About missiome

34 years old, married to Kay, one child, Sephi... Live in Exeter, Devon, UK...but born as proud Geordie... Religious Education Teacher in Secondary Education

year of bible – hope wins…

ImageDrawn back to the Psalms this week…

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him (Psalm 62)

Where does your hope come from…?

Like you I’ve got a whole heap of hopes…

I hope that I’m a good husband and father, son and brother…more importantly, I hope that my wife and my children, my parents and my family know they are loved simply by how I talk and how I live…

I hope that I’m a good teacher…more importantly, I hope that my pupils know how valued they are and how much I long for them to expand their horizons…

I hope that I’m a good friend, a good colleague, a good person…more importantly, I hope I’m someone that people around me can rely on me to be what they need me to be…

I hope that I’m a good follower…more importantly, I hope that it makes a difference…

That’s a whole lot of hoping.

But where does my hope come from?

My hope comes from the knowledge that death doesn’t win. That there is another way and that you and I are involved in making that other way happen.

My hope is shaped by a life that was lived some 2000 years ago and still resonates loudly today.

My hope is Jesus shaped.  A shape that doesn’t always fit into the patterns of the world, but makes every aspect of life fit around it.

I’m a bit of a restless soul, always looking for the next, looking over the horizon…but the rest that I find is here in this hope. But it’s a rest that causes all sorts of restlessness…

A restlessness that longs to see my world radically shaped by hope.

What’s your hope?

Because if you haven’t got hope…well, you haven’t got a hope.  I’m not being facetious.  This isn’t a flippant throwaway. This isn’t smiling when all is falling apart.  This is crying and shouting and screaming and pushing and pulling…and it never ends.

Find your hope. Find your rest that brings restlessness.

That’s the first step.

Then see where it goes…

year of bible – songs of the road…

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Earlier this evening we were listening to a radio station when an Oasis song from 1994 was played. Straight away I was transport back to 20 years ago. Facing my GCSEs, thinking that my life was panning out in a particular direction (how many times…). An almost visceral reaction to a few moments of music.

It’s incredible how it can have that impact on us. Like you, I’m sure, I have something like a soundtrack to my life in my head, which when triggered can really transport me back to wherever and whenever that particular piece of music captured me. They can be the weirdest tracks, the most bizarre links…and yet they speak deeply to me.

Each day on this year of bible features words from the psalms. These are the ‘soundtrack’ of the church in many ways – the songs we keep returning to again and again. As I reflected on the song I heard earlier today I began thinking about some of the psalms which featured at particular times in my life.

Psalm 139 when everything fell apart at 16 and the got put together again…

Psalm 1 on my gap year as I was seeking to root myself…

Psalm 51…well…whenever I (all too frequently) messed up…

Psalm 63 in the midst of uncertainty on the journey out of the Salvation Army…

Psalm 23 as words tumbling into my mind preparing a eulogy for my Grandma’s funeral…

We could go on.

These words capture us, challenge us, enliven us, confuse us…

They speak out of the depths of the entire human experience – not just the incredible moments when everything is so straightforward, but the bitterness and anger of rejection and uncertainty. They are human…and yet divine…

Right now the psalms which speak to me are those which call out to God for a sense of presence (for example psalm 44). Sometimes they speak of abandonment, sometimes of despair, sometimes of simple emptiness. I’m not pretending that this is the depth of my experience, but instead it reminds me of the vital place of questioning within the journey. The place where we stand and cry out ‘why’…where we remember the promises, the covenants and we attempt to once more invoke those days gone by whilst simultaneously pressing into the not yet.

We need songs for the journey that don’t ignore these moments. We need songs that speak of disappointment and uncertainty. To ignore them is to ignore life. Let’s not focus on the happy-flappy and emotional manipulation. Let’s be real for once.

Perhaps the most beautiful part of many of these psalms is the way they end. Not with a whimper but with a statement – “and yet still I will praise you”.

This is incredible.

I’m abandoned and yet God, I’m still going to believe.

You’ve let me down…and yet I’m still going to believe.

I’m hurting…and yet.

I’m lost…and yet.

I’m here.

Where are you?

The answer is not always as we expect…or even there at all…but that shouldn’t stop us from asking in the first place.

So as we walk this road I wonder if we could create something that embraces this lost heritage. Something that expresses the fullness of the life we live seeking to follow – the gethsemane as well as the resurrection, as it were.

