Soul Space- The Blog...

A place to spend a little time, to meditate, to breathe, to grow...

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Man who planted trees

A short film of hope and renewal

The man who planted trees

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Countless Golden tears

I took a walk on Saturday on Skipworth Common. I had passed it the day before returning from a visit to Driffield. I had caught site of some odd buildings near the road and when I was home researched the area and discovered it had previously been a war time airfield, Riccal. I also discovered that part of it was now part of a nature reserve – Skipworth Common. So my wife and I  went there for a walk. these are photos I took of the old runway and the surrounding area. It was quite eerie to walk along what was once a runway and perimeter track, past dispersal areas and think of the few short years in which this land was the last that some knew. I wondered what the earth could tell us of them if it could speak. When I got home I started to put together some thoughts in poetry – not something I do that often.

Here is that poem:

Autumn returns

To the disused Runways

Perimeter tracks and dispersal areas

Now fractured, softened, hidden

Made green with grass and trees

Joggers now dodge Walkers with dogs

Who, without thought, trace

The steps of yesterdays forgotten heroes

Whilst unnumbered silver birch

Give voice to the unknown endless prayers

Absorbed by this burdened ground

And, as if in answer God weeps

Countless Golden tears

That lay upon the troubled earth

Soothing its memory of

Once heard, once felt,

Sorrows, hopes and fears

Of young men who

Took wing into the night

Some never to return to this

Earthly runway

While their brothers

In empty Bombers

Land bearing relieved

If heavy hearts.

Tim Coleman 1/11/09

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

who can save us from ourselves?

Thougts springing from Exodus 2:1-15

Moses found as an insignificant baby became the leader who would save his people from slavery and lead them into freedom and a land where they could be their own masters and masters of their own destiny.

Today there is another form of slavery that holds people captive and makes them toil and labour. Millions die in poverty and the earths resources squandered on the wasteful life styles of the rich as they spend themselves pursuing a dream that seems to evaporate like a mist, they waste their lives trying to fulfil their veracious appetites for more and more and yet are never satisfied.

We are this people.

Who can save us from ourselves? How can we be saved? How can we be free of the tyranny of modern life? How can we escape the clutches of this carnivorous capitalistic consumerist profit machine that seeks to use us and consume us?
Can Christ save us? How does some chap hanging on a cross 2000 years ago make any difference? What power is there in this? Jesus Christ, like Moses, comes to us as a child, through his teaching, life, death and resurrection he calls us to follow him to freedom. But we are not to use that freedom to indulge the sinful nature or we end up as slaves of our own ineptitude and sin and miss the opportunity to be a blessing to others. Like the waters that flow in the river Jordan into the Dead Sea, the life giving power stagnates and evaporates and what remains is devoid of life or life giving power.

The cross is the sign of Gods love and commitment to us and the power is the power of the resurrection, the proof that Jesus is the Christ – the son of God – God in the flesh; the proof that not even death can stop God. If this is true than nothing, absolutely nothing can separates us from God and his power is more than a match for our sinful nature.

Thus by Gods power at work within us, to will and to act according to his good purposes, he can do immeasurable more than we could possibly ask or imagine in us and through us. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

How then can we be free of the power of sin? By submitting to the power of the Holy Spirit! Being renewed and transformed by the Word of God in the hands of the Holy Spirit, bringing life and hope.
By giving ourselves as a living sacrifice to the Living God and thereby crucifying the sinful nature with all its passions and desires.

God has to change the appetites of our heart so that we no longer crave those things that we hoped would make life worth living, that would give us joy, bring us peace and give us a home. The Holy Spirit redirects our cravings to find fulfilment in a pattern of life that is wholesome, holy, honouring to God and a blessing to others and the world we live in.

