Finding my voice

Come out, come out wherever you are?
I call.
Desperate to find her
– my voice

A catch of a sleeve in a letter to a friend
The glimpse of a shoe peaking out in conversation
Sometime I catch her completely
– my voice

In indescribable joy we dance
revelling in the word flow
A piece written
A thought complete
– my voice

Fragments, Forgotten phrases
Attention wavers
A Peter Panian like shadow
She slips through my fingers
– my voice

I sigh…
Will she ever be completely mine?

– Raelle

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A favourite poem by Robert Burns

Today I just want to share a paraphrase of the “first psalm” as written by Robert Burns.
It’s metre, language and tone I love, and how wonderful the truth contained. So today why not read it and take in the beauty of the words.

“The man, in life wherever plac’d
Hath happiness in store,
Who walks not in the wicked’s way
Nor learns their guilty lore!

Nore from the seat of scornful pride
Casts forth his eyes abroad,
But with humility and awe
Still walks before his God.

That man shall flourish like the trees,
Which by the streamlets grow;
The fruitful top is spread on high
And firm the root below

But he whose blossom buds in guilt
Shall to the ground be cast,
And, like the rootless stubble, tost
Before the sleeping blast.

For why? That God the good adore,
Hath giv’n them peace and rest,
But hath decreed that wicked man
Shall ne’er be the blest”

When is paper bag more than a paper bag?

So when is a paper bag more than a paper bag? When it’s a thank you gift.
This recent ditty written to honour our volunteers at South West explains

“We are here to declare
Because we are very aware
That without your gift of service true
We don’t know what we would do
For you are worth a mint to us
We know that in you we can trust
That is why there’s a MINT inside
For we look on you with pride

In this House we are blessed
He’s given us the very best
Some sing, some greet and some dance
Some count or lend a helping hand
It really is limitless
the talents that are amongst us
So when you hold the COIN of GOLD
Know from God you have gifts untold

There is give in all you do
You’re able to be stretched it’s true
And this year each and everyone
Has been stretched in all they’ve done
For we have growth in numbers and heart
And each of you has done your part
So when you see the RUBBER BAND
Know we’re thankful with us you stand

All work no play now that won’t do
We all love a joke or two
This House is filled with lots of laughter
Following the example of our senior pastors
So when you see the BALLOON inside
The fun remember not to hide
We pray you continue to employ
A spirit of love and life and joy

What we love the very most
Is that you have no heart of boast
You do not do this for the praise
That is definitely not the case
Instead it is for God you’re ‘sold’
For His glory is your goal
So all this is packaged in a PAPER BAG
Plain and unassuming with a little tag
To represent your humble heart
As we all play our God given part

May you count it joy my friend
That you to us God did send
He certainly knew what he was about
Of that us pastors have no doubt
To say thank you and thanks to God
With this little gift and card
We really could do no less
So thank you from all of South West”

The ‘beloved cross’?

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Over and over again three little words hit me, scattered as they were throughout the prose of the communion message. ‘The beloved cross’… ‘the beloved cross’. Initially the phrase jarred against me. Was it really right to say the cross was beloved? Should such a description not instead be assigned to the bearer of the cross?

For the speaker of our communion message this past Sunday the phrase was obviously a common one, rolling off the tongue as naturally as ‘and’ and ‘the’. I got the distinct impression it was a part of his regular vernacular, spoken as easily and consistently as you often hear ‘Lord’ or ‘Jesus’ in a prayer. And you might ask why not? What’s wrong the term? Is the cross not considered a sign of love and grace? Is it not a symbol of all our Beloved Saviour did for us?

That’s the thing. The more I thought about it the more I realised there was such a beautiful truth behind this phrase. What had originally jarred now reached out in warmth to rest me in God’s grace. Let me take you back in time a moment to lead you to my revelation.

Have you ever considered what the cross represented before Christ’s amazing redemptive act? It’s a gruesome tale. This ‘beloved cross’ was actually an instrument of torture, a symbol of death in one of the most painful and cruel manners of the day. To be given this type of death sentence was to say you we’re deserving of not only death but of lingering pain and torment on the journey to that death. People more learned than I can better explain what it does to your body, and I have no desire to list such graphic information in this reflection. Suffice to say it was not a quick or painless death.

Given this, the cross would never have been hung in a home or worn as an adornment. It’s image would have sparked thoughts of fear or judgement; expressions of glee at another’s pain, or grief at the lose of a loved one. It represented hatred, control and judgement. I can’t imagine there being a jeweller in all of the Roman world who would have thought it a wise investment to sell ‘cross’ pendants.

One amazing act from God changed that. The image of pain became the image of gain. The token of grief are now replaced with the token of belief. A representation of hate transformed to a representation of love. An emblem of control transformed to an emblem of sacrifice. An image of judgement transformed to an image of grace. And we find ourselves in a world where the cross is proudly worn around our necks, hung in our homes and gracing the walls of our churches. No longer looked on with pain or torment, fear or terror, it has become the ‘beloved cross’.

How like God. To take the most destitute, despicable, egregious image and not just rescue it but spin the entire thing on it’s head and let it shine for a purpose diametrically opposed to it’s history. To have it become the ‘beloved cross’. To redeem it. And you know what? It’s exactly what He offers each of us. To not only rescue us and the destitute, despicable, egregious things in our lives but to redeem them. To have them shine brightly for His purpose and glory. For them to become ‘beloved’ in our lives.

Now that seems utterly impossible in the natural and you could even think me insensitive to suggest it. For how could you pain and torment ever be a ‘beloved’ thing in your life. The thing is I’ve seen God do it time and time again. The despicable pain of abuse is not only healed but turned into grace as a life now shares hope with others. The woman whose daughter is killed by a drunk driver finds not only the ability to forgive and move on but to love the man guilty of the act and welcome him into her home and life. The man born with no arms or legs is able to not only survive but in fact thrive in life and use it to inspire other’s to hope and ultimately seek God. In each instance the object of torment becomes the ‘beloved’.

I believe too often we stop halfway through the journey of the cross. We experience God’s love and grace but fail to take a hold of His transformative power for the dark recesses of our lives. Isaiah declared that One would come who would set the captives free (Is 61) and Luke showed this to be Jesus (Luke 4). Don’t only accept His grace, lay a hold of his transformation for your life. He’s waiting for you.

My mustard seed

You know, some would say I’m complicated (and every guy reading this says what girl isn’t), yet I don’t know if that is really true. I’m a woman with a big heart. I love reading, writing and hanging out with close friends. I work as a pastor on team at my local church and I love life, most of the time.

At this point it wouldn’t surprise me if you were thinking this reads more like an online dating profile than an intro to my blog. Hang in there! Cause all of this is to say that none of what I have shared so far defines me as well as something that isn’t even me. It’s God. The most important part of my life is actually my relationship with Jesus Christ. I am on a journey of faith. Everything in my life comes back to Him. I can’t help it, and I’m not really sure I want to.

So whatever else this blog will be it will contain my mustard seed – faith. Be ready for poetry, prose, musing, fun and more.

Journey with me and my mustard seed!

Raelle