Saturday, 25 April 2009

on the beach

As I strolled along the beach
I came across some children
who had happened upon this "crocodile"
and were trying to wake it up
it was easier to join in their game
than be all grown up
easier to see the adventure
than a dead piece of wood.
My mind took me to another beach
to a man wandering along
who took stock of what was going on
so he rolled up his sleeves
and threw together some breakfast
and then proceeded to take
his disciples on a lifetime adventure
an adventure that continues
wherever we walk in life
on the beach, down the street, through the town
in our homes and schools and sanctuaries
with children who understand better than the adults
and who show us how to get involved
how to join in with abandonment
who help us open our eyes
and see what we would never have imagined on our own
It's a roller coaster ride
full of colours and noise 
sometimes it's upside down
but it's a ride in the company of a man
who knows about the nitty gritty too
and who grounds us all
in the very beginning of creation
in the very fabric of life
we can choose to be all grown up
and miss the adventure
or we can choose to join in
be swept up and carried along
in the work of redeeming the world.
Liz Crumlish April 2009

Friday, 3 April 2009


Another reflection for Palm Sunday:

What of those children lining the streets.
Caught up in the adults’ excitement.
A festival or feast day for them.
A family day out.
With a special picnic.
For once they could be noisy in the presence of adults.
Because the adults were being noisy too.
For once they weren’t being told to simmer down.
They’d probably rarely seen adults so uninhibited.
Letting their hair down.
Throwing their heads back in unbridled mirth. The children had known from the beginning this Jesus was a hero.
It was great that the adults had finally caught on.
All those times they’d been in trouble for staying out beyond supper because they’d
followed Jesus around.
Now maybe their folks would finally understand.
There was just something about this guy.
But then Sunday was over.
And the week stretched ahead.
Things went quiet.
Eerily quiet.
There was something wrong.
It wasn’t just the anti-climax that often follows excitement.
This was an an unnatural quiet, a quiet that signaled something not good.
The adults were whispering again.
In little groups.
Closing up as soon as the children appeared.
They were used to adult’s secrets.
But there was something different about these secrets.
They felt bad.
And so the week dragged on.
It was almost a relief when the crowds gathered again.
Although it was ugly, at least it was a resolution of sorts.
And how ugly.
How could folk turn so quickly and so completely?
Is that what happens to adults?
They follow each other.
All good together.
And all bad together just as easily.
What happened to those partying folk?
Now they were yelling at the children, and yelling at each other.
And especially yelling at Jesus.
Crucify him.
Crucify him.
What had he done in a week to so turn their minds.
From hero worship.
To a blood thirsty rabble.
The children would never understand the vagaries of adult minds.

Liz Crumlish 2008

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Not us

Looking ahead to Palm Sunday, here is my reflection on that fickle crowd:

Did you know?
When you sent your disciples to borrow that colt, did you know? Did you know that, as you rode on its back, the crowds would line the streets to greet you? Did you know the children would wave branches? You said that, if the crowds hadn’t shouted their welcome, the stones along the way would have called out in praise? So what was it all about? Some giant ego trip? A display of your popularity? Or did you have in your mind all along that prophecy that said that the king would ride on a donkey? Was it a giant political statement? A king without all the paraphernalia?
Or were you just plain stupid? I mean it couldn’t have escaped your notice that you’d really ticked off the authorities. Doing the kinds of things you did. Healing on the sabbath, encouraging folk to question their rulers. Even upsetting the economy by questioning their taxes. Why, if you had to be in the city - why didn’t you just skulk in quietly? Why the entourage? What part of - “they’re out to get you” did you not understand? Or was it that you’d played their game long enough. Now it was time to get the inevitable over with. If you were going to die, then let’s get on with it.
And as those crowds greeted you like a hero, were you able to enjoy it? Were you able to bask in their praises and forget, just for a while, that by the end of the week those same voices would be baying for your blood - and those same hands, palms raised in welcome and salute, would become clenched fists, demanding your execution?

And don’t you know, Jesus, that we would never do that?
We would never sing your praises one minute and call for your demise the next.
Not us who gather week in week out, in our Sunday best, singing your praise, reading your word.
No fickleness in us.
None of that going with the flow, following the crowd, saving our own necks.
Not us.
While that crowd were gunning for you, we would have been defending you, challenging them.
We would have been just as vehement in our defence of you.
We would have put our heads above the parapet and stuck up for you.
We would!
We would!
Well, Ok then, maybe we would have calmed our jets a bit.
I mean there would be no point in us all coming to a sad end.
It would be daft to follow you that far, stick our necks out so much that we lost them.
But we would at least have whispered “Leave him alone”.
Or, to be on the safe side, we would have kept quiet.
Stood in silence, while all around us, your fate was being sealed.
We would have stood our ground, quietly, as your execution papers were drawn up.
Ours would have been a silent protest.
That’s effective you know - standing quiet while there is raging all around us.
We would have stuck it out, quietly.
Don’t we make you proud.
Isn’t our loyalty and bravery just what you need?
Liz Crumlish 2008