Archive | December, 2013

‘Jesus’ drafts @drafts2

19 Dec

As I finished working with the team at Stewardship on Advent wonder I struggled mightily with one piece: Jesus. So not two, but four drafts are linked here as https://charlesosewalt.com/2013/11/27/from-drafts2/   we publish the’ Jesus’ Advent piece this Friday. (Sign up and find that piece here http://www.stewardship.org.uk/special-articles/advent-wonder   )

But why did I struggle?

Simply, there is so much to say; and so little. Ultimately, the tears of one of my dear, dear colleagues moved me to start over, to refeel and think.  As she spoke of Jesus said shared that, for her,  Advent is about the joy of a baby. Tears formed as described holding her first daughter Rosie.

She is truly on spot: Advent is about a baby. If you are interested in writing and the process of truly listening to another and how God speaks to another, and, at times through a mother’s tears,  go to drafts2 and see all four bits I put away. Here is the first, my notes:

Jesus

a new son

a new song

an unexpected king

wrapped

Forgetfulness of soul and heart

Self forgetfulness  draws u in

Sucks u in

Their song dives into your song

 

 

commitment

18 Dec

‘I think Ralph is going to pray to Jesus.’

 As Priscilla and I sat in an airport on our way to San Francisco, we prayed for Ralph. It was end of March 2011. He and my sister and their children had gone through deep heartache in the previous months. Once they shared with us their hearts, we shared ours and how Jesus loves. Quiet, steady Ralph listened. He was searching for something, someone. Memories of Christians at his work came to mind; he had seen some differences, mainly peace. He wanted peace.

 But questions:

How did we know Jesus was true?

How could he, Ralph, know if He was the truth?

 Patiently, I said and made a promise with him to explore. I promised to read a chapter a night with him every night and answer his questions to the best of my ability. All he had to do was to keep a journal of his questions. I told him answers would come. The questions were the important bit. He agreed; we began.

 Now he said, three months in, I am ready. I want to pray.

 Christians run through this bit, I believe, a little too fast. How does someone ‘Pray Jesus’ into their life?

What happens naturally and supernaturally at that moment? Or has it already happened before words are even mouthed? I can’t answer these questions and am glad I can’t. I wrote them down though, in my journal. We read and wrote and prayed together.

 I asked Ralph to pray by himself with Jesus that night. He did and we kept reading. We had started with Mark, moved to Jude, then Philemon and Acts and then to Genesis and we got up to Isaiah and then in December of 2012 I moved to London for work.

 We kept going till March 2013. The five hour time difference was killing me. I had to turn my brother (no longer just by law and marriage) over to Jesus. Hard. Ralph kept going. He kept writing in his journal.

 Last night (18 December) I couldn’t sleep. I hadn’t talked to Ralph in weeks. He was on my heart. I called.

 After a simple ‘hello, what are you doing up at this hour?’ Ralph said, ‘I am four chapters away.’

 He is in Revelation four chapters away from reading the Bible in a year (or so) He is still reading and journaling about God’s word. He visits the sick in hospitals; is active in a weekly men’s bible study, He is saved; heart and life changed. I asked:

What is his biggest take away from this year plus process of reading the word?

 Answer: Micah 7:8b as Ralph says it, through I sit covered in darkness, God’s light is there; he is mine. I am glad he answered question. He quoted scripture.

 Thursday night 19 December we finish the last two chapters together. We end as we began, together.

 What glorious light! His light, becomes my light, becomes our light. His word, our light.

 

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at Focus, summer 2013

18 Dec

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this is the picture I gave my Priscilla for our 33 year together. She is my Agnes .

our Christmas Lulu

16 Dec

Christmas photo

MYC, Sam & Priscilla

MYC, Sam & Priscilla

Dearest Family and Friends,

We think of you fondly during this Christmas Season. Tonight Charlie and I attended our Church’s Candle Light Service. There I heard a new song, a glorious song, so beautifully arranged and sung that I felt caught, drawn into the heart of a young fair woman enthralled by her Son.
           

Bethlehem Down

When He is King we will give Him the Kings’ gifts,
   Myrrh for its sweetness, and gold for a crown.
  Beautiful robes, said the young girl to Joseph,
  Fair with her first-born on Bethlehem Down.
    Bethlehem Down is full of the starlight-
Winds for the spices, and stars for the gold,
  Mary for sleep, and for lullaby music
Songs for a Shepherd by Bethlehem fold.
When He is King they will clothe Him in grave-sheets,
  Myrrh for embalming, and wood for a crown,
He that lies now in the white arms of Mary,
Sleeping so lightly on Bethlehem Down.
Here He has peace and a short while for dreaming,
  Close-huddled oxen to keep him from cold. 
  Mary for love, and for lullaby music 
 Songs of a Shepherd by Bethlehem fold. 

 Charlie and I wish all of you a Happy Christmas. May His love enthral you and draw you close to Him

There are two pictures. The first is from this past Sunday at St. Luke’s. The little girl at the 10 am Family Service made ‘crackers’ with us. Her name is Abby. The second is Grandmother and Sam at the NYC Museum of Natural History. I love how they ‘look’ alike

Charlie

                       

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a lover’s hand: Agnes and Dürer

16 Dec

a lover's hand: Agnes and Dürer

Dürer was married at 23 to Agnes Frey. Agnes here is holding in her hand what Dürer holds in his hand in his self-portrait: a flower of fidelity

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the sheepherders

13 Dec

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sheepherders hear the Angel’s adoration and run, leave their precious sheep, to first see the Master and Messiah, the baby Jesus and then to tell all.

Children always tell all. sheepherders became little children that night

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black & white

10 Dec

black & white

charlotte at one

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Durer in love; sensitive hands

9 Dec

Durer in love; sensitive hands

two weeks ago I was in Paris; at the Louvre. I saw this young man’s self-portrait. He painted himself holding a thistle, an emblem of faithful love.
Young, young love-pure, it was what Durer held in his hands; hands he famously copied, drew, worked with and touched with love with.
the touching of food, sweetly loved

Ron’s answer to my question

5 Dec

my question: ‘what do you do internally,- spiritually- when people you have loved and trusted no longer love you?’

Ron: When ‘things started going downhill…How did I cope? I had to rethink…I realized that it is about a deep belief in a good God. My friendships and recognition by institutions should play a secondary role. I needed to pick myself up…I needed to recalibrate my happiness index once in a while.

I also began to mediate a lot instead of traditional prayers. I don’t want someone else to be the cause of either my deep happiness or disappointment.

As you know by now, life is full of fake stuff, from friendships to other kinds of relationships to institutions of faith to corporations. But you need only be true to yourself before God. That is all God can ask of you. That alone gives you peace of mind. Lower your expectations and increase your patience, dear brother.’

 

 

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created by Joy, a spurs fan

4 Dec

created by Joy, a spurs fan

10 stone lost; loved byJoy; this was me on the week of my birthday, gifted by Joy