Let us Wave

Jesus and his disciples travel to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. Jesus asks for a colt to ride. Naturally.

The desperate people, they ran.

The bustling crowds, they cheered.

The branches were waved.

Their valued cloaks laid out on the dusty ground.

Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in God’s name! Blessed the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!

I was going to write a Palm Sunday post this morning, then I read the following insightful words of my friend, Jeff Lucas, and thought I would share those instead! 

‘…..But here’s the thing. There’s no crowds, they’re all thinned now by social distancing, and rightly so. And so now some of us find ourselves as those called to observe this Holy Week, but feeling tired, flat, weary, and somewhat unholy as a result. 

Where doth this lethargy cometh from, I hear you ask, you who have been reading the King James a bit because you’ve got time on your hands. 

Well, for one thing, we’re inactive. Yes, we can go out for exercise, but the sight of an approaching stranger nudges us into multi-layered apprehension. What if they are carriers of the dreaded pox? And then, what side of the path or pavement should I occupy? Do normal traffic rules apply (drive on the left, UK people)? Why aren’t they moving over to play their part in the distancing routine? 

And then, as we pass, should we greet them even briefly, expelling something called droplets in the process? Should we smile, wish them well, or just scurry on? And is the masked person someone taking extra distancing precautions, or are they in fact a bank robber on their way home from a failed job (they went to rob the bank, but like everything else, it was closed…..)

We watch screens and are overwhelmed by a continual flow of bad news, daunting statistics and speculation. We are grateful for national leaders who are doing their best and heartened by health worker heroes who are spending themselves for us. But then their self-sacrificial giving of themselves creates a greater sense of powerlessness in us – what, if anything, can we do to help? We’re told that our greatest contribution is to stay at home and save lives – and that is true – but it seems like a paltry effort. 

In lockdown, our conversations go in circles. There’s a shortage of ‘so what did you do today’ chatter, because we all know what we did today. And the we feel additional gloom about feeling glum together, because we know that there are many who have to steer through lock down alone.

All in all, some of us feel various degrees of emotional flatness. I write, not to add to the sense of gloom, but to say that it’s okay to feel like this. We should grieve when young nurses die, and when we wonder what on earth will happen to the poor in India. We should recognise that we were created for productivity, and when our capacity to deliver, produce, complete and resolve, we feel stunted. We should know that we are suffering the effect of seismic shock, thrust suddenly into a Bruce Willis disaster movie, one in which Brucie has yet to rescue us from the approaching meteor or, in this case, the lurking virus. 

But we today, we who follow Christ reach for a palm branch. Our arms might be tired as we wave it, and our cry of Hosanna might feel just a little hollow. We feel a little silly, even, waving bits of a tree without a crowd or a physical congregation to bolster our hearts. 

But we know that our emotions are not the barometer of our spirituality. We look past the headlines, to the One who has ridden in the city, to die, to live, to ascend, and ultimately to come again. 

When we feel nudged towards hopelessness, faith affirms that He is still our hope. 

So go ahead. Pick up that palm branch, weary soul. Give it a wave. You know it makes sense.’ 

Lord, remind us today. As we wave our paper palm branches and reread your story. As we shout ‘hosanna,’ remind us salvation is ours – help us to fully grasp its true meaning: to be saved from danger, to be delivered, protected, rescued, kept from being lost, to be healed, and made whole. But not just today, tomorrow and the roller coaster of Holy week. And as you remind us of what we need to lay down, let us find your amazing grace drowning our fickle ways, protecting us from saying, ‘Crucify Him.’ Amen.

You are loved! Michelle xo 

You are invited into the story of the resurrected life!


‘‘The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus Who was nailed to the cross. He is not here! He has risen from the dead as He said He would. Come and see the place where the Lord lay. Run fast and tell His followers that He is risen from the dead. He is going before you to the country of Galilee. You will see Him there as I have told you.” They went away from the grave in a hurry. They were afraid and yet had much joy. They ran to tell the news to His followers. As they went to tell the followers, Jesus met them and said hello to them. They came and held His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My followers to go to Galilee. They will see Me there.” Matthew 28:5

I love this piece, ‘the Disciples,’ by Eugène Burnand. 



‘Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck.’

