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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Merry Christmas

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!

It Came Upon The Midnight Clear

(Apologies, I wanted to post a more modern version of that verse that had caught my imagination somewhat at a carol service, but I couldn’t find it on the internet at all!)

So, it appears to be Christmas again. A strange time of year, one which seems to highlight the differences between what my life is and what it could be. And yet I can’t stand around and mope about it, because I will miss what I have when it’s gone, and it will be soon.

So, here’s to the season, to eating lots of nice food and having a good time (even if forced to)… but also to that old old mystery pondered upon across the world today – that of God becoming a helpless human baby, and living in our messed up, hurtful world, until we killed him.

Merry Christmas!

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And only You, the Son of man
Can take a leper and let him stand
So lift your hands, they can be held
By someone greater, the great I Am

Healing Rain by Michael W. Smith

I don’t blog about my faith much – partly because I don’t want to sidetrack the blog, partly because I’ve not had cause to.

Yet it seems a shame not to mention it, so here goes. If anyone dislikes me after reading this post, then I can only extend my apologies, and suggest that at least now you’re not under an illusion as to the sort of person I am.

I’m a Christian (as you’ve probably already noticed, given the quote at the top of this page). If you like labels, I’m an Evangelical Anglican. For the benefit of those overseas, I should point out that in England, the term Evangelical is not synonymous with “fundamentalist” or “Bible belt”. Rather, it defines certain beliefs I have about the Bible, Jesus’s death on the cross, and living out my faith. It also tends to imply a worship tradition that is plain, simple, and accessible – no “bells and smells”.

It’s not a crutch to lean on when times get hard, though I will not deny that it has brought me comfort.

It’s not a delusion for the simple-minded, for some of the cleverest people I have known have been devout Christians.

It’s not mass hysteria, for my journey to faith was a solitary one.

My life would be much easier without God. Yet to deny him would be like cutting off a limb. I can no more comprehend doing so than I can comprehend suddenly choosing not to breathe.

It’s not all that easy to be religious and depressed. There seems to be a way of thinking that says that if you’re a depressed Christian, you just lack faith. That if you have God, you shouldn’t need therapy.

Yet the Bible speaks many times of depression. There are whole psalms that center around how depressed the singer is.

I rejoice with those who have found healing, and pray that they continue to stay well. I’ve spent hours on my knees (both metaphorically and literally) praying “Why not me?”. But deep within I know that that stems from impatience. God works on a different timescale – to him, our coming and going is like the blink of an eye. And though I have and am finding healing, it’s an ongoing process, involving many different people, and stretching over decades. So I continue to concentrate on working out my salvation, in fear, trembling, and trusting. The illness will either go, or not – if I’m stuck managing it for the rest of my life, then so be.

There’s another aspect to it – if you believe in an afterlife, then suicide is a much smaller barrier. Many are the nights when I’ve cried, and cried, longing for a closer togetherness with God – longing to come home into the arms of the only Father who has brought me up and guided me since I was a child. My “suicide song” (if there is such a thing) is “And Your Praise Goes On” by Chris Rice. It really sums up how I feel. Because when I feel that life is just too much, that I can’t cope, that I want to throw the towel in, it’s not through lack of faith in God. If I ever do commit suicide, I want people to celebrate my life regardless. Because my memory should not be tarred by the manner of my death.

But the stillness moves and the silence yields
And not a single beat is lost
You can hear the chorus in the fields
Taking up where we left off

And when my final breath You lend
I’ll thank You for the life You gave
But that won’t mean the praises end
‘Cause I won’t be silenced by the grave!

And Your Praise Goes On by Chris Rice

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Light Of The World…

Light of the world,
Enter into the depths of our lives.
Come into the dark and hidden places.
Walk in the storehouse of our memories.
Hear the hidden secrets of the past.
Plumb the very depth of our being.
Be present through the silent hours.
And bring us safely to your glorious light.

Credit: Power Lines, David Adam

I’m not very good at keeping track of where I am, and I’m not sure how I got here. All I know is that for the past two weeks I’ve been finding it hard to keep my mood any higher than about knee-height.

We prayed the above prayer in church today, and it felt so appropriate that I wanted to share it here. At the moment, the “silent hours” are long, and very silent, as my housemates have all moved out this week. There are certainly plus sides to this – I’ve been able to get away with filling the fridge with fruit juice, and the freezer with frozen vegetables. But there’s noone to break the mood when I come home, noone to ask if I’m OK, noone to run out to the shop for me when I’ve forgotten yet AGAIN to buy electricity credit, noone to share their moans with me and make me feel a little better about having bad days myself.

And noone to notice if I decided to take the quick way out of all this.

Not that I’m suicidal, far from it. I’m just feeling very tempted by the viewpoint that says “Life isn’t worth the present struggle”. I’ve made such a mess of the life I’ve been given, and for the umpteenth time all I can do is bring it with me to the foot of the cross and ask for the strength to give it another go.

Please.

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A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to rebuild.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to lose.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak up.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

For some reason, I often find incredible peace from reading this. I suppose because it mentions most of the emotions I wind up going through, but gives no extra time to the “good ones” – all are treated equally. I feel somewhat reassured by the thought that there may indeed be a time to cry, a time to grieve, and even a time to die.

There may even be a time to miss church, which is what I accidentally did today. I’m rather peeved about it, because I’d been spending virtually the whole week looking forward to going, and to seeing someone there who I wanted to talk to… but she will hopefully be there again next week, so I shall just have to focus on making it through the next week. I’m feeling fine (not depressed, etc), so the challenge will be not stressing myself out too much with CVs and application letters nor with trying to work out how to make my complete lack of experience and recent breakdown sound like positive reasons why I should be hired.

Oh, yeah… if I’d known I was going to oversleep anyway, I could have stayed up and watched that episode of Casualty while it was still freshly new on iPlayer, instead of going to bed. If only I were psychic, huh?

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