Lent 3 The Darkwood Gift of being a misfit

There’s a path though it winds its way through darkness
we would choose to avoid it if we could
We awake to an unexpected calling
God says “Come – there are gifts in the Dark Wood.

Reflection by Gordon

On most days at the moment, when you come down here to Kippax,
the ground is covered in leaves and the fruit from the trees out the front
It’s not because we are having an early autumn, or the heat got too much
It’s because of the cockatoos, who LOVE the small nuts on some of our trees
and tend to tear the place apart looking for their food.

But trees are more than just places of food and destruction
They are places of home. Of nesting. Of being able to grow.
When it comes to the idea of nesting, and being fed –
where are your trees?

Have a look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGWDO3UgvKY

Where are the places that you have been nurtured
Where are the places that someone has paid diligent attention to making sure you are fed
And at the same time – I wonder what you have been fed?

Sometimes when it comes to faith, we think it is important to be fed answers
In Philosophy, Justine has an option at the moment
to write an essay on the answer to why there is evil in the world

I remember a few years back speaking to someone here at Kippax
who was commenting that they were realising – a fair bit into their life –
that they were needing to unlearn some of the things that they had been fed
They had been fed answers that no longer worked
they had been fed certainty that no longer made sense
They had been fed food that was no longer nourishing for life
I remember the slight twitch I had when it was first pointed out to me
that at the time that Joshua lived (as in OT Joshua – Jericho)
Jericho didn’t exist as a city and certainly not as a walled city.
It sort of plays with the idea of the song and the sense that the Bible is meant historically

Sometimes we are fed answers about faith and even about ourselves
that further on in life we have come to see are hurtful, harmful, even abusive
And in times we have to move on to another nest and another nourishment.

Some of the best mentors I have had in life
are mentors who have listened, and listened, and then asked a question.
And another question
Or who have looked at me, smiled and said “Really”
Or who may simply have fed me by raising an eyebrow and pausing

Who are the people who have been the cause of your faith deepening, growing
And to what extent have they been people of presence and questions?

I hope you are fed questions and open thoughts
and that you are nourished

Have a look at another clip
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8_IBbLt4ek

The other thing about nests is that birds don’t spend all their time there
in this clip, there are 3 baby birds inside a nest
out side their parents are flying around.   And the babies are watching.

Where do we nest?
And what is it that we see from our nest.
When you are being fed – who is it that you see around you
What are they doing now?

Have you seen the people who are sitting with those who are dying?
Have you seen the people who are negotiating new forms of community support?
Have you seen the people who are exploring creative ways of being with children?
Have you seen those who are building bridges across cultural barriers?

When you nest & rest – for we all do it – who are you looking at?
There is plenty of great things to see from our nest

And how long do we sit in the nest?
And when is the time that we might need to bump past the others and go out and fly
One of the things I like about the clip is its reality of it
One bird went out.
Another 2 stayed in and watched
And we don’t know what happened to the one who went out to fly with its parents.

But we know it went.

May God be with us in our nesting.
And may God be with us in our flying.

Response by John

The psalmist (Psalm 91) imagined
nesting in the life and presence of God.

God

imagined as a powerful bird,
with wings large enough
to shelter under…

God
imagined as armour,
a small arm shield
to protect a warrior’s arm…

In what ways might these ancient images of God
Speak to your experience of nesting in God’s presence?

God
Imagined as intervening
           delivering people from
life’s traps and illnesses

God
Imagined as abandoning
people to the punishing
consequences of their wickedness.

In what ways might these ancient images of God
Speak to your experience of nesting in God’s presence?

God
Imagined as directing
Dispatched messengers
to guard you –
to prevent hurt or harm to you.
God
Imagined as over-riding
to protect and rescue
those professing love for God.

In what ways might these ancient images of God
Speak to your experience of nesting in God’s presence?

Consider:
Perhaps the Psalmist’s
Ancient images
are not fully honest;
not exactly valid
in our time, context and cultures…

So, where do you nest?
What is your experience of God?

When have you been aware
of God listening in to your story?

What images of God have you noticed
you use when speaking of God’s presence?

How have these images of God
strengthened or clarified your faith?

When has your soul-friend,
or group of travelling companions,
invited you to reflect more
on your sense of God’s presence?

Where do you sense
the Spirit might be leading you
as the next step on your spiritual path?

What then do we have
to share of the faith God gives us
With others?

Where then shall we nest?

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