Monday, May 27, 2013


In Worship and in Warfare.


I have a name that is greater than this moment
Greater than what I have been called
by even the dearest of friends
Greater than my past
Greater than my problems
I have a name more potent than cancer
More enduring than divorce
Stronger than sorrow
I have been given a name that is
The sound of horses
Of trumpets
Of strongholds crumbling
I have been named by One above angels
Whose love is infinite
Whose strength is tireless
Whose sight is perfect
Whose ways are right
I have been given a name
I have been given a day
Today is that day

By Kathy
(for a friend with a good sword arm)

Ruwa' (pronounced roo-ah') To split the ears with sound as in worship or warfare. A praise or a battle cry.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Unless the eye catch fire,
The God will not be seen.
Unless the ear catch fire
The God will not be heard.
Unless the tongue catch fire
The God will not be named.
Unless the heart catch fire,
The God will not be loved.
Unless the mind catch fire,
The God will not be known.

William Blake (1757-1827) from Pentecost

 Thoughts from 'The Church Times'

In his poetry and art, William Blake was a Pentecost kind of person: all earth, wind, and fire. His radical Christianity combined the incarna­tional and the mystical, and chal­lenged the orthodoxy of his day. Passionate and charismatic, his writing is full of verve, vision, and energy: you only have to sing “Jerusalem”, with its burning bows and chariots of fire, to know that.

In this prayer, Blake is incendiary, sparking us into some kind of Spirit-fuelled action. The word “unless”, which begins each petition, invokes an urgent response. Unless you do something, nothing will happen. Lukewarm is not good enough.

For us to be Pentecost people, we need to be consensually sizzling, aflame with the Holy Spirit and raring to go.

Unless the eye of Moses had “caught fire”, he would not have seen the burning bush. He turned aside, and, behold! he found God. On the day of Pentecost, we might pray for vision and insight to see the world as it really is, and see God at work in and around us. We might also pray for the gift of prophecy to see the world as God meant it to be.

When Jesus describes the King­dom of God in his parables, not every­one is able to see or hear his meaning: “seeing they do not per­ceive,” he says; “hearing they do not listen.”

Through the invocation of the Holy Spirit, we might plead to perceive what God is doing, and hear what God is saying to the Churches today. And, unless the tongues of the apostles had been set ablaze by that same Spirit, there would be no Church. If they had not been crowned with fire, they would not have been able to proclaim salvation for all.

On the day of Pentecost, we might pray for the burning away of all our inhibitions, and the courage to name the God we believe in. May our Spirit-inspired words be made plain in everyday language, and our preach­ing come direct from the heart, without need for trans­lation.

And unless — said the firebrand preacher, just a generation before Blake — a flame of sacred love is kindled on the mean altar of our heart, we cannot love God as we ought, and we cannot witness to the love of God for the world. Fire does not last long if starved of oxygen, or if there is nothing to burn.

Our own personal love of God is to be the kindling of our mission. Mission begins with a single, burning heart. The disciples did not develop a strategy, but they were first set ablaze with the power of the Holy Spirit. Their minds were refashioned and renewed to wonder, think, and ques­tion. New ideas were forged in the furnace of faith, which purged away the chaff of prejudice and judge­ment, to make a way for justice and peace.

On this day of Pentecost, may the fire of God’s love help us proclaim: blaze, Spirit, blaze! Set our eyes, ears, tongues, hearts, and minds on fire, on this the birthday of the Church.

(Article by The Revd Dr Victoria Johnson, Priest-in-Charge of St Michael’s, Flixton, in the diocese of Manchester.  Fiery Dance painting by Vladimir Kush)

Discovering this painting and the thoughts on Pentecost by Victoria Johnson thrilled and challenged me this Pentecost Sunday. I am using her words to pray for the Church, Come Holy Spirit. Fill us fresh and full. Make us "consensually sizzling," incandescent with the love of Christ and ready to run with Promise. - kl