This clan of folks from sunny florida have recently compiled a beautiful worship album. It has some real treasures, and this is just one.
This clan of folks from sunny florida have recently compiled a beautiful worship album. It has some real treasures, and this is just one.
I want to introduce you to Mrs Jellyby…well, Dickens does. If you pick up a copy of Bleakhouse, (that’s if you can lift the 900 pages of it) you’l find her in Chapter 4. Callous, and fanciful, her eyes are fixed on things afar. Her family crumble beneath her, and her children, hungry and half-clothed, are as wild and neglected as she believes the natives of Borrioboola-Gha, (on the banks of the Niger) to be. Her husband has been driven to bankruptcy and the “furnished lodging” in which her family reside is littered and squalid.
The chapter is entitled ‘Telescopic Philanthropy’ for the very reason that Mrs Jellyby’s burning, all consuming desire is invested in her philanthropic efforts. These efforts do however come at her cost; her pre-occupation may be foreign, but the need is domestic. Her “rapacious benevolence” is at the dispense of her household and her neighbourhood.
After musing over Mrs Jellyby’s condition in my latest essay it got me thinking that despite Dickens’ somewhat satirical portrayal of the situation, he is making a definite point. We, and I’m pointing the finger at myself more than anyone, can become so caught up in looking beyond, that we forget the desperate need on our doorsteps.
I, funnily enough, like Mrs Jellyby have a real passion for Africa and am currently seeking God’s heart as to my future. But, until God takes me there, or whatever he has planned for my life, I have a purpose here. Right here in London. I mean this city is garnished with need, and i often forget that in letting my mind run riot with foreign thinking, and as a result neglect my nation.
How about your neighbours?Are they doing okay? Well, In a 2009 study conducted by the Pew Research Centre, only 19% of people polled said they knew all of their neighbours’ names, and only 24% said they knew most of them. We live less than five feet or so away from them yet we know nothing about them. They need Jesus too. The child who faintly tinkles his recorder at five in the afternoon, he needs Jesus. The troubled teen with the bass cranked up sitting in the drive, he needs Jesus. The couple arguing all day, everyday, they need Jesus. And, i am the harvester of God’s great light…”the anointed one to preach the news to the nations”…do they know?
Six or so years ago, we had a new set of neighbours move next door to us, a Taiwanese family I believe. One sunny day a few weeks after the move in; I looked outside from my bedroom window to see the Dad cutting the lawn with a pair of shears. Yes, the whole lawn. I mean, it wasn’t a huge lawn, but it was lawn enough to enable me to see a visible sweat breaking on his brow. While he was sweating, a few feet away sat a lawn mower in my shed, most probably crying out to be used. I watched him almost til the final snip through the very slight opening of my curtains, which just about hid my guilt for each time he severed another green blade, and my stomach sank as it urged me to offer him what sat inside our shed.
I mean, if i can’t even offer him a lawn mower, then i have no chance of telling him about Jesus. And no, I can’t blame this English reserve, and, how ever many times i try to bring justice to my own poorly constructed actions I only have my self to blame for the fear which so often cripples us.
In the three years in which we shared that patch of territory, the only contact we ever had directly with them was the awkward glances over the inappropriately low fence when either party was hanging out washing, or, the hand salutes which would pass as we’d offer each other the car parking space when we happened to turn into the drive at the same time, or, the trading of goods at the fence when they had somehow managed to find themselves on the wrong side.
Three years. THREE YEARS! We didn’t even know their names, and they probably didn’t even know that I had a relationship with Jesus. I mean, we sing about it on a Sunday…about shining a light to let the whole world see, yet, we can’t even let that light permeate through the half hearted attempt at a garden fence because we’ve never bothered or tried to have a conversation to allow it to.
It’s not even about ulterior motives or a conversion count. It’s not about offering them a bible and in under a minute giving them the tour of Christianity, and for the finale, the alter call. It’s about serving, serving selflessly. Serving that asks for nothing in return so we can reflect that little bit of Jesus into their lives and letting that power alone burst forth into something almighty.
