Heaven is Weeping: An Open Letter to the House of Bishops @C_of_E @JustinWelby @JohnSentamu

Sandra Delemare:

This post is very much in line with my own thoughts, but much more eloquently put.

Originally posted on Phil's Boring Blog:


Greetings in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, your Lord and mine in our common journey of faith: to him be the glory for ever and ever!

I am writing this letter hesitantly because, as a member of a clergy household myself, I am aware of the immense pressure that you live under and of the immense burden of responsibility that you shoulder as the Lords Spiritual in our land: may the Lord give each and every one of you the courage, grace, strength and wisdom you need as you carry out your duties in his service.

First of all, I would like to thank you for all the time and effort that you put into so many different and often conflicting areas of life, especially on matters of injustice here in the UK and elsewhere in the world. Thank you, in particular, to those who…

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Meet Spot…

Meet Spot, my latest ‘excuse’ for not posting.

Spot, aka Microchip, is a Lancashire Heeler – a rare British dog breed. We found one wandering in the road over 20 years ago, and I was thrilled to find that he was a proper breed and not some random mutt. Chip was with us for 17 years, and until his last year was still willing to walk as far as we cared to go.

We planned on getting another dog when I retired. Putting on weight since giving up the evil weed gave some urgency to finding one – I feel a bit lost walking in the Forest (the ‘New’ one in Hampshire) without a dog. Having sold Mum’s house, and with Christmas over, we decided it was time to get serious. My husband had been keeping an eye on the Heeler Club website and found ONE puppy available in the whole of England – and he was just the other side of the Forest!

That was a fortnight ago; Spot has been with us a week now and we’re slowly settling into some sort of routine. It will be some time before he’s able to go on proper walks. He’s confined to the garden or being carried until he’s had his second jab, and then only short walks for the next three months or so. Heelers are small cattle dogs, they may be small but they’re all dog – not toys. When full grown, they’ll keep going all day. Thanks to Caroline and Stephen of MadinCrowd Hardy Heelers for such a lovely, well socialised puppy who’s currently using the crook of my arm as a chin rest as he sleeps beside me in an armchair.

In the meantime, I’m continuing with my meditations on Jesus. I’ve started working through Ephesians and this morning had a relook at Ephesians 1:9 ‘…[God] made known to us the mystery…’ which led me to Colossians 1:27 ‘…God has chosen to make known… the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.’

What a phrase to meditate on:

‘Christ in you, the hope of glory.’

Sometimes, if we are feeling very low, these words can seem to mock us. And yet… even then, something deep inside says ‘yes and amen’. Deep calls to deep and we know that this vale of tears will pass, the weeping lasts for a night and JOY comes with the morning. We may not be deliriously happy, but deep inside there is an inner contentment that is unshaken by outside events.

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Where have I been?

For the past year, this blog has been mostly ticking over. Most of my time and energies have been spent clearing my Mum’s house prior to selling – many a time I thought we wouldn’t make it!

There was so much stuff to clear, and all the emotional baggage that went with it.

Since the sale, I have had a strong sense that I need to let go of the past. My brother and I have taken a lot of Mum’s stuff back to our houses. In time, we shall need  to let go of much of this.

A few days ago I came across The New Year’s Resolution You’ve Already Broken, a guest post by Alece Ronzino on Jeff Goins’ blog, in my email inbox. Alece’s idea is that instead of making New Year resolutions we should choose a word which encapsulates our aspirations for the coming year.

As I was reading her post a word came to me – JESUS!

I commented that I could easily find 365 reasons for choosing that! 3 came immediately:

1) our goal as Christians is to become more Christ-like – ‘being transformed into his likeness’ [2Corinthians 3:18] – ‘becoming mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ’ [Ephesians 4:13]

2) He set his face like flint to do what he had to – prophesied in Isaiah 50:7 and Luke tells us that ‘as the time approached for him to be taken up into heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem’ (where he knew that suffering and death awaited him) [Luke 9:51]

3) Jesus is always with me – it was his promise after giving the Great Commission [Matthew 28:20], and the name given before his birth, Emanuel (God with us) [Matthew 1:23]

I’ve since thought of sources for more reasons – the ‘I am’ statements, particularly in John’s gospel; and the ‘in Christ’ statements in Paul’s letters.

I hope to do a weekly summary of what I’m finding as I meditate on Jesus throughout the year.

How about you? Have you any special thoughts about Jesus that you would like to share?

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2013 in review

This year I’ve largely been ticking over with the blog (more on that in the next few days). A big THANK YOU to all my followers who have remained faithful over this time and encouraged me to keep going.

Maybe you could comment on what are you favourite topics so I could write on them this coming year.


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,600 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 43 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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How Could I have Missed It? – My Story 11

During what I describe as the Dark Years, I thought that I had ‘blown it’, that I wasn’t a proper Christian.

How could I have missed it? In the Old Testament we are told time and time again how God gave the Israelites second chance after second chance. The book of Judges has many stories of how the Israelites did their own thing, things got bad and God sent them a ‘judge’ to rescue them. Deborah, that fearsome lady (who says God doesn’t use women?) who relished in telling how Jael had shattered Sisera’s head with a tent peg [Judges 5: 26]. And Gideon, who protested that he was too weak to save Israel [Judges 6:15] – and many more.

David is described as ‘a man after God’s own heart’ – yet he was an adulterer and a murderer.

