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Farewell to Jesus September 20, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Christianity, Theological Reflection.
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This is Jesus.

He’s been a good friend these last couple of years, always there watching over me. He was there before me; he’ll be there long after me, I guess. But he isn’t mine and I can’t take him with me.

He’s standing on the mantelpiece in our bathroom. Yes, I do mean mantelpiece: our home — the home we’re about to leave — is a old vicarage converted into upstairs and downstairs flats, and when this room was refitted as a bathroom, they left the fireplace in place.

He’s standing on a blue cloth because I’ve just given him a shower: he was getting a bit dusty. But other than that, he hasn’t moved since the day we moved in: the bathroom mantelpiece is where we found him and it’s where we’ve left him. I think he’s in good company with the cream cleanser and my deodorant.

I’ve thought about moving him around a bit: maybe stand him on the TV digibox, see if he improves our reception; or by the wireless router, see if he gives us more bandwidth; but on the whole, I kinda like him where he is.

He watches over me when I perform my morning ablutions (Sue will tell you, it is a performance), but he doesn’t intrude of interrupt, just stands there quietly.

He’s not really my kind of Jesus: the Jesus I read about in the Gospel was a Mediterranean peasant, a wildcard who stirred things up, annoyed the powers-that-be, led a group of rebels. I can’t imagine this Jesus leading a group of rebels. I guess one thing this Jesus and the gospel Jesus have in common is they wear their heart on the outside: this Jesus wears his heart on his breast; the Jesus of the Gospels wore his heart on his sleeve, all his emotions raw and open for all to see.

Another thing — the thing that stands out most to me, the thing that has prevented me just throwing him out, the thing that makes me hope whoever moves in here after us will want to keep him too — is he’s got no hands.

Every morning — every time I visit the bathroom — he reminds me of that old saying: Christ has no hands on earth but ours.

I don’t know whether I can live up to that challenge: to be Christ’s hands here on earth. But with him standing there, I know I can’t escape it. Even in the bathroom.

Getting Back on Track September 18, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Life.
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If you’re brave — or foolhardy, take your pick — enough to follow my twitter stream then you might just have noticed that I’m getting back on track with a few UKCBD updates.

Let’s say that what with preparing to move house (Monday 21st), seeing friends’ lives torn apartchanges at work and what has felt like a death sentence hanging over us this week, now thankfully reprieved, I’ve been a tad distracted recently…

But mostly, this morning, I’d simply like to thank everyone who has shown solidarity with us, through comments, through prayer, through simply being there: you, my friends, are amazing: thank you.

The Longest Day September 17, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Watching and Waiting.
September 17, 2009

September 17, 2009

Watching, waiting, hoping, praying…

Today will be the longest day of my life so far, of Sue’s and my life together so far: I want it to be over; I want it to have never begun; and I cannot even tell you why.

It is a day that ought not to be…

Please pray with us; pray that we wake from this nightmare and discover that’s all that it ever was; and pray for yourself: though I know many have faced such days and survived, may you never face a day like this.

Screaming inside… September 15, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Christianity, Life Issues, Poetry, Theological Reflection.
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The Scream

The Scream

… as another friend is diagnosed with breast cancer.

Watching, waiting, hoping, praying… wondering at the futility of praying to a God who seems to have already opted out of the situation … is not the God we cry to for healing the same God who — if s/he is the God so many Christians, so many passages of the Bible, so much of the Church crack him/her up to be — could have prevented the situation?

That God is a myth, a fantasy, a desperate hope … like Father Christmas at Christmas time as we all collude in a massive pretence for the children … we know it’s not true, but we want the magic …

Another friend I spoke to asked me — if the God I wanted to be real, was real, what would that God be like? This poem emerges from that question …

The God I want God to be
would not allow
such things to be

The God I want my God to be
would sit a child
upon her knee
and gently speak
then set her free…

That child would learn
to walk alone
yet never lonely be
that child would soon
become full grown
and fully adult she
would dance
and sing
and joyful be
and tears of grief
would never flow —
she would not know
such things could be.

… and still, deep inside, I scream, and the echo of that scream, repeated by a billion other voices, haunts my dreams…

Your God is not my God September 10, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Poetry, Theological Reflection.

Your God is not my God:
Your God is Almighty — in Control,
Ruling the world from His Celestial Throne,
Somewhere in the blue,
High up above.

My God is frail — wounded
in his hands and feet,
battle scarred and bruised
and living here below.

Your God is Strong —
you lean on Him.
My God is weak —
he leans on me.
“Brother,” he says,
“What shall we do?”

We are partners, he and I,
in a War against time —
and only time will tell.

Jesus Laughed September 5, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Short Story, Theological Reflection.

Hungry. Tired. Blistered feet. I’d had enough. So I sidled up to Jesus in a lull and said, “Come on, boss. You need a break. Send ’em home.”

He nearly exploded. He looked at me sideways, one of those withering looks he usually reserved for the Pharisees and I thought, This is it. I’m finished. So long and thanks for all the —

“Fish,” he said, and winked. I heaved a sigh of relief. Then he said it again: “Fish. Give me a fish.”

I looked around, desperate. The rest of the guys were laughing, trying to hide it behind their hands, glad it wasn’t them. Then suddenly Jesus was laughing too, but he wasn’t hiding it: this was loud, buoyant, full of life. He spun around on his feet and raised his hands as his laughter echoed from the hills.

“Are you hungry?” he shouted. “Come to me! Are you thirsty? Come to me! Anyone who is tired, come to me! Come to me and I will give you rest! I will give you food!”

Everyone was looking now as he spun around again to look at me. “Fish?” he asked quietly, but everyone had gone so still that the breeze carried the word across the hilltop for all to hear.

That’s when the lad stepped up. I hadn’t noticed him, he was only eight or nine, a little lad. “Where are your parents, son?” I started to ask. But he shook his head and pushed a package into my hands. I took it. There wasn’t much else I could do with everyone’s eyes on me. I opened it: a couple of fish and a handful of small loaves. Jesus smiled as I turned back to him, but now it was the lad he was looking at. He winked again and the lad disappeared back into the crowd, a huge grin lighting up his face.

“Well?” said Jesus. I handed the package over as if it was on fire and suddenly everything went crazy: Jesus held the package up over his head, shouted a massive “Thank you!” to heaven and started tearing into it. He gave some to Peter. Then to Andrew. Then me. He laughed again. “Pass it on,” he said, still laughing, “Pass it on.”

So we did. And he kept going. And we kept going. And he kept laughing.

You can read an earlier version of the story in John’s Gospel

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