We can’t sit and wait for the world to come to us, that’s a little silly. If God had done that then we would have a pretty hopeless future, He came down to us as a baby, and in turn God commands us to “Go OUT into the world…”. Go out and make a conscious effort to make something good of your day. Get to know your neighbours, drop round an extra batch of cookies, stop to chat, invite them to a service, take their bins round, sweep their side of the wall. Whatever it is, SERVE because Jesus served first.
This is as much a test to me as well as you, DON’T you worry. I’ve just moved into a new house, and apart from introducing myself to the neighbours when i first moved in, it has once again failed to get much further than that.
God calls us to live lives defined by love, God commands us to love our neighbours and he wishes for us to live a life full of service to others.
Esther Summerson, the voice of reason in Bleak house, and quite the opposite of Mrs Jellyby, sums up my closing point pretty perfectly: “I thought it best to be as useful as I could, and to render what kind services I could to those immediately about me, and to try to let that circle of duty gradually and naturally expand itself.”
It starts here. It starts at the house adjoining, and it spreads down the street and THEN it conquers the town, city and nation.
I dare you. I dare you to love your community and live radical lives of love and to then reap the harvest of blessing when God’s voice echoes from heaven ‘well done, good and faithful servant’.
Matthew 18: 3- And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
After boxing up our home last September and travelling 186 miles Northwards to Leeds in response to God’s calling, we have found our dwelling place here..
..Two miles up the road is a farm oozing with the very tangible presence of God, its foundation prayer and its currency faith. It is a charity with the wish to share Jesus with as many people they know, especially homeless and vulnerable adults. Its promise to care for life is much like the Saviour’s promise to us. No matter how downcast, beyond hope, or help these people are, no matter how old or able, there will always be love and support for them. I can’t even begin to explain the beauty of everything i’ve seen here.
I have been working on the farm when I am back from University and have had the chance of building relationships, and soaking up the precious nature of these people. The prayers they send heavenwards in the morning when we eat breakfast together are simple, yet laced with trust. Plea’s towards Jesus through broken speech, stutters, and mis-phrased sentences make their wishes so honest and true, much how God intended them to be. For many, Jesus has become their comforter and their knowledge of a true Father aside from many earthly Father’s they have been hurt by in the past. It is clear to see what years of physical abuse, mental abuse, mistreatment, sleeping rough and so on, have done to these people but, their hope in Jesus means they are new creations.
I had the delight of sitting down with one guy the other week and on discussing Christmas he also happily proclaimed that he was soon to be baptised. I don’t know much about his past, but it is clear to see how his past has conditioned much of who he is today. As he spoke, and spoke so happily about the date, time, plans, feelings etc., i stopped him part way through his next thoughts as i had lost track of who he was speaking about as it sounded as if he’d changed conversation and was speaking about a friend. When I then questioned him as to who he was talking about, he simply answered ‘Jesus of course.’
I thought over this discussion for the next few days. The way he spoke about Jesus was like he was seated just next to Him. He spoke with such abandon, largely unaware of a world view of Jesus and simply making Jesus his own. Joy scorched his face as he discussed the reasons which had led him to decide to be baptised.
We are called to have this faith yet it is suffocated amongst our facades and forgery. We often come before God, i know I have before, and in the presence of others, like the pompous Pharisee. We come with measured speech, and altered tone addressing God as ‘Father’ and ‘Most precious Jesus’, whilst being unable to befriend Him day to day in amidst our busy lives. I’ve before prayed what I think to be right rather than pouring forth the reserves of my heart. I’ve covered up shame with praises, and pinned my problems to other people’s pleas.
These people here, through the brokenness of their pasts, cling to Jesus trusting simply in Him. Many can’t even read the bible, many don’t know bible verses off by heart, how many wives King David had or where the Lords prayer is to be found, but, they do know about a man coming down to earth as a baby to save their sins many years ago. This is the crux of Christianity, not anything we, a 21st century society has made it to be. Their faith is simple but in no way diminished. God has welcomed them into His Kingdom with arms wide open, and the angels I’m sure are rejoicing.
