On Sunday my Pastor spoke about the Parable of the Sower.
The seed fell all over, on the path, the rocky soil, in amongst the thorn bushes and on good well-tilled soil.
We know the story, and over-familiarity can mean that we lose the crux of the story. That we forget to look at things afresh.
Dave further explained how the seed that fell on the rocky soil was shallow, and that like shallow people there is no root and so when hard times come they shrivel up and rarely thrive.
The seed which fell among the thorns represents those who are easily distracted by the pleasures of life and so become choked by the pursuit of happiness through a hedonistic, materialistic lifestyle.
As I reflected on this over a coffee after the service, I recalled the number of times my faith has become stunted due to my shallow nature.
Without roots we die.
I’ve also been guilty of pursuing the pleasurable aspects of life, selfishly… often at the expense of those I should be caring for.
Whilst I considered this, I was looking out of the window and I saw this:
You may not see it at first but this is a (rather blurry) photo of a small tree stump which we pruned right back about 18 months ago when a team of us did some gardening work in the grounds of our new church building.
Look closer and you will see that a small slender branch has sprung up out out that branch and has soared higher and higher! It has grown at least 7 feet high in only 18 months!!
Why? Because despite the tree being removed, the roots still remain! And while the roots remain there is an irresistible instinct within that tree to grow! Roots will always lead to growth!
At the very top of that tiny slender branch there is a single leaf. New life is budding and bursting forth out of the shell of the old.
As I looked on I realised what God was saying to me, “get yourself rooted in me, then whatever life throws at you, you will always come back stronger!”
I realised that I will not pursue selfish pleasure if I am rooted. I will not seek man’s approval of I am rooted! For myself I pray the words of Paul in Ephesians 3 and trust that you will too…
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:14-19 NIV
God Bless you!
I haven’t shed a tear my dear
I haven’t felt a pain
For in your passing I can see
The birth of hope again
I haven’t stopped to wonder why
Our Lord did take you by and by
And lead you into slumber
There’s a peace in Heaven that awaits
With joy beyond all number!
No more the pain
No more the sorrow
New life awaits
In your tomorrow
New body, yours
Without the aches
Clean slate, yours
Blotted out is all your pain
And yesterday shall not remain
This glorious morn you rise anew
For Jesus held out His arms for you
P J Deakin 2016©
How would you feel,
Excuse me, begging your pardon
But how would you feel if the whole wide world
Decided to fight in your garden?!
Russian jets, Yank and Brit
Dropping bombs on their target
Undermining native hope
How can we poor Syrians cope?
The world and his wife
Has tuned in to us
Each eyeing a piece of the pie
But it’s not your peace, it’s not your war
It’s not your pie it’s not your sky
That’s darkened by the mortar shell
The fiery red, of burning hell
This cradle of humanity
This birthplace of a faith
Is under siege by greed and hate
But don’t just drop your bombs and go!
Stick around for the after-show
The clear-up from this terrible war
The rebuild of my beautiful nation
Not the chance to polish your medals
Or pat each other on the back
But to oust Assad and his evil ways
His allies have been mightily praised
For dropping bombs on hospitals?!
Putin is no Saviour, King!
He just wants his share of the spoils.
So how would you feel
If the whole wide world
Decided to fight in your garden
You’ll excuse me if I don’t jump for joy
If don’t grant your pardon
But I am waiting to see
How much you care
About my sons and daughters
Or whether you are just intent
On another Middle-East slaughter.
P J Deakin 2015 ©
On a cold, starry night,
Two young people travel
On a journey, their lives to discover
A man leads his donkey
To Bethlehem town
Her cargo, a soon-to-be Mother
With pain she’d looked back
As they left Nazareth
The hatred they’d shown had surprised her
When the people perceived
That the babe was conceived
Out of wedlock – they’d all ostracised her!
No room could be found
In King David’s home town
For the couple and their precious burden
As she cried out in pain
One man listened again calling out,
They both paused as they heard him…
“I have here a stable
It’s not much to see
But it’s warm and it’s dry and it’s free!”
Tired from their journey
The young aching Mother
Lay down in the hay to give birth
Such humble beginnings
For this newborn child
The King of all kings of the Earth!
Surrounded by livestock
And sacrifice lambs
The unblemished Lamb he was born
In a cows feeding trough
He made his first bed
His clothes made of rags that were torn
Shepherds came to visit He
Whom Angels had adored
And silently they worshipped Him,
The tiny infant Lord
Whilst still a toddler
Wise men came from Persian lands afar
Recounting their incredible tale
A miraculous guiding star!
Dictator King, Herod the Great
Explodes with rage and fear
A newborn King to take his throne
Lived in a town so near!?
A massacre, the despot decrees
Consumed so by his hatred
Each child of two years old or less
Must be exterminated!
Awoken by a warning dream
The father wakes his family
Heads south to Egypt to escape,
This humble Jesus, born so low
Our own hearts does unveil…
Reminds us all to love once again
This familiar Nativity tale.
