iggandfriends

Life, crafty stuff, long walks, thoughts, and little oddities.


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The White Wolf and the Black Wolf

The story of the white wolf and the black wolf is, I’m told, an old Cherokee story. I’ve seen and heard various different versions. But in this time of unrest in the world, it gives us an important question. What wolf are we choosing to feed inside ourselves? Why don’t you read it and decide?

There was once an old and wise grandfather, who had a grandson he loved. Each day, the grandson would come and spend time with his grandfather, and talk to him about the events of the day. One day, the grandson came with a look of anger on his face. ‘Come’, said the grandfather, ‘sit and tell me about your day’. The child sat on the floor and leaned against his grandfather. Looking up at him, he said, ‘I went into the town today with father. He had promised me a present, as I had helped him so much recently. I was so happy and excited. I went into the trading post and there we found a small knife, just the right size for me. So father bought it for me.’ Here, the boy fell silent.

The grandfather placed his hand on the boys head, ‘Then what happened?’

The boy said ‘I took it outside to look at it. But some older boys saw me. They called me names, and teased me, and said I had no right to have the knife. Then one of them knocked me over, and another took my knife, and they ran away with it’. Here, the boy paused. Then, looking up at his grandfather he said ‘I hate them! I hate them!’

Grandfather sighed deeply and said, ‘I have also suffered. There have been people who have taken without asking, those who have called me names, who have fought and bullied. I have felt great hate. But hate hurts only you. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. In the end your own soul will die. I have struggled with this. It is as if there are two wolves inside me, a white one and a black one. The white one lives in peace with those around him, and does not take offense where none was intended. It looks for good and not evil, it welcomes, not rejects. It only fights when it is right, and only in the right way. But the black wolf is full of anger and hatred. He is focused only one himself and his wants. Anything that is against his will sends him into anger. He fights everyone, all the time. He looks for the negative, not the positive. He cannot think because his anger and hatred are so great. It is anger that destroys himself. Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both try to rule my life.’

The boy looked up into his grandfather’s eyes. ‘Which one wins, Grandfather?’

The Grandfather smiled and said ‘The one I choose to feed’.

Galatians 5:19-25

 


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Called

We are called

Called to walk from the brightness of dark

to the darkness of the Light

Surrounded by cloud that veils our view

Not knowing where the journey will take us

We are called

Called to be obedient to the silence within

to trust, to walk with God

Even when his presence seems far away

When obedience is a step of faith

We are called

Called to listen to the burning passion inside

to the fire which drives us ever on

Testing the urge which will not quieten

The silent whisper in the night

We are called

Called to sacrifice our lives on the altar

Trusting that God will accept the offering

Called to submit our wills, our hearts, our dreams

To the God who calls us on

We are called

Called to proclaim justice

To reach out loving hands

To speak God into the world

To love and laugh and hope.

We are called to be.


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On vocation

Ok, so it’s been a while (a long while!) since I blogged. But I’ve been doing some thinking recently about life and vocation.

Yesterday was Maundy Thursday. As usual on that day of the church year, I drove into Aberdeen for the annual Chrism Eucharist and Renewal of Vows. My Holy Week would be so much easier if I didn’t go into Aberdeen on that day. I live an hour and a half away from there. So it means leaving my house at 9.30 to get there for 11, staying for the service, and then the lunch afterwards and then driving home, meaning I arrive home about 3.30ish. On a day which then has at least two services in the evening, in two different churches, which are at least 20 minutes drive from each other. It’s always a bit of a scramble. So why bother? After all, it’s not compulsory.

But I go. It’s one of the days which is a touchstone in my year, a pausing point. A reminder. Because, you see, I’m not a natural priest. You will have met ministers to whom the job seems to come as easily as breathing. Who communicate and preach and effortlessly navigate the murky waters of committees. Who are pastorally relevant; good with children and teenagers. I’m sure you’ve met them.

That’s not me. I come somewhat reluctantly to priesthood – I am a priest because I am called. For me, it is as simple as that. It’s not something I would naturally incline towards. When I first started exploring the whole ordination thing, I remember the look of puzzlement on people’s faces. And, if I’m honest, if my selection panel had said ‘no’ – if at any stage I had been turned down – I would probably have heaved a huge sigh of relief, rolled up my sleeves and go on with life. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think I’m a complete disaster as a minister. I’m ok at it, but nothing spectacular. I’d probably get an B for effort and a C for achievement. I’m not a natural priest.

This year has been particularly difficult in my area. We’ve had two fires in the last 12 months, both to major tourist attractions. Just after Christmas the valley was flooded by a wave of water : approximately half the houses in my small community were flooded. 50% of the shops. The golf course and caravan park were destroyed. The paths network was washed away.

Often there have been no words to be said ; nothing that can be done, apart from just being. Listening. Sitting. Watching and looking. Hugging. Crying with those who cry, and laughing with those who laugh. There has been a lot of questioning, a lot of anger. A lot of frustration at my impotence, my inability to do anything practical to help. It has been like being on a treadmill, with no view of the future. I have at times been physically incapable of doing more – yet there is still more to be done. There is always more to be done. I have ministered and been ministered too. I have been heartened by the solidity of this community. I have wept as the effects of the flooding seem to spread wider.

Yet. Yet what have I done to proclaim the Gospel? Where have I breathed words of God? How can I navigate through the next few hours? Days? Weeks? Months? Where am I to focus my efforts, to get my energy, to look, to listen, to act?

This is why Maundy Thursday is so important. It is a chance for me to remember what God calls me to. To remember that God works despite my inadequacies. To remember that it is not I alone, but I and God. That it is not up to me what happens next, but up to God. That in all that do and say and think I act with the help of God. As we go through the service we are asked various questions… and the answer is always ‘with the help of God, I will’. It is not I, but God. No matter what. Without God, I cannot, I will not. With the help of God, I will.

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