and despite our manifold errors and weaknesses, churches were birthed that continue to this day. What amazing, transforming grace….

I want to rediscover that grace, that faith, that boldness in my God. The call still remains. The need only grows greater. How I long for a full-blown awakening throughout Ireland, throughout Europe, throughout the world. I long for the fullness of the promise, the completion of the work of God through our lives, through my life. I want to follow the Lord wholeheartedly like Caleb, who at 85 remembered a promise received at 40:
Joshua 14:12 Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” …… 14 So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.

I want to rediscover that radical grace, that radical faith, that radical boldness in my God.

Whatever the cost.

*Read Richard Redmond’s account of that epic event here: http://evolutionincrisis.blogspot.ie/2014/01/a-personal-account.html

My heart’s anchor

the-storm

Every day, whenever
However the news of the day comes
In email daily digests
In newspaper headlines
In radio bulletins
In TV images
My heart sinks

Painfully overwhelmed
Drowning in
The wars of the world
The killing of the innocent
The vulnerable abandoned
Persecution of the different

Relentless moral dilemmas,
Shutting down
Hardening
My heart

Noiselessly crying
Lord, have mercy!
Christ have mercy!
Lord have mercy!

With your eyes
I need to see,
Your ears to hear
Rhythm of Your heart
Beat in mine
O my God!

You love the most unlovely
You have hope for the most hopeless
For with You
Nothing is impossible
As one single Mum knew

You look beyond disaster
To the miracle
Aid for the needy

You look beyond the sin
To treasure within
Each
One

You love so truly
Completely
So unutterably
Deeply

My heart softens
Bends, bows low
I lean into You
Hanging on to You

My Beloved
My heart’s sure anchor