Thursday, 18 May 2023

An Ascension Blessing

As we mark Ascension Day today (18 May), I wanted to remind us of the beautiful fact that Jesus' last act, before ascending to heaven, was to bless his disciples. He had already spoken to them and given them their purpose, and now he wanted to offer them God's grace and love. 

"Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy." - Luke 24:5-52

 B.W. Johnson - "The last act of the Saviour upon the earth was a blessing.

As we remember this important milestone in our faith, I also offer you my own special blessing. May you receive it as an act of God's love for you.

"May you be blessed enough to see God's hand at work in every moment;
May you know the joy of friends and family, to accompany you through the valleys and hilltops;
May you experience moments of divine peace, as the storms rage around you;
May the voice of Jesus guide your very steps, even those that seem unsure;
May the Spirit of Christ embolden you for every task that lies before you;
And may the love of God surround you every moment of your life."

Matthew 5:5 (The Message) - You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

·    Living in Grace,  


    P.S. Remember that I will be walking the Camino in the next few days, so you may not receive blog posts for a while. Do not stress, I will be writing again soon :) Grace and peace. 

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Camino tales

People of all ages love to listen to stories (well most of us anyway). As children we are encouraged to use our imagination and to place ourselves into the stories we read or listen to. As I mentioned yesterday, I am super excited to enter into the story of the Camino de Santiago and to listen to the stories of thousands of pilgrims who have walked the path before us. 

Of course, literature is full of classic stories of Pilgrimage, and one doesn't have to physically walk the miles in order to experience something of the journey. Two of the more popular books in this regard, Canterbury Tales (by Geoffrey Chaucer) and Pilgrim's Progress (John Bunyan) tell of people making a journey of spiritual discovery. And of course, the Scriptures are also filled with accounts of the Israelites walking to the Promised Land, recounting stories of life, faith, trial and joy - all as the travel along the ancient paths to their end goal. 

If you didn't know this already, The Canterbury Tales, were crafted by Chaucer as part of a story-telling contest by a group of pilgrims travelling towards Canterbury. They were on a journey to visit the shrine of Thomas Becket, which was housed in the famous Cathedral. Apparently, the prize for the best tale was a free meal at the Tabard Inn at Southwark on their return.

To be honest, I am not really interested in any particular prize (not that there is really a prize), except for the joy of completing the walk, encountering fellow pilgrims along the way, enjoying God's presence and discovering more about myself. 

I will let you know if I get the prize in the end.

"We are invited to make a pilgrimage – into the heart and life of God."Dallas Willard

I want to enter the story of the Camino, so that I can reconnect with my part in the Greater Story. 

Living in Grace


Tuesday, 16 May 2023

The Camino de Santiago

The idea of walking the Camino has been in my mind for a while now and I am so excited to have the opportunity to fulfil this dream. This week is the week that we get to tick 'The Camino' off our bucket list.

In truth, I can't tell you exactly when I first heard about the Camino de Santiago, but the very idea of going on this pilgrimage has remained in my heart for ages. Every person I have spoken to, who has walked a part of the Way, has beamed when relating their own experiences and I hope to be one of those people in the future.

For those of you who may not know too much about El Camino, it is quite simply a pilgrimage (usually walking) that ends up in the city of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. This is the place where the remains of James (Jesus' disciple, the son of Zebedee) are supposedly buried.  When translated, the name Santiago de Compostela means 'Saint James, in the field of stars.'

Sounds simple hey? Well, not exactly ....

In order to officially complete the pilgrimage, you need to walk a minimum of 100km's on any of the official routes and end up in Santiago. We will be walking on the Camino Primitivo route, which is the original pilgrim route in Northern part of Spain, and we should be covering a distance of close on 250km's. 

For us, the idea is to walk, to pray, to contemplate, to listen and to connect with God again. I know that one doesn't have to travel half-way around the world to do these things, but there is something special about doing it in the footsteps of millions of others. 

I will try and write a little more in the next few days, before we leave, but I would appreciate your prayers as we head out into this great adventure. It is my prayer that we would have our own Emmaus Road encounter (Luke 24) - and meet Christ as we walk and reflect. 

In 1604, Sir Walter Raleigh wrote: 

"Give me my scallop of quiet,
my staff of faith to walk upon,
my scrip of joy, immortal diet,
my bottle of salvation,
my gown of glory, hope's true gage,
and thus I'll take my pilgrimage."

Living in Grace

Monday, 15 May 2023

Who is a saint?

Who comes to mind when you hear the word 'Saint?'

Is it the usual people that are mentioned in sermons and speeches - St. Augustine, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Francis, St. Benedict or St. Patrick? The list is endless, I guess. 

But have you ever considered that every saint has their faults and not one of them was without sin? I like the suggestion in today's quote, that being a 'saint' is actually something that we could be within reach for all of us (in a way). 

“A saint is not a person without faults, but a person who has given themselves without reserve to God.”Brooke Westcott

Thought: How do we give ourselves more fully to God today?

Living in Grace


Sunday, 14 May 2023

An honest Mother's Day prayer

I stumbled across a beautifully honest prayer for Mother's Day. It is from Hannah Kardon - I hope you find it helpful. Blessings to you all.

To the Moms who are struggling, to those filled with incandescent joy.
To the Moms who are remembering children who have died, and pregnancies that miscarried.
To the Moms who decided other parents were the best choice for their babies, to the Moms who adopted those kids and loved them fierce.
To those experiencing frustration or desperation in infertility.
To those who knew they never wanted kids, and the ways they have contributed to our shared world.
To those who mothered colleagues, mentees, neighborhood kids, and anyone who needed it.
To those remembering Moms no longer with us.
To those moving forward from Moms who did not show love, or hurt those they should have cared for.
Today is a day to honor the unyielding love and care for others we call 'Motherhood,' wherever we have found it and in whatever ways we have found to cultivate it within ourselves.

- Hannah Kardon, Pastor at Elston Avenue United Methodist Church

Living in Grace


Saturday, 13 May 2023

The Christian is ...

If we had to ask a group of people the following question, we would get a huge array of varying answers:

"Define who a Christian is?" 

I found the following insight from William Barclay to be quite helpful. He suggests:

“The Christian is the person who has ceased to do what they want to do and who has now begun to do what Christ wants them to do.” – William Barclay

Jesus would tend to agree with this. Jesus said:

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me." - Matthew 16:24


What would your answer to today's question be? 

A Christian is ...

Living in Grace


Wednesday, 10 May 2023

Supreme happiness comes from this ...

"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that one is loved; loved for oneself or better yet, loved despite oneself." - Victor Hugo

These words ring true for the Christian as we remember that we are the 'beloved of God.' We are God's children, not because of anything we have done, but thanks to God's boundless mercy and love. It is from this starting point that we recognise that we are loved beyond measure. 

Matthew 12:18 - “Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, who pleases me. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.

Beloved means 'loved much' or 'greatly loved.' However, if we split the word into two, then it could read "Be loved." This is perhaps the hardest thing for most of us to accept - that we are truly loved by God. Our sin sometimes prevents us from accepting our belovedness.

Living in Grace