Connected

That God gives us community as a means of a grace, as the context in which we work out our faith, is, at times, a wondrous gift; at others, a bizarre and even cruel joke.

Community, in its messiness, its transience, its unreliability, its apathy, and its cliques, can sometimes be the least likely place for us to be open to the loving, moving presence of God.

And yet, our knowledge and experience of grace and faith are as intimately connected to community as we, in Christ, are connected to one another.

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all others.  Romans 12:4-5 (NIV)

O Creator of all things,
Weaver of the subtle connections that bind each one to another,
Maker of past, present and future,
Giver of dreams:

Help me to see the grand design.
Open my eyes to the ties that bind –
me to another,
another to You,
You to me.

And in these connections,
let me discern 
the beat of Your heart,
the call of Your voice,
the movement of Your Spirit
across endless galaxies
and throughout the very fabric of time.

In these connections,
help me to see that I am never alone
and give me a glimpse of the powerful mystery
of One God, yet three Persons,
who are united completely
in love, in purpose, in power.

In these connections,
may I be found and refined,
for the ties that bind me to brother and sister
are the ties that bring me meaning and growth.

Lord, open my eyes to the connections
and help me to see myself reflected
in the eyes of the other looking back at me.
Help me to be open to their care and to their concerns,
to their honesty and to their mystery,
to their giftings and to their need for grace,
to their life stories and to their love.

Help me to be a part of Your body.

Daddy

My relationship with my father has always been a tricky one.  Yes, there is love.  But also inconsistency.  Yes, there has been pride in my accomplishments.  But also the need to prove my worth.  Above all, as a pastor, there is pressure. Pressure to get it right; pressure to forgive and reconcile and move on with everything picture perfect.  It’s definitely impacted my relationship with God.  I cringe whenever I pray, “Our Father….”  I feel guilty and disconnected.  I keep wondering what it is that I need to do to make God happy – a proud Father.

As I have journeyed with this over the years I hadn’t actually realised quite how far I’d come: how the sense of my belovedness has snuck up on me and started changing me from the inside out.

It was with great joy and wonder that as I read the words from Romans 8:15 “And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father,” God, as Daddy, suddenly made sense to me:

Daddy, I need you to simply sit beside me tonight.

I need to feel the warmth of your presence

and to know that I can rest safely in your mighty arms.

I need you to pull me close

and whisper words of love and assurance into my heart.

I need to know that despite my faults and mistakes,

I remain precious in your eyes

and that you love me simply because I am yours.

Hold me until I feel safe.

Hold me until I am healed.

Hold me until I know love.

Hold me until I see where I truly belong –

ever, always, on your lap and in your arms.

Amen.