Shepherding

Crisp and clear, morning begins.

As light becomes all encompassing, the fiery glow on increasing cloud…recedes.

The morning will be fresh, if not a little heavy, foretelling of an over-shadow later in the day.

The sheep must be moved on; this temporary shelter – house of sticks – will not suffice as the sun moves across the sky, the cloud and all its company rolling in.

A rousing call, tap a few tails with a crooks end, perhaps a flap of the arms now and then…they’re up and on the move.

They’ll need nourishment early; storms may rumble in sooner rather than later. Well-fed sheep will be better able to ride out storms later on.

A graze in this fresh green gully; water the flock down below; shelter from inclement weather amongst established trees, enclosed within the secure boundary of a holding yard.

Yet holding yards, shelter and nourishment alone are not enough. Keep watch! Alert to risk and danger; ready and willing to act, to rescue, to protect.

Gates and fences blow over, are damaged by falling limbs, rushing waters…the onslaught of varied weather – predictable and temperamental; and the passing of time – worn and weathered, weary of bearing weight and strain.

Wild animals will seek prey; there are those who would take the flock for their own.

The Chief Shepherd, possessor and nurturer of this flock watches and enables the under-shepherds to fulfill the call to care, attend, cultivate, keep and cherish.

These ones know the voice, direction and undertaking of their Shepherd. They respond well when they perceive his influence in and amongst us.

So, a crook to keep within safe boundaries.

An eye out for fields of nourishment.

Safe spaces for rest and refreshment.

Wisdom, strength, compassion and the will to fight off those who would steal and destroy.

And when some are lost, taken, devoured, appeal to and rest in the Great Shepherd…who saw their wanderings, observed our distraction, allowed and curtailed the thief and false shepherd, and will pursue them and us in justice, mercy and all that is good, pure, right and lovely.

Gina Marie 21/7/2015

The Tree

A tree stood outside of the village.

Few noticed the tree as they went about the business of their days and nights.

But of those few who saw the tree, and stepped aside from the road to look closer, none would remain as they once were.

All who came to the tree saw their names carved into the timber.

All who kneeled before the tree and reached out to touch and own that they recognized their own name on this tree, grateful that they were named there, found they were washed by the tree’s life-blood, till they were clothed anew, white like light.

By this light were these few of the few given to see their gifts beneath the tree – once again, named with their own name.

Of these few clothed in white light, some would never open their gifts, some would open, but never use that contained within.

But a few of these few would receive, open, and use their own named gifts. They would provide for each other by use of these gifts. They would provide for those whose gifts remained unopened or unused. They would even provide for the passers-by, on the road and in the village.

As these few, of the few, of the few accessed and used their gifts, their gifts increased in depth and beauty and strength – and the few grew themselves, in strength, beauty, joy, insight and peace – their light shone brighter with every use of their gifts.

And those who came to the tree, saw their name engraved there, but would not acknowledge it as their own, nor embrace the tree and its gifts with gratefulness, wandered endlessly.

Unsettled in the village, unsettled on the road, and resentful of the tree…

…The tree stood outside of the village, off the oft-travelled road, but high and lifted up on the hill…

the bestower of life, gifts, restoration and purpose.

22/5/2015

The Tree

 

The Dark, Dark Man

In the dark, dark man,

There was a dark, dark, sin.

In the dark, dark sin,

There was a dark, dark thought.

In the dark, dark, thought,

There was a dark, dark mood.

In the dark, dark mood,

There was a dark, dark, act.

In the dark, dark act,

There was The Dark, Dark Blood.

In The Dark, Dark, Blood,

There is The Bright, Bright Light.

In The Bright, Bright Light,

There is HOPE!

 

15/3/2014

Micaela, Emma-Mae and Gina Marie

I Can Change My Mind

There was a girl who grew up in a family with two sisters and 4 brothers. At first they lived on a farm with sheep, who had black faces. Then the dad died, so the family moved to live amongst the trees at the bottom of a small mountain.

 

As the family grew, the eldest girl was often told that she didn’t belong. Sometimes a brother would tell her that the mum and dad were not really her mum and dad. This girl became a woman, but still she didn’t know for certain if this truly was her family.

 

Other people who knew them, could see that all the sisters looked alike, they often spoke alike and though there was no proof, it seemed to them that she was indeed from this family’s mum and dad.

 

One day when this eldest girl of the family was quite an old lady, her son found a birth certificate in another town. The certificate said that she was from this family and the mum and dad of the other children were definitely her own mum and dad. Her son had been looking for a long time.

 

It was very nice to know for sure that this was her family. But you could tell before they knew for sure, especially because she looked so much like her sisters.

 


 

When Jesus was a man, before He died, his brothers didn’t believe that He was God’s Son as well as Mary’s son. Even though He said things like God and acted like God, which made Him look like God.

 

But after Jesus had died, so that we don’t have to; and after God had made Him alive again, so we can live with Him forever, some people who didn’t believe He was God’s Son, changed their minds.

 

James, a book in the Bible we believe was written by Jesus’ brother who perhaps changed his mind. So, like James and Paul in the Bible, if we find out that we’re wrong we can change our minds. And that means we’re being honest, we’re telling the truth.

 

We can say to God and to people, “I’m sorry, I was wrong. Please forgive me. Now I know the truth, the truth is what I will say.”