Then, well then we’re singing.

year of bible: the open road…

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The last couple of weeks have seen us walk through the book of Exodus. For those of you who may read this blog but don’t read the bible I’ll try to summarise it. Basically God listens to the cries of his people who are in slavery, send along his chosen man (Moses: Hebrew/adopted Egyptian/man of few words and winder up and calmer down of God) to lead them out of Egypt. We have the big party tricks (the ten plagues), the great escape (the Red Sea crossing) and then…well, and then things become…interesting.

A traditional reading of the text tells us that the Israelites settle down for a while in the wilderness where God starts to give them their ’religion’ and provides for their needs. Amongst that is the setting up of the tabernacle, the establishment of the system of priesthood, sacrifices and festivals which would define Israel’s relationship with its God.

This is all about, we’re told, God establishment his covenant community, about marking Israel as ‘his’, about making them the beacon of his light that he has always called them to be. This usually becomes a preach about being part of the new covenant in Christ, becoming his holy people.

I’m not suggesting anything new, or even discounting this message at all…but I wonder if there’s something else to be found here.

What if we were to read this as a story of the people of God seeking to restrain that God? What if Exodus and the remaining books written by ‘Moses’ (the Pentateuch) are actually much more about religion, about creating rules that in effect serve to keep us safe from God? It’s almost as if the authors (probably post Babylonian exile editors) are constructing a new paradigm for a new people – setting down the laws, practices and system that will guide them as they seek to understand the cataclysm they have experienced.

Fascinatingly, Israel has a habit of seeking to restrain God, of boxing him up in rules and regulations and ultimately a building (here the tabernacle, later the temple). This becomes the centre of the cult, with Priests and Levites becoming inbetweeners – standing between man and God and God and man. It becomes the place on earth where God resides, the touching place between the eternal and mortal. As the story progresses, we learn how devastated the people are when the temple is destroyed – symbolising God leaving his people, complete (and explained as deserved) abandonment.

We see this also with the desire for a King during Samuel’s time – the desire for a perfect leader (Messiah) which leads them to reject Jesus when he turns up. They want something, a barrier perhaps, between this divine presence and them – they’re terrified. They want what all the other nations have – a temple, a priesthood, a king, religion.

Israel’s journey, though, is different. It’s a story of man and God conversing directly. An open road. God calling, Abraham following. Jacob wrestling. God ahead, beckoning his people on. Not buildings, but people. Not priests, but normal folk. God everywhere. God in all of creation.

And when Jesus does turn up he’s exactly this. He seeks to dismantle barriers, to destroy religion and yet fulfil everything. He beckons the people back to the open road, to following wherever this siren God calls. Out of the restraints and out of the boxes. Temples destroyed, priesthood opened to all. Away from comfort to the wilderness. Only one sacrifice necessary.

Maybe this is the message to us today. Maybe we’ve settled for a domesticated, religious god – a god who can be limited and explained and is full of certainty. This is far easier for us to cope with. We can predict what that god is up to. We can even claim to control it.

Far less disruptive and disturbing.

But that isn’t God. That isn’t the Jesus who calls to us.

He’s full of disturbance and disruption, power and uncertainty. Full of unexplained and vastness and…well…words run out. There is no logic, no reason…and yet he makes glorious sense. He’s in the dust and the dirt, amongst the great and the good but perhaps more so amongst the worst and the least.

I ask myself this: am I temple orientated? Do I cling to religion? Do I grasp for those things which bring order?

Or am I part of a people who are seeking to hear the whisper of a Presence ‘out there’, wherever and however dark it may be?

Am I out on the open road?

Please God, yes.

year of bible – raging against the machine…

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When I was going through ministerial training the big thing was all about ‘post-modernism’ – the gift from the ‘modern’ way of explaining our world and existence to one which sought to embrace a different way of viewing pretty much everything. To put it simply, modernism was all about objectivity (being able to step back and neutrally examine and comment on something) whilst post-modernism was more about subjectivity (the theory that we all view the world through a set of lenses that cannot be abandoned – we are all biased one way or the other). Modernism seeks to prove ‘truth’, whilst in many ways pm asks ‘what is truth?’. This explanation is far too simplistic – but it’s a starting point far what follows.

