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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....

The Problem…anxious black and white blur 568027 1 resized for web
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.

“Most people think that it is servile to serve but it is not. It is noble.”

Last month I stayed with a couple, who had interesting life stories. He told us that he loved to make people feel important and the above quote is his. It is a phrase that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
IMG 5250 2 web smallThis wonderful philosophy towards life has stemmed from an experience as a young child travelling with his father in a first class dining carriage. Mistaking the button near to him, for one that opened a window, to his horror the young boy summoned the waiter. His father jested that the last time someone had done this, they had thrown the boy off the train! However when the waiter arrived he addressed the boy rather than the father. “ Sir, can I help? Did you need something?” Red faced the boy explained “ I just wanted to open a window...!” “Of course, sir” replied the waiter and proceeded to open the window “ ...and would you like a glass of orange squash as well, sir?” This seemingly small act of attentive service and respect has affected this person’s entire outlook on life. I wonder what our own attitude of service is...? Service today is often seen as servile. Yet we know that throughout the Bible, God’s people are called to serve others. Jesus came to serve and taught that as his followers, we too are called to serve.

Potential in the Present
It is all too easy to live a life of “ if only’s “. “If only this or that hadn’t happened..” if only I had..., if only I could...., if only it was different so that....". Yet we can miss so many opportunities by spending our lives looking backwards remorsefully rather than grasping the opportunities that are present now.- both for ourselves, and in service to others. We can lose sight of potential in the present if our hearts are full of resentment and unforgiveness . 

Stitched Prayer with Bible

I like stitching! As a textile artist, that’s probably a good job! I earn a living through stitch, but much of my stitched artwork is a form of prayer. Stitch enables me to focus on God’s Word, as I try to work out what God may be teaching me as I stitch. If I create a commission, then my stitches are sewn with prayers for the recipient. On creative quiet days and retreats, I aim to enable others to draw closer to God through stitched prayers. For me, stitches are more than just useful. They are a tool that draws me closer to God.

So, this month, as I stitched the story of Hannah who prayed in anguish for a child, and whom God answered by giving her the desires of her heart, I have contemplated the analogy of stitches and prayers… 

Prayer: Piecing us Together
Stitches are so versatile; such clever little things! Individually they seem so innocuous yet together they can be incredibly strong. They may be small and hidden, preventing fraying at the seams or bold and overt, adorning our clothing. Stitches can hold complicated pieces of fabric together to create a garment or used as sutures to assist healing and save lives.
Like stitches, prayers are amazing; a God-given tool. To a non- believer they may seem innocuous or irrelevant, yet prayers are incredibly powerful. Prayers may be small and hidden, but for many the ongoing use of prayer enables us to be held together in the love of God, as we seek to mend our often-frayed lives and develop relationship with the King of Kings.
Prayers that are bold and overt, may be prayers of grateful thanksgiving, or like Hannah in the temple, prayers of supplication, emboldened by a fierce passion or concern for a situation in our lives, our community or our world. Like stitches, our prayers can help hold complicated pieces of our lives together and create in us patience and understanding. Amazingly, God hears our prayers, answers and through them can also bring healing of our mind, heart and body.

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