IMG 6949 resized 321x250Open hands; open heart

I am in the midst of muddle, attempting a long overdue clear-out of studio materials. I confess, like many creatives, I'm a bit of a hoarder, hanging on to things that have long ceased to be useful to me, but this season I am learning to loosen my hands and hold things more lightly, allowing older things to fall away naturally, like leaves in the autumn breeze; making space for Jesus to act anew in my life. I am finding that letting go can be a positive thing as I make way for new opportunities. For if our hands are full or closed then how can we receive? I am slowly discovering that open hands are the evidence of a heart and mind open to the possibility of God in action in our lives, trusting him for the future when we really cannot see an obvious solution ourselves.

Obstacles and Opportunities

In the feeding of the 5,000, it seems that despite all previous experience of God practically in action through Jesus, his disciples are still looking for earthly solutions. Their minds are closed to imaginative solutions to feeding so many people. Their only solution is to send them away. Problem solved, so they think!

Jesus response to this, in earthly terms, seems ludicrous. "You give them something to eat”, he retorts to his earthly thinking disciples. So, with disbelief, seeing only obstacles, the disciples close their minds even more to the opportunities Jesus is offering them...and with it, their hearts and hands, as they contemplate the amount of money it would cost to fulfil what Jesus is asking. Does Jesus really expect them to spend this much money? A whole year’s salary? Seriously? 

I say this with myself in mind, for a long time, God has been nudging me to reduce my business stock and to move from my studio back home. Seriously, God? This is counter- intuitive to perceived business or personal growth for me... and it has taken a year or so before I have acted on the increasingly urgent promptings to get on with God's instructions....and at the moment, I really still cannot see how this is going to work at all...but I have committed myself now, given notice to my landlord and taken a loan for a studio garden. I am taking God at his word, trusting Him for the outcome and making room for Jesus; hoping for a miracle.

So, I there a situation in our life where we can barely believe what Jesus is asking of us? Might it be, that what he is really asking of us is more of an open mind and heart to possibility, allowing Jesus to take control?

What do you hold in your hands?
Whatever the situation, the Lord, gently encourages his disciples -and that’s us too- to see some possibility in a seemingly impossible situation. " What do you have?" he asks...and so it is that Andrew is the one who begins to see possibility where previously there seemed none. So, it is, that he brings a boy with five 5 loaves 2 fish 467 x350small loaves and two fish, to Jesus. Perhaps, he at least connects that whatever is to happen means bringing what little there seems to be, to Jesus, and trusting God for the outcome.

So, I wonder...what is it, that we might each have? We may think that we have little to offer but if we are open handed with what we do have, then all things can have great potential and possibility in the hands of a generous God.

Making a way for Jesus

The boy is the one in this story who, with a childlike trust stands before Jesus, without hesitation, completely open- handed, sharing all that he has. In doing this, he has made room, created a clearing; a way of wonder in which Jesus can make miracles. From his open-handed act of giving, the young boy offers opportunity for Jesus to bless and provide for others through a wonderful feast of generous hospitality and love in action.

I wonder... How can we each make space for Jesus to work in our lives and situations?

Small Gift…Big Blessings

In response to the boy’s generosity and trust, Jesus blesses the bread and fish, and in doing so multiples their potential, as heaven touches earth though Him. It is the small gift from the boy that makes a way for others to be blessed and fed, both physically and spiritually. It is the boy’s small gift that allows Jesus to offer hospitality to the crowd; food for their bodies and souls.

I wonder... What might Jesus bless and multiply in our lives right now, if we could but respond to Jesus with open handed generosity and faith, offering what we have? Who might be fed spiritually or physically?

Baskets of Blessings

Yet notice how it is the disciples who are asked to distribute the basket of blessings to the people, as well as pick up the pieces afterwards! It's almost as if Jesus is emphasising the potential of us giving what we have to Him, saying "look what can happen when only one person stands before me with open hands and heart. How much more blessings might there be if everyone had such faith!"

I wonder...what baskets of blessings has God given each of us to distribute? Who are the people that the Lord has given us to provide hospitality to? 

So, this Autumn, as we pause to notice the trees offer up their beautiful leaves to the changing season, in anticipation of the blessings and blossoming of new spring growth, may we each consider what we might offer to Jesus of whatever we hold, so that he might bless it and use it for others in a miraculous way. My prayer is that we each make space for Jesus to act miraculously in our lives; making room for Jesus to make miracles from the muddle.

Textile Reflections & Narrative

IMG 6917 resized 350x350This month’s textile art piece depicts the feeding of the five thousand. The ground fabric is green with a vintage lace at the base, reminiscent of a summer picnic. The cross in the centre represents Jesus with the eleven disciples around him. The twelfth disciple, Andrew stands a little apart from the others, bringing the boy with the loaves and fishes before Jesus. The space in the centre tells of how we need to make space for Jesus before he can act fully in our lives. The five loaves and two fish surround the characters in the story, with evidence of the power of God from above creating a miracle for the people present, as Jesus lifts the simple picnic to the Father. The small felt circles and sequins are representative of the five thousand people, and the baskets around the edge, symbols of abundance of the leftover food. The long stitches radiating outward and beyond the picture into the four corners, tell how this story is still affecting the lives of many across the four corners of the earth, even today.


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