Sunday, February 27, 2011

when he fled.

"But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.

"I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.

"Arise, Lord!
Deliver me, my God!"

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I've been learning a lot about rest recently. Part of that has come under learning to trust and to enjoy what God is doing, even though sometimes it takes so long to grow... Realising that He delights in us even in the process of grace. And with time, that's just the thing: I've been aware more than ever that really, really long periods of time can hold deep and coherent realities. I'm beginning to let my heart and thoughts settle more into those, to appreciate them and even desire them.

The thing that has struck me the most, though, is how we can rest in each other's gifts. The friends that God has placed around me are amazing me more all the time, and I so love serving Him with them. I love seeing people thrive in roles that I would have to work so hard in and with less results, and being able to step back and fill the places God has set aside for me. I so love being part of other people's lives- what a gift!

And I'm learning, in life and in friendship, that it's okay to move slowly. Not with apathy, with real desire and passion... Yet living in rest, knowing what is valuable and what is just too much. Relying on the grace and love of friends in places I need to come into just a bit at a time, places I really want to be in but which might take a while. People always surprise me! Whenever I need to rely on these friends in places that are hard (especially those that shouldn't be!) the welcome is real and easy, the opportunities are perfectly made, and I'm so thankful. When it feels like there's just too much to do or focus on, it's good to rest in the fact that it's God who is working around us, making everything happen and choosing what matters, so that we can simply join with His work within the resources we have. Running in God's strength, but also in only His expectations :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

what it is to reflect.

I've just started reading 'The Idea of Biblical Poetry' by James L. Kugel, which has been sitting on my bookshelf from the library for a few weeks. I've only read nine pages into the first chapter, but the thought is quite cool and I'd love to share a little part.

Kugel is writing about how often in biblical poetry, each line is made up of two parts- with a pause between. Instead of any set poetic metre or things such as rhyme or alliteration, this form is what the Hebrew ear expected from poetry. The theme of this book is the way that there is often a relationship between the two parts, where the second half will either repeat part of the first or reflect its ideas/voice, as in Psalm 94:
God of retribution, Lord / God of retribution, appear! //
Rise up, earth's ruler / give the arrogant their due //
How long shall the wicked, Lord / how long shall the wicked rejoice? //
They brag, speak arrogance / all the evil-doers do act haughtily //

This draws the imagery and the heart of what is written in a unique and expressive way, whether you notice it or not. Even the writers might hardly have noticed; it was culturally inherent.

Rather than simply mirroring or copying the first part in the second, though, there is something more significant held in the intuitive meaning of this form. Kugel rightly mentions how the listener would understand a build-up. The first part of the line is a truth in its own right, but it's also there to set the stage for something more: "A is so, and what's more, B is so."

I love this paragraph:
The medial pause all too often has been understood to represent a kind of "equals" sign. It is not; it is a pause, a comma, and the unity of the two parts should not be lost for their division. Indeed, its true character might be more graphically symbolised by a double arrow-
All your works praise you Lord <--> and your faithful ones bless you
for it is the dual nature of B both to come after A and thus add to it, often particularizing, defining, or expanding the meaning, and yet also to harken back to A and in an obvious way connect to it. One might say that B has both retrospective (looking back to A) and prospective (looking beyond it) qualities.

So amazing how God taught these people, within their culture, to know who He is within a context of worship. Even its poetic form is so aware of the goodness of God that is all through creation. There's a beautiful relationship between what is seen first, and what these things point to; things that are less become precious by holding His image. What comes now is caught up in what it will become later. Rather than discarding things or forgetting His servants, God delights in perfecting and glorifying. It's the nature of things :)

This feels like a glimpse of what it means for us as well to be part of the glory of God. Surrendering to this gives us His rest. His light over-illuminates ours, but in undeserved love His fire also points back to, always brightens, our own.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I've just read Deuteronomy, and one thing that has stood out to me in this story is how God has set so clearly in people's memories what He has already done... Yet for Israel, it's not just about looking to the past. It's a real hope, to be experienced in His faithfulness: to be strong and courageous even in what is unseen and what is ahead. People are given (and become part of) stories to understand, but each generation and each individual gets to live out the story of who God is.

This contrasts so much with our culture's ideas of security and hope. In listening to God for each step, not hiding things from Him, it's beautiful to know how vast the future is as something we could never weave together ourselves, but that He is delighting in holding for us. Everything is held. When we wait only on Him, time and its seasons are a beautiful thing.

wherever you.

When we’ve said too much,
let us meet silence
for a time,
deep river of moments
under the afternoon light.

You fill each day to the brim
according to the rhythms of your own house.
We could explore them forever,
understand them among friends.
I love each note,
however brief; I lose myself in the sound
and the uniqueness.

Time tells his stories more quietly
in the language of earth,
the words we will incline to
and by which we are remade.
Emptied of the old ways,
taught to be real;
we lack nothing,
delighted by what you have made.
We enjoy your house with silence in the afternoon,
contented and delighted by you
whose reality precedes us
and whose love upholds our breath.

Every morning rises with a new sun,
a light unseen before and newly made
yet of one kind
with the faithfulness we rise to each day.

In the evening
when stars appear,
then we are stirred
and we race over the sand in the cold breeze,
watching you,
arriving to find you in your promises.

Let our hearts be quiet before you again now
and watch. Then we will follow
wherever you go.
You have spoken already.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Every drop of the rain is a word about your kindness. Desiring such goodness to be held within, even when I'm within walls, hope cannot disappoint us.