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palm Sunday 2016Welcome to Lectionary doodles. Here you will find a weekly adult colouring in item that reflects on the lectionary for the week. My hope that you might stumble on something new about the Christian faith story you didn’t notice before, grow a little in your own faith, gain a deeper connection with God and have fun while you are doing it or at least relax a little or concentrate a bit better when someone else is talking!

This is hugely new to me.. I don’t consider myself an artist but started the drawings as a Lenten practice for myself and shared them with my congregation, people seem to find them helpful and I have been encouraged to share them on a wider more accessible format. Some weeks I am amazed at what I can do other weeks I feel like my 8 year old could do much better! But I will share them with you as gifts, may they help you connect deeply with the Ultimate creative One, God.

So here goes.

I thought what I might do is put up the drawing, add the reading I was reflecting on, write a bit about what I noticed in the text and chuck a couple of questions in that seem to spring to mind when I ponder them.

By the way if you want to use my stuff that is great, just let me know and don’t use it to make millions (not that I really think you can!), not unless you are going to give it all to the poor!

 

 

 

Posted in Lectionary Yr A, Lent reflections, Uncategorized

Lift the blindfold, check out what God is doing.. Lent 4, John 9:1-41.

blind man

John 9:1-41

Our story this week is about the blind young man. The story begins by the disciples asking Jesus who had sinned for this young man to be blind? Immediately it must be the parents fault. We look at this conversation often as though this was so primitive they blame what physical ailments their children suffering on the parents sin. Ironically now we know that sometimes it can be due to the genetics that we pass onto our children or because something happened to the mother or the child whilst it was in the womb.. The point I think Jesus is trying to make is that blaming the parents is more like scapegoating and it doesn’t help to play these blame games. It is interesting too that this terrible suffering was in place so that God’s glory could be shown..

I’m not overly keen on suffering like most of us I try to avoid it at all costs, but it is a part of life and my experience of sufferring is that sometimes and more times than I would like to admit, through that sufferring I have become a better human being and often it is in those moments that I see God’s presence and work most clearly.

Our young man was born blind and Jesus healed him by spitting in dirt to make mud then sending him off to the waters to wash.. and of course in true Jesus style he was healed.  You would think this should be the most interesting and exciting part of this story but actually it goes on for ages about what happens after Jesus leaves.. The community is a bit shocked that this man at this time is healed and I think are a bit threaten by this Jesus. He had flipped their thinking on its head.

I wonder how often when something crazy happens in front of us we try to justify or explain it away so that we can fit our lives all back in their boxes. The movement of God for me is often quite powerful at the moment, but when I look back on it can understand how others who look at that scenario say it just looks like coincidences, dumb luck or chance. In my moments of doubt I start to wonder myself, I have to work hard to connect back into that moment to remember the power that was within it.

I have made the blind man’s eyes blank because evidently he was the one who could not see. Yet it is he, who saw who Jesus was and got how important and powerful he was.. His parents and all the leaders around them whilst they had eyes and could see, were blindfolded and not willing to see things as they really were.. It seems their fear of being rejected by the community was more powerful than facing the joyous miraculous moment in front of them.. I get it, none of us want to be alone and to go against the community, it would have  left them outcasts with nowhere else to go.. Blaming the victim when it should have been a great celebration of God.

I wonder how often we can get caught in the same place, our world gets thrown into chaos and there is much to celebrate but we are so afraid of the change we can’t let go. So week 4 of lent, how does this passage challenge me? It makes me think of the times I am blinded to what God is doing because I like things the way things are. or when I miss the times when amazing God things happen to my friends and I can’t see it cause I am caught up in all the other things happening.. So this week I am going to look out for the cool stuff God has done or is doing. I might even lift my blindfold a little!!

Posted in Lectionary Yr A, Lent reflections, Uncategorized

The water that really quenches, Lent 3, John 4:5-42

 

woman at the well

John 4:5-42

Here we are week 3 of Lent and there is water again.. The well the place everyone needed to keep them all alive and functioning well. Why did Jesus stay outside with the well and send the disciples in to get what they needed? Why did he sit by the well in the middle of the hot day waiting for someone to turn up, knowing most people would be heading to the well in the cooler part of the day?