All sorts of things are touched by this – not least how we view church, organisation and institution. Many in my training cohort were probably, like me, a mix of both camps – being children of modernism and yet enjoying some of the freedoms pm gave to us to allow our worlds to be shaped by our experience. We rejected a lot of the things we were told were ‘just so’ – we wanted to push boundaries, to be allowed to reinterpret our faith, our culture and our entire modus operandi. This brought clashes with ‘the system’ – and for many of us, deep suspicion of anyone making decisions that might impact our future – especially if we had limited say. And so we raged against ‘the machine’ – that unfeeling, all powerful unseen…ironically populated by people just like me.

I guess I would still count myself as deeply suspicious of institutions and hierarchy – although accepting that these are almost inevitable in any organisational culture. Our journey away from ‘church’ is partly shaped by this, as we have sought authentic ways of being community and sharing life and faith with those around us in our everyday existence.

So…where’s the link to the year of bible?

I’ve just finished reading a passage in Matthew (chapter 23) where Jesus rips into the religious culture and institutions of his day. Go away and read it…seriously…it’s an epic work of deconstruction (a very pm concept!).

It’s stunning – ripping away at a rigidly structured system which confers authority upon those with titles – those who see themselves as ‘experts’. Jesus hits out at hypocrisy, pulls apart the desire to be respected, reiterates the upside-down “last is first” nature of the kingdom. Beautiful!

He even talks about not calling anyone on earth ‘Father’ when we have a father in heaven – ha! Perhaps he had a bit of foresight about what lay in store for the emerging Christian community!

I remain utterly convinced that although church is a vital part of life for many, and does an incredible amount of good for both individuals and for communities, it is not what we’re supposed to be. It too often embraces all that is bad about the world’s way of doing business, perhaps unintentionally ignoring Jesus’ words on simplicity and humility and the reality of direct access to God that he makes clear.

We need community – please don’t hear me wrong. We need brothers and sisters. But I’m not sure what else we need. Perhaps we long to replace that direct access with a priestly model that gives over our responsibility for our spiritual life to someone who stands between a and God? Perhaps we don’t trust ourselves? I must be honest, I just don’t get it anymore.

We need accountability, we need ‘fellowship’. Of course we do. But I’m not sure if that’s what Jesus was speaking about. However – that’s the beauty of the bible – we can often justify whatever we want to think with quotes and interpretation that serve our view (but then – that’s a very pm thing to say!).

I don’t think it’s about cutting ourselves off from 2000 years of church history, of declaring ourselves as right and ‘them’ as wrong. Do we take what is useful and use it to help shape the future as well as define the past?

We need to share life. We need to seek to follow faithfully where we must – to continually reinterpret what it means to follow Jesus every day. To be courageous in living out what we think it means.

I’m deeply flawed in all of this – I’m sure I often get it wrong…but it seems better to be here than there.

All from a relatively short bit of text…I’m enjoying this…!

year of bible – Joseph the persistent…

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This week I have mostly been thinking about Joseph.

If you know me, you’ll know I have two daughters. One of whom is Josephine – which means ‘God will extend’, apparently. Anyhow…I don’t think that we chose the name particularly because of this story, but it’s been funny how much the story has stuck with me this week.

Those of you familiar with the story will know that Joseph has a bit of a raw deal – although he does deserve a bit of this due to a bit of youthful arrogance in the early part of the story. He gets betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, accused (falsely!) of sexual assault, thrown into prison, let down by his friends…life pretty much sucks for the majority of the story. Every time he gets himself back on his feet, within a short while he’s smashed back down.

But there’s a remarkable thing that happens throughout. In each context he finds himself, no matter how crap, Joseph finds a way to turn what is rubbish into good. Sold as a slave, he shows his trustworthiness and is soon placed in charge of his master’s household. Thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit he again proves his worth and is soon running the prison for his boss. Remarkably he even begins to rub shoulders with people close to the pharaoh (technically they’re out of pharaoh’s good books!) which leads, eventually, to the point where his life becomes utterly transformed for the better.

He doesn’t mope around…

He doesn’t feel sorry for himself…

He doesn’t give up and fade into obscurity…

He doesn’t rage against the injustice…

He sucks it up and he gets on with being a person of integrity, seeking to do what is right even in the darkest of days. The text tells us ‘But the LORD was with him’ – in the midst of the crap, not necessarily rescuing him from the pits of despair…but helping him to become a beacon of righteousness in the darkest places.

I don’t think that I’ve ever read the text like this. I’ve noticed all sorts of different things, but I haven’t noticed that essentially Joseph is the difference in every context. His attitude seems to be to make the best of what he finds himself in…or perhaps even better…to BE the best wherever he finds himself,

Fascinating.