You can just imagine their feet were moving before Mary had finished talking, with the golden dawn lighting the sky, Peter and John, run, at this point, they are side by side and heading in one direction. Apprehension, amazement and resolve on their faces, hand over heart and clasped in prayer. Mike Frost wrote, ‘surely this is also the posture with which we should approach Easter. Leaning in, wringing our hands, clutching our chests, desperate for it to be true.’

Also described as the visual equivalent of Lectio Divina. “This Resurrection scene does not put us before still figures near a stagnant stone, or figures standing with stony faces in a contrived, plastic posture, pointing to an empty tomb. This scene is dynamic; we are in motion.”

‘The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed.’ John 20:4

Meditate upon their faces as Burnand intended you to do and through them discover the empty tomb.

On this day of celebration, you are invited into the story of the resurrected life.

But Michelle, it’s okay for you to talk of this resurrected life, but, is this story the answer to my wandering, my suffocating, my despair, my insignificance. My pain.

Yes! Invite Him in. I did.

Invite Jesus into your tomb and allow him to lead you out. HIs promise is life over your disappointments, your situations, your dreams, your promises.

His promise is resurrection over dormant destiny.

Then, if and when the betrayal of Maundy Thursday, the darkness of Good Friday, the confusion, questions, and doubt of Silent Saturday takes place. You can confidently face them from the place of resurrection – in the power, promise and the presence of Jesus.

He wants you to know how much you loved and created with purpose and a unique song in your soul for this world.

Happy Easter!

Love, Michelle xo

We are thankful today God. For the promise of the resurrection in every area of our lives. What a God we have and how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all life healed and whole. Amen


Billy Graham’s last sermon.

Day 8.

I’m posting earlier today as it’s movie night tonight in the Collins house! (for those who aren’t at parties/sleepovers/retreats)

So my post today comes from the evangelist Billy Graham.

….It’s 1984, I’m 13 and I remember walking home from school through the housing estates. My ankle length, bottle green pencil skirt ensuring my walk home took twice as long. I remember the windows covered in posters campaigning – wait, on closer look this is not a political campaign, but a crusade.

Yes, Billy Graham was coming to Birmingham.

4811959497_daaaaf11f2_zBilly Graham preaching. 1984.

My time for listening to evangelists and finding the love of God was still a few years away but Phil was well involved in the mission at the Aston Villa football ground.

Phil remembers the mission well; a young evangelist assigned the role of youth counsellor, working in the office through the night, organizing response forms into regions, and swimming in the River Severn during break times (in the night…)

Phil was also part of the ‘young evangelists’ of the UK, and when he wasn’t swimming in the river he was in the Aston Villa social club receiving lectures from Leighton Ford and Cliff Barrows.

Billy came and spoke to the young evangelists and Phil remembers meeting him on the car park where they shook hands and chatted a while. ‘I cor believe I’ve met yow Billy’ said the young Phil, Billy looking perplexed at the foreign accent…we still experience the same look today. The group of around 25 young evangelists were taken to the stadium and allowed to ‘have a go’ on the microphone preaching … to an empty stadium.

‘We all wanted to be Billy Graham. He is the evangelist’s hero…a man of integrity and clarity with a non-ostentatious manner’ says Phil.  Years later Phil joined the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as they developed UK evangelists, spending time in Charlotte, South Carolina.

547223_124146944445623_819220543_n-1Phil Collins preaching. 2013.

So, when we heard that Billy Graham now 95 is preaching his last sermon to be aired on Thursday evening we were ready to listen.

To listen to the 30 minute video click here. If not, read on for a summary.

‘I want to tell people about the meaning of the cross … the real cross of Christ,’ the frail evangelist proclaims in the video. ‘I know that many will react to this message, but it is the truth and with all my heart, I want to leave you with the truth.’ He then went on to discuss his view on the importance of accepting Jesus Christ and following the Christian saviour.

‘People don’t want to hear that they’re sinners, to many people it’s an offense…the cross is offensive, because it directly confronts the evils that dominates so much of this world…even so it’s a confrontation we must all face’

He went on to explain that the Christian message demands that believers embrace a new lifestyle — one that directly confronts mankind’s sinful nature.

He told viewers that God can renew their spirits and that ‘there is no other way of salvation except through the cross of Christ.’

The message is interspersed with testimonies from musicians Lacey Sturm and Lecrae Moore.