Jesus said Himself, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven, and this, what i see at the farm, is childlike nature at it’s best. Jesus doesn’t call us to be false, he calls us to be free. He asks for humility instead of pride and trust instead of hesitancy.
A few final things. I had the privilege of spending Christmas day at the farm this year with many people in the Charity’s care. I had the joy of picking up two ladies in the morning who lived in Leeds to drive them to Church before we went to the farm, one of the ladies i picked up is on the photo above. She is 46 yet has the spirit of a child no more than 8. Every day is Christmas really, and as i knocked on her door on Christmas morning her face brought me such joy. Her enthusiasm is unquenchable and her presence is without blemish. As i stood next to her in the church service as she belted out mumbled words along to ‘Hark the Herald angels sing’ with her arm wrapped round my waist, i had only but to thank God for his wonderful Christmas gift. Jesus came for the lowly, the downcast and the down trodden as well as the privileged, and well-polished. His merciful eyes favour not one more than the other, yet his call for us to come as children is clear.
In my below par musings, i have no where near done this charity justice, so please get to know a little bit about them yourselves and have a look at their website.
So i largely suck at writing blogs i get it.
Hopefully in the run up to Christmas the festive juices will start to flow and I’l feel a little more creative.
Here’s a little something.
I was wholly uneducated about London town before i came. I thought for instance that walking from tube stop to tube stop was out of the question believing they were so spread apart. I’ve come to learn that people don’t appreciate dawdlers…you pick up your pace or you get trampled, and I now know to not get on the tube at rush hour unless I want to be breathing someone else’s breath, in what is a seriously tight squeeze.
For the past few weeks I’ve been attempting to discover the clandestine London. The areas which are tucked away and rarely trodden. So…after being in Senate house library (on Russell Square) each Wednesday i make an effort to take a different route to Soho where i meet with people from church. This has proved fun, tiresome at times due to awful navigation skills but, equally rewarding.
Just off from the rammed Covent Garden, alive with the heavy tread of soles on the worn out pavement, away from the coffee machines working double time to grind the beans to satisfy the demands, and the repetition of the finger on the camera’s shutter snapping endlessly at the street performers, is an overgrown, wild, and eclectic garden taking refuge from the city scape. It is dwarfed by the monstrous buildings which surround it, yet, silenced by the slight separation from the urban hum. Wildlife dances from leaf to leaf and couples mooch within, satisfied by the green from the grey. Many miss it.
I felt almost naughty being inside. But more than that it made me think. It’s like our relationship with God. We go about our daily lives, usually consumed with the roaring nature of technology, work, people, and, our own desires. God can so easily be drowned out by our choice of escapades. It’s not until we seek the silence and step away from this that we discover where God is. Like the garden he’s been there all the time, immovable and waiting for us to stop and discover, and he’s beckoning us in. He’s always wanting to talk to us but we’re just too absorbed elsewhere to hear. But, when we do find Him, we find such deep satisfaction in His presence, His garden is far more bounteous than the delights i found, His grass grows greener, and His flowers bloom brighter and He wants us in there with Him.
It made me think of the lyrics to a song which i think i may have posted before…
“The more i seek you, the more i find you. The more i find you, the more I love you.
I want to sit at your feet, drink from the cup in your hand. Lay back against you and breath,
hear your heart beat. This love is so deep, it’s more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace, it’s overwhelming.”
Lord, give us the eyes to see You and the ears to hear You. May we find You in the mundane and the scurried days and want to sit at Your feet. I pray that I will fully come to understand that You have so much more to offer than the world can, and you wait for me to enter into Your beautiful presence. May I seek You more.
Bastille are top dogs. They’ve been behind the scenes for a while, and it’s only now they’re on the verge/are, taking the music world by storm. Numerous elements collide to create genre defying, and magical music, making this cover a serious rival to the original.
Earlier this year Bastille released a great mix tape called ‘Other People’s Heartache’, a series of covers ranging from OutKast’s ‘Ms. Jackson’ to ‘Rhythm is a Dancer.’ Get ya hands on it hasty.
