Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

as Lent 2021 approaches its end,

22 Mar

Harry’s cloak of invisibility; Joseph’s coat of many colours

“It’s never occured to me before, but I’ve heard stuff about charms wearing off cloaks when they get old, or them being ripped apart by spells so they’ve got holes in. Harry’s was owned by his dad, so it’s not exactly new, is it, but it’s just… perfect!”( Ron Weasley in HP-1. )

So, there are many Invisibility Cloaks in the universe of Harry Potter.

And it so happens that the one Harry has was Unique, one of a kind, because it was very powerful and efficient at deflecting Curses too. This means that Harry’s Cloak was made from special materials and also made from using special magic by one of the three Peverell brothers, Harry’s blood ancestors.

But I believe Harry’s cloak most outstanding attribute, beyond its longevity and sustainability; more powerful than its ability to repel hexes and spells; more wondrous than its powerful shield from unwanted probing eyes is that this cloak is a gift of love. Handled down from father and son through many generations, it is a cloak from unseen ancestral fathers of visible love.

This cloaking love is a protective love: it is designed to cover the vulnerable from the terrors and brokenness of both the earthly muggle world and the seen and unseen supernatural domains of the ‘magical’ world.

JK Rowling is not the first to mention a cloak of unique love. Jehovah God uses cloak and covering imagery throughout his Word. Indeed, his Word itself can be ultimately viewed as a cloak of love. I believe this unique covering love is His essential attribute, Yahweh’s greatest gift to humanity: Jesus is a cloak covering love.

We can see humanity trying to create such covering cloaks. But designed and formed by human hands, they are doomed to fade and tear. One Bible character’s journey with many types of created cloaks illustrates the flaws of such creative endeavours: Joseph.

Joseph is given a beautiful cloak of many colours by his father Jacob. It not only fails to protect him but broadcasts Joseph’s presence to his jealous brothers who strip him and destroy the coat in tatters and blood while selling Joseph into slavery. ( Genesis 37 )

As the managing household slave in Potiphar’s house he is given a fine cloak of this office . And yet, Potiphar’s wife tears this covering from him as he runs away from her seductions. Used as evidence against Joseph, this cloak leads him into Pharaoh’s prison. ( Genesis 39 )

Finally, Joseph wears the cloak and endorsements of Pharaoh’s second in command. But these linens only serve to further separate him from his family and his father: they will live in Goshen;

Joseph will live in Egypt’s capital, married to an Egyptian, away from his ancestral home. ( Genesis 41: 42 )

So, where then do we see, hold, wear, this clothing of generous love, this unique Jesus cloak?

Revelation 19: 8 describes His cloaks for us,

‘It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.’

By His stripes we are healed, clothed. By his wounds we live. By His linen clothe, we are made his, bright and clean.

This is what all Bible and literary cloaks look towards: Jesus’ cloak of love. His ‘gift’.

His cloak makes all my sins invisible. Even to myself.

2 Corinthians 9:15 KJV ‘Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.’

20 Mar

☘️☘️Priscilla on St Patrick’s day…☘️☘️

open hands; blessing hands

18 Mar
open hands

Besides our love, ( and worship ) can I ever, ever give anything back to the Lord God? Proverbs, the book of wisdom, speaks of how I can touch Him,

Proverbs 19 speaks again and again of the poor. A central verse in this chapter is,

Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done. V. 17

The Hebrew word for poor here is ‘dal’. It means to be literally ‘thin’. Thin, financially and spiritually; thin physically and emotionally. Thin. And when we see those around us who are ‘thin’ in any way, we see the poor and and we are to give to them, to bless them with open hands. To bless as Jesus walked, lived, touched and blessed. With open hearts and open hands. Luke’s Gospel and his narrative in Acts open with such blessings,

The first person to offer a blessing in Luke’s narrative is Jesus, “Blessed are the poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God” (Luke 6:20). His heart is for the poor. But He is not speaking only to the financially needy; Jesus is speaking of the poor in spirit; the sorrowful; the meek and those who thirst for justice. The thin.

