Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Mission

standing notably tall
above corrugated iron and tyres
the green head blows proud 
in this place of shade where my
children swing safely in branches
to and fro, to and fro, to and fro

when hungry I reach for low hanging fruit 
then climb branches for a view, 
away from my flat life 
to picnic with honest friends 
allowing ants crawl over ankles 
and bees balance on bottle rims

there I lean back on the trunk 
to make myself feel young
against seed planted years ago 
by missionaries who loved us
their roots far below 
stuck down firm in 
the mud of our lives 
soaking up our spirit 
into things earthy and eternal

here I taste the fruit of my ancestors 
they who dug the hole 
and danced with joy 
that I may lie here and hear my children 
sweetly swinging, sweetly swinging

* The mission brings health to a community once devastated by HIV/AIDS but now bearing stories of hope

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Christmas comes to Mpophomeni

I have shared on this blog before my involvement with the HIV/AIDS mission in Mphophomeni, a town outside of Howick. Yesterday, when asking the group what stopped them praying one of the answers was "self image." The manner in which this person said this I realized that there was great significance or lack of it in her answer. She struggled to pray because she felt insignificant. At that moment Luke's account of the coming of Jesus flooded into my mind and I was able to share how Jesus was born in the most insignificant places amongst the most insignificant people and I felt the spirit of Christmas flood into that room like I have never felt before. I think it is those who know they have little who are most surprised by Christmas.
It would be great to hear any stories or experiences where you have felt the true spirit of Christmas.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Praying through a Crisis

I don't know about you but have you ever felt worse after praying
through an event that has left you depressed, anxious or broken?
Sometimes by going to pray we can actually worsen the impact of this
event in us if we are not careful. By going into a a time of prayer
we may inadvertently spend too much time on the event itself and it
becomes more of an obsession than a time of healing and freedom. The
Catholic writer Ronald Rolheiser says, "Prayer is focus on God, not
upon ourselves". The image of a mother and child helps us understand
this. The child is hurt and when it goes to her mother the
overwhelming presence and love of that mother is the comfort and the
healing they receive. The problem so often with us is that we go to
pray and spend more time churning over the event that we don't receive
the healing of the mother. I suppose this is where the discipline of
private worship is so important. I am going to try this the next time
I have a speed wobble with somebody or some issue. I will endeavour
to spend more time worshiping God in prayer than fixating on my
emotions and feelings. I am convinced it will not be easy but I am
also convinced it is the truth.