#fridayfootprints – Friday 17th April 2020

There are place in my head that are scary places to visit when my imagination goes into overdrive.

Our imagination is also what feeds all the fake news we find on every platform. Fake news relies on the plausible, plays on the emotions, disguises reality and reason, balancing fact with fiction to make a believable story.

Something we want to believe in, even when the rest of our logic is screaming: “Watch out!”

I remember a time when a Sunday School teacher was one of my best customers for the ‘Fairy Stories’ I wrote. The reasoning being; if we can get children to believe in a ‘unseen’ fairy – we can get them to believe in an unseen God. This at a time when children readily believed in anything from the tooth mouse to Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny.

For the disciples, a Living Christ was just as far from the truth as the bunny, the mouse or a sleigh full of gifts until, suddenly, He was there in their midst. And even then, believing did not come instantly.

Pity the poor journalist who had to write that story without it being branded as fake news! A Risen Christ indeed?

Fear and uncertainty are the breeding grounds of fiction laced with fact. An environment where the rumourmongers flourish. I’m sure that stories of the resurrection were changed to suit every political, cultural and social agenda that the respective leaders in society wanted.

Covid 19 is testimony to that.

Take this corona virus plant as an example: 

It grows in the deep shade of the undergrowth. Cultivated by fairies and gnomes of lesser stature, it lies in wait. The bright red tips prove that it has recently fed. But it hungers for more.

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 10th April 2020

A glance at the world today shows that many lives are literally ‘hanging on a thread.’

Not just their lives, but also their Faith!

Faith in humanity, faith in political leadership, faith in technology and faith in God. In the absence of faith, fear begins to tighten its hold, squeezing any remaining life out of the globe.

Strange, when today we look at the crucifixion of Christ. His life was also hanging on a thread. That gossamer silk thread for Him would break. Yet, it was a death with a purpose.

For all of us who face death, it will never be ‘death with a purpose’ if we did not have life with a purpose. For Christ it was ordained. It was necessary for us, for our sins and for our salvation.

Without His death we could not have ‘life with a purpose.’ Without His death there was no reason for us to live. To exist, yes, but not to live!

Not only did He have to die, but the inhumanity of the events of the day leading up to His death, should have died with Him.

If we are to live with a purpose, we must know that the same gossamer thread of silk that we hold onto so dearly, must be that His death was not in vain. That the purpose we have, is; to love as He loved, to care as He cared, to teach as He taught, to share as He shared and to forgive as He forgave.

Our purpose is to be what He wanted us to be – otherwise everything He went through on that fateful Friday was in vain.

We all cry at the foot of His cross. We shout praises for His empty grave. But in between; are we living with a purpose? His shout at the 12th hour, is now but a murmur – a whisper in the wilderness that can only be heard because the world has been forced into quieter times and the noises of the hustle and bustle are stilled.

Listen, He calls you to a life with a purpose!

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 3rd April 2020

“Lonely looking sky, lonely sky, lonely looking sky. And being lonely makes you wonder why.” (Words from the lyrics of a Neil Diamond song of the same name.)

But what of the bench?

A lonely bench placed to watch a lonely sky! But is the bench lonely?

Perhaps the bench has a chance, in this time of crisis, to process all the thoughts and prayers that have been placed on ‘it’ over the years.

But is the bench empty?

The image that forms in my head is of a bench with three figures sitting and enjoying the peacefulness of creation for the first time in years. Diminished pollution and clearer skies and less noise.

And their conversation …? In this time of crisis, what would the Trinity be saying to each other?

Is the Holy Spirit (on the left) talking about the necessity for another breath of wind, or perhaps a flame or two, this time directed where it would do the most good.

Perhaps Jesus (on the right) is concerned about that ‘Heaven is at hand’ bit, and how to get people to understand the real meaning our ‘death to self’.

The central figure is one of calmness and patience. One of absorbing all of life and all the living in absolute and unhurried authority.

‘Gentlemen let us take a walk on the “Wild” side. Let us see how long it takes to get there and back. Let us eat the flesh of the world’s disillusionment, and drink in the blood of compassion. And when we have walked awhile with them, they will have heard that the Wilderness Whispers. They will realise that it is the breath of God that comes, not from a lonely sky, but from a bench with three figures sitting on it waiting for their call to arms.’

