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Some enjoy Valentines Day as a way to show how much they care for someone they love, but equally many find Valentine’s Day a difficult one, especially when supermarkets and shops relish turning red each year as they roll out an increasingly commercial festival with blatant emphasis on couples.

So let’s get some things straight...

  • Love is not limited to couples. Love is for ALL...regardless of marital status, age, ethnicity, size, ability, gender or anything else....we all need to receive love, and to give love, but there are so many ways to do this.

  • The word “ love” in the English language is terribly restrictive , when there is so much more depth to the word. We can all love each other in different ways, to make our communities and the world a better place.

  • Love is often not pretty or surrounded with flowers. It can be difficult, complicated, and messy, but it is strong and when we are betrayed in love by one person then it can be the love of others, in friends and family and the love of God that strengthen and enable us to go on.

  • Human love is fallible, but God’s love is not. What amazes me is that, despite my flaws and faults God not only loves me but sent his Son to die for me. “...God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

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I’m not very good at resting…or at least, I haven’t been until recently!

Sometimes, though, we are stopped in our tracks by some unexpected event, that knocks us sideways, and enforces us to STOP.
This is how it was for me, on the last day of November last year, when I did nothing more exciting than walk home after a very pleasant evening out with friends when, whoosh... my feet slipped from under me whilst walking over icy, wet autumn leaves…and there I was, sat ungainly on the pavement with excruciating pain in my wrist, trying to control the tears. I knew I had broken it, and around 8 hours later, my worst fears had been confirmed.

IMG 0067Would the Spirit have come
Had they not waited obediently,
Staying together
When likely they felt bereft and confused,
Wanting to give up and go their separate ways?

Would the Spirit have come
Had they not listened,
Attentively attuned
To hear the bold beginnings of that Holy hurricane…
Had they not been alert
Watchfully waiting
To see the fiery fulfilment of this brand-new baptism?

The Power of the Spirit...to live

dark dawn desert 2479501 Photo by Al Butler from Pexels“Send us out in the power of the Spirit to live and work to your praise and glory”, so we pray at the end of the communion service.

I love the sentiment of this line. It always fires me up, anew, and in the moment I say “Yes, Lord...send me!” but I wondered today, not for the first time, how earnestly I really want this, or believe this, or accept the unfettered power of God’s Holy Spirit in my life?

How about you? Do you ever wonder some days, where on earth the power of God’s Spirit is in you? It all seems so possible, stood amongst God’s people in the warmth and wonder of acceptance and forgiveness...until the moment you leave the comfort of communion to step into the demanding, often pressurised requirements of daily life and begin to rely on your own strength instead of His....

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I’ve always been the sort of person who likes everything sorted to the nth degree but over the last few years, after several traumatic events, that desire for order has transmuted into a knot of anxiety that often threatens to overwhelm me. It’s on disquieting days like these, when the weight of agitation and tension rise, that I feel most vulnerable, unable to think straight or work properly. I’m sure many can identify with these feelings and we each have our own way of coping until the feelings subside.

The Solution…
Have you noticed, though, that when near to the edge, surviving each day only by fixing the mask of capability firmly to your face whenever in public scrutiny, that it is often something very small that melts the hitherto immovable false facade we bear?

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I know from past experience that at the hardest times of my life, when I am my own worst enemy, self-sabotaging my day with endless tasks and barricading the pain and difficulty inside - that it is kindness that floors me, bringing me to tears and to my knees.

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