Words I didn’t know

The medicine of words – Medicina Verbi

From Anna Kamienska “A Nest of Quiet: A notebook”

At the bandstand we were thinking about how words can encourage us and build us up or tear us apart.

“One breath taken completely: one poem, fully written, fully read-in such a moment, anything can happen. The pressed oil of words can blaze up into music, into image, into the hearts and minds knowledge. The late and shadowed places with errors can be warmed.”
– JaneHirshfield, Nine gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry

“Why should we all use our creative power and write or paint or play music, or whatever it tells us to do?
Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money. Because the best way to know the Truth or Beauty is to try to express it. And what is the purpose of existence here or yonder but to discover truth and beauty and express it, i.e. share it with others?”
– Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write

We considered words which we did not know and tried to interpret them:

Selcouth: unfamiliar, rare, strange and yet marvellous.

Susurrus: a low soft sound, as whispering or muttering or a quiet wind; a whisperer or a rustling.
Grayden said “I love the coming of spring, daffodils and tulips burst into flower, summer lies ahead. Bright days, warm sunshine a sussurrus of wonderful days.

Redamancy: the act of loving the one who loves you; a love returned in full.
Fi quoted “A good marriage is where both people feel like they are getting the better end of the deal.”

Duende: the mysterious power of art to deeply move a person.

Ichariba Chode: though we meet but once, even by chance, we are friends for life.
Barbara said that at Third Space we are companions on the journey and friends for life, always and forever. We then had a group hug as a practical demonstration:

Group-Hug-3

 

Hoppipolla: jumping into puddles.
Barbara had is accessing the inner child like Peppa Pig we had to jump into virtual puddles and dance in the sun.

Concupiscence: any yearning of the soul for good.
Wendy thought that we contain a divine discontent with injustice and that this word was a reminder of who we are and who we are called to be.

Floccinaucinihilipilification: the act of deciding that something is useless.

Kalon: beauty that is more than skin deep.

Livsnjutare: one who loves life deeply and lives it to the extreme.
Jon described some of the people he has known who exhibit the qualities of both Kalon and         Livsnjutare.

 

 

 

Words of Life:

Jesus said to them, “…The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him.  He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

John 6: 63-69

Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday

Well, a few of us who were able met on Thursday evening and shared a meal together. We had lamb Bobotie – a South African dish and Jamie Oliver’s Hot Cross buns pudding – delicious! We talked around lots of things, but also a little about our feelings about that last night in Jesus’ life. It was then that all was won or lost as this was the last time that Jesus truly could exercise his own will… We share bread and wine, concentrating on the meaning of each at the Passover meal. The bread was unleavened – leaven / yeast representing sin; a reminder of the bread carried on the exodus journey – they were ‘with-breaders’ with God as their ‘com-panion’; there are 3 ‘matzot’ on the table – named after the 3 Patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; it is the middle one that is broken – the Isaac – the one who was taken for sacrifice; the other half is hidden and called the ‘afikomen’ – ‘that which is to come’; it was this that Jesus redefined as his body broken for us… There are 4 cups of wine drunk during the course of the meal, recalling 4 promises from Exodus 6:6-7. The first cup is for the promise ‘I will bring you out’ – and is known as the cup of deliverance; the second,’ I will deliver you from slavery’ – the cup of freedom; the third, ‘I will redeem you with a demonstration of my power – the cup of redemption’ – this was the cup redefined by Jesus as his blood of the new covenant; the fourth cup, I will acquire you as a nation’ – the cup of consummation, he did not drink. These ideas informed our words as were shared the bread and wine around the table. On Easter morning we used the following words for our communion:

  • This is the bread of the Passover which Jesus shared with his friends at the Last Supper
  • It is the unleavened bread – the ‘without-sin’ bread
  • It is the middle matzah that Jesus broke – the Isaac – the bread of sacrifice
  • It is the afikomen – the ‘that-which-is-to-come’ bread.
  • It was the bread prescribed to the Hebrews to take on the exodus from Egypt – they were sent out ‘with bread’ – with God as their ‘com-panion’
  • This is the promise of Jesus as our ‘with-breader’ – our companion on the journey
  • This is the body of Christ broken for us, for the forgiveness of sins

 

  • This is the third cup of the Passover meal which Jesus shared with his friends at the Last Supper
  • It is the cup of power
  • It is the cup of redemption
  • It is the cup of thanksgiving
  • It is the cup of the new covenant
  • It is the cup of promise
  • It is the cup of suffering
  • This is the blood of Christ given for many, for the forgiveness of sins

We also shared readings – from The Message’s version of Matthew 28 – was it just me or can you hear a hint of laughter in Jesus’s voice? We thought of words from an Easter hymn and wrote words of thanks on crosses. We heard words from Archbishop John Sentamu, ate home-made hot cross buns, hearing the story of their origins and using the ancient greeting ‘A piece for you, a piece for me, between us all good will shall be’. And we used the poem of Gerard Kelly below – reminding us that Easter is so much more than David Cameron’s so secular summing up!