So here he is, hot, relaxing and a woman comes out to get some water. I have her fully covered because I was thinking about her choice to be there during the day, not wanting people to know who she was or engage with the rest of her world. It is easy to hide behind the masks we have. But Jesus sees right past her. He doesn’t go straight in for the interrogation, instead asks her to help him.. I wonder how often we meet vulnerable people by acknowledging our own vulnerability? Do we offer what we can or do we go straight into the interogation . It is actually her curiousity about why he would break the cultural rules and norms that sparked an honest conversation. Jesus tells her what he sees. She stands courageously and owns the reality of who she is.. He does not condemn her but shows her that things could be different. You don’t need to hide out any more you can be free from this, I have the living water, that which with soothe your brokeness and refresh that part of you that is dried up.. I look at the words we have on the page and it makes no sense to me, something else must have happened, or been said, because her life was so transformed by the encouner she went back to the people she was hiding from and told all of them about Jesus. So much so that he stayed with them for another 2 days. It was the outcast’s story that brought it home to everyone.. This God knows you as you really are, loves you and is present with you everywhere!

I wonder how much of those people secretly felt the same as her, sufferring the imposter syndrome and waiting to be found out. When Jesus shows her at her most raw he respects her and does not harm, instead loves. How beautiful a gift it is when someone sees us at our most naked and does not use that against us but respects us and does not harm, instead loves. It changed her life. It changes my life, and I hope that I in some small ways may be able to show that love too.

So what to reflect on this week in Lent? As I was drawing the walls of the well I was thinking about the walls we build to protect that valuable water in our lives. What are we trying to keep out and why? Is it for thier own safety or do we only want those with the special bucket to access it? So then is the question when does Jesus come to meet us and ask us for a drink? Who are the people that are hot and tired, sitting near us, feeling broken or at least dried out, that look longingly at our well with it’s beautiful Godly water? I wondering if we dip in with our bucket to share a drink with them if we would discover Jesus seeing us for who we are, not judging us but loving us in our brokeness..

Journey well, my friends. K

Posted in Lectionary Yr A, Lent reflections, Uncategorized

LOVE, not to condemn but to save, Lent 2, John 3:1-17

John 3

John 3:1-17

I love how the lectionary reminds us to put things in context.. Today included is one of the most quoted passages. John 3:16. I am so pleased that verse 17 of the speech from Jesus is included because I often feel like those banners you see at the football miss a very important part of the story.

Lets start from the beginning Nicodemus one of the religious leaders of the time comes to Jesus in the middle of the night. I love that Jesus doesn’t belittle him or hassle him that his faith wasn’t enough that he could come in broad daylight, he meets him right there. The things Jesus is trying to teach him are not easy for him to understand, which is interesting because if anyone should be able to understand right of the bat it should have been someone like Nicademus, he was one of God’s chosen. When I think about it Nicademus question was very Greek in his thinking and Jesus was using Hebrew story or metaphor to explain something. “What are you saying an old man like me needs to climb back in my mother’s womb and be reborn how is this possible?”  Jesus explains you have to let go of what you know and trust God in a new way. Jesus reminded Nic about when he had heard this happening before, you know how God works, remember about the snake in the desert and see how much better their lives ended up because of it. You can trust God again.

This week I was given some advice by a professional that was very counter intuitive for me, I felt a bit like Nicodemus, you want me to do what? Are you sure about that? Like Jesus and God, this person was trying to teach me out of love, in essence to help us. The head flip was not an easy one for me or for Nicademus but it doesn’t make it less important. I could have kept going with things as I always had and we would have continued to struggle, or I could let the old ideas be washed away and let the new ways give me a new idea and hope.

I return to our famous saying..

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

I’m sure you can tell by my art today that love is the priority here, God who is far more than we can see or know, hidden in the mystery but known through the movement of the Spirit. This God chooses to step into our world, your world, my world, sending God’s Son to save us almostfrom ourselves.God loves us and is deeply connected and protective of us, of this world and all that are in it. I wonder how often left to our own devices we would choose to move and breathe in a place of love and grace? Yet I now know that from living this life to make the most of every human being, everything on the planet, this is the only way it can happen. Through love.

17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

Part of the mindshift for Nicodemus was to understand that God wasn’t condemning him, but was trying to help him.

