Sky Path

Who worked the path

That I traverse

To make it easier – for me


I love to look up

Into the inky black sky

A rainbow collar around the moon

White shiny dots

Outline the plough

And the guy for archery


Sometimes even planets

Are seen but I know nothing of these

I see only pinhole camera dots


Filled with wonder

Full of awe

At the hands that threw those lights into space

And who made my heart His home

Someone told me about the deathstars

Bright shining lights signalling death


One night two years ago

I saw a shooting star

Drop from the sky


Billy sang it was a satellite

And he wished you cared

But I saw it shoot

And I did not wish anything

As it fell down straight.

To you though, my love, my friend


I look forward to spending time with you

Your mission field was a small patch of land

Seeds planted in each new child


I wonder do the others

Bear their seeds on their path

Maybe if I looked horizontal and not up

I would see across the meadow

Or see pairs of oxen too

Evenly yoked through history


The people came before and are yet to come

The ones who surround me now

The crowd of witnesses from the field


Bringing us all

Closer to Thee O Lord

Closer to Thee.


It was the rain I missed most. Growing up in Ireland you certainly got used to the soft days, the showers, the heavy downpours and torrential rain. I remember one summer; I must have been ten or eleven. It rained every single day for the entire summer holiday, then the first day of term; bright sunshine.

Sitting in the room watching raindrops fall down the window, like an ever changing waterfall, I remember that. The wind, there was always wind, would drive the rain against the window panes. The panes themselves would shudder and moan. They were the old type, two halves and a sash cord to raise them up or down, only one fixing in the middle. Designed to last, designed before house burglary became an occupation for so many, but they did like to groan.

The house was, I remember, fond of talking. Floorboards creaked as you stood on them, doors whined as you opened and then exhaled when closed. Tiles on the roof thought they were in a rock band, pounding rhythms with the rain, thrashing out da-dum,da-dum, da-dum. Presses and cupboards held their own secrets; moths, insects and spiders all vying to be top-dog of whatever press they were in.

Up the creaky stairs and along the corridor was the bathroom. For a young curious lad the bathroom held the most appeal. In the twilight, silverfish roamed the tiled floor, woodlice snuck out of the skirting board and made a dash for the underbelly, the dark side of the bath. Once I counted four different kinds of mould and fungi growing in the damp humid conditions, black mould on the walls, a turquoise growth in the corner of the bath. Under the sink was a platform, hewn from fresh timber for the ‘smallies’ in the house but it had aged and in the clammy dank darkness of the bathroom and had grown orange and yellow curly foils of fungi. My brother, the daft one, wanted to eat them but then he would eat anything; charcoal, turf, the dog’s dinner. He was always so hungry and so painfully thin.

He was the first of our family to die in the 2014 emergency. He had always been sickly and couldn’t cope without medicine. Slowly getting weaker and paler, more ghost than human, his skin translucent. The veins and arteries throbbed slower and slower. There was nothing we could do to stop his death, living in a big old house ten miles from the nearest neighbour, no transportation; we sat with him as he took his final breath.


Dad and I dug a grave for him in the orchard, it was raining and the raindrops were making puddles as fast as we shovelled. Mam wrapped him in curtains and carried him out to the hole that would become his home. It was very sad. Within a year I was the only one left, in the wind, in the rain, in the house that talked. It got less sad, or maybe I was becoming numb to human suffering, maybe that is why I am so good at my job.

I left the house in a misty rain, August 2015, I didn’t lock the door, I wouldn’t be back and there were still a few people living around, in sheds, in ditches, in hedgerows. Let them have a roof that drums and floors that grumble, let them count the fungi. I was done with it, I was done with Ireland. There were no cars visible anymore, when oil stopped coming to our shores people just put their cars away, buses and trains stopped too so you could walk down the middle of the road and no one would run over you, you could walk all the way to Dublin on the railway tracks with no machine ploughing into you.

Walking with no real plan but to get to Cork and then to wherever I could I am amazed that I landed this new role. I sit in the desert, camouflaged and shoot people. It is a lonely occupation, I can go for days without seeing a soul and then, bang, bang, bang three are dead. The bodies get covered in sand just like the raindrops at home helped bury my family.

