Inward and outward

Bees take their fill

of morning nectar

from the grevillea.

Noisy myna

does the same.

likewise the wattle bird.

Magpie warbles

its strangely comforting sound.

Blue sky crowns the scene.

Hint of a breeze

rustles the leaves

of the plants and trees

near my front porch.

Butterfly meanders past.

Other signs of life

include humans

running, cycling or driving.

I am held

lovingly

by the peace

of this scene.

Our dogs explore the yard

and ‘protect’ the perimeter.

More beauty

more colour

from the bottlebrush,

flowering gum,

sasanqua,

frangipani,

roses

and the plethora of weeds

in the lawn.

And I continue to be held

by the peace.

Then I read the words of Etty Hillesum,

a young Jewish woman killed at Auschwitz:

‘each of us must turn inward and destroy in himself all that he thinks he ought to destroy in others. And remember that every atom of hate we add to this world makes it still more inhospitable.’

And for a moment I glimpse

the vastness of God’s love

that draws me

both inward and outward.

Focus on love

God spreads her love around

as the sun kisses the day

with autumnal warmth.

Apt since this Friday

is called Good;

not because of the suffering

nor the death

since we still have plenty

of both.

Instead we ought to

focus on the love

of God for the world

and each of its inhabitants.

This act of love

and integrity.

This act of love

that spoke the truth

to power.

This act of love

that did not resist violence.

This act of love

whose seeds give birth

to light,

liberation,

wholeness.

Reverie

Walking in the dark

as my day begins

quiet is the norm.

Then I am struck

to hear voices

singing ‘happy birthday!’

That it was sung

at that hour

speaks of relationship

and care.

A pandemic has

isolated us.

But that simple reverie

tells me

all will be well

eventually.

Grateful

Waking up early

Isn’t always easy.

This morning

I am transfixed

By the tiniest

Yellow sliver of a moon.

It is so ephemeral

That it will be invisible 

In a few short minutes

After the sun rises.

Is it that it is

So low in the sky?

Its distinctive and unusual colour?

Or the fact that it is both ordinary

And extraordinary

All at once?

But it snaps me awake

Eyes wide.

As my brain struggles 

To name it,

I feel

Grateful

For this grace

As I start my day.

Clovelly

Gazing out to sea

in the city of my birth

though not my regular water view.

Standing atop

great sandstone cliffs

pounded by waves

from the Tasman Sea.

The timelessness of this scene

is counterpointed by another event

that marks time’s passage:

The gathering

of four generations

to celebrate

my mother’s 95th birthday.

I’m left to wonder

at God’s presence

in all

with all.

The joy

and pain

of humanity.

As well as

the unseen cycles

of life and death in nature.

Along with

its serenity

and majesty.

Light and shade

Sun, water

Swimming, cheering

Games, fun

Easy talking

Common purpose

Building community 

Then the shadow of 2020

Reappears 

As we’re about

To enter lockdown

For five days

The day ends joyously

Especially 

For the winning house!

Community is palpable

May the light continue

To dispel the shade

Awash

I look up at night

And the inky dark

is awash with

stars.

No wonder humans

have been fixated on them

for millenia.

Our brains

look for patterns

but with less light pollution

there are just

so many!

Their majesty

leaves me speechless

and comforted

and at peace.

I remember

that the Greek root of

‘grace’ means

‘unearned gift’.

And I give thanks.

To Anne

Despite going to school

with Bob

from grade 5,

we didn’t become friends

until after school,

bonding over music.

Whenever I was at Bob’s place

his mum always took care

of me,

plying me with drinks

and Chocolate Monte biscuits.

But what stood out

was the love and care

in that service.

I never heard her

raise her voice

yet when she said ‘Robert’

in a particular tone

I knew she meant business.

Many years have passed

and now, sadly, so has she.

I realise part of my past

is gone, too.

I will remember her love.

Another morning

I wake in the arms

of my love

to canine antics

filled with love and exuberance.

I go out my back door as

lorikeets flap, chitter and screech.

We are greeted

on our morning walk

by grey overhead

and thick air

after morning rain.

The bay is a vista

of brooding magnificence,

crowned by a cormorant

wings outstretched

atop a weathered pylon

as row after row

of gentle wavelets glisten

and roll to shore.

As we leave the beach

we are bathed

in a fine dusting of rain.

Grace abounds on

another morning.

Christmas 2020

There is something about Christmas that reaches within me, touching me at a very deep level that is hard to put into words. Yet is it is well described by our Christmas lights – bright, colourful, ethereal and easily missed within the bushes if I’m not looking properly. All of the Christmas preparations – cards, gifts, food – are designed to connect us, to strengthen relationships. Who binds us together in our relationships but our God who is love.

Our God doesn’t behave like we want – no power, no glory, no ego. Yet still manifest all around us if we open our eyes. Which is why the baby at Christmas is such a telling image. A baby is powerless and can bring out the best in us including the nurturing relationships in which babies grow to their full flourishing.

May we open our eyes and our hearts to the people and the world around us – the gift of God-with-us – every day.