They’re set to be your ‘new favourite band’ if they aren’t already.
Afternoon friends. A lil’ rainy. I’ve just been caught in what seems like a tidal wave of it on my way to church, and am now in Starb’s drenched to the core. I am however praising the Lord because coffee always tastes extra good when you’ve come through the storm to get it.
I hope you are all doing well!
As promised here is what is going on in Freshers week. That starts tomorrow. CRAZY. you can have a nosey, pray, join in, or do whatever you so wish!
So…welcome Freshers, and welcome to Freshers week! If you have just moved in, we hope you love it already and we are looking forward to seeing you all soon!
Monday 24th September- Prayer breakfast-9.30pm at the Garden Cafe. Be there or be square.
This is for existing members of the CU to pray for the coming term, for freshers, and for whatever else may be on our hearts. We have a big term ahead which needs to be surrounded in lots of prayer, so we would love it if you could come and join us!
Pub social- 8pm- New Cross House
Pop in and show your lovely faces to us! We will be there from 8pm, but come any time you like! If you can’t find us call/text me on 07582630984.
Wednesday 26th- Freshers Fayre- 11pm-5pm.
We have a stand at the Freshers fayre so come and say hi and keep us entertained! We’l just be doing our thing. We also need help ‘manning’ the stand, so if existing members want to come down and help out for an hour or two let us know!
Tea and Toast at Club sandwich- 10pm til the early hours...
Tea and toast is here again, so roll on the drunk and disorderly. For those who don’t know what tea and toast is, it is a chance for us to just serve our university. To be at the heart of University and to be showing to others through our actions just how much Jesus means to us! Club sandwich is the SU club and it is on every Wednesday. Twice a term we go down with tea and toast at the ready to feed a multitude of hungry people. We have already had the chance to engage in deep conversations and have been asked many questions. Please pray this will continue to happen!
If you’re at Club sandwich anyway come and say hi. If anyone wants to bring supplies we’d love for you to help! We need bread, marmite and jam!
Thursday 27th September- Freshers fayre.
If you’ve already said hi…come and say hi again?! We’l have cakes!
In the evening we will be going to HTB in South Kensington for their event ‘Kingdom Come’. It’s a night of worship, prayer and praise which is going on around the country. It’s 7.30-9.30pm and we are meeting at New Cross Gate station at 6.40pm. Again phone me for any information or if you’re coming but going to be late etc.
Saturday 29th September- Picnic in the Park- meet at the front of RHB 12.30.
We are going to Greenwich park and hoping the sun will shine for us, it better as there is no plan b!
If your surname starts with the letters A-M bring a savoury dish/snack and N-Z bring something sweet! Hope that is simple enough. Also bring your own drink and some entertainment…frisbee’s and footballs etc.
Sunday 30th September- Church Search- 10am at the Goldsmiths cafe.
This is a chance for you Freshers to get linked up to a church. We will have people to speak on behalf of each church and to give you an overview of what happens, when and where it is. Most church services start at 4pm, so you’l have an opportunity to travel with us later to wherever you decide to go!
If you’re not a fresher but want people to hear about your church, come along and say your bit!
Wednesday 3rd October- Film Night- 8pm- at our house, we’l give you the address soon!
Directions can be given if needed! If coming from New Cross Gate, the 171 and 172 both go past our house!
Bring your own nibbles…popcorn and all that jazz. Also, bring your favourite film and we’l select on the night. 18′s are forbidden due to being a potential health and safety risk, the Princess Diaries films will however be warmly welcomed.
Thursdsay 4th October- First CU of term (Yipeeeee)- 5-7pm in the multi faith room (first floor of the RHB). We’l have people around to direct you!
This is also the start of our ‘Big Questions’ series. Joel Kendell is kicking us off with ‘Is it God’s universe’?
We have chosen these topics because we felt that last year these were the topics we got asked the most questions on! We hope that they’l help to equip each of us so we have the confidence to engage in conversations with others!
