All are one in Christ

Didn’t one God create us?
Why then do we act treacherously against one another?
(Malachi 2:10; NIV).

There is neither Jew nor Gentile,
neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female…

1. There is neither Jew nor Gentile,
Male nor Female,
Slave nor Free.

2. There is neither Black nor White,
Kin nor Stranger,
You nor Me.

3. There is neither Saint nor Sinner,
LBGTQ,
Nor Straight.

4. There is neither East nor West,
Creed nor Dogma,
Church nor State.

5. There is neither Friend nor Foe
Nor Refugee,
Nor Us, nor Them

6. For All are one in Christ:
Our Mother, Father, Spirit, Soul.
Amen.

…for you are all one in Christ Jesus
(Galatians 3:28; NIV).

God shows no favouritism.
In every nation he accepts those who fear him
and do what is right (Acts 10:34-5; NLT). 

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely
(1 Corinthians 13:12; NLT).


References 

2. Love your neighbour as yourself (James 2:8; NLT).

Love ye therefore the stranger (Deuteronomy 10:19; KJV).

3. He loves us with unfailing love (Psalm 117:2; NLT).

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37; NLT).

4. All the world from east to west will know there is no other God (Isaiah 45:6; NLT).

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious (Isaiah 11:10; NIV). 

5. Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-8; NIV).

You, too, must show love to foreigners (Deuteronomy 10:19; NLT).

Let my refugees stay with you (Isaiah 16:4; CSB). 

6. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd (John 10:16; NIV).

The Almighty …blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and the womb (Genesis 49:25; NIV).

You, Lord, are our Father (Isaiah 63:16; CSB).

As truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our Mother (Revelations of Divine Love, Chapter 59, Julian of Norwich).

Your immortal spirit is in every one of them (Wisdom of Solomon 12:1; GNTA).

The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7; KJV). 

Let all the people say, “Amen” (Psalm 106:48; NLT). 

Personal change 16.5.22.

1. Diagnosis

My health has been deteriorating for several years, but I have never had an explanation for this. However, last Thursday I was given a diagnosis of Autonomic Neuropathy (AN).

AN is an incurable degenerative disorder, in which the brain loses the ability to regulate processes that normally happen automatically. It affects the functioning of multiple body systems, including, for example, heart rate, blood pressure, temperature control, bladder, digestion, eyesight, balance and energy.

There are several sub-types of AN. Some are more severe than others. Some progress more quickly than others. A battery of tests over the next few weeks and months should eventually indicate which type I have, how quickly I can expect to deteriorate, and my anticipated life-expectancy.    

2. Realisation

About a year ago, as my health deteriorated, I reached a point where I could no longer go to church. Since then, I have hoped in vain that some of the people there who I thought of as friends might notice my absence and make contact with me. However, only one member of my local congregation has stayed in touch.

Over the last few days I have realised how deeply I lack sources of spiritual nourishment with like-minded people. This has made me see that I need to stop hoping for contact, understanding and support from church, where there is so little available. Instead, I want to accept, share, and develop, relationships that are available to me, for example, with spiritually-minded friends online.

So, it’s time for me to start afresh, to change, and to focus much more on some reciprocal relationships. This feels like a very positive realisation. Indeed, it’s already leading me to explore a much more universal faith than is possible within the narrow confines of a single, rule-based denomination. 

With this new-found approach, I can start putting my very limited energy into seeking and finding God in everyone and everything, a prospect which fills me with joy. God really does work in mysterious ways, bringing good even out of situations that can appear wholly negative.

3. Recognition

Accordingly, yesterday, as I prepared my blog for posting, I found great pleasure in illustrating it with a wonderful photo of a woman priest joyfully celebrating communion. This simply  doesn’t happen in my denomination, where all women are automatically excluded from the priesthood, simply because of their gender. 

Using the photo of the woman priest made me recognise that I could also include photos of older women and disabled people amongst my website headers, so I spent a very happy hour or two on this task. Until today, my thinking had always been so blinkered that it had never occurred to me to do this.

4. Freedom

Right now, I feel my diagnosis of Autonomic Neuropathy is probably one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It has made me realise that I’ve only got one life here, and that it might be a lot shorter, more limited, and more unpleasant than I had previously imagined. So, as my heath and mobility deteriorate, I want to make the most of whatever freedom and independence I have, at each stage of this disorder.

However, I’m not thinking of the conventional “bucket list” of places I want to go to, or things I want to do before I die. Rather, I’m already experiencing a deep, joyful sense of inner freedom to be myself. This gives me space and permission to think what I think, believe what I believe, feel how I feel, and be how I am. I am also working on my outward freedom, by speaking the truth in love, and taking pleasure in doing what I still can, however limited this may be. 

5. Future 

I’m sharing all this with you because as I deteriorate, I will probably need to change my approach to blogging. This might mean expending less energy on formal, disciplined poetic structures, instead describing whatever spiritual insights God gives me in simpler, more direct prose.

Meanwhile, I’m feeling optimistic, the future looks exciting, and I will continue to post here each day for as long as I can.

✝️ My greetings to every follower and visitor to this website. I appreciate every one of you, and pray for you all each day.

With love and blessings, from Ruth xxxx


References 

1. Diagnosis

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows (John 16:33; NLT).

No one can live forever; all will die. No one can escape the power of the grave (Psalm 89:48; NLT). 

2. Realisation

Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you (Isaiah 30:20; NLT).

Truly, O God of Israel, our Saviour, you work in mysterious ways (Isaiah 45:15; NIV). 

We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28; GNT).

3. Recognition

Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognised him (Luke 24:31; NLT).

God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27; NLT).