Come Holy Spirit and help us. Help us to submit to your transforming power. Change the desires of our hearts to want to follow and live the way of Christ. Empower us to follow, to deny our selfish sinful nature, to take up our cross and follow. Amen.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Monday, June 12, 2006

Fresh Wind Fresh Fire

John 3: 1-21. Isaiah 6:1-8

I have a love hate relationship with the John is a text that has been abused and misused- along with the term Born Again. Adrian Plass has some interesting comments on this very phrase.
As an evangelist I acknowledge that people need a spiritual re-birth, but as a pastor I see that so many within the church see themselves as second class Christians because they cannot point back to a dramatic experience, they cannot pinpoint a time or place...
People who live godly lives- showing real evidence of spiritual fruit are uncertain of their salvation because they cannot point back to a day and time of re-birth...they feel they are not proper Christians. another reaction is to dismiss experience and criticise other for spiritual excesses
When we lived in Texas, I had to go to collect my Social Security number, while we were there a young lady came into the office, her purse had been stolen- she was getting married the next day and needed her Social Security number- she knew all of the information about herself (of course she did...) but was unable to prove her identity because everything had been stolen- birth certificate, drivers licence, passport everything. She had no proof of her own existence, yet she was standing right in front of the clerk, giving detailed information- obviously alive, and very human in her distress...
The clerk was unable to help- she needed more, she needed documents....
Jesus is not interested in our documentation, isn't interested in which family we were born into, the time and day of our birth, what he is interested in is our entry into a new birth, a new way- he is interested into us entering into a spiritual reality...
The young lady was not asking for papers and official stamps- she was wanting to enter into a new relationship- one where she would give herself in marriage- one that would in many ways make her a different person because she had joined her life with another life. In a marriage ceremony rings are exchanged along with vows, the tow bind themselves to one another- often the woman takes a new surname as a sign to the world that all is not as it was.
That is what Jesus is pointing to- Nicodemus has come late at night, intrigued by what he has seen and heard, he comes acknowledging this- essentially asking- who are you, and is confronted immediately with the need for rebirth- spiritual birth;
Nicodemus understood the importance of spiritual life, he would probably have assented to the belief that the soul was made of 3 parts which are called by the Hebrew names, nefesh, ruach and neshama. The word neshama is a cognate of nesheema, which means literally "breath." Ruach means "wind." Nefesh comes from the root nafash, meaning "rest," as in the verse, "On the seventh day, [God] ceased work and rested (nafash)." (Exodus 31:17).
God's exhaling a soul can be compared to a glassblower forming a vessel. The breath (neshama) first leaves his lips, travels as a wind (ruach) and finally comes to rest (nefesh) in the vessel. Of these three levels of the soul, neshama is therefore the highest and closes to God, while nefesh is that aspect of the soul residing in the body. Ruach stands between the two, binding man to his spiritual Source.
Ruach is the word Jesus uses here, he is speaking of fresh wind from God, fresh wind bringing about re-birth to eternal life, a new move of God's Spirit
Nicodemus would have believed in Resurrection following judgement in the last times- he may have held to the thought that the main judgement after death is in Gehenna, where the soul is cleansed in a spiritual fire, and purified so that it can receive its eternal reward.
Jesus was pointing to a new way- a way that started with re-birth now, a way that would lead to eternal life not because of the righteousness of the person entering into it, but because of Jesus own righteousness. Not because of any experience we may have had but through receiving new life into ourselves- God breathed life-fresh wind, fresh fire. Ruach.
Jesus points to his crucifixion- saying how like serpent Moses raised up on a pole in the desert was the source of healing for the Israelites who had been bitten by the serpents that came amongst them,Jesus was too become the source of our healing- the illustration is a deep one - the serpent had been the source of the problem- it was through looking truly at the source of the problem that the Israelites received healing. On the cross Jesus somehow took upon and into himself all of the worlds ills -
he bore our sins and carried our diseases
Looking to him; lifted up , looking to him as crucified Lord , we look into our own sin and recognise our need for re-birth, for renewal- for fresh wind- for cleansing fire...
Isaiah when faced with the awesome holiness of God declared
Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."
Jesus reveals God to us on the cross in a new way- the God who came close, the God who entered fully into our world- the God who on the cross shows us ourselves, and when we acknowledge our need comes with fresh wind and fire to recreate us...
We need to live in the reality of our spiritual re-birth everyday- our very lives will show the evidence of it if life is there for we will live as those who walk in the light- not perfect, but not ashamed of our imperfections for we are being transformed...
The alternative is stark, unable to look to Jesus we hide in the darkness- possibly trying to perfect ourselves, to drag ourselves into the light- but the truth is plain- we cannot produce a re-birth within ourselves- we need to be born from above... to allow Gods breath to blow through our lives Ruach binding us to our source, fresh Spirit wind, renewing, recreating and restoring...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Fathers love...