Lacey, blaming God for painful circumstances was asked to go to church during the time she was planning suicide. She slumped down, hiding at the back of church. She hated everyone, especially the pastor at that moment. When the pastor declared there was a suicidal spirit in the room her hair stood up. She tried to escape but was stopped by a member of the church who wanted to pray for her – he told her that Her heavenly father would be a better father, that He knew her pain, that he had seen her tears. As the pray-er put his hand on her shoulder the God of ‘the universe showed up.’ She says ‘God invited me into the embrace of grace’

I love those words. The embrace of grace.

Then, there’s the story of Lecrae, drinking, sleeping around, pointing guns at people for fun, creating fear. He experienced the love of God but still went back to his ‘old’ life. Until he was cut off in his truck, resulting in it rolling and flipping,  glass shattering. Lecrae walked out unmarked and realized it was time to stop running.

Both of these stories when merged, become my story.

I crashed, I survived, I hid, was found, received his love, experienced his embrace. Transforming an emotionally tough hurting kid from the Lye, to a forgiven, healed, transformed kid from the Lye!

Nothing I did. Nothing I could earn. It was all through the cross.

So, after reading that summary you’d like to watch it? Great. Click here – for some of you it will be the best 30 minutes you will spend this weekend.

See you tomorrow,

Love, Michelle xoxo

Mission Creek

Dear Charl,

What a privilege to be present at your birth. Your tiny perfect face, hand crafted by the Artist.

And 17 years on, still beautiful!

I know life hasn’t been easy for you for many reasons. You know more than most real heart pain. Pain that can twist roots and mess with your mind. Pain that can dictate your path and convince you that you belong to a different story.

Then today, September 1st 2012, we walked Mission Creek, surrounded by creation and mountains, with the beauty of sun on moving water and all things life dancing around us.

We walked and talked, and your heart responded to your Creator.

How? you asked. What do I have to do?  Pray with me I said…

And the Light of the world, the beautiful One, met you in those secret places and dark spaces, as you welcomed the lover of your soul into every part of your being and your life.

You recognised that freedom is yours to embrace, that life will throw you dark and you catch with light, that you are promised strength to live.

And I looked in those awakened green eyes and saw the truth had found you, holding you close.

 Amen. Amen. Amen.

 And we laughed.

And the angels celebrated.

And Nanny Sue cartwheeled.

And I am so thankful to be present at your second birth.

Now promise after promise spring to my mind for you, because we believe in One who loves to keep His promises don’t we?

‘Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us. By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge—a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete’ 1 Corinthians 1:20

So excited for you Charl,

Love, Auntie Shell xoxo

God is so faithful friends. Keep pushing on. Yes?

Here is a free song download I heard today. Consider it my birthday gift to you;) Click here (bottom left of screen:)

It is appropriately called ‘All is Grace’. Because it is.

…and finally

I am hitting September writing and running. What about you what is your word for September?

 When sleeping women wake. Mountains move’  Chinese proverb.

All photo Credits: icbymc (me:)

Happy 23rd.

I saw you today.

At the lake of many colours,

In sudden rolling black clouds and monster raindrops,

I saw you today.

In a light that only a storm allows,

In the double rainbow which ended right at our feet,

… and as we looked for the gold, I saw it before me,

In my beached out babes.

I saw you today.

As I have done everyday for 23 years.

Yes – 23 years since I saw you truly for the first time.

I’d caught glimpses of you, but the frantic and the fear averted my eyes,

Until – I looked that day, the 23rd, with different eyes, the eyes of my heart.

I remember now my 17-year-old self and how you have poured in your burning love and how your love broke and thawed and healed.

I saw you delve into dysfunction and rewire those twisted roots and plant them into new ground.

I love that ground.

23 years and my life is transformed, yet, I arrive again today, new and childlike – with eyes of wonder, with a heart that says I am yours.

Psalm 139 says it so well,

Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!

God, I’ll never comprehend them!

I couldn’t even begin to count them—

any more than I could count the sand of the sea.

Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!’


And the One responds,

I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!’(Jer 31:3)

I will leave you with a fascinating fact.

The first ever Morse code message was this:

.– …. .- – / …. .- – …. / –. — -.. / .– .-. — ..- –. …. – ..–..

And for the rest of us who cannot read Morse code it says this:

‘See what God has done’

This verse being Numbers 23:23

I write this post for one reason of course, to point you to One who loves you.

Happy day,

Michelle xoxo