I’m not suggesting this as an appropriate response to some of the suffering we encounter, or even as a way to let God off the hook of bad stuff happens, but there is something really powerful about this idea. You make the difference. You find God in those places and you hold on tight to him.

Interesting.

year of bible – tricky God…

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One week further into this meander through the pages of this most intriguing of texts. We’ve continued our journey through the patriarchs in Genesis, seen Jesus’s ministry established and expanded in Matthew, cried out in despair with the Psalmist…and at times been befuddled by Proverbs!

What caught my eye this week?

Well, an unusual thought.

One which may cause consternation amongst those who don’t like to challenge too far their understanding of God.

The thing that seems to happen over and over again throughout the earliest stories of the people of God is this theme of trickery. Abraham tricks Abimelek, Isaac then copies his Dad and does exactly the same (perhaps a different generation who hadn’t experienced the first play!). Jacob, Isaac’s son, cons his brother first out of his birthright and then out of his father’s blessing (ably assisted by his Mum). Jacob runs off and in turn is tricked by Laban, who promises Rachel but delivers Leah. Later on, Jacob’s boys trick some nasty enemies as an act of revenge…phew…are you catching the drift here?

So what? These people are ordinary humans who will do anything to survive or even flourish…even extreme acts at times. What intrigues me, however, is that this is who God anoints as his ‘chosen people’. He chooses tricksters…and perhaps endorses their behaviour by choosing them? Do we see a God here who prizes cunning and sidestepping above frontal conflict?

Interestingly, this idea connects with something we read in Matthew, where Jesus sends out his followers on their first mission trip. In his instructions he includes this: “be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matt 10:16). Later in the story we see a mischievous Jesus in the resurrection – either hiding his identity, or allowing his grieving followers to continue in their misunderstanding until the time is right for the ‘big reveal’.

I’m not really sure what this all means…other than perhaps if we view God as some cosmic lawgiver with no sense of humour perhaps we miss out on a vital part of who God is. I don’t think that this ‘tricky’ God is in it to damage humanity, but perhaps realises that this survive at all costs, cunning and sidestepping is a necessary part of the human existence. What if our world values the strong, values those who can use violence to achieve their goals…and what if this trickster God is stimulating a spirit of subversion, of revolution against this culture?

Like I say, I don’t really know. Just pondering on this idea of being “cunning” and yet “innocent”…

Another quick thought…isn’t it interesting that the God of Genesis isn’t really daily involved in the lives of his people? Sure, there are big set pieces…and even face to face encounters from time to time…but in the main, God is this presence in the background that seems to provide the framework for all else to hang on. As the story develops we seem to see God get more involved…and then back off again…and then more involved…and then the cycle repeats. All the way through the story – bursts of activity…and then silence…

We would do well to remember this in our own journey. We may well experience incredible highs – but also times of deply frustrating disconnection. We may punish ourselves, searching deep inside for the flaw within that has forced God away from us. What if this is the way that is meant to be? Perhaps the measure of us will be in how we continued even when the voice wasn’t heard.

Interesting…well…I think so anyhow!

year of bible – in the beginning…

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So, here we are – a week into 2014 already. How have you used your first week? Not trying to show off…but I’ve welcomed our second daughter into the world. Not a bad start, eh?!

As I promised, this post will be a reflection based on a week of reading through the bible. I want to use this as a marker for myself and perhaps a useful resource for others who are interested in the same concept. It’s vital in my mind that we treat the bible as a coherent whole, although it can be fairly incoherent at times…I suppose what I mean here is that we don’t just pick and choose bits that we like, but that we try to get a sense of the narrative that might be at work behind the text we hold in our hands today.

So, firstly the details.

7 days of reading.

19 chapters of Genesis – Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, Soddom and Gomorrah…
7ish chapters of Matthew – birth, magi, baptism, sermoning on the mount..,
8 Psalms – awe, wonder, anger, depression, guilt, rage…
2ish chapters of Proverbs – wisdom and sound bites galore…

So – what stuck in my mind this week?

I guess it was the inevitable – the focus on new beginnings. What with Genesis and the birth of Jesus, alongside the arrival of my new girl…well, yeah, inevitable is probably the best description.