Jesus’ final blessing comes during the Ascension event, “Then he [Jesus] led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven” (Luke 24:50-51).

We don’t know what exact verbal blessing Jesus spoke over his dear disciples at the Ascension, but His words can be no more fitting words than the priestly blessing that Zechariah was never able to give in Luke 1.

The priest Zechariah was supposed to bless the crowd of people waiting outside the temple on this day of atonement. Struck mute because of his unbelief that he and Elizabeth would be parents, he never utters it. When his son is borne he blesses and prophesies, but the words he is supposed have spoken that day he was stuck mute could easily have been Jesus’ words as he ascended,

The Lord bless you and keep you: The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you: The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace” ( Numbers 6:24-26 ).

God blesses us so we can with open hands and open hearts bless others. Luke tells us at the his gospel’s end “ they worshiped [Jesus], and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God” (Luke 24:52).

They, Jesus disciples, complete Zechariah’s muted Numbers’ blessing. And they do so by returning to the spiritually poor in Jerusalem and worshipping.

With the poor, giving to the ‘thin’, they lend to God.

They worship; with open hands, they worship.

And so will we as we bless others with open hands. Open your hands to, with, Jesus this day, bless.

I am thirsty

12 Mar
I am thirsty

I am bread, light, door, shepherd, resurrection life, the way and the truth, true vine
These 7 traditional ‘ I am-s’ of Jesus in John’s Gospel point to, in fact begin within Exodus 3, where Moses meets the Father God in a burning bush,

‘“Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian,  and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

Before The Lord Father God identifies himself, his name, as Yahweh, Moses moves toward God and he is moving toward fire.

Approaching Jesus, hearing and touching the Word, is to embrace a holy fire. This fire can cleanse or consume; can dispute and mar or purify. 

In a episode of the TV series ‘Rescue Me’ Firefighter Tommy Gavin arrives at a burning vehicle on the road. As the rescuers wash the car’s flames, they see a what was child on the side of road, thrown from the car, burnt beyond recognition. Some vomit immediately on seeing the form; no approaches the remain to cover. No one but Tommy. We never see the child’s form. The camera just shows us Tommy wrapping the remains in a blanket. We see him kneeing; holding tenderly – from the point of view of the child’s burnt body – this holocaust.

In Exodus 4 god meets Moses on the far side, the back side of the desert. Little can grow here. The heat is not delivered, except at night. Yet, Moses approaches the burning.

Moses, Tommy Gavin, lovers of the Word, can not stop approaching fire. The prophet Jeremiah tired, but could not, as he shares in Jeremiah 20:9,

9 “‘But if I say, “I will not mention his word
    or speak anymore in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
    a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
    indeed, I cannot.’”

Prophets must approach fire; hold and embrace it; not be afraid of being consumed by it. They must hear and speak. This is what Jesu did in his teaching on himself. John hears and shares his Lord’s teaching words in the ‘I am-s’. Each is a burning bush. And yet there is an eight ‘I am’. It is voiced out of a patched voice on the cross,
After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.
— John 19:28-29
Jesus thrusts not just for a drink but for something more life quenching.
He thirsts for us.
He walked, loved, dies and will rise for us. His word purifies and cleanses. His life is his word; the Word made everlasting flesh. He thirsts for us. For me, for you.
He is living water. Everlasting – and he pours so we can drink and not thirst.
Approach him this Lent. Tell Him of your thirsts. And drink. Drink Jesus.

Everlasting arms

3 Mar

Book of Deuteronomy 33:27, “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms”.

Open hands …. Genesis 32; 33. Esau, Jacob’s open arms

33: 4 But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him.

Jesus arms are open. Open on the cross open to displease and children; open to sinners and tax collectors; open to broken families and siblings. And open to you and me.

Why? Why does the God of the universe become vulnerable, so very vulnerable to all?

He does so to model to us how we can daily defeat, overcome, sins, besetting sins in our lives.

