Monthly Archives: April 2013

Teach me

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When I think I’m right

Teach me humility

When I look for the applause of others

Teach me humility

When I think it’s down to me

Teach me humility

When I find my significance in what I do

Teach me humility

When I’m living by my own strength

Teach me humility

Teach me to listen to others before I speak

Teach me to hear the unconditional applause of heaven

Teach me to know it’s down to you

Teach me to draw attention to you, not to myself

Teach me to be secure in who I am, in you

Give me courage to serve anonymously

Courage to forgive

Courage to trust

Courage to disregard the opinions of others

Courage to be secure in who I am, with nothing to prove

Courage to live in the fullness of who I am

And yet have the courage to lay that down for others.

Truly without you I’m nothing

And yet in you I have everything.

All poems and original writing on this blog are Copyright © Hilary Murdoch 2013 All rights reserved.

True humility

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True humility

Not insecure self-depreciation

Not a door-mat

Totally secure in Himself, in His divine identity

And yet choosing

To go low

To go slow

With those He created.

Downward mobility

Not just heaven to earth

But amongst people

Loving and serving those on the edge

Claiming nothing for Himself

Born in a borrowed stable

Buried in a borrowed tomb.

Challenges our petty pride

Challenges our attachment to position

Challenges our false humility

True generosity

Not giving to make Himself feel good

Not begrudgingly given

Laying everything He had down for others

Even His life

Giving of Himself freely

With no guarantee

Of people accepting the gift

So expensively bought

In fact knowing that the gift of life and freedom

Would be rejected by so many.

Giving of Himself

Without forcing or requiring a response.

Challenges our giving expecting thanks

Challenges our grumpy giving

Challenges our withholding

Thanks to David Meldrum, your Good Friday reflections service was the starting point for these thoughts.

 

All poems and original writing on this blog are Copyright © Hilary Murdoch 2013

The Model

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Born in someone else’s outhouse, shared with animals

Buried in a borrowed tomb, dependent on the kindness of strangers

He who had every right and ability

To have more than everything He needed

Chose to depend on others

Chose to have nothing of His own

Chose to model vulnerability

And instruct his disciples in it

“Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.” *

Not having a car in Cape Town for a couple of years overall has been a serious challenge. Public transport is limited and only available by day. I’ve had to learn to ask for and receive help. It’s eroded some of the negative independence I accumulated living in London, where I was able to get wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted since I was 16. It’s been painful. I’ve squirmed and fought it. Wanted to repay or back away. But I know God has been teaching me to be dependent on Him and interdependent on others. To be vulnerable.

In western society independence is elevated

Revered as supremely important

Strived for

Seen as a great virtue.

We want to be in a position to do it ourselves

Not to need anything from others

So we won’t be let down or lacking.

But there’s a man who demonstrates a different way

Tells His followers and friends to go out with nothing

Encourages them to depend on community and on God.

It’s uncomfortable

To admit we don’t know

Don’t have what we need

To reach the end of ourselves

To recognise we can’t make it happen

Can’t have everything tied up, controlled, neatly resolved.

But as we lay down our security and comfort

Our pride, self-sufficiency and independence

As we wait for Him to reveal himself

He invites us to rely on Him

To rely on our community

To let them in

He invites us into the freedom

Of the ability of ask for help

And the ability to receive it.

Because we will never fully experience

The love of God or the love of those around us

If we don’t sometimes chose that vulnerability.

——

Thanks to Dave Meldrum, who’s Good Friday reflections service was the starting point for these thoughts.

* Luke 9:3 The Bible, New International Version

All poems and original writing on this blog are Copyright © Hilary Murdoch 2013

Tale of two wells

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I am re-posting this story written by Craig Stewart from The Warehouse, it really speaks a profound truth about ‘development’.

One for the road—- Tale of two wells

I recently had the privilege of visiting the Mwanza region of Tanzania to learn about a church mobilisation and transformation programme called Umoja which is being implemented in various parts of Tanzania and is proving very successful. It was an inspiring trip and one story I was told by Justin Nyamonga, the Tearfund Director for Tanzania, has stuck with me as a picture of transformation rather than simply charity.

It is the story of water wells being built in two communities. In one community a coalition of large multinational NGOs had partnered with a local Diocese to build wells in villages that clearly needed them. They had a sound strategic plan, strong staff and sufficient funds and could build the wells very effectively. The other community had been mobilised through their church with minimal external funding and had identified the need for a well themselves. They’d found the resources to build a simple well, it had taken time and hadn’t involved a bunch of well-educated outsiders.

A year after the wells were built both communities happened to be visited by the local Bishop. In the donor-funded village the well wasn’t working anymore as it had broken and been shutdown by the local representative. When asked why they hadn’t done anything to fix it, the answer amounted to “your well, your problem”. In the other village a local committee had been established to oversee the well and each person paid a small fee to draw water, which was then placed into a maintenance fund. “Our well, our problem.” Enough said.

– Craig Stewart, The Warehouse.

Path

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We each tread our own path

The terrain of which

Varies with the season of life

Sometimes varies daily

A rocky path

with crevasses and boulders

dangers at each turn

Requiring slow and careful steps.

A hand offered to steady us.

A tightly twisting path

can’t see round the corner

no idea what’s ahead

Requiring trust, one step at a time.

A hand offered to reassure us.

A path under construction

potholes to avoid

signs to heed

Requiring perseverance and teachability.

A hand offered to guide us.

A flat path

lined with trees

beside a stream

Requiring gratitude.

A hand offered to meet with us.

A crumbling path

impossible to tread alone

no strength to carry on

Requiring total surrender and dependence

A strong arm offered to carry us.

What’s the terrain of your life path like right now?

What heart attitude does it require from you?

What are you grateful for?

Can you see the hand of God beside you? What is he offering you?

Are you prepared to accept his companionship on this path?

 
Photograph: Hilary Murdoch – path up Lion’s Head, Cape Town.
 
All poems and original writing on this blog are Copyright © Hilary Murdoch 2013