Glory looking day
Glory day, glory looking day
And all it’s glory
Told a simple way
Behold it if you may
Glory looking day
Glory looking day

(Neil Diamond – Lonely looking sky)

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 20th March 2020

Social Distancing!

A concept forced upon us by the COVID19 pandemic but something that Christians should be doing every Lent. That 40 day journey into the wilderness that makes up our spiritual core.

Social distancing is a chance to get away from the distractions that the world offers. Social distancing is alone time. Social distancing is heading out for the ‘Son’. A chance to feel His warmth on your skin. An opportunity to smell the ozone in the air. The rise and fall of the swell beneath you like the steady pulse of God, breathing in as the swell forms beneath us and breathing out as it passes.

In ‘social distancing’ there is a difference between loneliness and alone. Alone is when we are with God in thought, word and deed, bound up in His boundless Grace and Love. Loneliness …. When we have nothing.

That is also the difference between heaven on earth and hell. One we can survive in, flourish actually! The other …. Let us rather not go there!

The pandemic that we face in every continent, country and culture is an opportunity to spend some alone time with God. A chance to do some real ‘Soul’ searching. There are so many positives to be found. Let us dig them out and present them to the world.

Stay safe! Stay alone and head out for the ‘Son’.

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 6th March 2020

Sunrise and sunset.

Two of the most beautiful scenes enjoyed by mankind all over the world.

Yet at the same time, both scenes show the sky in colour and the world in silhouette form. The detail is lost against a God inspired backdrop.

For us to see all the nuances and shapes around us we must wait for the sun be a little higher than just behind the horizon.

Lent is like that!

We cannot just view our faith against the glorious backdrop delivered daily on our doorsteps, because then we see only the darkened version of the reality that faith is supposed to be. Even though the background is really impressive!

When we allow the “Son” to rise a little higher on our horizons, we discover the full beauty of what He has to offer us. Suddenly the backdrop comes into perspective and takes on depth and meaning. What was hidden in the silhouette becomes valley behind valleys and hills behind hills, generating an excitement of discovery.

Lent is a chance to see the Trinity on full display – from the time the “Son” rises in the east, we await a deeper understanding as He rises overhead and allows the Holy Spirit to blow His illuminating wind through the valleys of our sorrows and over the peaks of our happiness, giving the reality of our belief a complete landscape to be filled with all His glory.

A walk in the wilderness is to discover ALL there is about Him, not just a silhouette on a painted sky. Faith, like nature, needs to be seen from all the angles and under different light to be experienced as it is supposed to be. It is then that we get to praise Him for more than ‘just’ the sunrises and sunsets in our lives.

May the “Son” rise before you this Lent as you discover parts of Him you never knew existed

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 28th February 2020

Living on borrowed time!

Time that has been “lent” to us.

Time that has been given, along with all the gifts at God’s disposal. Gifts that are there for us to use – to His Glory!

Perhaps this is now the time during Lent to do a bit of soul searching – a Spiritual Audit. An assessment of where we stand on the paths that lead through the Wilderness. A time for circumspection on what our faith means to us and to what impact this same faith is having on us as well as those around us.

A journey through Lent can be an enriching process as we come to realise anew, not what we should be giving up, but rather what have we given up over the years that we should be doing. What are we leaving out that we have never done, that should form part of our commitment to the Trinity?

Journeys through and in our individual wildernesses bring us back to the very core of our being. A return to the dust out of which we were born and one day where our ashes will remain. The legacy that we are so intent on building, matters not to those left behind. For in generations to come the graves will lie untended and forgotten.

Yet time spent with the Lord is not borrowed time if we come out richer on the other side. This period in our spiritual calendar has been ‘lent’ to us for just such a purpose. An ear ‘lent’ to the whispers of the wilderness will hear His voice and feel His presence and know His Grace.

Discover Him, all of Him and all His gifts and promises. And serve Him!

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 21st February 2020

The forest is a ‘state of mind’ ….. and spirit!

I have entered the forest alone when the sun stands high above the hills, yet there is a shadow that permeates the forest. A sense of darkness that causes the hairs on the back of my neck to stand to attention. It is a black hole that the music that plays in my sub-conscious is fitting of a horror movie score. Eerie sounds and shapes and shadows that scare my soul.

I have also entered the forest in the late afternoon dusk, where the sounds of birds singing their ‘goodnight’ lullaby’s play harmony to the leopard’s ‘wood saw’ rasp that echoes as he inspects his territory.  All these sounds combine to form a silence under a leafy comfort-blanket, where my soul can find solace and my mind can empty itself in preparation of a renewed sense of being.

