“It’s like being at base camp and looking up at an unconquerable mountain; can’t dwell on the difficulty, you have to just start the journey, One step follows the next which leads the way to the next. There will be missteps but as long as the vision is whole, the mountain will fall.”
Like what I’ve been hearing from the new DJ Shadow album, love this quote from him on the creative process.
I found the quote on Pitchfork.
I read, the other day that, even at the depths of the ocean,
there are now tiny grains of plastic.
Will that be our ultimate legacy?
Petrochemicals at the bottom of the sea.
Wilderness tamed by plastic.
Didn’t we have a spark once,
A divine drop of goodness?
It seems that we’ve lost it,
No, we’ve traded it
and all we seem to make is ash, and plastic.
Ash and plastic where dreams of beauty and goodness and change-the world
Became discarded trinkets and scorched battlegrounds.
Ash and plastic, round behind out impressive edifices
On the smouldering waste-heaps that we try to hide.
Will that be our legacy? Or will we learn
And somehow find the way to re collaborate
So that ash and plastic might be made new.
The burnt wood image came from pixaby
He we are, Shrove Tuesday. Pancakes tonight, ash tomorrow.
It has felt to me that Lent is beginning very early this year – its almost caught me by surprise and I haven’t quite had as much time as I usually like to to plan what I might do this season to help me draw closer to Jesus.
In case you are simiilarly stumped here are three last minute lent resources you could use.
40 Acts are encouraging people to do one simple generous thing a day. I’m excited about doing this – and hopefully excercising my kindness muscles this year. We’re going to do this as a family discipline using their all-age resource.
During Advent I read Malcolm Guites excellent anthology, Waiting on the Word, it featured a poem a day and insightful commentary. I am looking forward to reading his lent anthology this year. If you don’t quite have time to get the book yet you can listen to each poem on his blog.
Finally I remember being fascinated by Ian Adam’s 40 Temptation series on Morning Bell posts last year. An image and a provocation – some quite painful. Ian has expanded them into an anthology of words and images that you can get from Proost. I’m looking forward to going through this, though expect some to make me uncomfortable.
What about you, are you embracing any Lent disciplines or working through a resource that you hope will encourage you? I was challenged to get give some of these away to people around me this year. Is there anyone around you that you could share a Lent journey with?
The Ash cross image came from Creationswap.
We’ve got our leaders learning community this weekend, I’m excited because they are always good!
H and I are doing bits of final preparation today. As I prayed this morning 2 bits from the lectionary readings struck me –
Ephesians 3:10 talks about a church that displays God’s wisdom. That’s the goal! That’s one of the main reasons we do missional communities and all the training events.
Psalm 107 has a repeated refrain: “they cried out to the Lord and he delivered them…”. God’s wisdom, God’s glory is so often displayed by turning back to him. By changing minds, and living differently.
I’m hopeful that the learning community tonight and tommorrow will give lots of opportunity for our communities, and for the churches joining in with us, to turn to God, to change minds, to stretch into new ways of living. Then maybe we’ll better display God’s wisdom so that even more people will realise they can cry out to him in their distress and experience his rescue.
You can find out more about learning communities and the people who have helped us with them here.
My sense of entitlement is one of the things that most often undermines my desire to do good.
Too often I start to feel that I deserve to be treated better than I have been, or that I have earned the right to some treat of one kind or another.
Too often know that when things are going well I start to think I’m getting what is owed to me. When things don’t go so well I usually just get grumpy.
So how do I undermine the work of entitlement in my life? I have found these 3 things help:
Gratefulness: Reminding myself to say thank you, to people, to God, to to the bird or tree or sunrise I am enjoying. Practicing being grateful reminds me that every good thing I have is a gift.
Service: Choosing to do something simple for someone else, ideally that won’t be noticed or appreciated, really helps. I realised this recently when I was wallowing in a particularly deep “things should be better than this” pit. Rescue from that particular moment came as I decided to do the washing up.
Generosity: Giving to others, especially if it is a little bit costly and might mean I have to give something up, really helps. It begins to move my focus from the ecomony of earning – based on what I get get and hold on to , to the economy of grace – freely giving and receiving what comes from God.
How are you overcoming entitlement?
Rivers and Robots are one of my favourite discoveries from last year. I love their creative, indie-inspired approach to worship music. Their new video is a brilliant take on the “lyric video” idea.
If you like this then you’ll be glad to know they are giving their newest album away on Come & Live!
One of the band, Jonathan, wrote a great post on creativity recently. It’s well worth a read.
I’d dearly love to be a big success. I’d like to make a splash and be noticed, to make an impact. I’ve been reminded that God probably has other plans.
Recently a number of different events have reminded me how fragile, how small and how foolish God’s projects seem. They can be lost, or broken, or forgotten quite easily. They often seem to rely on people like me or like you having good days, remembering to take responsibility, not being afraid to state the obvious, sound stupid or upset a few people.
I’m encouraged that when I look at the stories of Jesus, and of the exploits of his first few followers, things seem to have been exactly the same. Weakness, vulnerability, foolishness were the hallmarks of God’s movement then just as now.
Perhaps we’re more in danger when we try to be sensible or sensational than when we acknowledge frailty. Perhaps being weak and foolish, and yet somehow being used by God is exactly what He wants us to be.
In case you are interested, the bible verse picture was made using Notegraphy.