Saturday, March 04, 2006

The measure of success

“I believe that anyone can be successful in life,
regardless of natural talent
or the environment within which we live.
This is not based on measuring success by human competitiveness
for wealth, possessions, influence, and fame,
but adhering to God’s standards
of truth, justice, humility, service,
compassion, forgiveness, and love.”

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Summons - an eternal call to a lived life

The song below comes from the Iona Community, centred on the island of Iona in Scotland. The song is sung to a traditional Scottish tune called, "Kelvin Grove". You can hear it here. One of the writers of the words is John Bell (pictured at right). Occasionally he pops up in Australia and he is worth listening to. He has a lyrical Gaelic voice: sings like a bird. The words are written as if spoken by Jesus to the individual. They would form a beautiful reflection for Lent.

Sung to the traditional Scottish melody Kelvin Grove
From the Iona Community

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you come where you don't know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown, will you let my name be known,
Will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare?
Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?

Will you the blinded see, if I but call your name?
Will you set the prisoners free and never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean, and do such as this unseen,
And admit to what I mean in you and you in me?

Will you love the ‘you’ you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found to reshape the world around
Through my sight and touch and sound in you, and you in me?

Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In your company I'll go where your love and footsteps show.
Thus I'll move and live and grow in you and you in me.

Text: John L. Bell and Graham Maule

Seasons of the Soul

The Trad Pad has long espoused being attuned to the seasons. We pay too much attention to beginning seasons on 1 March, 1 June, 1 September, 1 December. These are nothing more than program defaults. If we pay attention our own local environments, we will discerns more specific times, more localised patterns. Whitefellas commonly speak of two seasons in Northern Australia - The Wet and The Dry. However, Aborigines in Kakadu speak of six seasons, including one name "The Knock 'em Down Storms". In Northern Australia, November has always been known as the time when people go "troppo". Going troppo now has the more civilized name of "Mango Madness" - being the time when, traditionallyl, mangos would be ready to pick. Going troppo meant going nuts, going mad. Suicides would occur, men would shoot their wives. November is hot and dry and in some areas there is a frequency of dry weather whirlwinds known as willy willies. The Wet has not yet arrived but heat and the dryness have everyone strung out, hanging out for rain. In Darwin and the Top End of the Northern Territory, people refer to the "build up". This always amused me because while Cairns and Townsville in North Queensland would suffer during this time from this torrid mix of heat and humidity, there was no particular name for it as in the NT. I have wondered if this means that Top Enders complain more about this and therefore have a need for a word or phrase and if North Queenslanders are more inclined to get on with things and suffer through this time so that - apart from Mango Madness - there are no other words required.

I also believe in keeping The Seasons of the Soul - the spiritual times, the faith filled times. I am a Christian in the Western tradition so the seasons I keep are in accord with this culture and this tradition. Since Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, Christians in the Western tradition have been in the period of Lent. Lent is a reflect period of pray and penitence, denial and discipline. It is serious stuff as we look at our lives, how we are living, where we are going. It is serious stuff about our relationship with out God and our relationship with other people and our relationship with the planet we have been given. So I am keeping the season by God's grace. I just pray that I can be honest with myself and am able to carry out the necessary personal corrections and reforms.