When we leave your side

1. Father, when we leave your side
And come to live on earth,
We enter time, and space, and mass,
Through pain and blood, in birth.

2. Here, we must face change and growth
Through suffering and loss;
Here, we strive to follow Christ,
By taking up our cross.

3. Here, we long to find again
The bliss we knew above;
Here, we struggle to forgive,
And slowly learn to love.

4. Help us, Lord, in our short lives,
To serve in all we do;
For then, in death, eternally,
Our souls will rest in you.

References

1. Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble (Job 14:1; NIV).

2. If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me (Luke 9:23; NLT).

3. I long for you, O God (Psalm 42:1; NLT).

4. My soul rests in God alone (Psalm 62:1; HNV).

Heaven on earth

1. Son of God, to seek and find,
We must all leave heaven behind;
Yet, dear Lord, to follow you,
We must trust in heaven, too.

2. Son of Man, to change and grow,
We must dwell in heaven below;
Yet, dear Lord, to care and bond,
We must draw on heaven beyond.

3. Holy One, to feel you near,
We must be in heaven here;
Yet, dear Lord, to practice love,
We must learn from heaven above.

4. Lamb of God, to share your bread,
We must long for heaven ahead;
Yet, dear Lord, to grasp your worth,
We must live in heaven on earth.

References

1. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me (Jeremiah 29:13; NLT).
Follow me and be my disciple (Matthew 9:9; NLT).

2. We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).
Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:40; NIV).

3. The Lord is near (Philippians 4:5; NIV).
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them (Romans 12.9; NLT).

4. Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body” (Matthew 26:26; NLT).
Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered (Revelation 5:12; NLT).

Always

Always new-born in the stable;
Always safe on Mary’s knee;
Always playing and rejoicing,
Always, Lord, alive and free.

Always, Christ-child, in the temple,
Talking there with everyone;
Always rising from the river:
This is my beloved Son.

Always shining and transfigured;
Always changing those you meet;
Always saving and forgiving,
Ready to wash others’ feet.

Always calling: Come and follow;
Always teaching: Take your cross;
Always healing and restoring,
Helping those distressed by loss.

Always sharing our temptations;
Always here to calm each storm;
Always angry, always weeping,
Always breaking every norm.

Always pleading in the garden;
Always suffering, in pain;
Always dying, always rising,
Always coming, Lord, to reign.

Always living in our hearts, Lord;
Always pouring out your love;
Always caring, giving, serving —
Lord, you are our flesh and blood.

References

She gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling-cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn (Luke 2:6-7; RSV).

They found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions (Luke 2:46; ESV).

There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light (Matthew 17:2; NIV).

Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me” (Mark 1:17; NLT).

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil (Luke 4:1-2; NIV).

If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine (Matthew 26:39; NLT).

Christ lives within you (Romans 8:10; NLT).

This is my body given for you (Luke 22:19; NIV).

This is my blood (Matthew 27:28; NIV).

………………..

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You give us birth

 

Father God,
You give us birth,
Our chance to live and grow,
Becoming more like Christ, your Son,
Born here so long ago.

Father God,
You give us life,
Our chance to change and learn,
Becoming more like Christ, your Son,
To whom we gladly turn.

Father God,
You give us death,
Our chance to be made new,
Becoming more like Christ your Son,
Who reigns in heaven with you.

Father God,
You give us joy
In heaven, with your Son,
So we may grasp your deepest truth –
That you, and all, are One.

 

References

He himself gives life and breath to everything (Acts 17:25; NLT).

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

Grow to maturity (2 Corinthians 13:11; NLT).

Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24; NLT).

The Lord gives both death and life (1 Samuel 2:6; NLY).

God [..] gives life to the dead (Romans 4:17; NLT).

When our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54; NLT).

The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15; NLT).

A great reward awaits you in heaven (Matthew 5:12; NLT).

I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one – as you are in me, Father, and I am in you (John 17:21; NLT).

There is one Lord […] who is over all and in all and living through all (Ephesians 4:5-6; NLT).

Your way

When there’s something 
Nagging at my mind, Lord,
May I stop to think 
What I might do,

Being clear and honest
With myself, Lord,
And sharing every part of it 
With you. 

Once we’ve talked it over
May I act, Lord, 
Sorting out my problem
In your way,  

Then, I’ll share your joy
And peace of mind, Lord,
By growing more and more like you 
Each day.

 

References 

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything (Philippians 4:6; NLT).

Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight (Deuteronomy 6:18; NLT).

Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did (1 John 2:6; NLT).

Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit (Luke 10:21; NLT).

Peace I leave you; my peace I give you (John 14:27; NIV).

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

Yet another chance

Lord,

You give me
Yet another chance:

It’s not too late to join 
Your ceaseless dance;

For when I eat your flesh,
And drink your blood,   

You make me fit to share 
Your dance of love.

 

References

The gardener answered, “Sir, give it one more chance”
(Luke 13:8; NLT).

Praise his name with dancing (Psalm 149:3; NLT).

I am not worthy even to come and meet you (Luke 7:7; NLT).

Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you (John 6:53; NLT).

God is love (1 John 4:16; NLT).

A dream 16.10.18.

 

Last night, almost a week after my mother’s death, I had my standard, repetitive, university undergraduate bad dream for the millionth time. It goes like this: I have just returned for the next academic year, but am already missing lectures and falling behind with my assignments. I have far too many conflicting things to do. I’m not coping, and feel acutely stressed and anxious. 

However, last night’s dream had some new features. The first was that I bumped into an acquaintance whilst walking through the crowded campus. We talked briefly about the many people we knew who had dropped out of their courses. In fact, he and I seemed to be the only ones who had returned from the previous year. 

The second fresh detail was that I spontaneously joined in with a children’s game, dancing around the outside of their circle, to increase their pleasure and excitement. At the same time, I was keeping a close eye on how each one was coping, ready to tone down my approach if it seemed to be too stressful for some of them. The children belonged to the university crèche, and were playing out of doors with their carers. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed being with them, as this was something I had never experienced before. 

Then came a third new ingredient. I was walking back towards my room with two women students I’d just met in a campus clothes shop. One went a little ahead on her own, whilst I linked arms with the other, chatting in a friendly way. The first woman had seemed cheerful earlier, but now she was silent and looked very tense. As we continued to walk, I found myself wondering whether she might perhaps be feeling anxious, or even panicky. 

Then, suddenly, I saw myself in her – my repeated attempts to get a degree, each ending in failure and breakdown because of suicidal depression, acute anxiety, and severe panic attacks. All these issues went on to become a chronic, ongoing struggle with mental illness and agoraphobia that has dominated my life.

I turned to my new companion, explaining how I thought our friend might be feeling. Then, to my great surprise, I heard myself say that I wished I was working on the campus, perhaps in the clothes shop, or at the crèche, rather than studying. That way, I could still escape from my mother and have something of a university experience, but without the unmanageable demands of academic life on top of so much mental pain.

As I said this, I realised how significant it was, and that I didn’t have to put myself through the impossible stresses of trying to get a degree. For the first time ever during these repetitive university dreams, I saw that I had a choice. Other paths in life were still possible, perhaps even enjoyable, and although I was already part-way through my degree course, it wasn’t too late to make a change. At this thought, my heart leapt with joy, and I was filled with new and unaccustomed hope. Then I woke up.

My university failure dream has never ended like this before, so I decided to catch hold of the experience before it faded, and to share it with you, my online friends.

 

References

Darkness is my closest friend (Psalm 88:18; NLT).

The lame will leap like a deer (Isaiah 35:6; NLT).

“I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11; NLT).