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28; NIV).

The Almighty … blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and the womb (Genesis 49:5; NIV). 

“As truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our mother” (Revelations of Divine Love, Chapter 59, Julian of Norwich).

4. Freedom 

You will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32; NLT). 

If the Son sets you free, you are truly free (John 8:36; NLT).  

When you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go (John 21:18; NLT).

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me (Psalm 139:1; NLT).

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

God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in truth (John 4:24; NIV).

You desire honesty from the womb (Psalm 51:6; NLT).

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10; NIV).

5. Future

Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts (Psalm 90:12; CSB).

Communion

Never stop praying
(1 Thessalonians 5:17; NLT).

Father, Spirit, much-loved Son,
May we always live as one,
Our conversation, never end –
My way, my truth, my friend.

Teacher, Shepherd, constant Guide,
May we suffer side by side,
And our communion never cease –
My hope, my joy, my peace.

Threefold God, though you are light,
I must walk by faith, not sight,
Until this earthly life is past –
And I see you, at last.

We walk by faith, not by sight
(2 Corinthians 5L7; KJV).

My example

He is your example and you must follow in his steps.
(1 Peter 2:21; NLT).

Lord,
You’re my example,
My Saviour,
And my Friend;

My Shepherd,
And my Teacher;
My Maker,
And my end;

My bread, my wine,
My water;
My way, my truth,
My breath;

My King, my God,
My Spirit;
My love, my life,
My death.

✝️

If we die with him, we will also live with him.
(2 Timothy 2:11; NLT).

 

A friendly word

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
(Romans 12:15; NRSV).

A friendly word,
A gentle smile,

A simple hug,
A tender touch;

A heartfelt sigh,
A faithful prayer –

If full of love,
Can mean so much.

🖤

Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8; NIV).

 


References

Always be humble and gentle (Ephesians 4:2; NLT).

Be …faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12; NIV).

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them (Romans 12:9; NLT).

Do everything with love (1 Corinthians 16:14; NLT).

 


We are one

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
(1 John 4:16; NLT). 

Father, 

1. You love me,
You’re living within me,
And longing to help me:
Lord God, we are one.

2. You are my Maker, 
My giver and taker,
My mover and shaker:
Lord God, we are one.

3. You are my treasure,
My work and my leisure,
My sorrow and pleasure:
Lord God, we are one.

4. You are my brother,
My sister, my lover,
My friend and my mother:
Lord God, we are one.

5. You’re my beginning,
My goal, my forgiving,
My reason for living:
Lord God, we are one.

🖤

Whoever cleaves to our Lord becomes one spirit with him.
(1 Corinthians 6:17; ABPE).

 


References 

1. The Lord longs to be gracious to you (Isaiah 30:18; NIV).

2. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21; CSB). 

3. You are my private garden, my treasure (Song of Songs 4:12; NLT). 

4. My beloved is mine and I am his (Song of Songs 2:16; NIV).

5. I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5; NLT).

“I am the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come – the Almighty One” (Revelation 1:8; NLT). 

The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).

 


 

Love, say sorry, forgive

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.
(Romans 12:9; NLT; my emphasis).

1. Love your family and friends,
Neighbours, strangers, too;
Foreigners, and enemies –
Serve all of them, bar none.

2. Say sorry to your family and friends,
Your neighbours, too;
Strangers, foreigners and foes
For every wrong you’ve done.

3. Forgive your family and friends,
Neighbours, strangers, too;
Foreigners, and enemies –
Then you’ll be like God’s Son.

🖤

As we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world (1 John 4:17; NLT).


References

1. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8; NIV).

2. If you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God (Matthew 5:23-4; NLT). 

3. If you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14-15; NIV).

When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And … Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34; NLT).


 

Life

You will soon return from exile (Lamentations 4:22; NLT).

Life is an exile,
Our time here, our quest;
Our classroom, our desert,
Our struggle, our test.

Christ is our Teacher,
Our way, and our guide;
Our friend, our example,
Our help, by our side.

His Spirit, within, is our light,
And our strength;
Our Counsel, our Comfort,
Our truth, our defence.

God is our Maker,
Our life, and our goal;
Our Lord, our Redeemer,
Our spirit; our soul.

🖤

There is a spirit within people, the breath of the Almighty within them.
(Job 32:8; NLT).

The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7; WEB).

The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).

 


I want to hug you

If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
(Jeremiah 29:13; NLT).

1. I want to hug you, Father,
But I can’t;
Yet when I hug a friend, Lord,
I hug you.

2. I yearn to kiss you, Mary,
But I can’t;
Yet when I kiss my neighbour,
I kiss you.

3. I long to hold you, Jesus,
But I can’t;
Yet when I hold a stranger,
I hold you.

4. I seek you, Threefold God,
With all my heart;
And when I love my foe, Lord,
I find you.

🖤

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:40; NIV).

 


References 

1. No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13; CSB).

2. Love your neighbour as yourself (Mark 12:31; NLT).

3. Love the stranger (Deuteronomy 10:19; NKJV

4. You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1; NIV).

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-8; NIV).


 

Give and take (#1 of 2)

Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will leave this life.
The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
(Job 1:21; CSB).

God gives us everything we have:
Kin, and friends, and neighbours.

He gives us everything we have:
All we regard as “mine”.

He gives us everything we have:
Health, and strength, and senses.

He gives us everything we have:
Flesh, mind, heart, soul; time.

God gives us everything we have:
Faith, and hope, and courage.

He gives us everything we have:
Think about this, and pray,

For we must prepare
To surrender each gift,

As Almighty God
Takes them away.

🖤

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39; NIV).

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
(Matthew 26:42; NIV).