Because He is Risen

Because He is risen

Spring is possible

In all the cold hard places

Gripped by winter

And freedom jumps the queue

To take fear’s place as our focus

Because He is risen

Because He is risen

My future is an epic novel

Where once it was a mere short story

My contract on life is renewed in perpetuity

My options are open-ended

My travel plans are cosmic

Because He is risen

Because He is risen

Healing is on order and assured

And every disability will bow

Before the endless dance of his ability

And my grave too will open

When my life is restored

For this frail and fragile body

Will not be the final word on my condition

Because He is risen

Because He is risen

Hunger will go begging in the streets

For want of a home

And selfishness will have a shortened shelf-life

And we will throng to the funeral of famine

And dance on the callous grave of war

And poverty will be history

In our history

Because He is risen

And because He is risen

A fire burns in my bones

And my eyes see possibilities

And my heart hears hope

Like a whisper on the wind

And the song that rises in me

Will not be silenced

As life disrupts

This shadowed place of death

Like a butterfly under the skin

And death itself

Runs terrified to hide

Because He is risen

Gerard Kelly: Spoken Worship

Happy Easter to all our dispersed members and friends of ThirdSpace. Hallelujah! Christ is risen!

Politics & Religion at the Pub!

Wednesday, 11th March found Third Space meeting at Designate@thegate in Matlock. Andy Botham came along to talk about his work as a Derbyshire County Councillor, and Cabinet member for Council Services. He explained how policies are debated at various stages and how decisions are then taken. With central government cutting funding to Derbyshire by £157 million, Andy stressed how difficult it is to implement cuts to services which impact so heavily on people’s lives. He told us that he found making cuts  very difficult because he had entered politics because he felt so strongly about fairness.

Andy is the Labour candidate for Derbyshire Dales in the May 2015 General Election. He spoke about how difficult it is to get into politics if one doesn’t have the “right” appearance, or doesn’t stick rigidly to the party line.

Several people in the group were very critical of politicians for not being willing to give straight answers to questions. He believes that politicians should be honest, real and straight talking. But stressed that it leads to hostile headlines in the media.

Third Space members were critical of “professional politicians” , who come straight from “Oxbridge” to work in parliament,  becoming  researchers, and then advisers to M.P’s, they are then selected as candidates for safe parliamentary seats so they have a smooth transition to becoming  M.P’s.

In contrast Andy along with several Third Space members said how much they admired Margaret Hodge, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, when she interrogates the rich and powerful about tax avoidance. All credit to her, she most definitely speaks for me!

Andy would like more people both to register to vote, and to vote  – particularly young people. He said it was really important to “constantly encourage more and more people to be involved in the political process”.

Asked by one Third Space member how we could pray for him, Andy asked us to pray for “fairness”.

A most interesting, informative and insightful evening closed as our speaker thanked the group for inviting him, and commented that ” it was a pleasure to spend an evening having informed and intelligent discussion”.

 

Seek Justice

We met in the Bandstand as usual at 9.30am, the day was cool and overcast, but dry.  It was the last day of Fairtrade Fortnight and so we considered how making ethical choices, like choosing Fairtrade products, was one way to be obedient to God’s command to “seek justice” in Isaiah Chapter 1.

Image result for cups of coffee with fairtrade mark

Our worship began with a time of  reflection using the Lord’s Prayer.

 

Bible Reading: Isaiah 1:13-17

This is a very sobering passage in which God through the prophet Isaiah berates the Israelites for thinking that they can honour Him while mistreating other people. Sometimes even as  Christians we seem to be able to divorce our relationship with God from how we treat other people. That’s why I’m always very suspicious of people who make a big fuss about worship without showing concern for social justice.

