The Gift revisited

The Gift

 
This blog usually features the prayerful writings of others. One major exception is the series, “The Gift”: 12 meditations with readings and original prayer poems on the Holy Spirit that I published between Ascension Day and Pentecost last year.

As a gift to you for Pentecost 2018, I’ve repackaged the 2017 series as a 16-page booklet in PDF format, ready for printing. To get your copy, click here.

For the original blog posts, click here.

Also, check out the Index to see what else this blog has on offer (past posts/series) and maybe consider signing up (if you haven’t yet done so) to receive future posts in your email inbox.
 

Call of the wild ones


Last year’s clutch of Egyptian goslings behind Rotterdam Central Station
 

On the eve of Ash Wednesday and a new season of Lent, here is a “wild” poem by Joel McKerrow that I found on the Northumbria Community website.

 

As the tamed horse
still hears the call of her wild brothers
and as the farmed goose flaps hopeful wings
as his sisters fly overhead,
so too, perhaps,
the wild ones amongst us
are our only hope in calling us back
to our true nature.
Wild ones
who have not been turned to stone
by the far-reaching grasp of the empire
and its programme of consumer sedation,
the killing of imagination.
Where, my friends,
have the wild ones gone?

Joel McKerrow
 

Can you hear the wild ones calling?

Jesus: ‘Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.’ (Mark 4:9)


More Joel McKerrow

Curious to find out more about Joel McKerrow, I found this youtube video featuring another of his “wild” poems: We Dance Wild by Joel McKerrow

You can find the words to “We dance wild” and some backstory on the Abbey of the Arts website.
 

Unite my divided heart

O Eternal One, guide me along Your path so that I will live in Your truth. Unite my divided heart so that I will fear Your great name. Psalm 86:11, The Voice
(Illustration: Irene Bom)

 

This post – the first post in 2018 – introduces the theme for the month of January: Heart.

(source: Logos Bible Software)
 

In other words …

Here are some other English translations of Psalm 86:11 to help flesh out the meaning of the words, “unite my divided heart” (from The Voice).

Good News Translation
“Teach me, Lord, what you want me to do, and I will obey you faithfully; teach me to serve you with complete devotion.”

The Passion Translation
“Teach me more about you, how you work and how you move, so that I can walk onward in your truth until everything within me brings honor to your name.”

New American Bible (Revised Edition)
“Teach me, Lord, your way that I may walk in your truth, single-hearted and revering your name.”

Evangelical Heritage Version
“Teach me your way, O Lord. I will walk in your truth. Give me wholehearted commitment to fear your name.”

Modern Evangelical Version
“bind my heart”

Names of God Bible
“focus my heart”


Related topics to explore to your heart’s content

  1. “Our Daily Bread” devotional entitled The divided heart
  2. 131 references to “heart” in the Psalms (NRSV)
  3. From the blog: Prayer sheet on Theme: Do not lose heart
  4. 70 phrases and expressions that include the word “heart” from www.dailywritingtips.com

Get creative

If you’re feeling inspired, design your own “postcard” featuring a Bible verse or quotation that speaks to you.

Up to us

How does the theme on a journey resonate with you personally? It’s a useful umbrella for all sorts of things, like “Journey through Lent”, for example.

Here’s one of my “on a journey” memories:

Some years ago now I had the opportunity to write a song for a CD project aimed at outdoor types. Not being much of an outdoor type myself, I was very grateful when a fellow commuter – a thoughtful Dutch man who regularly goes on walking holidays – had a lot to say on the subject.

“Do you mind if I take notes?” I asked.

In the 10-minute train ride from Utrecht Central to Houten on my way to work I gathered enough quality material to seed a whole song.

The CD project fizzled out, but the song has become a standard in the Two Doors Down repertoire, with me on guitar and vocals and Margriet on backing vocals and melodica.

Here’s a video of us performing “Up to us” in a noisy cafe in Dordrecht at our EP release in 2014:


Lyrics

1. Out on the trail – part of the landscape
Sensible shoes and good company
The swish, swish of our bodies in motion
I’m lost for words, lost in reverie.

We’ve got all we need to make a memory
Back to basics, minimum fuss
We know where we are
and kind of where we’re going
The rest is up to us (x2)

2. I do admit that nothing much happens
And I forget what we talked about
We cook, eat, sleep and get on with living
I’m walking on air, I’m on walkabout.

Chorus

3. Reading the map we can see the future
Making our way one step at a time
I’m rich, richer than I ever imagined
All I survey, in a way, is mine.

Chorus

We’re part of the elements – the cold, the heat
I’m thankful for every sensation – even sore feet.

Chorus

Blessing

Lord,
Make me a blessing.
Those that I meet
Make me a blessing.
As I walk down the street
Make me a blessing.
This day, even this hour
Make me a blessing.
It lies in your power
Make me a blessing.
At work and at home
Make me a blessing.
Wherever I roam
Make me a blessing.
That people may see
I am a blessing,
For you are with me.

from The Open Gate: Celtic Prayers for Growing Spiritually
by David Adam, p. 108

On Writing Prayer-Poems

prayer poems

PDF handout

I confess. I tend to borrow prayers from others. See the prayer sheets, for example, which are collections of prayers on a theme, sourced from books or other websites like re:Worship.

But sometimes you have to stretch yourself, so when I was putting together the series that became “The Gift” (Preparing for Pentecost) I decided to try my hand at writing some original prayers to accompany the Scriptures I had selected.

I’d like to share what I learnt from writing the twelve prayer-poems I wrote for the series. I hope you, in turn, will be inspired to write prayer-poems of your own.

Continue reading “On Writing Prayer-Poems”