This week we are in the second week of Lent, a time of reflection particularly on our own relationship with God. For me the reading this week has challenged me to unpack where I miss the point and get stuck with God. I fearfully put it before God in the hope I will not be condemned by the harsh reality of my struggle. To see this engagement between Nic and Jesus it makes it a little easier to sit honestly and open with it, in the hope I will grow, knowing I am not condemned but given a chance to learn.

Journey well.

 

Posted in Lectionary Yr A, Lent reflections

Temptation, Lent 1, Matthew 4:1-11

temptation-of-jesus

Matthew 4:1-11

I had a friend say to me about my doodles it is good to leave space some time so others can interact and doodle with it themselves. This seemed like a good week to do so. We have entered into the season of Lent. It is a time of reflecting on where we are with God and doing a bit of work on it. It goes for 40 days representative of the time that Jesus spent in the desert.

We hear in the reading today about the 3 main temptations that Jesus was faced with, to use his power for his own personal gain, to use his power to be a superstar in his community or use his power to rule the world.

It got me thinking, we are all given gifts and abilities and given a choice about how we are going to use them. Do we use what we have just to take care of ourselves? I do think we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves, to be active and do our share, but when we get to the point where we only care for ourselves and our immediate family I think we may have lost sight about what we are here for. In our world of pension cuts and encouraging individualism it can be easy to  circle the wagons and be fearful for the future. If something goes wrong I will have no – one and I must look after myself, God offers a different voice, remember last week do not worry? Be generous as God is generous to you.

We could also use our gifts and skills to make ourselves look pretty impressive. Aren’t I fabulous! It is interesting that I have even seen people use the gift of service to make themselves look good. Humility is an interest path and not always an easy thing to master. It is a balancing of being confident and comfortable in who we are and our gifts  but seeing them as valuable and important as all other gifts. We have an equal place in the whole, that means we are no better or worse than anyone else.

The final temptation is about power, do you want to rule the world? or at least your little patch of it? I think in our world we can often feel very powerless. I wonder how often we remain silent  or absent from issues because we feel powerless to do anything about. I am only one person? Last week I went to a training course in political advocacy and learnt how a good democratic system works.  The truth is we do have power, you have power. Your voice added to the voice of others can change the world and often does.. This is both very hopeful and very scary at the same time. Things can be changed. When enough people are brave enough to look at the issues honestly and seek wisdom the world can be made a better place. There is also the opportunity to use that power that might make the world better for some but makes it a lot worse for others, thus I say the need for honest wisdom. As a Christian I believe I am called to humbly sit before God as I ponder my opinion about this, to sit in that humble place means that i might need to acknowledge I am wrong and need to change what I am doing and how I see things. You will find I rarely say this, but from this perspective Paul is my hero, he was adamant he was right about persecuting the Christians but God knew that Paul was a genuine man of God and that he could be changed and he did, becoming one of Jesus biggest supporters.

So Lent, a time to pick something up or let something go to become closer to God. I offer the colouring in this week as a meditation what are your temptations? Where  are you locked into only thinking about yourself? Where do you want to impress people or be the centre of attention? or where are you hiding from the community around you? and where are you using the power you have? Are you using it to help many or only some or have you been sitting comfortably not using it at all?

I pray this time of Lent may be a rich opportunity  of deepening growth with God for each of you.

Posted in Lectionary Yr A, Uncategorized

Don’t worry. Epiphany 8. Matthew 6:25-34

consider-the-lillies

Matthew 6:25 – 34

My daughter loves to watch the birds of the air in the morning when I drop her early to school. She told me the other day that they like to fly in figure 8’s around and around. Interestingly she also said they don’t like it when the crows are around “they tend to disappear” she says.. It would seem that there are some things that the birds of the air do worry about. Yet it is about the things that really matter, the things that can destroy you, not the things that consume you. We worry about not having enough, or how we look. I do too. But it doesn’t really matter that much, nothing can change having pot holes in my face from a dose of adult chicken pox and I don’t care enough to cover it up. Having had a life time of pimples, now pot holes and wrinkles, I have begun to love the body I live in.. Do not worry.. How much more does God love you..