The injustice which offends God in this passage is not only active exploitation and wrong doing, but also neglect and indifference. The people are told to “seek justice”. that means – Encourage. Defend. Plead the case. Take up the cause. We are all called to speak out and take action!  Seeking justice is not be an optional extra for us but should be part of our daily lives. Biblical justice is never impartial; it is partial towards the poor, the powerless and the vulnerable, it is also partial in demanding the common good and the welfare of every individual.

When society and our world is structured in such a way that people are impoverished and disempowered, sin is taking place even if no single individual can be blamed, it is what some people describe as structural sin, or corporate sin.   Examples: Slavery. Poverty. Neoliberal free-market economics – a system which makes the rich,  richer and the poor,  poorer. How women have been treated and still are treated in most societies as second class citizens. How international trade is conducted – the rich and powerful get the lion’s share and poor producers get the crumbs.

Although imperfect, the Fairtrade movement stands for justice and equity, it offers a very definite alternative model of international trade. It puts fair prices and fair wages, sustainable development, environmental protection and social justice at the heart of trading relationships with poor producers.

Through making an ethical choice to buy Fairtrade products we can ensure that Third World farmers are paid a fair price and workers a decent wage, and in our shopping at least, we can be obedient to God’s command to “seek justice”.

Amos 5:23-24 : “I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-centric worship. When was the last time your life reflected your worship? Do you know what I want? I want justice – oceans and oceans of it. I want fairness – huge rivers of it. That’s what I want.”

 

 

Next we used a reworking of the Beatitudes (with thanks to Brian McLaren and Rob Bell) as a creed:

The poor and those in solidarity with them – God is on your side.

Those who mourn and feel grief about the state of the world – God is on your side.

The non-violent, gentle and humble – God is on your side.

Those who hunger and thirst for the common good – God is on your side.

The merciful and compassionate – God is on your side.

Those characterised by sincerity, kindness and generosity – God is on your side.

Those who work for peace and reconciliation – God is on your side.

Those who keep seeking justice – God is on your side.

Those who stand for justice and truth as the prophets did, who refuse to be quiet even when

slandered,  misrepresented, threatened, imprisoned or harmed – God is on your side!

Image result for divine chocolate bars

For our activity around the park we combined the fun of a treasure hunt (seeking Fairtrade chocolate bars hidden in the park) with considering how we could commit to “seek justice” more and more.

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Now where can those chocolate bars be?

Sunshine searching

Have you found any here?

 

Image result for divine chocolate bars

Ah there they are!

 

 

 

 

 

On returning to the Bandstand we shared bread and wine with the following liturgy inspired by Jonny Baker:

On the night before Jesus died, he gathered with his friends to share a meal. Over food and drink they shared stories of lament and longing.

They told stories of Lament for a world of injustice and powerlessness that before they met Jesus they hadn’t even noticed.

Lament over the people who were silenced, oppressed, exploited.

Lament over the people who were blind to the possibility that the world could be anything other than what it was.

They told stories of Longing that the new world they’d glimpsed might become reality;

Longing that the voiceless would be given a voice.

Longing that the powerful would be freed from their addiction.

Longing for the imagination to see that this world does not have to be as it is.

Then Jesus called for bread and wine.

The bread held in his hands … the words of blessing …the breaking of the bread, and then the shocking words, “this is my body… broken… for you…”

The cup of wine, an ancient memorial re-imagined… the blessing … and then the heart-breaking words, “this is my blood… poured out… for you and for many…”

May this bread be food for our journey as we “seek justice”.

May this wine be a sign that we are no longer in thrall to the old order whose power Christ has broken. 

May this place be where hopes and dreams are forged.

May this community be a reminder that we are not alone.

May we be able to throw off the old order and live the new life of Christ as we “seek justice”. Amen.

 

We then departed to Cool River for Fairtrade coffee and refreshments!

 

Image result for cups of coffee with fairtrade mark

Rejecting evil at the bandstand

Steve led us today, continuing the Lenten theme with musings on evil, looking at the temptations of Christ in the wilderness. He spoke of the passages of Scripture which personify Satan and the alternative Augustinian approach in which evil is merely the absence of good. Both have potential weaknesses – of either off-loading responsibility for our actions onto the devil (and the C of E has recognised issues too of how few people truly believe in this depiction of Satan, with it editing out ‘the devil’ from the vows taken in the baptismal service) or demeaning the horrors of true evil.

He also defined fallen-ness as choosing what others choose for us as opposed to  what God intends us to be – the very temptation Jesus faced at the start of his ministry.

So at the start of Lent, we made a bid to reject “the Devil and all rebellion against God.”

