London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson has made a commitment to plant 10,000 street trees in the areas where they will most help to improve peoples’ quality of life. Around 1.75 million Londoners live in areas which are further than 1K from an area of space containing nature or wildlife. Around 40 such locations have already been identified and Mayor Johnson has set up a webpage where Londoners can make a request for a tree to be planted in their street see www.london.gov.uk/streettrees . Boris says of the scheme; “I am urging people …to ask for a tree online so we can help to plant trees where people most need them.” The scheme is managed by the Forestry Commission, working in partnership with environmental charity Groundwork.
The new trees planted in my area provide a welcome service for local dogs, but don’t last very long in our neighbourhood where youths tend to pull them up. This happens because of the lack of a regular police or PSO presence. I wonder if Mayor Johnson will be putting as many new police officers as trees on our streets. In the meantime enjoy someone whose tree planting is something more than a political photo opportunity.
Sometimes my daily prayers and readings become a routine, a rhythm just like humming and old familiar tune but in doing so I seem to lose its ability to amaze and surprise. It can be the same for church services, chanting the liturgy and superficially singing along. Exactly when did Jesus leave the building? I think this is when I stopped having the conversation with him and instead just read about him- his past activity. It’s almost like I stopped needing to hear him live and was content with playing the CDs. Let’s get him back off our i-Pods and MP3 players and back into our hearts reflecting a on the true rhythm of life- which can surprise, challenge and amaze us.
Tony Miles put this well in his book Maybe Today. Tony writes:
Lord, don’t let the rhythm of life rock me into a slumber. Rather, keep me conscious of Your purpose and glory….
God of miracles and wonders,
Shatter our complacency;
Challenge our apathy;
Feed our spiritual curiosity;
Until our restless souls
Find peace in your grace and mercy.
This we pray, in the name of our Saviour, Jesus,
Who came that we might find spiritual freedom
And everlasting life. Amen.
Check out Rob Bell’s Nooma film Rhythm
This morning I received a copy of Corner- Rob Bell’s latest and 23rd Nooma film. Now I have to admit that, for me, the last couple of Nooma’s have lost their way in self-indulgence but with Corner Nooma is back to its best. A simple message, creatively executed that prompts Christians to think, pray and act. Essentially Corner is about what it means to be a giving Christian- leaveing a corner for others. It’s done so differently to Rich the previous Nooma film on this topic and it is powerfully brilliant and clear in its message.
Rob unpacks why being rescued, liberated, redeemed isn’t fair: why grace isn’t fair and why God isn’t fair. “When we empower others, when we extend grace to others in their oppression- whatever that may look like- we find out about the grace that God has extended to us.” Corner can be ordered through the usual sources, but I thought I’d share with you this little You Tube movie about how it was made.
I first met Rob Bell a couple of years ago when he visited the UK and premiered this film Breathe-it was the first time I’d ever seen a Nooma film. It was called breath and it blew me away with its proposition that the name of God could be the sound of breathing. I just loved the way Rob unpacked the paradox at the heart of what it means to be human- “all come from the dust and then die and return to the dust.” I thought about this film today when I reflected about how quickly I get frustrated and angry and forget about being breathed into with the divine breath of our mighty creator God- a sacred divine dirt clod. Is there anything right now that you need to breathe out or breathe in?
You can get a glimpse of this from the You Tube video below. I hope you enjoy it. As Rob says, may you come to see that God is here, right now, with us all the time and that the ground that you are standing on is holy and that as you slow down may you become aware that you live, move and breathe in God.
Filed under bible, Christianity, evangelism, faith, faith Christianity, Hope, mission, religion, Rob Bell, theology, unfinished