And in the New Testament, Jesus reinstated Peter after he had denied Him three times. You can read about this in John’s gospel chapter 21.

And then there’s the parable of the Prodigal Son [Luke 15: 11-32] – how could I have forgotten that Father God is ever watching, longing to embrace His prodigals and throw a party to celebrate their return?

How could I have missed all that? During those dark years, I really thought I’d blown it – I avoided reading the bible because I kept coming across verses like ‘a dog returns to its vomit’ [2Peter 2:22]  and ‘if we deliberately keep on sinning after we have receive the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left’ [Hebrews 10:26].

Then God came, the Good Shepherd seeking his lost sheep [as in Ezekiel 34:16], as I describe here – the turning point in my life.

If you’re in a dark place, remember God is only ever a prayer’s breadth away – he always responds to a sinners’ prayer – ‘god have mercy on me a sinner’ [Luke 18:13].

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A NEW ATTITUDE – ‘…Change the way you think…’

‘…Change the way you think…’

Romans 12:2

Today’s reading from Bob Gass’ Word for Today is spot on. It endorses many DBT principles:

“For things to change for the better, you must ‘change the way you think.’ For example: a) View setbacks as detours, not dead ends. Winners don’t just face adversity; they embrace it, knowing it leads to future success. b) Tune out the critics and focus on doing your best. Anybody who accomplishes anything worthwhile has to overcome naysayers. c) When you’re afraid, praise God until your faith rebuilds. It may take a while, but praise and thanksgiving never fail, and they strengthen you to go on. d) When you fail, look for the lesson and remember all the times you’ve succeeded. Weed out self-doubt and replace it with scriptural self-talk. e) When you’re heading into battle, visualise yourself winning in God’s strength—with Him ‘…all things are possible’ (Matthew 19:26 NIV). f) Instead of focusing on the past and worrying about the future, focus on the now—that’s where your influence is greatest. Remember, God said, ‘…As your days, so shall your strength be’ (Deuteronomy 33:25 NKJV). g) Instead of complaining, work on identifying solutions, and more will come to you. h) When you’re distracted, focus on your breathing, take a walk and clear your mind, think on what you can control, and surrender the rest to God. i) When you’re lonely, remember the people who’ve helped you this far and who love and support you. j) When you’re fatigued, take time to rest—but never ever give up! Finish strong in everything you do. k) When you’re under pressure and under scrutiny, smile and have fun. You only live once. Life is short… so seize the moment!’
The UCB Word for Today – 11 Sep 2013

‘Change the way you think’ – this is the principle behind CBT, from which DBT was developed.

‘Instead of focusing on the past and worrying about the future, focus on the now’ – this is what mindfulness is about. As we exercise being mindful, we train our minds to focus on the present – the only time when we can do anything.

‘When you’re distracted, focus on your breathing, take a walk and clear your mind, think on what you can control, and surrender the rest to God’ – mindfulness of our breath is one of the simplest mindfulness exercises. We can do it anywhere. It’s one of the key mindfulness exercises that we taught patients. Many a time I would talk a patient through breathing mindfully rather than dishing out the ‘little blue pills’. [Sometimes they were too distressed, and I did give some medication, but sometimes they were able to calm themselves without.]

‘When you’re under pressure and under scrutiny, smile and have fun’ – there was one session of our emotional coping skills course which I called the ‘fun session’, where we discussed what we might put into our ‘self-soothe kit’ – a box prepared in advance for when things got tough. It included objects that could help us relax: soothing music; soft, velvety fabric; perfumed hand cream or bath oil etc. – and maybe a joke book or funny video. [I’m showing my age here: as a child I could never listen to ‘the Laughing Policeman’ without smiling.] We can’t do our problems 24/7. Take time out and smile!


Bob Gass’ Word for Today is often relevant to our mental health. It is available online here. Free print copies are available in the UK and the Republic of Ireland from:

United Christian Broadcasters
(Hanchurch Office)
Broadcast Centre, Hanchurch Lane, Stoke on Trent, ST4 8RY.
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Garden Prayer Walk – 2 – Olive Tree

Continuing my Garden Prayer Walk – the Olive Tree:

This reminds me of the Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives.


Gethsemane always speaks to me of Jesus’ humanity. He really would rather not have gone to the cross. If there had been any other way, He would have taken it – and yet ‘not my will, but yours be done’ [Luke 22:42]. And ‘for the joy set before him, he endured the cross’ [Hebrews 12:2].

What joy? The joy of knowing that His death would reconcile us to God, and not only us, but all things:

‘For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him [Jesus], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.’ [Colossians 1:19,20]

My prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that You were prepared to go to the cross so that I might be reconciled to Father God.

May I not forget this when times are hard, but have the same spirit as James wrote about, considering it ‘pure joy’ when I face the trials of life [James 1:2], knowing that those trials will test my faith and develop perseverance [Romans 5:1-5], the ability to hang on in there and not give up.

May I also not forget that a servant is not greater than his/her Master [John 13:16 and 15:20]. Just as You suffered, we too will suffer. But our sufferings are as nothing compared to Yours; and our sufferings are ‘not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us’ [Romans 8:18].

‘and the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast’ [1Peter 5:10].

Gethsemane means ‘Oil Press’:

‘There is no oil without squeezing the olives,
No wine without pressing the grapes,
No fragrance without crushing the flowers, and
No real joy without sorrow.
So when you are pressed,
God is just bringing out the best in you.’

More in this series here.

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