no worship tricks for a while and now three in a day - o well...
i read cheryl's poetic plea to god for a spark of inspiration for christmas and it's been on my mind since...
i don't know if this is the answer but the same day i got an e-mail from a friend tess enthusing about a book published by wild goose called doing december differently by nicola slee and rosie miles. partly because i value tess's opinion, partly because wild goose always have some good stuff in their resources and mostly because they have a free sample of the book you can download to get a taster, i have ordered the book. i am looking forward to it (they actually have free samples of quite a few books if you've got time to browse - you'll probably find a load more stuff!). i'll update this post once i have seen the book. anyway a couple of the freebies in the download are worthy of posting in their own right as a worship trick. wild goose are always good at getting at the struggle and reality that people face in life alongside the reality of god's presence and that tone seems to be captured by this book...
Genealogy by Nicola Slee
He came from a dysfunctional family.
And I’m not just talking about his mum and dad
(thepregnancy out of wedlock,
the pronounced age difference)
No, it went back much further than that.
There were more than a few skeletons in his cupboard.
Take great King David,
the one they all wrote and sang about, eulogised in the histories,
the family’s pride and joy.
He wasn’t all he was cracked up to be, believe you me.
He might have been Jesse’s golden-haired youngest,
but later, he was conniving and horny,
spying on his officer’s comely wife from the palace balcony
and taking her for his own,
sending soldiers to do away with unsuspecting Uriah
returning victorious from battle. Some victory!
Prostitutes and foreigners aplenty scatter the litter:
women you’d not want your daughters taking after,
even if you can’t help admiring that plucky Rahab.
Some came to a very sorry end.
That poor Tamar! It makes me shudder to even think of her.
Don’t let your children read her story,
it’ll keep them awake for nights on end.
Best not to ask about the ones
whose names have sunk into obscurity,
for fear of what you might uncover:
what unimaginable sleights of hand, sexual perversions,
brutal slayings or tortures.
Who nowthinksof Nashon or Asa,
Uzziah, Joham or Jeconiah,
Matthan, Azar or Eliud?
Don’t disturb their memories with your inquisitive fingers.
Keep going back and you end up at Abraham,
another one no better than he ought to be and a whole heap worse.
Right bastard, if you’ll pardon my English.
Played off his wife as his sister, he did,
had it away with his slave girl to get himself a son
and then didn’t lift a finger in her defence
when Sarah sent her packing into the desert
in a fit of jealousy and rage.
Worse of all, he was ready to kill his own precious Isaac
on some highfalutin whim of the Almighty.
That story has been causing trouble for generations
down the family line,
still keeps the menfolk and their offspring fighting.
No, not what you’d call a promising pedigree.
Not surprising he didn’t turn out a happy family man.
Little wonder he stayed single.
Let the bells jingle by Helen Jesty
Let the bells jingle but make time for the tears to fall.
Eat, drink and be merry but do not go hungry in that inner place.
Rest, reflect and remember. Be true to yourself.
Many of us can’t play happy families at this time of the year.
December is for a difficult diagnosis as well as dreaming of a white Christmas.
December is for divorce as well as decorations.
December is for death and dying as well as discos and dancing.
December is for distances that separate us from people,
even those in the same room.
Disappointments in December are especially hard to bear.
Sometimes the light no longer shines in the darkness.
The desolation swallows us up and we die a little.
Yet a kindly word, a bird in flight, a tree alive with hoar and hips
can drown out despair and kindle determination to move on.
Dig down deeper than the tinsel to the place where hope is found.
Maybe, justmaybe, the flickering flame will be fanned gently into fire.