Monthly Archives: October 2013

Of trust and tricycles

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Warm sunlight throws long shadows

I push the little one’s buggy

Permitting me ringside seats

To witness the beauty

Of a childhood memory formed

To witness the choices

Of a tired and weary mum

Sleep deprived but persevering

Pouring herself out

Bending over

Running behind the tiny bike

Steadying and steering

Cheering on

Reassuring and protecting

Letting go

As her daughter wobbles along

Grinning ear to ear.

An idillic picture

Weaving in and out of shadows

Cast by trees lining the road.

A precious and meaningful cameo

Imprinted deep in my mind and heart

Of a patient and affirming parent

And of a joyfully trusting child

Giggling and confident

Learning, making mistakes, growing

Totally assured of her safety

Because of her mum’s presence

Lord I want to absorb the beauty of this moment

into my own life

May I continue to love and serve when weary

But more importantly

May I be that joyfully trusting child,

confident that your presence with me is all I need.

 

All poems and original writing on this blog are Copyright © Hilary Murdoch 2013
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Can it be so?

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Photo credit: Stunning metal wall art by thewordwithin on Etsy

Can it be so?

It doesn’t seem right

that up is down

and down is up,

that being at the bottom is being at the top

and being at the top is being at the bottom.

That the first shall be last

and the last shall be first.

That to lead you must serve

and that if you want to be great

you must be the least,

considering others better than yourself.

Insecure leaders need a title, position,

significance through what they achieve.

Secure leaders pick up a towel and serve

investing in others to make them great.

What a profound challenge,

so counter to all the world says.

It blows right out of the water

all desire for recognition

and advancement.

Smashes any hint of pride.

It’s not a simple request.

It’s radical.

Extreme.

And no one gives a more radical example than He does.

None of us came from as high as He did

And none of us can imagine going so low.

Can it be so,

that when you are weak you are strong?

But when you think you are strong

you are heading for a fall?

If Jesus said it

I guess it’s true

but it’s baffling to me.

Can it really be true

that now, as I feel so weak

so worn out, so drained, so empty,

past the end of myself;

can it be so

that right now

His strength is made perfect in me?

Doesn’t feel like it.

Feels pretty uncomfortable to be honest.

I’d rather be strong,

and have plenty of myself left to give.

But now, as I feel I have nothing to offer

now my dependence on Him is real,

and so anything I give

must be directly from Him

so He gets the glory, not me.

And as I am held and vulnerable

He comes through for me

and I can see it more clearly.

And so

maybe it is so

that up is down

and down is up.

Maybe I don’t need to fight it

or figure it out

but embrace the crazyness

and accept the radical challenge

of this inside out

upside down

topsy turvey

place where He is king.

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a random for many.” Mark 10:42-45
 
“My Grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness” 2 Corinthians 12:9. 
 
All poems and original writing on this blog are Copyright © Hilary Murdoch 2013

Falling Leaves

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A poem written by Joyce Rupp, which I have adapted and added to, based on the concepts in Joyce’s chapter on autumn in her book ‘May I have this dance?’

To constant accompaniment of birdsong
The leaves fall down
From wide oak and high ash
They twirl to the ground,
Dancing the autumn death dance
Beneath the great blue sky.

The leaves seem glad at the going
(Is there something I don’t know?)
Sparkling in the mellow sunlight
Their gentle rustling filling the air

One, then another and another
On they skim down from above
Bedding the forest floor before me
With comforting crunches as I step

This gigantic sea of dying leaves
Does not smell of sorrow or sadness
Rather the earth is ringing with joy
As the leaves make music in the wind.
It is not a dull grey scene
But one bursting with colour
And with beauty
If you have eyes to see it.

Why is this dance of death so lovely?
Why do the leaves seem so willing to go?
They don’t want to hang on to the bitter end
To be broken down and discoloured
They want to be released
Still beautiful
Shortly after the fullness of summer.

The leaves are subtle reminders
That we are asked to let go
To be thankful for what’s gone before
To release with love
And to find peace
Even in the face of death.

Nothing is wasted in nature
The fallen leaves generously give
Life and nourishment
To the new growth
Just as we who remain living
Can draw goodness
From all that those departed gave us
If we nourish that goodness
It can bring growth in us.

Autumn is a season of death
But also a time of thanksgiving
For the abundant harvest that’s been.
Winter then brings times of quiet reflection
Clarity and stark beauty
And both pave the way for the new life
And new growth of Spring.

The Mountain

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The tabletop

The banqueting table of God

The Mountain

Around which, life happens

Above which, streets bustle

Against which, all vistas are set

In relation to which, directions are given.

Wherever you are in Cape Town

You can look up

To see it towering above.

In many cultures and countries

Mountains are sacred

A meeting place with God.

Directing our sight upwards

Above the everyday hum-drum

And hassle of the streets

Above our concerns and cares

Upwards to see

An awe-inspiring constant

As life and death, joy and suffering

Shift as shadows

Around it.

Even when covered with cloud

We are aware that it’s there

Can sense it without seeing it

The Mountain

Proceeding and more permanent than humanity

Rising above the man made structures

Keeping us from over-estimating our race.

A silent but strong prompt

To lift your eyes

To know where your help comes from

To remember the greatness of the Creator.

His constancy

Majesty

Faithfulness

Centrality.

And yet

Unlike the mountain

He isn’t cold, removed

He steps down

Gets involved in everyday life.

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

We often need something

To lift our sights

To raise our hope

Wherever we live

Mountain or none.

What prompts you to look up?

“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” – Psalm 61:2

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come?” – Psalm 121:1

 

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