Jacob had cheated his twin Esau out of both Esau’s birthright and blessing. His actions led to breakage: cracks are in formed in his family and his heart. For twenty years he works in and for another man ( Laban ) household and wealth. He is cheated out of life and love. He responds by deceiving and manipulating others. Till he goes to meet his twin Esau, the brother who desires to murder him.

Facing this reunion moment, this, his greatest fear, Jacob moves,

Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 2 When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is the camp of God!”So he named that place Mahanaim.

Angels met Jacob. They open their appearance to him. He sees them. He sends his family and possessions ahead and alone, he prays.

9 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, Lord, you who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps. 11 Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. 12 But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’”

Jacob sees in his prayer not just angels, but himself. He sees his sin; his lack of worth, his fear. Yet he also sees and hears and remembers the promise of his God: his descendants will be vast. He will live.

His arms open to wrestle an angel that same night. He does not let go even thought his hip is wrenched so badly that he will limp the rest of his life. And now he will meet his elemental fear, Esau.

Jacob looked up and there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men; so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two female servants. 2 He put the female servants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. 3 He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.

4 But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.

Esau runs to love his brother, to embrace his Jacob with open arms. And Jacob is ‘running’ too. Each painful step is his embrace of the pain he created; each step is a reminder of the blessing of love: his brother’s and his family; of his wives and his angel. Of his Lord; of everlasting open arms.

Jesus’ arms is open to heal, to embrace, to love. Within the arms of Jesus, Jacob can run.

a pure love, 1

21 Feb
they, purely, so, loved me

a wedding, jeff&ellice

18 Feb

on the occasion of their wedding 13th february 2021
This prayer comes the principles of Romans 12 version of The Message. From Paul, speaking by the spirit to a new community,
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
Lord, have Ellice and Jeff’s embraces this day and all embraces going forward be with your hands and theirs joined together as one. Allow their love to be fuelled daily by yours; their touch of others be by your spirit; bless the day as the first of many love offerings, many days of love, for each other, for friends and families and for you Lord Jesus.
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Ellice, Jeff, as your lives daily grow and develop, embrace your changes, individually, together and in your shared communities. From Mexico to Brooklyn; from Wisconsin and Iowa; from Colorado to California; – love ‘quickly’ with all His power working alongside and with all your gifts. Love from the centre of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

Play ‘second fiddle’ – jeff love ellice as our Lord loves his church; ellice honour, respect jeff as Christ’s personal gift to you.

Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, … pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. 

In love, in your love jeff, ellice, weep with those who weep; rejoice with those in joy. Feel others always.

Finally, as you have both lived by the generous Spirit in the past, continue to do so sacrificially in all your future coming ‘today’s’ 

Discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. 

Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness.

Jeff, Ellice may generous love infuse you from your joined new life. Blessed be your love.

Blessed be Jeff and Ellice.

job 41, an epilogue, epithumia

12 Feb
a leviathan

“I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs, (12) NIV


Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more.’(8) KJV

After a catalogue of His, the Lord God’s creations, ( both great and small ) Job is given, handed, the Leviathan, a sea monster to consider.

A most fearsome creature – Job is to see and touch; to hear and to imagine anew.

An entire chapter (41) is devoted to this Leviathan, this monster and its limbs. Why?

Because we all, have monsters who have scared us. And we, in our fears, in our suffering, treat, recreate these monsters as sacred relics, as idols that we worship in both fear and love.

We epithumia – over love – over fear – by our natures.

I have ‘over loved’ the concept, the desire, of being seen, loved, heard and touched.

Job hears of all his monster’s limbs. This Leviathan is now his. His worst imaginings have shape and form. It is his and he also belongs to this Leviathan.

I belong to my desire. And it couldn’t be stated better for me than in Proverbs 19: 22,

“What a person desires is unfailing love”

Betrayed by parents, wife, church, friends, my own body, I so desire love, an unfailing love. My desire is epithumia; a desire that could my a wonder, but also can – and has been – a white whale, a Moby Dick.

