It was lovely to hang out with you ‘virtually’ this summer.
If you’ve been on The Field you will remember that brilliant time of day when the whistle blows and people drift out of a bible study or talkshop/workshop, or perhaps out of the shower, and gather for a cup of tea or coffee and maybe a biscuit (or two), chatting and basking in the morning sun (hopefully).
It’s one of our favourite times of day on The Field; ‘Elevensies’.
Here are the daily reflections… from 31st July – 7th August. Each a written ‘thought for the day’ on the theme of ‘What’s in your cup?’; you can enjoy them anytime, or with your ‘Elevensies’. They’ll be an opportunity for Jesus to refresh us.
Saturday 31st July
Cup of Joy
You might be reading this while holding your own cup of coffee or tea.
A cup of joy is like that sometimes. Joy is something to hold onto, something to keep a grip on. And so savour it when it’s sparse, and let it overflow when it abounds.
Joy is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5.22-23). So you can nurture it, tend it, grow it, and then chomp it down because it is good for you.
If that fruit is all dried up and your cup is running low, hold onto what you’ve got and take it in sips. If you’ve got a bumper crop and your cup is overflowing, drink it in and share it out.
Why not pause a moment now and think about what your cup of joy is like? Whether you’re gulping it down or eking it out, let the joy of the Lord be your strength.
Sunday 1st August
Cup of grief
Bodies, thick with grief,
for good ideas unlived,
• DF 9/8/20
I took a good look inside my cup (myself) a few weeks ago and amongst the dull grief of the pandemic, the simple joys of a loving family and fulfilling jobs, I found a rancid mess of anger, disappointment, resentment and pain that had been festering for much longer. It overflowed.
For years, this totally normal but very gross mix, made from unfulfilled hopes, unanswered prayers and loneliness had been swirling around. Only recently has it started to come to the surface in conversation and on paper.
I’ve realised that perhaps I need to prize this mess away from my sticky, sweaty fists and to open instead. Perhaps we need to let our cups overflow and bring them into The Light. Then, together, we can look at the contents and pick out the good bits that are undoubtedly there.
Monday 2nd August
I’m sure we’ve all known what it’s like to feel empty or depleted at some point this year.
Out of resources.
Out of energy.
Out of hope.
Out of joy.
Maybe you’ve felt helpless to make a difference against the tide of difficulty being faced by so many, near and far.
The writer of Genesis tells us that in the beginning the earth was formless and void. Dark. Empty.
There were waters…
And the Spirit was hovering, ready to call out life and order from the apparent chaos. From emptiness came all that is.
After Jesus’ death, his tomb was found empty. But again this emptiness was actually a beginning. That same Spirit that had hovered over the waters was on the move again, drawing life out of chaos and despair.
I wonder where you are feeling empty or depleted in this season and where God’s Spirit may be hovering, ready to ignite new life, maybe in ways you don’t expect?
Tuesday 3rd August
Cup of community
A few years ago we were on holiday on the Scottish Island of Mull enjoying exploring the beautiful Calgary Bay. Walking through an outdoor exhibition called ‘Art In Nature’, we came across a collection of mosaic that had been made using found items of pottery washed up on the beach (below).
The mosaics were made of broken, stained and potentially worthless fragments but had been brought together in a way that made a beautiful, whole image. Each piece with its jagged, uneven edges had been given a new purpose – a valuable contributor to the finished work of art. Each piece could be seen as unique and different to those around it and yet perfectly contributing to the overall picture. Impressed by the creativity, I took a couple of photos and walked down the hill to enjoy the beach.
After the holiday was over, a friend shared with me a quote from Henri Nouwen that made me look again at the photos of the mosaics…
“A mosaic consists of thousands of little stones. Some are blue, some are green, some are yellow, some are gold. When we bring our faces close to the mosaic, we can admire the beauty of each stone. But as we step back from it, we can see that all these little stones reveal to us a beautiful picture, telling a story none of these stones can tell by itself.
