Moving back

I’m humming a song as I sort things out: We are moving in the light of God. It’s a traditional song from South Africa and much of the stuff I’m sorting through is connected to my time in South Africa.
I first went in 1984 and the last time was 1994 so my visits span the last decade of Apartheid. I learnt more there than why we didn’t eat South African apples back then. We were witnesses to the end of Apartheid in 1994.
I’ve unearthed photos, art, poetry, fabric, letters, diaries. All moving stuff. Now to decide where to move it to? I’ve given some away: poetry and pictures. What will I write about from all of this. The journey from naive 20 something to mother of a 3 month old daughter, these were some of the most influential years of my life, shaping, molding and changing me. Of course something didn’t change: I was still a white European woman. But there were things that carried me through every day of my ministry. One was Desmond Tutu speaking to the Eloff Commission in the 1980s with words Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome centuries before.
Nothing can separate us from the Love of God in Jesus Christ‘.
I have said it at every funeral I have conducted, remembered it and prayed it in many more circumstances on many days.
I am moving in the light of God, and in the love of Jesus Christ.
In our life and our believing

The love of God

JAL 30.01.2019

Christ behind me

We do not invite Christ to follow us‘ is a somewhat free translation of some words by Bonhoeffer. My response to which is, ‘No, but he does it anyway’.
Christ is behind me. He has my back. Which is just as well. Of course, I do often forget this and feel got at and become defensive, until I remember, Christ is behind me.

Christ is beside me. Not just following but accompanying. My best companion. ‘Who is that next to you?’ Christ of course.

Christ is above me and below me. Such ancient ideas (from St Patrick’s breastplate) might now mean something different in our hierarchical world in which social standing is held up as everyone’s aspiration. Only it’s not. Christ already has those positions covered. Above us and below us, it’s Christ.

Christ in hearts of all who love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger. Whatever we think folks are talking about, they are speaking Christ is we listen enough. They are loving us in Christ.

Christ is within me. At this moment my abdominal cavity is abominal as it tries to deal with an influx of unwanted bacteria. But Christ is there within me.

Most of all Christ is before me. Bonhoeffer was probably aiming at this with his opening remarks: ‘We do not invite Christ to follow us’. We follow Christ. There’s always following to do. Not sure what to do today? Then follow Christ, whether you look at his back or his face. Yesterday in the queue at the bank they had provided some helpful footprints on the floor to show you what direction to take. Christ does this everyday.

Following Christ is much more than a direction which is why, according to this ancient Irish Prayer, Christ is there in every direction.

In our life and our believing

The love of God

JAL 24.01.2019

Reflection on St Patrick’s Breastplate

A time of transition

Everyone encounters them from time to time.
What did you do while waiting, adjusting?
Between Egypt and River Jordan,
What watching, learning?
Observing fishermen and tax collectors,
House keepers and sweepers,
Sons both prodigal and willing,
Good enough shepherds,
Bridesmaids both foolish and wise,
Women and men of all ages, natures and abilities,
The mournful, righteous and persecuted:
Enough to last a life time of blessings.
Enough that you would step into the water,
Wordless, accepting, affirming,
Ready to be the Beloved
And show us how to Live Wet!

In our life and our believing
We’ll have a wet, wet time!

JAL 11.01.2019

They went in

It was simple enough.
It was a ‘come in’ kind of place:
Homely, warm, gently buzzing.
So they went in.
After all they’d been in other places,
Scarier, less welcoming.
Places where you got questioned
About everything:
Where did you come from?
How did you get here?
Why have you come?
What do you want?
So they went in.
There was a baby
And like most babies,
It was the centre of attention.
It was sign, they said.
We’ve bought gifts, they said.
And eventually,
We’ll go back another way, they said,
Backing out slowly,
Not making a fuss.
Like they went in.

Welcoming One, may we also come in to your presence,
Homemaker, may we be welcoming too.
Manger Babe, may we bring others to the light and joy of your love.
Help us to remember that a welcome is not just for Epiphany,
And on the streets and beaches of this land may we be the welcomers.

JAL 06.01.2019
Feast of Epiphany


You can get lost in a temple
Or anywhere at all.
You can wander about for a few days
Or much, much longer
Until the story comes back to you.
Then you remember
Your place in God’s kindom
And you set off again,
Firmer, clearer, resolved.

JAL 04.01.2019

It seems that if you use a printed lectionary the story of the Lost Jesus only comes up once every three years, whereas it comes up quite often in the Remembered Bible.