How can Job, and I, deal with Leviathans? Verse 8 tells us to reach our hand out, to touch him. By doing so I identify my fear, know it, face it. Then, I must remember my past battles with my monster.

I don’t have to live in the past; but I must be able to remember how they felt. How they still, at times, feel. But I ‘do no more.’

They are there, a memory, but no longer an essential part of me, an all controlling desire. An epithumia. It is …

There, there, but not my heart, my mind, my life.

Job was becoming his suffering. But the Lord God speaks to him about the Leviathan last of all creation. He speaks so Job can heal. In Job’s last and only words to the Lord, he heals by saying,

“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’

    Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,

    things too wonderful for me to know.

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’

My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.

Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

Job has seen and heard beyond his desire: he sees God, not the Leviathan. Not himself.

The blind, see; the deaf, hear.

And I have to do no more than see Jesus.

questioning job, answered, reborn -part 2 of 2

10 Feb
Job sees

the Lord God’s response to the question on, of suffering

After much waiting, and even more advise, counsel, from friends, Job hears from the Lord God. Job does not see God, but he hears from the storm, from the whirlwind,
‘Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:

2 “Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?” Job 38: 1-3

God asks ‘who is this’? Not because he has forgotten Job or He does not know who has been speaking, questioning, praying to Him. God is asking ‘who’ because he desires Job to pause and consider and perhaps, if needed to, pause again and ask himself: who am I ? who is this?

And the Lord God answers this ‘who’ question within the frame of the whole  inquiry: Job obscures the Lord’s plans with words; with questions and complaints; with cries and silent groans; with grief over a wives, and children’s passings. 

Where, what were these plans? This is the first incident of Job’s actual interaction with the Lord. There had been no dreams or signs, messengers or prophecies.

God’s plans and words are, have always been, in the events touching Job: his seven unnamed sons’ deaths; his unnamed three daughters’ deaths; his ashes and sores; his household destroyed and in rubble. His friends’ questioning Job’s walk. He is alone with suffering.

Suffering is the Lord and he walks with Job. This is the plan. Hearing the Lord’s voice Job understands and speaks,

Then Job replied to the Lord:

“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me. 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

Job now sees the Lord God in his suffering.

His post traumatic stress has become and is now becoming his post traumatic growth. Job grows; he sees.

He grows, he sees, he trusts. Job faith comes by seeing suffering, his suffering as God’s plan for him.

Job suffers and sees.

questioning job, answered, reborn -part 1 of 2

6 Feb
Job’s eyes, wide, shut

The Book of Job begins with angels and Satan before God in the heavens. A question comes, ‘Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

Our Lord asks, asks a question of which he surely knows the answer. Satan has been probing, roaming, the earth. And he has been watching Job. And then, then, Lord asks Satan another question,
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

What is God saying?
He is saying – Adam fell; Eve fell with him; Cain was overcome, mastered by sin; Abel fell, murder in his innocence; sin roams the earth. Noah’s earth needs a washing, a cleansing. Why?

Sin was in “every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time”. ( Genesis 6:5 )

Satan is covering all the earth with evil. His evil. All is touched, all, except for Job.
Job fears the Lord, lovingly. Job shuns, shakes off evil, he belongs to God, wholly, and without a question.
But the Evil One believes that evil begets more, even greater evils. He believes that he can plant questions in ‘the thoughts of the human ( Job’s ) heart.’ And these questions will beget more questions:

  •  does the Lord God truly love me?
  •  why are all these horrible things  happening to me?
  •  why is there suffering, death? here?        why? 
  •  why?

and so, God gives Job over to Satan’s heart, to the Evil One’s thoughts, devices, imaginings. Only for a time and Job’s life is be safe. But his life becomes now one of questions, questions without answers.
Job will need, require an answer.

Tomorrow in part 2 of ‘questioning job,’ we will feel the answer. Feel it with Job.

We will be with Job.

with job.