Whether you’re a literalist or not, you can’t help but be struck by the wonder of creation. However it happened, I think we can agree that those key words, ‘and it was good’ littered throughout the first chapter are inspiring. Inspiring in the sense that it causes us to step back and contemplate what we see before us – outlandish beauty and yet the brutality of ‘nature’. I include the latter part of that sentence because I can’t help but think that one of the things we Jesus followers are called to do is to be amongst those who see the hopeful in everything. Not in a naive, blind faith kind of way, but in a way that grits its teeth and says, ‘I’m going to work to bring hope and see the potential in every thing I come into contact with’. I want to be someone who sees what God declares as being good and joins in with him in declaring that over that which seems broken.

Of course, the beauty of reading of the arrival of Jesus alongside the creation story is that we see God at work to put it all back together again. We see within a paragraph in Genesis how what is designed as beautiful becomes broken, and how we are invited to bring light into this world. That’s what I want to be part of through seeking to follow this Jesus guy. He arrives on the scene and gets straight into the business of turning his world upside down. He loves and he challenges and he stirs and he doesn’t blink. He stares down injustice in whatever guise…especially that caused by religion.

And so I’ll continue to try and figure out what that looks like to a 21st century British school teacher. Probably the same as it meant to a first century fisherman or rabbi.

The scene may have changed, but the script certainly hasn’t…

challenges…

calendar1Over the last few years I’ve tried to set myself an alternative to traditional ‘resolutions’.  I guess one of the reasons behind my thinking is simply my uselessness at keeping to those resolutions that I’ve set for myself, whereas the idea of doing something that potentially improves me and those around me appeals so much more!

So, for 2014 I thought I’d set my sights on a new, slightly different goal.

I want to read 12 books by 12 authors whose work I haven’t read before.

Simple, eh?

Well, on one level, of course not.  I should be able to read twelve books in 12 months, shouldn’t I?  On another, it’s going to be massively challenging.  The moment that I get back to school I seem to lose reading time…or at least the energy or headspace to pick up something that isn’t work related…sad, really…especially for a teacher!  Add to that the imminent arrival of baby Thompson, and that finite amount of time that I might have set aside for reading will be even more pressurised!

I believe in reading.  It’s a life blood of a mind that is hungry for learning and growth.  As a teacher I think it’s lifeblood.  That’s why I know it’s important to set this challenge.  Rare indeed is the book that has no impact on me or forces me to think about the world in which I live.

So – here’s the communal bit: recommend a book or an author that I really should read below.  I’ll make a note of them all and then see if I can get my hands on them through our local library or something along those lines.  I really appreciate your wisdom on this…so please do participate.

I’m also going to set a second challenge.

I want to read my way through the bible once again this year.  It’s something I’ve been talking about a lot with friends recently.  As we’ve moved away from church it remains vital that I’m connected into this story that shapes us and our world.  To try and help with that I’m going to try to commit to writing a weekly summary of my thoughts on what I’ve read.  I also want this to be collaborative, so I’ll ask you to join in with me.  I think that the scheme I’ll follow is this one - you can use an app to follow it – but I think I’m going to try to do it ‘hands on’ with a real proper bible.

So, two challenges for 2014 that should in some way stretch me and help me grow…and possibly also others around me.

Here’s to 2014.

May it be a year full of moments.

embers…

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It seems funny to be writing about the dying of the light before we’ve even celebrated its coming! But for some reason this is what came to mind as I thought about marking the last Sunday in advent this year.

Advent, after all, is all about waiting. Waiting for something to happen, expectant that nothing will ever be the same again. It’s a tentative time, I suppose, even if we know that the inevitable happens. Perhaps it is helpful to not take for granted this most monumental of events. We don’t always like to linger in the uncertainty that a period like this might suggest, instead wanting everything to be straightforward.

But reconsider the story for just one moment. A young girl is told she is pregnant by an angel – isn’t this a mental health issue? She tells her fiancé, who has every right to demand her death by stoning – it’s what the scriptures demand after all. Somehow, they
patch it up, but no one wants anything to do with them when they return to his home town. They endure childbirth, a dreadfully risky business in many parts of the world today, let alone twenty-one centuries ago. And the. To cap it all off, they’re forced to flee the country by a genocidal ruler.

At any point this could have gone wrong. Of course, we could say ‘God had it all under control’, but the point of this free will stuff is that someone could have screwed it up somewhere.

Nothing is certain, after all.

Anyway, back to this embers idea.

