social spark Aisling Beatha: October 2014


Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy your stay, however short, and find something that interests and blesses you.

The tabs just below will take you to posts of particular topics. So if you are looking for my posts on food, fitness or creativity, you will find them there. You will also find my posts on thankfulness or other more contemplative posts, as well as a set of posts with traditional blessings from a number of different cultures.

You can find posts with labels not included in that list via the labels list over in the sidebar.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

May You Know What It Means To Be Loved - (a blessing)

May You Know What it Means to be Loved wide

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As I may have mentioned last time, I want to finish this series of posts with a blessing.  It might not seem like a blessing in places but read it right through and weigh up whether it’s a blessing you want to receive or not . . . . (scroll down for video version).

May you know what it means to be loved.

May you know in the depths of your soul, the bravery of standing as who you are, the joy of removing that mask, the delight of tearing down those walls.

And yes, may you know too the fear that comes with that, for in knowing this fear and doing it anyway, we learn that we are loved.

May you know the fear of not being accepted, and step out anyway, because you know the One who ultimately accepts you.

May you know the fear of really being seen and step out into the light anyway, because you know the One who Is light.

May you know the anxiety that comes with trying something new, and try anyway because you know the one who promises to go with you.

May you know all these things because you began the journey of knowing what it means to be loved, a journey into the very heart of God.  A journey that begins with loving and accepting yourself.

©Zoe Gregg (Aisling Beatha) January 2014

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That brings to an end the series of posts that were originally written to be used elsewhere.  Check back next week for more from Thoughtful Thursdays.

You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

It Is The Dirt On His Feet I Remember - the Prodigal Returns

The Return of the Prodigal Son2

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The painting above is The Return of The Prodigal Son by Rembrandt 

Last week I suggested the idea that the prodigal son was kept away by the idea of living with his father’s disappointment.  Over the last few weeks I have brought you some writing, some thoughts, that open up questions and even doubts and that can be a scary place.  It’s a place that some people would tell you is the opposite of faith and something that will lead you away from God.  It’s a place that can at times FEEL far from God, and can make you feel just like the prodigal son, afraid to live with your father’s disappointment, BUT I honestly believe it is a place where GOD DWELLS WITH US.  It is a journey we do not take alone and we need not be afraid to show our face to God.  We need not be afraid to “come home”, because the doubts and the questions are not the opposite of faith, they are part of it, they are part of the journey God takes us on.
And so we come back to the end of the Prodigal’s journey, and I want to bring you that day from the point of view of someone we don’t usually think of in this story, one of the household servants.  (video at the bottom of the post).

It was the dirt on his feet I remember.  The dirt ingrained so deep I couldn't imagine it ever coming clean.  The dirt that represented the anguish of his heart, his desperation to “come home”. Yes, it was the dirt on his feet I remember.

I didn't recognize him at first.  I mean, he’d been gone so long we thought he was dead.  But the master, he never gave up hoping, looking, watching for his son to return.  And then, there he was, the master I mean, off and running.  I’d never seen a Jewish master run before, and there he was, grabbing up his robes in his hands and running down the hill.  To whom?  To what?  Why was he running?  And then we saw him, this man that the master had obviously seen approaching, this dirty, unkempt man, who had obviously not been living well.  He looked like a slave, not even a household servant like us, just a slave. His skin burnt from working in the sun, and wearing filthy rags. The sandals on his feet had certainly seen better days, they were only just holding together.  And those feet, those dirty feet, yes, it was the dirt on his feet I remember.

Because as the master reached him he saw the master coming and he threw himself at the master’s feet, but the master had turned already to lead him up the hill toward the house.  And so as he knelt before the master, all I could see of him was his back and the soles of those feet.  That’s when I recognised him.  I KNEW those feet!  I had served this family for many years, I had been there the day this son was born, I had bathed his feet each day when he came in from playing as he grew and then from working in the fields with his Father.  If he cut his feet working in the rougher ground, I was the one who tended to his wounds.  I KNEW those feet.  Well, that and the fact that then I heard him . .
“Father, forgive me.” It was an anguished cry, that obviously came from somewhere deep inside.  He wasn't going to be polite, he wasn't going to worry about who did or did not hear, all he wanted was to be allowed to come home. “I don’t deserve to be your son, make me one of your hired servants.”

He was asking to be one of us.  To live like this in the house of his father, to be ordered around by his family, and even by some of us?  How could he be willing to live like that, to accept that in the house where he had once been a son?  I didn't understand, and then I remembered his feet, the depth of dirt that was ingrained there spoke of many days walking home, without knowing what would await him.  He must have rehearsed this speech a thousand times.  I could not imagine what he had done while he was away, what he had been through, but I knew that even this, that he was proposing, must be far better than staying away. Or else, how could he suggest such a thing?

But the master did not wait, did not listen to his son’s protestations, maybe he didn't even hear them, because he grabbed his son by the hands, pulled him up to his feet, and he hugged him.  Another thing I don’t think I’d ever seen a Jewish master do before.  He hugged his son in full sight of anyone who cared to look. In full sight of neighbours, family, friends and servants.  

He brought him into the house and pretty soon we were all busy running around bringing things.  Clothes.  Not just clean clothes, but the best clothes, the sygnet ring that signified authority within the household, the fatted calf for a feast.  And then, as the others ran around preparing meat and bread and all the other food for the feast, the master called to me “The sandals, go fetch the sandals, the best ones from my room.”

So I fetched the sandals and I knelt before him as he had knelt before the master, and I took a bowl of water and a cloth and I bathed those feet again, and slipped on the sandals his father had kept specially, and I swore to myself that I would always remember those feet, those dirty, filthy feet.

Next week I want to share with you a blessing that I wrote last year.

You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Prodigal's Lament

Prodigals Lament

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Thoughtful Thursday Logo Finished

Have you ever wondered what kept the prodigal son away for so long? I mean, after the money ran out, after all his friends had left him, when he resorted to eating the food that was fed to the pigs he was looking after.
I think he was afraid of what would happen if he came back.
I don’t, however, think he was so much afraid of his father being angry with him, or rejecting him, I think it was something a bit different.
Prodigal’s Lament
I want to,
But I can’t,
To Go back,
To beg Him to allow me to stay.
But who am I?
What am I?
The one who walked away.

I regret,
Every day,
That decision I made.
I rue,
Every moment,
Of letting that relationship slide.

I want to,
But I can’t,
To see him again,
To know that look of love.

But He will see me,
And He will know,
Every moment I have lived apart from Him.
None of it was hidden From His eyes.

He will see me,
And He will know,
Every piece of my heart that was given away,
Every idol that took His place.

He will see and he will know
I cannot bear.

If he rejects me?
Turns me away?
If he’s angry, I deserve it.

But to live with His disappointment . .
Burning in my heart . . .
THAT, above all else, I could not bear,
And that is why I CANNOT go home.

© 2012, Zoe Gregg (Aisling Beatha). All rights reserved.

I honestly think his fear was of living with his father’s disappointment.  But the thing is, he didn’t need to be afraid of that.  Read the father’s response, grabbing up his robes and running.  I really would suggest you read that story again in Luke 15, but if you don’t have time don’t panic, because I shall bring you that part of the story next week with a fresh set of eyes.

You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.
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