© Tash McGill
Some ruthless self-promotion here.. and some promotion for a friend.. please check out Dave and Co if you get the chance, they’re hilarious… and pray for the youthband kickoff and development day on saturday. It’s all about stretching and growing to new heights and openign doors for those who are younger.

One Night Travellin’ With The Light
There is an old ritual from the Early Church where they kept a lamp burning in their meeting places, bringing it into their services…

The early Christian ritual of carrying a lamp into the evening service led to the present-day order of Vespers with its entry and the singing of the ancient hymn, “O Jesus Christ, the Joyful Light…,” which expresses the Christian teaching of spiritual light that illumines man — of Christ the Source of the grace-bestowing light. The order of the morning service of Matins is also linked to the idea of the Uncreated Light of Christ, manifested in His Incarnation and Resurrection.

The Fathers of the Church also witnessed to the spiritual significance of candles. In the 2nd Century, Tertullian wrote: “We never hold a service without candles, yet we use them not just to dispel night’s gloom — we also hold our services in daylight — but in order to represent by this Christ, the Uncreated Light, without Worn we would in broad daylight wander as if lost in darkness” [ Works, 3rd ed., Kiev, 1915, p.76]. The Blessed Jerome wrote in the 4th Century that “In all the Eastern Churches, candles are lit even in the daytime when one is to read the Gospels, in truth not to dispel the darkness, but as a sign of joy…in order under that factual light to feel that Light of which we read in the Psalms (119:105): Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” [Works, part IV, 2nd ed., Kiev, 1900, pp.301-302].

St. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, wrote in the 7th Century: “Lampadas and candles represent the Eternal Light, and also the light which shines from the righteous” [Writings of the Holy Fathers…, St. Petersburg, 1855, Vol. I, p.270]. The Holy Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council decreed that in the Orthodox Church, the holy Icons and relics, the Cross of Christ, and the Holy gospel were to be honored by censing and the lighting of candles; and the Blessed Simeon of Thessalonica (15th Century) wrote that “candles are also lit before the Icons of the Saints, for the sake of their good deeds that shine in this world” [Works, Moscow, 1916, p. 108].More Here…

Tonight I went and celebrated Christ with the High Res youth community of Kumeu Baptist. It was a special time to be part of their Living Room service ..they began their service of pragmatic spirituality with ‘bringing in the lantern’ from the Holy Place. The service in itself was simple, intimate, honest, neither pretentious in it’s ambition nor it’s execution. The attitude of generosity and willingness was apparent in the faces, expressions and playing of the band. There were well-integrated stations throughout the room, tables for art, pew type rows of chairs, small tables, cosy lighting. It didn’t feel like the thought process behind the service was pushing or pulling the community it was serving. All in all, it was a privilege to be part of.

More Excellence Vs Exuberance
For some, the tone of excellence is key in the level to which they participate in the ‘worship’ elements of a service. For my journey, I find the spaces where I am left to worship God with my voice in a deficit of musical complexity some of the most endearing. When I offer my praise to God in the midst of dissonance .. there is something magic in that moment, where I know God hears something I don’t.

Travellin’
Tonight on the road home, the coolness of the night had drawn the fog out from the ground, and driving through the valley between Kumeu and Paremoremo was grey and soggy. Then as I climbed out of the valley along Ridge Rd, it all cleared and I was left on a clear road, where the deep black became blue. An interesting analogy for clearing and cleaning, de-misting the mind, as well as the physical.

I am not yet clear, but it was good to be away from home tonight, and yet not away at all. I felt at home in the Living Room. Something new was birthed, and something older refreshed, so I will keep going for a little while, until I find another resting place. I’m still moving, and so for a small time, I may be okay. Thank goodness for that.

There was a passage of Scripture read tonight, that struck me and stuck with me.. that’s part of the clearing process I think.

Religious Fashion Shows

Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. “The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer.
“Instead of giving you God’s Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn’t think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called “Doctor’ and “Reverend.’

“Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of “Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them–Christ.

“Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.

Some of the best leadership I have seen in my life, are the leaders who lead from behind and middle and sidelines. They encourage and open doors. I long for this to be the model of my life, to capture the potential around me and somehow create spaces for them to be excellent, genuine, deep, wellgrown people of faith. So I must not become that which this passage speaks about. I must continually step down to serve my teams, my people, my leaders. I must concentrate on growing out & down rather than up. I should relish the opportunities that I have to lead and serve outside the gaze of my superiors, and I should remember that my superiors are my classmates for my sake and their own. I should remember not to remind them of that fact. Just serve and love my people, get amongst them and push them out and forward and up.. above me and around me.. lifting those below me up. Spurred on by this picture.. side by side with the famous and non-famous bloggers, theologians male & female, with the authors, artists, poets, songwriters and the off-key singers..

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Maybe there are answers in here for me, as I wait to be older, wiser, experienced. Maybe there are answers that will enable me to be visibly teachable, humble, graceful. To be true to my designer’s plan, and patient enough to accept it.

Song Of The Moment
You Answer Me
Jennifer Knapp

all the things i want to say
all at once they wash away
As You walk by, out of mind
My thoughts fly away

all the things I long to hear
Suddenly they reappear
You say in that hour Your holy Power
Will wipe away my fears

I can hear You cry out loud
When You answer me
When You answer me
Once again I am revived
When You answer me You answer
When You answer me You answer me with love

To know You are I Am
Confidence of lion laying with the lamb
In greener fields, with all my zeal,
Is hard to comprehend

I can hear You cry out loud
When You answer me
When You answer me
Once again I am revived
When You answer me You answer
When You answer me You answer me with

(With) love so understanding
I can hardly catch my breath
Seeing this I wonder how You have any love left
(Left) me not alone
When I did not believe
Through the darkness, through the darkness You answer me

I can hear You cry out loud
When You answer me
When You answer me
Once again I am revived
When You answer me You answer
When You answer me You answer me with love

What do you think?