Embers appear towards the end of the useful life of a fire. They suggest that there isn’t much left to burn, not much more heat to give or light to shine. What was once bold and spectacular, what once brought warmth and comfort is no longer ‘fit for purpose’.

But embers aren’t finished. They still have potential. They can still bring light and warmth of they’re gently coaxed back into life. They need a little bit of effort, a little bit of energy, but the story isn’t over yet.

I wonder if something of the story advent points towards is echoed in this? A people who haven’t really seen or heard much of hope for centuries could be forgiven for thinking that their time was done. That what once had been clear and obvious was no longer so. Even the religious practices suggested this – let’s just keep doing the same thing and sticking to the rules…who knows…it might even work one day.

When it does happen, though, when the embers are brought back to life and light and warmth, it’s not as anyone expects. Not kings or shepherds or wise men or priests or young girls or carpenters. It’s completely upside down, signalling a theme that will continue to dominate this incredible story for at the very least the next 33 years, if not the rest of eternity.

So, if all that is left of you and what once was is indeed embers, remember this story. Light and warmth is still there. You’re not done yet. What may come may knock you sideways, may turn you upside down. It may not. It may be something completely ordinary, perhaps so much so that you don’t see the intense beauty of ‘ordinary, everyday’.

Just be ready.

Something is coming.

That’s the point, after all, of this whole advent thing, isn’t it? We just don’t always know what.

Embrace the uncertainty and see where it goes. Who knows? That’s the beauty of it all.

glowing coals…

I distinctly remember the fireplace at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

Every Christmas we’d make the long pilgrimage up from wherever we were living at the time to the north-east and extended family festivities. We’d spend the night of Christmas Day in a travel lodge somewhere about halfway up (glorious Grantham!) and then have Christmas Day mk ii with grandparents and the rest of the Thompson and Dumble clans.

Anyhow, back to the fire place.

It wasn’t particularly spectacular, it wasn’t that beautiful. It simply did the the job it was designed for. My brother and I would take turns going out to the coal bunker to get more fuel for it to burn away and turn the living room into a toasty-warm, sleep-inducing zone.

The coals would burn away, releasing their energy, warming us all up after a day spent leaning into brisk winds or being caught by the wind-whipped sea spray on the front at Whitley Bay or Tynemouth.

Bringing warmth, bringing light.

Long after the flame splutters into life, beyond the spectacular, all-consuming blaze, comes the settled business of heat generation.

The fuel is still being consumed, energy is still being released…but the fire is no longer dramatic and eye catching.

It settles down.

The fire is no longer dramatic. It doesn’t really catch the eye. It operates in the background, a kind of rhythm that you become accustomed to. When you do notice it, there’s an almost hypnotic quality to its movement, something you can spend hours watching, losing yourself.

It can still burn, it can still harm. It will still consume anything it comes into contact with.

Sometimes we can persuade ourselves that it is only the eye catching, dramatic stuff, that counts. That’s what really makes the difference. And if we don’t have that, then, well, what’s the point. We become addicts for experiences that give us the high that we first encountered when we allowed ourselves to be ‘fanned into flame’, scratching around for something, anything, that will give us the same buzz. But when we can’t find the next fix, we begin to doubt that what we once knew ever really happened. Something must be wrong with us. Something must be broken. Maybe we’ve got the wrong fuel, or the equipment we’re using is somehow malfunctioning.

We may even move into a darker place, where we experience nothing at all. A place that feels more empty than full, a place of doubt and uncertainty.

But still. In the background, perhaps just in the corner of our peripheral vision the flame is still working away. Burning, consuming, glowing.

Nothing spectacular, nothing dramatic.

But still burning, consuming, glowing. Bringing warmth, bringing light. Still capable of changing us and those we encounter. Still full of hope despite, or even perhaps because of, doubt and uncertainty.

Maybe it isn’t about being exciting. Maybe it isn’t about being explosive.

Perhaps our reality is about being here, being where we should be and still burning away, bringing light and hope into our little parts of this vast universe.

We can still change our world. It just might take a bit longer, and require a bit more patience.

And perhaps, along the way, we may have incredible experiences that we would never have noticed if all had been spectacular and dramatic.

Something I learnt a while back is that the fire is actually at its most effective when it’s at this stage. It’s not wasting energy on flames, but turning it all into heat. It’s changing the temperature, not just looking pretty.

That’s worth thinking on for a while, isn’t it?