Tea and Theology




This week has felt rather busy, and as I look back I can see that I have definitely been guilty of cramming too much into my diary and therefore failing to give real time to anything. It has struck me that this is very much the way of our modern world: fit as much as you can into as little time as possible to prove how productive you can be! And yet, I’m not sure ministry is a business of productivity or a measuring of success…if it was, as the Church Times article about Broken asserts, many of us would be failures!

The week began with a baptism in our first service…


…and the revival of a worship band with me on cajon in our second service.


On Monday morning I decided to walk around a part of the parish: collar, rucksack and trainers on! This is becoming something of a routine, which I love! It gives me the space to respond to whatever comes my way…to attend! I was also combining the walk with a short photo shoot in each church, as setting the churches up on social media was also on my list of things to do for the week! It was lovely just to spend time alone in God’s presence as I worked.


When I arrived at the second church, there was a lot of activity. We also had a young offender working with us. As I looked at him, whilst he had nothing to do, he looked completely bored and disinterested. God took over as I hauled him into the church, showed him how to use the camera and encouraged him to get lost in it. He certainly did, and there was a huge sense of pleasure as I watched his attention to detail develop, and his eye fine-tune to the potential of the camera. He took some beautiful photos with particular focus on light.


The real reward came when I asked him whether he had enjoyed it, to which he replied, “I did actually”, and his whole face lit up as a broad smile crossed it – what a privilege! Yet it was one that I didn’t see until I was half a mile up the road, lamenting on how few people I had encountered that morning! I had been responsive, but completely unaware that God was with me in that whole encounter!


A candle to remind me that Christ is with me was a bit of a theme this week in my encounters! One particular encounter really humbled me, as a woman asked me to address an envelope for her as she could not spell very well. She insisted on sharing every detail of the letter with me, which was a real privilege, and came with great responsibility. I would have been happy to just address the envelope, but I realised that she needed to share.


Other encounters reminded me of the need to not only attend with people, but also to be mindful of ways in which they might practically need help. Gardens are beautiful, but can become extremely burdensome to someone who is housebound. Whilst they might not ask, can we do something to help as a church?


That tied in with a brief exchange I had with STAR (Supporting Tenants and Residents) when thinking about how we could support their work in the parish. They said the one thing every agency struggles to provide at the moment is time…Attend!


Lectio Divina also reminded me of how Ruth attended her mother-in-law, refusing to leave her side despite being given permission.


Then I was reminded about the need to attend to the community – where is God already working? What is going on that we can join in with? This was part of an art exhibition of prisoners’ work, and was one of the most amazing drawings I have ever seen!


Again and again I have come back to thinking about attending, being fully present in the flesh, being pervasive, almost, in our world.


Attend! Listen! Watch and wait but what will I see? What will I hear? What am I even waiting for? A miracle, a bolt of lightening, the transfiguration or Jesus coming on a cloud in glory? Maybe one day, be prepared as they say; but no, that’s not what I mean. I’m talking about attending in the here and now; immanence rather than transience…being God with skin on or the hands and feet, eyes and ears of Jesus. Attend! Listen!

There is something in the saints saying God is with us come what may; God incarnate in you and in me. So attend, listen to that voice deep inside the soul.

Take care not to attend so much that you fail to see what is right in front of you though. Gazing up to the heavens, desperate to hear God’s guidance I almost didn’t see the hope offered through an exchange with an offender; the woman struggling to cross the road; and the man desperate to talk and be heard, had I not heard the pervasive plea from God, “Me in them not me for thee!”


#698 #ohashi translates as #chopsticks and #bridge in #Japanese. I began the day listening to #bridgeovertroubledwater #forgrenfell and was thinking about what and who might act as a bridge in troubled times. This beautiful song encourages #hope and #solidarity and felt to me like an #actoflove – a #bridge in more ways than one!


#627 #happyeaster #Christisrisen #hope #newcreation #newbeginning #alleluia


#594 #day12 of #lentchallenge with @bible_society #hope as #cherryblossom and #signsofspring


Happy New Year

#523 Happy New Year!!! In line with an old tradition of introducing into your home that which you hope will be plentiful, I had to see in the #newyear with my #favouritebreakfast of pancakes, bacon and eggs! With love, prayers and good wishes for all those who read these posts – may you find hope and strength through #challengingtimes as well as #wonderfulblessings to rejoice in. Amen. 

New Years Eve

#522 #newyearseve encourages us to think about the previous year – #losses, #hurts and #pains inevitably form part of that picture for me, but there are also rich #blessings to focus on. In an effort to not let pain overshadow, nor to #losehope for 2017 when something goes wrong, I hold onto these blessings: an amazing unexpected trip to Japan, the confirmation of my title post, a loving and generous college community and my ever supportive family. What do you hold on to?


#521 This is one of the “Dovelies” as I call them – lovely doves – for #day5 of Happy Animal Life. The goal is to post a picture of your pet once a day for 5 days. Your post demonstrates that you take a stand against #animalabuse. These doves are a sign of peace and hope, I sometimes need to be reminded of the importance of peace! Nominate two people a day to continue with this.
Today I nominate Elaine Wykes and Gill Turner-Callis

Longing for light

#489 #longingforlight #wewaitindarkness #longingforpeace #ourworldistroubled #longingforhope #manydespair #unitetoendviolenceagainstwomen Today I pray for those for whom the darkness overshadows the light. For those in #prison. For #victimsofabuse. For victims of #genderbasedviolence. Lord in your mercy; Hear our prayer. 

Blessed are the peacemakers 

#468 #blessedarethepeacemakers for the will be called #childrenofgod #matthew5v9 What do we need to do to become peacemakers in our world today? Is it possible to be an #instrumentofpeace when one person’s peace is another person’s reason for conflict? Is peace even something we can achieve without God? We can always #hope for that #peace though….

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