For Those Who Have Far To Travel

If you could see
the journey whole,
you might never
undertake it,
might never dare
the first step
that propels you
from the place
you have known
toward the place
you know not.

Call it
one of the mercies
of the road:
that we see it
only by stages
as it opens
before us,
as it comes into
our keeping,
step by
single step.

There is nothing
for it
but to go,
and by our going
take the vows
the pilgrim takes:

to be faithful to
the next step;
to rely on more
than the map;
to heed the signposts
of intuition and dream;
to follow the star
that only you
will recognize;

to keep an open eye
for the wonders that
attend the path;
to press on
beyond distractions,
beyond fatigue,
beyond what would
tempt you
from the way.

There are vows
that only you
will know:
the secret promises
for your particular path
and the new ones
you will need to make
when the road
is revealed
by turns
you could not
have foreseen.

Keep them, break them,
make them again;
each promise becomes
part of the path,
each choice creates
the road
that will take you
to the place
where at last
you will kneel

to offer the gift
most needed—
the gift that only you
can give—
before turning to go
home by
another way.


© Jan Richardson.


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To Thine Own Self Be True



…and it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.


(W. Shakespeare, “Hamlet”)

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Peace Be With You

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Prayer for the New Year

Psalm 84 (adjusted)

How dear to me is your dwelling, O God of hosts! *
My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of God;
my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.

The sparrow has found her a house
and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young; *
by the side of your altars, O God of hosts,
my Queen and my God.

Happy are they who dwell in your house! *
they will always be praising you.

Happy are the people whose strength is in you! *
whose hearts are set on the pilgrims’ way.

Those who go through the desolate valley will find it a place of springs, *
for the early rains have covered it with pools of water.

They will climb from height to height, *
and the God of gods will reveal herself in Zion.

God of hosts, hear my prayer; *
hearken, O God of Leah and Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah.

Behold our defender, O God; *
and look upon the face of your Anointed.

For one day in your courts is better than a thousand in my own room, *
and to stand at the threshold of the house of my God 
than to dwell in the tents of the wicked.

For God is both sun and shield; *
she will give grace and glory;

No good thing will God withhold *
from those who walk with integrity.

O God of hosts, *
happy are they who put their trust in you!

Isaiah 62:1-5,10-12 (adjusted)

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
   and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
until her vindication shines out like the dawn,
   and her salvation like a burning torch. 
The nations shall see your vindication,
   and all the kings your glory;
and you shall be called by a new name
   that the mouth of God will give. 
You shall be a crown of beauty 
   and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. 
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
   and your land shall no more be termed Desolate;
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
   and your land Married;
for God delights in you,
   and your land shall be married. 
For as a young man marries a young woman,
   so shall your builder marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
   so shall your God rejoice over you. 
Go through, go through the gates,
   prepare the way for the people;
build up, build up the highway,
   clear it of stones,
   lift up an ensign over the peoples. 
God has proclaimed
   to the end of the earth:
Say to daughter Zion,
   ‘See, your salvation comes;
her reward is with her,
   and her recompense before her.’ 
They shall be called, ‘The Holy People,
   The Redeemed of God’;
and you shall be called, ‘Sought Out,
   A City Not Forsaken.’

Matthew 1:18-25

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 
‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
   and they shall name him Emmanuel’,
which means, ‘God is with us.’ When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.



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Holding on & Letting Go

At the end of this year, what have been your happy, proud, peaceful and grateful moments? Hold these today, and take them with you into the new year. These are the things you can build on in the months to come. These will help you to fill the new year with joy, contentment, peace and gratitude as well.

What have been your painful, fearful, angry moments this year? Hold these today, and then let them go if you can. If there are things you don’t need to carry into the new year, today is the day to lay them down as the unnecessary burdens they are.

May the new year bring you, and me, what we hope for, what we need, and what builds us up and helps us to grow. May we all have fullness of life, held by God who loves us and takes delight in us as we are.

Much love and every blessing to you and those you hold dear.

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You Deserve

Alison Malee

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The Broken Places

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