That is what our life in community is about. Each of us is like a little stone, but together we reveal the face of God to the world. Nobody can say: “I make God visible.” But others who see us together can say: “They make God visible.” Community is where humility and glory touch.”
For me, this is what it means to be in community. God takes us with all our broken and jagged edges, puts us alongside others who are equally broken and jagged and He makes something beautiful. Many of us may think we have nothing important to offer, but we are all of great value; our contributions to the whole are both unique and vital.
By allowing ourselves to be placed alongside others, a community of believers is created that together “make God visible” to others.
Wednesday 4th August
Cup of forgiveness
“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:12
Lately I’ve been faltering at this line in the Lord’s Prayer. My Father forgives me, however I must forgive others, too. But what if I sometimes can’t or don’t want to? When I feel so hurt that I’m not willing to?
I recently watched the film “The Shack”. A man who tragically lost his youngest daughter encounters Wisdom in the persona of a woman. He is full of anger and she offers him to sit in the judgment seat to judge others. She shows him several people, whom he is supposed to judge. First, he sees a father who beats his son. It’s his own father. He finds him guilty. Then he sees a little boy who is being beaten by his father. “Why should I judge him? He’s a child!” “You’ve already done that. That boy is your father.” It is the same man he condemned before, but this time as a child – being a victim himself. Little by little he realises that judging is not an easy task and that he looks at things too one-sidedly. In contrast God sees everything, and He doesn’t take judging lightly. But he is the only one who is truly just.
Trusting in God we are able to forgive, because forgiven doesn’t mean forgotten. But if I forgive I lay everything down in God’s hands and He is the better and righteous judge.
Thursday 5th August
Cup of perseverance
Because we are surrounded by such an amazing bunch of believers, let us set aside all that seeks to distract or hold us back and let us pace with perseverance the path marked out, fixing our eyes firmly on our dear friend Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…dwell on him… so that you will not lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3
I am not a runner. Some days striding seems doable; other days I doggedly hold firm, trusting that future sunrises will bring the God given strength to propel me forward once more.
So today, whether you feel like running or skipping; striding or crawling do so knowing that the God who is close (Psalm 34:18), will never allow you to be crushed beyond bearing (2 Corinthians 4:8). He knows you; he delights in you and he shouts your loudest cheer of support!
Friday 6th August
Cup of Humility
Do you ever feel as though you are living for the next phase of life? Or perhaps striving for the next experience or promotion? I reflect on my own life over the past few years. Even in the height of excitement and anticipation of momentous moments – marriage proposal, work promotion, wedding, first home, pregnancy, babies – I found myself always thinking about ‘the next’.
I wonder if this comes from a sense of always wanting more from life, as though I deserve more than what I already have? I’m reminded of Philippians 2
“He gave up his place with God and made Himself nothing” (Give the whole passage a read – it’s good!)
Ultimate humility. Satisfied. Not living for ‘the next’. Not expecting more.
I have always been drawn to Christian iconography. This Image below (Raphael, The Mond Crucifixion) reminded me of the Phillipians passage “He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross”
I wonder if I can humble myself? Live in the now. Be grateful for what I have and where I am. I wonder if you might want to do the same?
Raphael, The Mond Crucifixion
Saturday 7th August
Cup of Rest
We live in a culture where busyness is a badge of honour, so when you hear the word rest, what comes to mind? Can we find A Cup of Rest today? Rest for you might be going for a long walk in the hills or a run up a mountain. Rest for you might be sitting in the sunshine reading a book or playing an instrument. Rest for you might be spending time with your friends and family or watching a film curled up on the sofa. Rest for you might be a cheeky nap or listening to music. In Genesis 2:2-3 we read that when God had finished his work, he rested on the seventh day.
Whatever you do… make sure you rest. Whatever brings you life…make sure you rest. Jesus invites us to rest. But what would that look like for you? Let’s accept the invitation of Jesus from Mark 6:31. Let’s go with Him and rest awhile.