P J Deakin 2015 ©
How do I respond
To the news I heard today
When gunmen shoot indiscriminately
To take innocent lives away?
How can we protect
Our citizens from this crime
When the enemy lies deep within
It seems only a matter of time
No longer do we war for land
Or strive for tribe or nation
We’re fighting ideologies
A totally new sensation!
His creed, not concrete
His fight online
He wars to end oppression
By oppressing those who stole their oil
And fed them just the breadcrumbs
No WMD, Kalashnikov
Can inspire such fear and dread
As a concept that can propogate
From a laptop while in bed!
No armed force thrust or allied strike
Can decapitate this notion
For a thought that gains and slowly builds
Is gathering in motion
How do I respond that so many
Were involved in Parisian slaughter?
Do I abandon all religion?
Throw the baby out with the water?
Do I take up arms, retaliate
Become more cruel, more ruthless?
Or would eye for eye and tooth for tooth
Just leave us blind and toothless?!!
Or do I say
There’s better ways,
And turn the other cheek
And pray sincerely that one day
Each one will truly seek
And hold out hands of forgiveness though they be charred and burned
A love which gives sacrificially when nothing has been earned.
P J Deakin 14 November 2015 ©
Each night before I climb into bed
I charge my phone
For the time it stole from my family and friends
I charge it for the times when I’ve failed to make amends
Why bother talking anymore?
When texts are dull
And Snapchat poor
Just “like” their latest FB post
Then everyone will “like” you the most!
Facebook has its very own casebook
Of folks who’ve forgotten how to communicate
Without a #lols pink heart smiley face,
How can we possibly keep up the pace?!
You see that beauty every day on the train
Come winter or summer, come sunshine or rain
Yet you’ve never said “hi, what’s your name, where you from?”
This strange world we’re living in is 50 shades of wrong!
Rather than actually talk to her
(The thought just makes you blush!)
You send a text to Metro for tomorrow’s Rush Hour Crush!
Without your #selfies
Spooling memes and laddish banter
Your bravado on the morning train
Is as flat as fortnight old Fanta!
So when you get into bed tonight
Don’t forget to charge your phone!
Charge it for opportunities lost
For friendships never found
Charge it for the people you could have given a smile to
As you travelled the underground.
Who would want to talk to a real human being
When streaming is all in HD?!
Who bothers to talk to their neighbour
When the world is craving to see
Your endless conveyor of selfies and salad
And that vid that they took of that old Top Gun ballad
You were killing on Friday…
(But not in a good way!)
Is it me or is it weird
That your hipster style beard
Has developed its own Facebook following?
And the time you spend just wallowing
In sycophantic hyperbole is better spent,
Indulging in some pointless comment
Than actually going somewhere exciting
Than living a life that’s truly inviting?!!
Not just “checking in” and taking a pic but being there
Breathing the air…
Live and unplugged
Your life is full of acoustic opportunity
To step out of obscurity
To kill the rat, to leave the race
To feel the fear and turn and face
The world in glorious technicolor
With sunsets and rainbows
And sunshine and showers
With laughter and tears
Barbed wire and flowers
Embrace the emotion of being alive
And break from the bondage of having to strive
To compete with the Instagram/Facebook/Vine vibe.
So charge your phone
If you’ve any sense
You’re more than entitled to some recompense!
P J Deakin 2015 ©
Indelibly etched upon my soul
Are the sights and the sounds of that mystic isle
Her mountains and vales so wild and free
Like you were back then when you first fell for me
Our humble little shepherd’s croft all hidden, small and snug
Like the tiniest shoot of the tiniest love that has only just started to bud
Majestic, the purple crag soars high above our heads
And watches over each of us as we cuddle up in bed
Tranquility, Catacol, the sea makes not a sound
The solitude, broken as oystercatcher’s plaintive cry within the bay resounds
Loud and clear, another cry
With piercing pitch on pinions high
The lofty creature rides the sky
The mighty eagle sees all, knows all, wears his crown
Above him clouds of eiderdown
Like candy floss they spin a maze Yet lazily on Summer days…
Remember how we chased the sun to watch him sink behind Kintyre,
His cloak of gold adorned the sea before our very eyes
And laid it like a golden road that leads to paradise
The emptiness of that small isle
That lonely, squeaking swing
I truly wish that you and I could be back there again
I wish we could return
To floating rocks that came so close
Inquisitive, shining seals
Your hand in mind when climbing high
As mist unfurls and Goatfell’s peak reveals
The crispest taste of mountain stream
The doe that came that night to drink
As we embraced and turned to face the wonder
Relaxing on the sandy beach without a thought of thunder
And watch as nature makes his shapes with silence we revere
A single cloud on mountaintop is there then disappears!
I love my isle, I love my girl, I love her strength and beauty
I love that she serves graciously without a sense of duty
I love my girl with all my heart I love her to the core
And memories that I’ve spent with you I’ll treasure evermore!
P J Deakin 2015 ©