This weeks doodle I wanted to offer, just take time to ponder how much God does love you. Plain and simple. Consider the beauty that helps you connect with God, maybe it is the birds of the air, or the beautiful lilies, or an amazing sunset or beautiful rainforest. Go to that place in your heart and sit a while with God, put the things that consume you down for a little while. Maybe you might want to leave them there.

Love heaps

Karen

Posted in Lectionary Yr A, Uncategorized

Revenge, justice or generosity? Epiphany 7, Matthew 5:3 – 48

turn-the-other-cheek

Matthew 5:38 -48

I love what I notice when I draw these readings.. They are particularly challenging with how they deal with conflict. Some read these reading as though to be a Christian requires that we be door mats and let people walk all over us.. Some read them a challenge to stand up for yourself (turning the other cheek is about encouraging someone to hit you rather than just backhand you, giving them your cloak  as well as your coat, would leave you naked and show a landlord evicting you the injustice they are causing, taking a soldiers luggage an extra mile which they were not allowed to force you to, puts them very much on the back foot and highlights their laziness.) This second theory sits more comfortably with me usually but I noticed this time that the reading isn’t finished until you include giving to people who beg, and loaning to people who ask of it..

It got me to thinking.. What if the whole of this reading is about generosity. We know that Jesus chose to go to the cross and took it humbly and non violently to make a point or achieve a goal. He wanted to demonstrate that both he and God were not into revenge, “you have taken this from me so I will take back what you have taken”. He was definitely not weak he was willing to confront the officials in a very physical and violent way in the temple. But he was generous. Choosing to give of himself with no expectation of payback. He would bless, heal, give to be people on the way and keep walking.

Which brings us to the question why are people hitting us, taking our coat, or asking us to walk a mile? Sure they could be not very nice people who just like to use the power they have to only serve themselves. But often people are reacting from a place of pain or suffering, hurt and jealousy. I wonder if this was the first lesson for the disciples about this other way of thinking? You do have the power to pay back and seek revenge but choose to be generous and loving. Even in those difficult moments, they totally change the way  the conversation goes from there, most of the time.

Posted in Lectionary Yr A, Uncategorized

Looking for Wisdom, Matthew 5:21 – 37, Epiphany 6

lectionary-doodle-12th-feb-2017

Matthew 5 : 21-37

I have chosen this week to link you to the Message version of the text. I found it to be a great way to get the concept of what Jesus was on about.. This speech of Jesus is trying to transition people from the concept of law  – we only don’t do something because it is against the law to a much bigger concept of wisdom..

These couple of readings are looking at what Christian living is about. What does it look like with flesh on? Jesus here is trying to connect the laws into why we have the laws and that the problem often starts long before we think they do..

I love how the message concludes the first section by saying ” The simple moral fact is that words kill.”  It is easy when there is law to get caught up in who is right and who is wrong, debates can go in forever, Jesus reminds us it is better to sort it out as soon as you can and be careful what you say.. Your gifts to God are pretty useless if you haven’t sorted things out with those you love..

I wonder if you could read the second section of the reading about divorce and lust to be more than that.. If you see in the image the woman walking away has no face and hands yet the woman he is with does have. I wonder if part of it is about not appreciating and respecting what you have but instead being distracted and drawn to the other things we don’t know.

This final reading is one I carry in my heart always the simple fact of your yes being yes and your no being no.. the idea of a signpost was important for me in this image because you need to be able to trust them to send you in the right direction. Our words point people in directions and people need to be able to trust that what we say is what we mean. This is not always easy, sometimes I have to change the topic and avoid the question if I am unable to speak truthfully at that time. At times I have also had to say to people you might not like the answer to the question I am giving you, but I will try to tell the truth when you ask me.

All these ideas change the way we live, it is not just about adhering to the law but also about understanding why we have the law. I am reminded about the speeding example, I can get a fine and eventually lose my liscence for speeding, but realistically if I speed my reaction time is shortened and I am not able to stop as quick as I can in an emergency. It is about changing the way I live not just watching my speed when there is a speed camera. It makes a difference when we live with wisdom, truth and integrity but that doesn’t always make it easy.

Posted in Lectionary Yr A, Uncategorized

You are called to be salt! Matthew 5:13-20

Matthew 5:13 – 20

salt-loses-its-saltiness

Hi everyone,well it would seem that doodling is good for my soul and I found I was missing it terribly!! We are in the new house but the boxes are still high!!