After the main meeting we’l be going to the garden cafe to hang out.
Saturday 6th October- Football on the field.
Jash is organising this one, so more details to come. I guess the basics are there though…football and a field.
Monday 8th October- So marks the start of our STUDENT ALPHA course!
Please be praying for this! There will be a free meal each week, lots of chance for discussion and some great talks on Who God is, What He Does and everything else!
Of course student alpha can’t run without students, so if you’re reading this and are interested of people who would be or you yourself are, let us know! We would love to see you/them there!
The first year of University i crucial in that it is the first year away from home for most, and people are starting to discover things for themselves. Your new flat mate may be longing to have been asked to an alpha course all their life but were to embarrassed to ask themselves and God has put you in their flat to be the instrument which brings them there! We dare you to ask someone…what’s the worst that asking can do!?
The internationals meal has now been moved to the 11th of October! it will be after the main meeting in the Catholic Chaplaincy! We will feed you and we will just have a chance to get to know everyone!
So i think that’s all!
Most of all, please pray. We need prayer more than supplies, people etc. thank you for your support and we are so looking forward to seeing you if you’re a fresher…going to be a fresher etc. we love and value you already!
As Paul opens Thessalonians: ‘Brothers pray for us’ so we need a similar request and plea. In a few weeks time Freshers kicks off. Thousands of new students will pour through the doors of Goldsmiths to start being educated, some with a belief in God, some with none.
We know we can’t go into this next term of CU leadership without God as our strength, so here is what’s going on and here is what we’d love, and appreciate prayer for.
Just on a side note, i had written this blog post last week, an hours worth of musings and thoughts. THEN SOMEEEEEHOW, i lost it. It’s taken me all these days to bring myself back to the drawing board and re-write it, so bare with me, and apologies for the more than poor conveyance..i’m still a little bitter hah.
Pray that God will be softening hearts right now. Goldsmiths is already known for it’s diversity, and so, we will be welcoming people of different sexuality, faith, culture etc. God can move even the hardest of hearts, and break the tightest of chains. Pray for receptiveness in the people that we meet. Ears open to God and His power.
We have such a story of freedom. Being liberated from the grips of sin and instead given the promise of eternal life. Yet we struggle so much to tell of God’s amazing love to others. Pray for a confidence in Christ in each of us here, free us from shame, and give us a desperation to tell of God’s name all around our university.
God is able to do more than we could immeasurably think or ask. This is comforting yet i often undermine God. Pray that we’l be expectant and in tune for what He is wanting to do here. Pray that He will free the broken, and bring new life to people who have been searching for empty fulfilment for so long. Pray that God’s Kingdom will come in this small part of South East London.
Pray for the Christian’s who will be starting university. I know that although i was excited to come to university i was also very afraid. Afraid of what others would think of me, whether i’d make any friends, how people would respond to me being a Christian, how i would cope away from home…and this was just a few. In our modern culture, Christianity is not the norm. Pray for boldness. Also pray that they will trust in God more than ever and though temptations will come that they’l focus on God alone.
Also pray for Christian leaders to be sent to Goldsmiths. We will finish our year in CU leadership in December and want people who love Jesus and have a vision for Goldsmiths to take over from us. We will also need worship leaders for next term, please pray that God will bring us people with musical talents or spout them out of no where….(I’d love to play the guitar!)
Please pray for us as a leadership team. We knew from the beginning that it wouldn’t be any easy job, and however much we love doing it, it is tough. I know last year i put more energy into CU than my school work, so pray for the gift of organisation. Pray for wisdom, encouragement and a faith and trust in God which surpasses anything.
It’s also easy for us to organise talks we think would benefit others and not look at our own lives and think what we need from God. Pray that we will surround everything with prayer. That God would transform us and mould us and shape us into his likeness. That He will fill us with the fruits of the spirit so we then can go out and fill others with the love He has shown us.
We have lots of events happening in Freshers, and after we have a student alpha starting. All these events require resources, energy and time, please pray for provision.
That is quite a list i apologise.