We wrote on paper, words that the “world” presents to us of ultimate worth. The idols of our age. Here are some that we came up with The world's values

The we wrote that which God would have us be. The values, goals, things of ultimate worth. Here are some

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We all had a bit of fun stamping on all that is evil, though held up as good before surrounding the values of the kingdom. Gathered there, we prayed by name for all those who need those values now, before turning to bread and wine, using these words:

Source of all Goodness and Light – our Father-Mother:

We confess our predilection and fascination with the less than good. Our chasing after our comforts and what would please us, our turning away from the true light, our obeisance to others and not to you, our idolising of the created order and our  neglect-ful-ness of our Creator.

We reject the darkness and turn to the LIGHT.

In our awakening to your gift of life to us, the breath you have YHWH-ed through us, the redemption price delivered in Jesus, we give you our thanks and our worship.

Help us we pray to orientate ourselves to you. Help us support each other in that repented direction. Help us to keep on keeping on in our journey to the LIGHT.

This bread represents your solidarity with us, your self-giving in Jesus, your incarnated commitment to our complete Shalom. We consume it for our corporate, bodily and total sustenance and with thanks!

RESPONSE: God’s mercy freely given!

This wine represents your inauguration of new relationship, the opening of new possibilities, the promise of a future resurrected life. We consume it for our corporate, bodily and total sustenance until Jesus returns!

RESPONSE: God’s mercy freely given!

Send us out, missioned together, to be children of the Kingdom, seeking Justice, loving Mercy and walking humbly with our Creator God.

RESPONSE: AMEN!

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

As usual we gathered at Holly House to mark the beginning of Lent.

We chatted over issues arising from Chapter 23 of our book – we all seemed to fall under the Pharisee banner than that of the multitudes!

We drew names from hats to match us up with prayer partners and took time to share briefly with one another in our pairs and then we had a short reflective prayer time, influenced by websites of Wellsprings and Faith and Worship. This is what we did:

Opening prayer:

Into your presence we come, Lord a few moments of quietness in a busy world that demands our attention. Breathe on us now that we might know your presence and your power as we pray, side by side, in solidarity with one another, and acknowledge our failings and need for God’s mercy an forgiveness for the journey ahead.

Readings: From the Message – Rev 2:2-3 & 3:15-17 followed by silent reflection

Confession:

I confess that I have forgotten the great love that my God and Creator has for me. I have lived as if I created myself; Forgetful of God’s great goodness to me; Forgetful that I am God’ beloved. I have embraced the feast and neglected the fast. I have lived as if there were no God and have chosen to ignore his call. I have allowed my first love to become luke-warm .

Reading: From the Message – Joel 2:12-20

Then ThirdSpace’s version of the Lord’s Prayer  (see previous blogs)

We then made the sign of the cross on each others’ foreheads or hands with the ashes naming each in turn and praying: Know yourself beloved of God. Receive his forgiveness and strength for the journey ahead.      

We shared bread and wine with these words:

We share a traditional Lenten bread, the pretzel, which is shaped in the form of arms crossed in prayer. It reminds us that we are called to stay prayerful but to draw strength from Jesus our companion on the journey.

JESUS OUR COMPANION IN PRAYER

We share in wine, the symbol of suffering, a reminder of Jesus in Gethsemane asking that his cup of suffering might be removed from him. We choose to drink, trusting in his strengthening, provision and victory as we embark on this next stage of our own journey.

JESUS OUR STRENGTH

We finished with the circular blessing – which is basically a group hug! – giving each other strength and support for these forty days and nights…

STRENGTH AND SUPPORT

 

 

Preparing for Lent

Last Sunday Paul and Fi led us in a preparation for Lent. So this is what we are doing:

  • We are supporting the 40 for 40 Trussell Trust campaign – 40p each day from each home for 40 days of Lent to support the huge numbers of families and individuals needing the help of food banks this Easter.
  • We are using these words: Lent: serious, intentional, reflective.

We have chosen to fast

Not with ashes but with actions

Not with sackcloth but in sharing

Not in thoughts but in deeds.

We remember your resurrection promise

Of a new world breaking into ours

And we remember that you are over all,

around all and in all

Amen.

