Newsletter 06 September 2020

Letting God’s Disruption Do It’s Work

First, a huge “thank you” for praying for my father. His operation to put a plate and pins in his fractured femur has gone well. I am still in Kent helping my mother (hence the late newsletter). It has been a challenge and a joy to be available to them both. Like much of life. A challenge and a joy!

I took the picture above while on a morning prayer walk through the local farmland. The dewdrop’s glistening glory drew my eye. In a metaphorically similar way, the current disruptive situation has drawn my heart to God. In what way? Let me illustrate.

I’m reading three books on prayer at the moment: “Prayer: Finding the heart’s true home” – R Foster; “How to pray”, P Greig; “Praying the Psalms”, W Brueggemann.

All are having their profound effect on me, in their own very different ways. I read the section on the metaphors of ‘pit’ and ‘wings’ from the Brueggemann book this morning. He points out the reality that we are moving from ‘pit’ to ‘wings’ and vice versa: “Our lives always move between the pit and the wing, between the shattering of disorientation and the gift of life.”*

Pit: “You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths.” (Psalm 88:6 NIV11)
Wings: “How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 36:7 NIV11)

Is this your experience? It certainly is mine. If you want a good prayer-Psalm as a text through with to meditate/pray on the disruptions of life, you can do no better than Psalm 91. I prayed through it this morning.  Brueggemann identifies the following declarations from God:

• I will deliver • I will protect • I will answer • I will be with • I will rescue • I will honour • I will satisfy • I will show**

My father is still in hospital, my mother’s disabilities are profound, my work is full-on, there are other challenges at hand and, to top it all, the broadband here in rural Kent is… Well. let’s just say, we’re right at the end of the pipes! 

If you, like me, are finding the disruption tough, take some time to pray to appreciate the pit, and seek the wings. The pit is teaching us something valuable. The wings are where we will end up – no matter how many pits lie in our way in the meantime. 

Upcoming projects and events for the next few days

  • Publishing the fourth and final class in the series on prayer for the Thames Valley church (based on the Lord’s prayer from Matthew 6). Next class based on Matthew 6:12-13.
  • A quiet time coaching podcast on “forgive us our sins” 
  • Continuing to working on some plans, together with some friends, for an event on the issues surrounding Christianity and race.
  • Starting to host a branch of the Renovare book club. We’re beginning with Pete Greig’s book, “How to pray”. I’ve read the first two chapters. It’s deep, but engaging. More on the book when I’ve had a chance to digest it.
  • Uploading a video interview with Randal Porter, author of, “Evidence for conviction”.
  • Attending a meeting of the location leaders of Thames Valley to discuss what we are learning from lockdown times and looking forward to what God might have in mind for us between now and the end of the year.

Solution focused coaching

Many thanks to the person who agreed to let me coach them this week. Let me know if you would like some coaching. Sessions can be as short or as long as needed. I am currently looking for someone to help me with setting up a website for my coaching. Thank you to everybody who has already contacted me, but if you know someone or you would be interested in helping me with this please get in touch.

Until the next time, 

God bless, Malcolm

*Brueggemann, Walter. Praying the Psalms, Second Edition: Engaging Scripture and the Life of the Spirit (p. 42). Cascade Books, an imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition. 
** ibid. p40