Posted by: goodgoat | 7 April, 2009

More on washing of feet (Maundy Thursday)

I blogged on this some time ago https://goodgoat.wordpress.com/2007/06/23/foot-washing/ but my thoughts have moved on a little since then.

One of the best pieces of advice that I have been given was by my mother just before I went to university.  She said “never refuse a cup of coffee, you never know where it may lead.”  You know, taking her advice has enriched my life.

In our culture in the Western “developed” world we tend to share how we feel with people over the ritual of tea or coffee. I think that in our cultural context this is where “foot washing” takes place. We help others with the burden they are carrying, removing the muck on their feet, by listening to them over a cup of something.

So…you might like to consider what cups of coffee you might accept or ask others to share with you!

Posted by: goodgoat | 20 February, 2009

Signs of New Life

The Gospel of John shows that darkness has not ovecome light (the Word or Jesus) and holds out a promise to us that no matter what may happen to us there is always an opportunity for a new start – but that can be hidden from view and make us think that it’s not there…

Goodgoat noticed that there are signs of new life after Winter around now – crocusses are showing their bright flowers heralding Spring – but where did they appear from? Goodgoat hadn’t noticed the buds before the flowers appeared, and yet it has happened.

When we are in dark places trust God that there is something new starting to happen that we haven’t noticed yet – then when least expected, will notice something that breaks us out of our darkness if only for an instant – keep trusting – there is more to come – there is light that can overcome the darkness.

Posted by: goodgoat | 15 February, 2009

Just sometimes…

Goodgoat has had a day where God seems to be breaking through to speak to him…doesn’t happen very often but when it does Goodgoat feels very blessed.

As you may have seen, I am struggling with the story of Jacob wrestling the Angel (well, I think he’s wrestling Jesus, actually, i.e. a being that is both human and divine). 

Tonight at church the “words” that the prayer team had received included a reference to ‘when you walk through the waters I’ll be with you’…which goodgoat feels is where he’s at at the moment. Now, I went forward for prayer ministry and one of the prayers asked God to speak to me, at depth, to let me know what he thinks.

Well, I went for coffee and someone came up to me and said “so the Isaiah 43 was for you then?” – I said I didn’t know my Bible all that well, what is Isaiah 43? He pulled his little Bible out of his pocket and said “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”

Well, I knew it was God speaking to me from the moment he read out “Jacob” and “Israel” – just the concepts I am wrestling with – being fallen and yet struggling through that to get to where God wants me to be. We have a wonderful God!

If you have a prayer ministry team at your church and you’ve never been forward to be prayed for, can I recommend that you give it a try?

May God bless you.

Posted by: goodgoat | 7 February, 2009

Any Economists out there?

Goodgoat doesn’t have much of a grasp of economics but would like to understand something better – can anyone help?

Governments seems to expect that the global economy has to grow year-on-year, every year seemingly for ever? Aren’t there fatal (sic) flaws to this? Surely the resources of the world can’t sustain growth for ever? Can’t the global economy remain static and resources put into alleviating poverty and disease instead of growing products and services?

Is this hopelessly naive?

Posted by: goodgoat | 4 February, 2009

Life Struggle Towards Identity in God

Goodgoat has been struck this week by the story of Jacob.  I went on a course looking at discovering our giftings and motivations and how we develop them. There was a great video shown that discussed the story of Jacob in the book Genesis in the Bible. At the start he goes to his father to get a blessing, but when his father asks him who he is (and in that culture being asked that question is really asking what is your identity) – and he answers that he is Esau (his elder brother). Thus he is deceiving himself and others about who he really is.  

It is only when Jacob wrestles with the angel that he realises his true identity – Israel. This must encourage us to engage with God in dialogue – in prayer – to wait on Him – to have revealed to us the identity that we are called to be.

There are parallels with Jonah, who does not initially accept his God-given purpose and runs from God and perhaps also with Moses who, when he speaks with God at the burning bush does not believe God that he is to lead his people and has to be convinced by God that what He is saying is true.

We are all reliant on God for our very being, God is the Great I AM, the one who makes our existance possible – how amazing, then to come home to realise who we really are – but perhaps also true how important the struggle that makes us realise and then move to being able ot accept who we are called to be in God.

Oh blessed struggling!

Posted by: goodgoat | 5 December, 2008

Sin

Goodgoat once went to Taize. Through the daily prayers you go on a spiritual journey, reflection about self, laying things before God and then towards the end of the week you get given an unlit candle. Then at one point in the prayer service one candle is lit at the front of the church and then the person with that candle lights those around them and so on until the whole room is lit with the flames from all the candles.