 (www.godspace.wordpress.com)

 

  • We are using this reflection:

Fast from discontent                              Feast on gratitude

Fast from worry                                       Feast on Good’s providence

Fast from complaining                           Feast on appreciation

Fast from consumerism                         Feast on generosity

Fast from unrelenting pressure            Feast on ‘all will be well’

Fast from self-concern                           Feast on compassion for others

 

Fast from evasion                                    Feast on openness

Fast from avoidance                               Feast on participation

Fast from cynicism                                 Feast on hope and truth

Fast from problems that overwhelm  Feast on prayer that sustains

 

This is adapted from something written by William Arthur Ward. We always use a version of this at this time of year in ThirdSpace. I personally use a couplet each day to focus on – it’s very challenging!! Join me?

Soup & Miracles

Over steaming bowls of soup, served with bread and cheese we had a stimulating discussion about miracles based around Brian McLaren’s book “We Make the Road by Walking”.

 

Miracles?

Are you a believer in miracles?

Are you sceptical about miracles?

What problems do you encounter from your stand point?

McLaren talks of signs and asks if we imagine a story of one of Jesus miracles  – does it inform us or prove something else. Does it shake up our normal assumptions, inspire our imagination about the present and the future, and make it possible to see something we couldn’t see before?

Share a story of a time when you felt you experienced a miracle, or when you prayed for a miracle that never came.

Think of the story of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana.

  • Consider the superabundance of 935 bottles of wine to the Galilean village. What might that signify?
  • What might it mean for God to save the best till last?

Meditate.  Hold in silence the image of an empty ceremonial stone container being filled with water that is transformed to wine. Hear the sound of water filling to the brim. See the water changing colour, and taste the change in flavour as it becomes wine. Hear the sound of people celebrating in the background. Sit with the words “empty”, “full” and “transformed”. See what prayer takes shape in your heart.

We shared bread and wine using the Companions liturgy.

The evening  concluded as we chatted while enjoying Fairtrade Honey Cake and mugs of Fairtrade coffee!

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Keep Moving

I chose the theme of Keep Moving for Sunday morning worship for three reasons;

  • The weather forecast told of extremely cold conditions and a screaming wind straight from the Arctic. (We would need to keep moving to prevent us from getting too cold.)
  • We are studying a book called “We make the Road by Walking” by Brian McLaren.
  • We should never become complacent in our ways of doing church, we need to keep our eyes on Jesus and be guided by the Holy Spirit so we continue to be experimental and not set in our ways.

It actually turned out to be a sunny, but cold morning the wind not quite so fierce as expected. One really great thing about meeting outside is that we can use what is all around us to focus our worship.

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Keeping moving in Thanksgiving

We turn to the river

Thank you that Jesus that you refresh us with Living Water

We turn to the rising sun

Thank you for Jesus the Risen Son

Turn to the road

Thank you that you journey with us

Turn round and find the wind – welcome the wind with open arms

Thank you Holy Spirit that you dwell with us

Turn back to the river and look at the foot bridge

Thank you Jesus that you are The Way, The Truth and The Light

Turn in a direction of your choice and look at the winter scene

Thank you Lord God for the seasons of our lives, as we move on help us to keep moving on with you.

Bible Reading: Luke 3 from The Message

We read excerpts from Brian McLaren’s book from chapter 19 about the alternative baptismal cleansing that John the Baptist was offering to the Jews at the time of Jesus. It was this alternative way of thinking that Jesus signed up to when he came to John to be baptised in the River Jordan.

Keeping moving we walked to the Park Head considering while we walked:

Imagine God asking you, “What one thing would you like me to do for  you?”  As Solomon asked for wisdom hold up one request to God in silence.

At the Park Head, as the river rushed by, we read about the Baptism of Jesus.

Turning to the river we prayed for those we know who are in need, asking that they would experience being immersed in the flowing river of God’s love. We also prayed for those made homeless through war, disaster or other circumstances who would be experiencing the terrible cold of winter.

Bread and Wine

We know so well the stories of Christmas and Epiphany. The stories of Jesus birth, his visitors, his escape to Egypt. Apart from his visit to Jerusalem at the age of 12 we hear very little of his childhood, teenage years and 20s. We know that in those years Jesus increased in wisdom and that they were a preparation for his ministry after his baptism and temptations in the desert.  All his life he was moving, growing, changing, learning and preparing.

Preparing to die in our place

break breadthe broken body of Jesus

To shed his blood to redeem us

share winethe blood of redemption

Luke Chapter 3: 21, 22 “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptised too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

 God says to you:  “You are my child, whom I dearly love. In you I find pleasure. “

 make these words your own:

“I am (my name), your child, whom you dearly love. In me you find pleasure.”