Friday 25 October 2013

Fed up with fear

Yesterday, during our Bible study in Augusta, I came across one of those passages that you just don't hear in church. We are working our way through the latter part of Isaiah. There are some beautiful, very famous passages and some absolute shockers. Isaiah 57 was about the people worshipping other gods and doing some pretty awful things to get their favour. Verse 11, after hearing about all their terrible ways, has God asking them, "Whom have you so dreaded and feared that you have not been true to me and have neither remembered me nor taken this to heart?"

God knows what motivates us more than anything - fear. It is not that these people have just decided to be rebellious. They are afraid not to follow this path. Christianity is a faith tradition that is motivated by love, but how often has it used fear to motivate people. Many churches have used lines like, "Repent now, or you will go to hell." What better way to fill our church pews with people?

But I see myself getting caught up in similar games also. Fear of not having a job, the church not having enough funds, having a small church that doesn't look successful - all of these fears can become my motivation if I am not careful. I must not let my own personal fears creep up on me like shadows. One of the biggest challenges in ministry is to remain grounded in love. It sounds simple, but it is a challenge that requires taking time to bathe in the presence of God - who is love.

And so, I could hear God's question of the people in Isaiah as a question asked of me afresh each morning, "Whom have you so feared and dreaded that you have not been true to me?" Today I choose to name my fears and not let them become my motivation.

Thursday 10 October 2013

Rachel - Midwife of Change

The theme for the recent Common Dreams Conference was "Midwives of Change". Since returning from the conference a couple of week's ago I have been reflecting on what this theme might mean in my own life. There have also been some moments in my ministry where I have felt like I am playing the role of midwife in people's spiritual journeys. An amazing privilege! Out of these reflections I have written a poem that encompasses some of the feelings and realities of being a "spiritual midwife" at the births in the lives of others. For whom are you a midwife?


Rachel, come quickly,
the moment is nigh.
The moaning and writhing begun.
Gather your healing herbs,
sing soothing songs.
Come quick in the dead of the night.

Rachel, speak sweetly,
while watching the pain.
Stand by and let nature give birth.
Offer your wisdom,
keep light for the lamps.
Speak sweet in the soul's darkest night.

Rachel, hold closely,
the woman bears down.
New life is rearing it's head.
Mop her wet brow,
take the heat of her fear.
Hold close to your heart through the night.

Rachel, leave swiftly,
the babe's wailing now.
Mysteries of child birth realised.
Mother and child
did not notice you leave.
Leave swift, the dawn breaks out of night.

Wednesday 9 October 2013

One with the Wind

Yesterday, I became one with the wind. At least, that is what my certificate of flight says.

"Let it be known from this day forth that Cathie Lambert by means of hot air balloon ascended into the sky above the Avon River Valley in the fair state of Western Australia and became one with the wind. The Aerostat that graciously freed our earthly bonds was so named Rainbow Drifter IV."

I can too easily become critical of some people who tend to drfit through life, those people who seem to go with the flow with little planning or sense of responsibility. On the other hand, as a Christian, I have been known to talk about going where the Spirit leads - a Spirit that we often speak of as wind or ruach. There is an unpredictable nature to this way of living that makes us vulnerable.

Our balloon pilot explained to our team that he had no control over direction, only altitude and speed. He would alter our altitude to make the most of the changing winds at different levels. At one point, when we were very close to the earth, we were travelling at walking pace. Half an hour later, when the people below had become like ants, we travelled at a much faster pace. Despite the unpredictable nature of flying a balloon, our pilot was able to land directly on to the trailer that would tow it away. Amazing!!

Considering the numerous possibilities for something to go wrong, floating above the earth in a hot air balloon has an amazing sense of peace. It was an experience like no other. I had absolutely no control over my destiny or the path of my journey, but felt completely calm. Somehow each moment became sacred and still in time.

What a blessing it would be in my life to live at one with the wind. Not blown here and there with no care for the destination, but working with the wind as I adjust my altitude to make the most of the journey. There are times to travel slowly with my feet close to the earth and moments to pick up the pace with the higher winds. Uncertainty would be a reality, but peace would prevail. Every moment sacred, but surrounded in calm as I become one with the movement of the wind.