 

10/10/2014

James, John 7, Acts

Grace – A Story

As the star-netballer verbally reduced the newcomer to the conceptual size of an ant, most of the team stood silent, one or two joining in on occasion. Taunts of weak throws, missed goals and no understanding of the rules issued forth from the star-player.

The newcomer sank lower and lower in posture. She would never measure up; never belong or be valued by the other players. Though she excelled in biology, was a marvel at chemistry, and astounding with physics, she could see much joy and affection beneath the veneer of criticism in the players. She longed to be part of the fun of the game she enjoyed, and the fellowship of the team.

A tall, well-composed woman walked onto the netball court, toward the group of girls. The taunting and verbal abuse grew more and more quiet, until silent, at the approach of the woman: elegant, yet humble in appearance and manner. The browbeaten newcomer to the team remained in a subdued stance.

The woman entered the circle of girls and, taking the star and the newcomer by the hand, drew the two girls into the centre. All were silent.

The woman gently but firmly declared to the star-player all she knew of the this one’s desire to head into the field of medical research; of the expectation and push of the girl’s parents to excel in sport above all else; of her sense of insignificance within the course of her own life; and the bitterness welling up from within as a result.

The woman then softly and definitively declared the value and vital contribution the new-comer had to offer the team; her innermost desire and knowledge of interdependence, unity and teamwork; her experience, insight and understanding of healthy relationship.

In response each of the two centred girls expressed their envy, each of the other, and their desire for relationship, acceptance, mutual value and unity – to be a team.

Throughout the remaining seasons and school days this team became family. Wholly accepting of, and committed to each other. Not for the status of the team, but each one sought the best for each of the others. The result being that each one’s personal, relational and aspirational needs were met…and the team became the most admired in the district.

 

And who was the mysterious woman? As she walked from the group of girls on that day long ago, her name was sought. The most unassuming of the team members declared, “That…was Grace.”

 

28/7/2014

Gina Marie

The Crocodile Farm

There once was a crocodile farm that had two swamps for the crocodiles to enjoy; one great big one, and one teeny tiny one (that a frog barely fit into).

The crocodile farmer had two beautiful crocodiles who loved to lay in the sun beside the great big swamp to get warm. When they got too warm the two beautiful crocodiles would slide down the bank and into the cool murky water to cool off.

The two beautiful crocodiles loved their great big swamp; they loved sharing it together; they loved it when visitors to the crocodile farm came to look at them from over the fence.

One morning a truck drove up to the gate in the fence, which kept the crocodiles in and the people out. The two beautiful crocodiles, lying in the sun, didn’t move, but kept watch to see what would happen.

The gate opened…and two more crocodiles were taken out of the truck and left inside the fence, with the farmer’s two beautiful crocodiles. One of the new crocodiles was very similar to the two beautiful crocodiles, almost the same size even. The other of the two new crocodiles was HUGE! ENORMOUS! Very Impressive!

The two beautiful crocodiles thought it would be great to have the HUGE! ENORMOUS! Very Impressive! crocodile in their great big swamp with them. They thought that visitors to the farm would love looking at them even more with this HUGE! ENORMOUS! Very Impressive! crocodile sharing their swamp.

But the first-of-the-new-crocodiles was a bit skinny. The two beautiful crocodiles thought he didn’t look strong at all and also thought it was best if this one shared the teeny tiny swamp with the frog.

The HUGE! ENORMOUS! Very Impressive! crocodile enjoyed sunning himself on the bank of the great big swamp and sliding into the water when he got too warm. The two beautiful crocodiles were very glad he was in their swam, surely the visitors to the farm would love seeing two beautiful crocodiles and one HUGE! ENORMOUS! Very Impressive! crocodile all together.

The first-of-the-new-crocodiles enjoyed being with the frog. They became great friends. But this crocodile couldn’t enjoy the teeny tiny swamp. There wasn’t even enough room or water for the frog and definitely not enough room or water for the crocodile. Some times the first-of-the-new-crocodiles became so hot that he got sick because he couldn’t slide into the murky water of the swamp to cool off. But the frog would sit beside him and they would share stories together about all the swamps and farms they had lived on and about their families. They were very great friends.

One day the crocodile farmer brought some visitors to look over the fence at his crocodiles. The visitors watched the two beautiful crocodiles and the HUGE! ENORMOUS! Very Impressive! crocodile sunning themselves on the bank and sliding into the murky water. These three crocodiles heard them saying how much they liked being able to see them there.

Not many visitors looked over the fence at the first-of-the-new-crocodiles and the frog. But they were happy being friends and the first-of-the-new-crocodiles began to sing while the frog jumped a dance to his song.

When the visitors to the farm heard the first-of-the-new-crocodiles sing they moved to his end of the fence to listen. They loved hearing the song and watching the frog dance.

After the farmer and the visitors left, the two beautiful crocodiles had a think.

They thought that the visitors liked seeing that they were beautiful; and seeing the HUGE! ENORMOUS! Very Impressive! crocodile; and enjoyed hearing the first-of-the-new-crocodiles’ song; and were amused watching the frog dance.

So, the crocodiles and the frog all decided that they would share the great big swamp because they each were special – beautiful, HUGE!, musical and funny.

They all became friends and they all had visitors come to see and hear them at the crocodile farm. Which made the farmer very pleased.

 

6/7/2014

James 1:1-13

Gina Marie