Close up image of a fresh fig cut in half on a wooden chopping board with walnut pieces. Words over the top: Songs of the Spirit: goodness, Faith in Grey Places

Songs of the Spirit: goodness (a poem)

This is part of a series of poems on the virtues described as the fruit the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. Once again, I’m struck by how much I discover when I get out my concordance and start looking at the Greek words. 

Take, for example, Jesus’s words in Matthew 7:17 where he says that every “good” tree bears “good” fruit. These are two different words in the Greek, but many English translations render both words as “good”. 

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Picture looking up at the statue Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, against an azure sky with a single white puffy cloud in the sky. Words: Divine comedy (a poem reflecting on Jesus's ascension) Faith in Grey Places

Divine comedy (a poem reflecting on Jesus’s ascension)

Bible references for this poem: Matthew 28:16–20, Acts 1:1–11.

When I was still at school, perhaps still at primary school, a friend asked me why Jesus couldn’t have stuck around. Immediately, I piped up about the Holy Spirit and Jesus’s Spirit can be with everyone, everywhere, simultaneously in a way that an embodied, physical Jesus couldn’t. 

As I look back at my younger self, I’m a little surprised at how bold I was – but in a good way. The Holy Spirit is just as much a person of the Trinity as Jesus is. 

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"A voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17"

Christmas 2020: Week 6, Day 5: Revelation

The twelfth day of Christmas, Epiphany, was yesterday. We have officially moved beyond the Christmas season. And this devotional series ends today. It is, after all, day 40. 

I’m not sure I quite knew what I was biting off when I planned this series. It’s definitely been a stretch assignment, but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and the skills I’ve learned. 

If this series has encouraged you, refreshed you in your faith, or given you new insights, I would simply love to hear. Please use the contact form or message me via Twitter or Facebook

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And after entering the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him. Matthew 2:11

Christmas 2020: Week 5, Day 5: Integrity

In 2019, I read Kathy Khang’s book “Raise Your Voice.” She writes as a Korean-American about having courage to speak up and bring about change for the better. 

Throughout the book, she speaks about the sensitivities involved, as well as how hard it is to gain traction with people. She writes about changing structural problems, often from a position of little power/influence. 

Her insights were a balm for me and there are fabulous one-liners. 

One of them was this: “the Old Testament prophets not only recorded history but also remind the modern church of the need for people who say things that need to be said, even when it’s uncomfortable.” (p89)

I nearly pushed this sentence out as a Facebook status, but just before I hit post, I hesitated. 

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"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called the Son of God." The Angel Gabriel, Luke 1:35

Christmas 2020: Week 2, Day 5: Chosen

You hear some kinds of stories multiple times. Then they become tropes. Then you get fed up of hearing them. 

Take the whole ‘chosen one’ plot. Something bad needs sorting, but fate or prophecy has decided who will do this. And more often than not, it’s a child. Or a baby. Or a yet-to-be-born baby. Whoever it is, they were born for this

And then every now and then, you see the story told well, or in a surprising way. 

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Christmas 2020: Week 1, Day 5: Politics

At the start of this series, I said the Christmas story both begins and ends with tears. Today, I want to look a bit more at that ending. Sorry, it’s not easy going. 

A woman once told me her account of when she’d been sexually assaulted. When I said I believed her, she said people often doubted her because she was calm when she spoke about it. 

I replied saying that she had become practised at telling her story; after all, she’d had to tell it to police, to social workers, to family, to friends, to her employer and to domestic violence workers. I said she probably wasn’t nearly so calm the first time. And she laughed; she hadn’t thought about it that way before. 

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