Here is this weeks lectionary doodle, sorry for the quality next week will be back on track but thought you might like to have a look!

This one was an interesting reflection on the use of salt, how much difference it makes to good food, how it helps to preserve things and helps to keep things afloat! I was thinking about the joy and delight of someone who loves to make a great meal adding just the right amount and the difference it can make.  usually this works best in hot fluids the combination of those flames licking the feet of your pot, and the perfect addition of salt gets that bubbling stew perfect.

I sometimes wonder if as Christians we think we can just add our salt to whatever and it will make all the difference to the world. We forget that it is actually the combination of heat and great ingredients mixed with love that makes some that truly is Divine! Too much salt is truthfully disgusting and will ruin any meal, and you can go without it for health reasons but boy you really notice and appreciate it on those rare times it gets added!!

We are called people to be salt, to drop just the right amount of love and God into the world at the right time. May our task as salt and light is to be open and available to the great Chef to see when and how much needs to be added!!

As I worked on my doodle today, my colleague Rev. Miriam Parker Lacey wrote a blessing prayer to go with it..

May your week be blessed through the salt sprinkled through your life!!

Blessing….

blessing

salt, earth

human, breathing ,reclaiming

free gift of Creator Spirit

disturbing presence

MPL 2017

Posted in Lectionary Yr A, Uncategorized

Happy New Year! The Baptism of Christ A, Matthew 3:13-17

bpatism-of-jesus

Matthew 3:13-17

Happy New Year people! It seems appropriate to be saying that as we reflect on the Baptism of Jesus. Baptism being the sign of us dying to our old self and being born afresh as God’s child.

As I was reflecting on this reading I was thinking about how intense it must have seemed. The famous John the Baptist baptizing Jesus, who was actually really nervous because this was the “Messiah” and he didn’t feel worthy to do it. With the water splashing everywhere the clouds depart and the Spirit descends like a dove. Then a voice from heaven says “this is my son in whom I am well pleased”.  It reminds me of the amazing times I have had where I know something special has happened but sometimes it is a bit hard to explain and can often make you feel like you may just been a little crazy or just imagined it and yet there is something in it that cannot be denied! In the book the Shack, the Holy Spirit is a woman, but you can’t quite see her, you know that she is there but even when you look at her you can’t quite make her out. I really like this description because for me it fits, the sense of  – I know there is something there but it is hard to put words on.

I found it interesting that in this moment there is God the Creator, seen through the parting of the clouds and the voice, the Holy Spirit, descending like a dove, and Jesus, the physical embodiment of God, but the Church (the gathered people of God), are also present in this moment, the hand of John is actually between Jesus and the Holy Spirit. As has been the case throughout history, humanity can either be the conduit for the work and movement of God or they can block it.

In my ordination vows, I promised to submit myself to the discipline of the Church and I feel that in this moment, Jesus allows himself to be part of the process, he submits to the discipline of the Church. Here for me is the beginning of the long humble journey of Jesus. He never put himself better or above anyone else but saw that he too needed to be born anew into that God life.

I think sometimes we underestimate the importance of God using us to make disciples, to be the conduit for the Holy Spirit in others. This miraculous moment of God happened after the faithful, shared and did what they know. As difficult as it is to describe faith and we can at times feel as crazy as John the Baptist out in the desert eating honey and locusts, what we have is a beautiful gift of which many people in the world are desperately in need of . I would go so far as saying what our whole world needs, i don’t believe we are able to bring peace to the world on our own strength, I don’t think we can turn the damage to the earth around due to great thinking and innovation alone. It will never be enough, because people  can be selfish, greedy and scared. Myself included. It is through humility and submission to a vision that is greater than ourselves (that of God’s), with the hand of another alongside us, and the Holy Spirit hovering upon us, then there is hope.

The new year is often a time of thinking about what we could do differently , what we shall pick up and what shall we put down. I wonder how often the resolutions we make are actually a reflection of the values that are destroying the world rather than bringing hope and peace? I wonder for Christians whether it is a time to head to the wilderness, away from the excitement and see how we need to better tune into that vision of God, because after all if we die to our life and are born as God’s, surely then it becomes God’s new year resolutions we need to follow?