Yet it is the same forest!

The only difference is my perception. And my perception is guided by my spiritual well-being.

If my spirit is positive, so is the forest. When my spirit is depressed and apprehensive, so is the forest just as scary.

If I am at peace with the Lord, then I am at peace with the forest, because the forest is a state of mind …. and my spiritual connection with the Trinity. A connection that is rooted in the nature and existence of the forest and how I experience it and react to the world around me.

And when the spirit is right, that is when the wilderness whispers, like a ‘fairy’ bath ready for a baptism for those that that can see beyond the reality of their fears and preconceptions!

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 14th February 2020

Happy Valentine’s Day!

As the world gets ready to celebrate ‘undying’ love. As a society of lovers profess untold devotion on bended knees and floral bouquets, do we realise it has all been done before?

So, Lord will you hear me on bended knee?

In a whispered silence: Yes Lord, it’s me.

I’ve come to say, You know it well.

A story that I long to tell.

Of a love so deep and true and sure.

A love that death defined as pure.

In blood that dripped and trickled down,

I know you suffered without a frown.

But Lord, I know what you long to hear,

that my love for you is just as dear.

That I’d bear the pain that you took for me:

In silence for the world to see.

I bring my bunch of bright red blooms

and lay them at the empty tomb.

I kneel in prayer and stand in praise

that your love for me will one day raise.

And every minute of every day,

I’ll love you Lord, come what may.

 

I will hold you as my Valentine,

‘cause I am yours and you are mine!

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 7th February 2020

“Spread your wings,” I said! The body language says it all!

That first moment when the wind of the Spirit catches your wing for take-off and you panic. Legs flailing, arms spread out, heart pumping and all the head says is: “Why are we doing this?”

For so many people, walking around with your paragliding gear – a pack with harness (God) and a wing (Jesus) is all they are prepared to risk. Let alone taking it all out of the pack. They are content to trudge around with all the equipment yet too afraid to try it out.

Once we start to unpack it all, we realise that there could be something missing. An even greater risk is putting it on. Spreading out the wing, laying out the lines, stepping into the harness and tightening it up, and then, facing into the wind. Once we do that, we are getting too close to allowing the Holy Spirit to lift us airborne.

That feeling in the pit of the stomach. The tenseness in every fibre of our being. The moment when every brain cell we have is screaming noooooo!

And then ….! Ever so gently we are airborne. And whilst our instinct tells us to panic, suddenly we feel the updraft gently balancing us and holding us aloft with so little effort from ourselves.

The breath of the Spirit is a whisper in the wilderness. A voice that says: “Open your eyes, I am here and will hold you safe. Enjoy your ride with Me for the moment.” The Trinity in its complete form, Harness, Wing and Wind.

Then, when we start to look around and appreciate what is happening and we get this glimpse from above, then the exhilaration of flight is nothing compared to lift off in the Spirit.

Unpack your harness, spread your wings and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

Enjoy the flight!

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#fridayfootprints – Friday 31st January 2020

Ahhhh! Sweetness never tasted so good. And so convenient! Twice a day I receive my daily dose in a fresh bottle, nicely chilled and strategically located.

Forgotten are the delicate blossoms so specifically formed by the creator. Nature’s pantry seems to be a distant memory and the ‘fynbos’ on the fringes of the forests wait in vain for the visitors that do not come around anymore.

Our search for the Trinity cannot be found in the sweetened water, bottled and served at a place of our choosing. The Trinity needs to be experienced, to be touched. It comes with tears and heartache and it comes with unimaginable joy and exhilaration. And we need to go out and find it.

It is in the world out there, amongst the ugliness and the violence and brutality. It is also in the sunsets and sunrises, the softest whisper or the caressing touch of a hand. It is in the tear of happiness and the wail of anguish – but, it is not in a bottle.

The bottle for the sunbirds; is there for my enjoyment as much as it is for theirs as a supplement to their daily requirements. Just like the church is sometimes a place where God can see us when we come to feed in Word and praise and prayer.

But it is not Jesus or the Holy Spirit. The full essence of the Trinity is as broad and as powerful and as overwhelming as creation itself. And when we find it, no bottled faith will come close in comparison. No sugar water can taste as sweet as the taste of the Trinity when we realise its full potential to take charge of our lives.

Spread your wings and find it!

 

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