I miss my old life; I miss the speaking house, the howling North wind. When I allow myself I miss my family, my brothers and sisters, my mam and dad, all interred in the orchard under the watchful eye of the venting house. I wonder if anyone moved in, I will never go back, this is my life now, each week I get a fresh supply of food, drink and bullets, I want for nothing. Looking out of my peephole with nothing but blue sky and shining sun, I can’t help but miss most of all sitting in my room watching the raindrops cascade down the shuddering windows.

Sermon Thirty One How Christian faith upholds the moral law

john                                         audio clip

Wesley suggests that people are very vague over what Law it is we are to follow.

Now anybody who watches crime drama on television or is aware the story of Al Capone’s capture, knows that successful criminals keep the law of the land apart from their one area of expertise.

It may surprise the world that I have never been arrested, I have never been in the room with the table, three chairs and a tape recorder. The police or Garda Siochana have never arrived at my door to take me or indeed my husband.

Most people break the law, some don’t know they have broken it, others are more flagrant. Paying taxes, giving full disclosure on all financial transactions – do we do that? Keeping to the speed limit, all the time, not just when passing through a town or when someone flashes us to slow down for the speed camera. When we think the law is unjust so we go on our turf bank and cut the sods. When we have an illness that Cannabis helps to alleviate the pain so we grow our own. Drink is so expensive so we distill potín in our shed. We can’t afford fuel so we use the red fuel for the tractor. We cross the road – not at a crossing, jaywalking.

We break the rules or flout them in some cases. “How dare the government tell me I can’t smack my child!” Sadly I have heard this often.

But if we are vague on government laws, rules and regulations, imagine how we are with God’s rules when we no longer, or have ever picked up a bible and read it.

Some of us Christians see the commandment of love and we know God’s grace so we think that it extends to all the world. And it does but it has to be picked up. We have to cry out to Jesus to be our Saviour.

I am thinking this week about the testimony I will give on Friday. Packing all the mercy of God that was needed into two minutes is a feat I am not capable of, it took me weeks to go through every box in my attic head and ask for forgiveness. I had done so much wrong, and had had so much wrong done to me.

Last night, when I expected to sleep soundly after delivering the message (yes with mistakes and omissions and yes I did get tongue tied but in the room, there was such love for me that graciously they saw pauses) but I expected to sleep. Instead another sleepless night. Tormented by the past, remembering the face of human judgement when I told someone my story, do I want to bring that on me again? Why is there a call on my life? I have been the worst of the worst.

About five o’clock this morning a rainbow appeared in my thoughts, a rainbow of power and might, that cut through all the boxes I was lining up. That is the past and there it will stay.

That rainbow, that covenant that God has made with me through Jesus Christ, his blood shed for me at Calvary has washed me clean. There was a fair amount of scrubbing to get every last stain out but I am now clean in him. He looks at me and loves me, just as I am. And I know that is why I have a call on my life because of the conversations I am able to have with those people who think they are the worst of the worse or have had the worst done to them.

The moral law that Wesley talks about, it is the way Jesus described it, not about ticking boxes – I do not murder but in the heart being able to say, “I have had no ill thought against anyone,” and maybe it was only for a minute before an ill thought came again and then we have to throw ourselves on God’s mercy again. Live such beautiful lives that the Jesus is seen through us.

rainbow clouds and empty beds

Streaming dreams on rainbow clouds

Perhaps you’ll never know

Random thoughts run through my head

Perhaps you’ll see them now

Where did it go?

How did we lose it?

Where did it go?

Lost in ether of then.

Midnight cold in empty bed,

Perhaps you feel it too.

Nightmare images fill my head,

D’you see them too?

Where did it go, my love?

How did we lose it?

When did it go, my love?

Was it then?

Or is it now?

Where did it go?

Streaming tears of blotchy cheeks

Perhaps you see them too

Silent meals and nervous hands

D’you notice me at all?

Where did I lose your love?

When was it so?

Why don’t you see my love?

Lost in the ether of now

Where did it go, my love?

How did we lose it?

When did it go, my love?

Was it then?

Or is it now?