I left the church, happy to have been given a light, a spirit, by God. This candle represented God within me, something of Him in my spirit.

A few minutes later someone asked me whether they could use my candle, I said “yes, of course” thinking that they wanted to relight their own, but instead I was mortified to see them produce a cigarette and light that from my candle – I can still feel the waves of shock in my system!

I felt that my spirit, my God-givenness had been used to bad ends – to light something that brings death and disease to people. I think there’s a link to sin here – the use of our time and talents to ends that are not what God would want us to do.

Posted by: goodgoat | 10 November, 2008

More on Communion

While taking Communion this morning, Goodgoat remembered his biology classes.

When bread (a form of starch) is taken into the mouth and chewed it is mixed with our saliva. Now, saliva contains an enzyme (chemical) called salivary amylase. This enzyme works on the starches in the bread and breaks them down into sugars which make the bread start to taste sweeter. In fact this is the first stage of digesting the bread – of getting food value from it.

So…if we are taking on board the Bread of Life (Jesus and the Bible) then we need to take some time to chew it over rather than just reading it quickly – when we take time to do this then we give the Word a greater chance of being sweet in our mouths and make a greater impact on our lives.

Posted by: goodgoat | 30 October, 2008

He’s still there

Goodgoat took part in a Bible study last night where we used our imaginations to play the roles of the different characters in the story in our heads using our imaginations (this is called “Ignatian” style prayer).

The passage we looked at was Luke 6:6-11 where Jesus heals the man with a withered hand.

The first time through we imagined ourselves to be one of the Pharisees. Afterwards we discussed what we’d experienced in our imaginations. One of the group said that he’d pictured the inside of the temple where the scene took place as being a cool place out of the sun – somewhere where light streamed through an upper window to illuminate the scene, the light stream filled with particles of dust. This was a place of retreat, a place for relaxation and reflection, a place to find God.

It struck us that even though the place was being run by people who were totally caught up in rules and religious observances, the God of release of captives was still there to be found.

So…take heart if you feel restricted by what you are experiencing in your church, if you feel oppressed by rules – God can still be found there!

Posted by: goodgoat | 14 October, 2008

The last few weeks

1 Timothy 6: 6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

The last few weeks have seen huge volatility and close to the collapse of the value of money and “the market”. As the text above puts it, we’re born naked and leave the world naked, so let’s be content with food and clothing and not be greedy.

Now I’m no economist but it seems to me that money is a token that we use in place of barter. Money in itself is worth nothing if trust has gone – and as far as I can tell it’s the trust that has gone in the world of banks and high finance.

If money were to lose its value completely then what would be valuable – food, fire (for warmth and cooking), water, shelter and human relationships.

Where are you investing your time and efforts – if it isn’t working to improve relationships, to bring some reconciliation into the world then is what your doing actually going to leave any lasting affect?

Posted by: goodgoat | 10 October, 2008

Hope Against Darkness

I am currently reading Hope Against Darkness: The Transforming Vision of Saint Francis in an Age of Anxiety by Richard Rohr, a Franciscan Monk.

Also I use the Jesuit’s web site, “Pray as you Go” which offers an mp3 download of 10-15 minutes of guided prayer every weekday.

Sometimes things in different parts of your life come together and lets you see things in a new way and this is the case this morning.

Pray as you Go takes its scripture passage from the Letter of Paul to the Galatians where he points out that we are justified by faith and that Jesus carries the curse of our sinfulness.

This took on a new meaning for me this morning in the light of having read some of Richard Rohr’s book last night. What I realised is that Jesus allows us to work in our sinfulness, in our fallenness, in our imperfections in our circumstances – and that somehow the Cross  helps us to work in the midst of all this and somehow the promise is that by faith (by believing that it will be the case, by believing in God’s promise that it will be the case) He will help us to come through and will give us the resources in the midst of this grappling.

Still have to pray more about this to make it a reality for me but it’s a wonderful hope – that instead of having to bewail my sinfulness and strive to get rid of it (working “uinder the law”) but rather to accept my sinfulness and to have faith that Jesus will help me to get through it as he’s taken the burden already.

This is “The Gospel” – the Good News and this morning this Good News has become a much more vibrant and real thing for me – and I hope it will be for you too – Very Good News indeed!!!

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