Have you ever thought about what it might mean to be a person who radiates God’s love? Jesus radiated that love and in doing so opened himself to criticism; about his friendships, his cleanliness and his eating habits! He received the clean and the unclean alike, touching both (often to the horror of the former)...
How weak as I am can I pattern my life after his?
First I must accept Gods’ loving embrace:
"The Father interrupted the sons strategy for return....The interruption ... performed a transformation. After failure in the distant country the son reconstructed his identity as a "son not worthy to be called a son". By the sheer joy of his fathers embrace, without a word his identity starts to be changed again. The son made his confession but right at the point where his strategy dictate that he inform his father about the new identity he has constructed for himself.... the father interrupts him again. The confession made to the father who embraced him has taken his identity in relation to the father out of his hands and placed it into the hands of the father. With a command to the slaves, the father reconstructed the prodigal’s identity. He ordered a robe the best one- pit on him, a ring placed on his finger, as the prodigal was transformed before our eyes he called him son of mine. First he symbolically remade the "son who is not worthy to be called a son" into the "son he could be proud" of, then he named him "son of mine". The secret, the father would not let his son, his lost and dead son out of his hearts embrace."- Volf -Exclusion and Embrace
God does not let us out of His embrace, He waits for us patiently, arms and heart ready to receive... despite our frailty, our weakness and our brokenness we are received, we need no masks, we have no need to construct a new identity for ourselves (it will be rejected anyway).
Once we have received the embrace of God, truly received it we will be changed, and we will find ourselves able to love and accept others...
The problem is we leave home often, sometimes without realising it, we wander away and when we meet others in need of embrace we reject them because they are other... at that moment what is sorely needed is for us to r return home, to receive again the embrace of the Father, the kiss of the Mother.
As children grow, they come to believe that they no longer need touch, no longer need to be embraced.... they are wrong, just as we are when we leave home and stray away from the loving arms of God Only then are we able to radiate God’s love...

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


We live in an age of information, an age where we can access knowledge quickly and easily, every day we are able to read reports and accounts from around the world. We hear information on the radio, we the news unfold before our eyes via satellite straight to our T.V. screens… but does this knowledge bring with it wisdom or is wisdom something different?

Wisdom comes to us through story and image, simile and riddle- her story been passed down through the ages by oral tradition and through wisdom literature whose roots are steeped in the Jewish and other traditions…
Wisdom is personified – Lady Wisdom – who is the antidote to Dame Folly. Wisdom has her origin in God (Prov. 8:22), and comes into the physical world with a distinct mission (Prov. 8. 4; 31-36). Wisdom is a divine gift (Prov. 2:6) and requires a disciplined approach from those who seek to attain knowledge of her (Prov 4: 10-27).

Jesus sought wisdom, spoke wisdom and knew wisdoms ways to such an extent that he could be said to have personified wisdom herself- for this reason it is profitable to pay close attention to Jesus teachings.

In the wisdom tradition beatitudes (blessings) were taught to convey practical wisdom, Jesus used beatitudes (Luke 6:20-26) in a new way to teach a reversal of values that were commonly placed upon earthly things like wealth and power, to point to a new way of living a life in God’s new kingdom. At the same time he gave a series of warnings against living self centred lives, of being satisfied with the temporary.

He taught wisdom through parable; teaching his hearers to prepare their lives to be good soil in which to receive the seeds of his teachings (Luke 8 1-15) ; to show what it means to be a good neighbour (Luke 10: 25-37) to store up treasure that would last, rather than earthly riches. (Luke 12:13-21).
Jesus confused his contemporaries, he confuses many today; yet for those who have eyes to see true wisdom will out, for those who would seek her wisdom was and is attainable. (Luke 7 :35).