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Category Archives: Poetry

Belonging To The People

two handsCelibacy has been to me like the best tasting wine that increases its flavour with age. I have no regrets at beginning my journey so young – starting it when I was just 21. Of course it hasn’t always been easy, very painful at times, but my frailty and human weakness have been no match for God’s faithful love and kindness.

Celibates need to be at heart, mothers and fathers – forget ‘your’ ministry, the action, pioneering, all the things you want to do for God. If primarily we don’t get our hands dirty and become mothers and fathers who can love and nurture our next generations then we’ll lose sight of our precious calling, live only for our own gain and many souls will be lost.

I wrote the following in 2011. A few days before I wrote this someone had said to me that they felt I “belonged to the people” and the words struck a chord deep inside my gut when they said it. It was a reminder again of the very heart of my call as a celibate. I knew I had to express something of what the words meant to me.

Belonging to the people
Body, life and soul to them
Given and poured out as a soothing balm
Bringing healing through His precious name

So many forgotten, lonely people
Who will bring joy to their hearts?
Who will show them something can change
That a Saviour has taken their place
And love has won?

A world of dying people
Who have forgotten the community of love
What does it mean to think of others better than yourself?
Lost to humanity in so many places
We must show it, who know

Where are the mothers, the fathers?
Those who will forget themselves and forsake their natural desires
Reaching out to many who are orphans
Who know nothing of belonging to a family
Is that you?

My mind has been made up already
My heart cannot and will not turn back
Caring nothing for my reputation or own satisfaction
Souls to win, all my joy, my focus
Eternity in sight.

Belonging to the people
Body, life and soul to them
Given and poured out as a soothing balm
Bringing healing through His precious name.

 
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Posted by on Wed 20th Mar 2013 in Poetry

 

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The heart of my call

I wrote this a few years ago. It expressed quite simply the very heart beat of what Jesus had revealed to me in living out my call as a celibate. All other gifts and ministries were always to be secondary to this call.

This is all my joy
To honour you with my life
To serve you in this way
To be a mother

You put in me your trust
To care for damaged souls
To direct the young and old
To be a mother

What greater joy is there
What deeper call to find
That one can break and bear
With a lost soul of mankind
That needs a loving heart
That needs a listening ear
A steady soul to nurture
To be a mother

Nothing more can I offer than this
To avail myself to my Lord
Who gently leads me out
To find another
Another soul who is hurting
Another heart that is breaking
To be a channel of God’s love
To be a mother

No status, admiration or greater gain
Is there to be had in all the world
Than to simply offer all I am
To be a mother.

 
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Posted by on Thu 14th Mar 2013 in Poetry

 

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No Longer Mine, But Yours – The Celibate Spirit: An Old and a New Hymn

“Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.”

Frances Ridley Havergal was born in 1836, the youngest child of a Church of England minister. She became a Christian when she was fourteen.

Frances began writing poetry when she was seven and in her life wrote numerous hymns and poems as well as booklets. Her writings are permeated with a deep love for Jesus and a desire to live ALL her life in undivided devotion to Him – a total consecration.

Francis was a pianist and singer and used her musical gifts to reach people in hospital wards. She visited the poor and went into people’s houses to read the Bible and tell them about Jesus. She sometimes led meetings, too, to lead people into a fuller consecration. She was an avid Bible student and skilled linguist – being proficient in Hebrew, Latin and Greek.

In her lifetime,several men wanted to marry Frances but she felt that if she married it would diminish her devotion to Jesus and she deliberately chose to remain single and leave marriage aside.

The most famous hymn penned by Frances is:“Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.” She wrote it after she helped several people to find faith in Jesus.

“I was too happy to sleep, and passed most of the night in praise and renewal of my own consecration; and these little couplets formed themselves, and chimed in my heart one after another till they finished with ‘ever only, ALL FOR THEE!'”

In 1878 Frances wrote the following letter to a friend:

“The Lord has shown me another little step, and, of course, I have taken it with extreme delight.’Take my silver and my gold’ now means shipping off all my ornaments to the church Missionary House, including a jewel cabinet that is really fit for a countess, where all will be accepted and disposed of for me … Nearly fifty articles are being packed up. I don’t think I ever packed a box with such pleasure.”

Frances died in 1879, at the age of forty-two.

*                        *                           *

Renate Roth comes from Switzerland.  She tells her story:

I met the Jesus Fellowship while I was working as a volunteer at Ashburnham Place (a Christian conference centre) during the summer months of  1979. God opened my eyes to the beauty and possibility of a shared lifestyle, as we read in the early chapters of Acts. Visiting one of the Church’s households for a few days before returning to Switzerland, I heard God’s call and moved into community in October 1981.

Inspired by the lives of many of my friends who were celibates, I considered this way of life before God over some time, until I knew in my heart that this was God’s call for me. I made my vow of celibacy in January 2000 before the whole church.

Inspired by the message of Frances Havergal’s famous hymn, Renate has written the following words to express her own longing to live totally devoted to Jesus:

Take my will and make it strong for You, Lord
May it be no longer mine, but Yours
I long that all I ‘will’ may bring You glory
Lord, take my will, and make it strong for You.

Take my hands and let them move for others
At the impulse of Your mighty love
May they be hands that bless Your chosen people
Lord, take my hands, and let them move for You.

Take my voice and let me sing for ever
Songs of praises to my Lord and King
A sacrifice of worship and thanksgiving
Lord, take my voice, and let me sing for You.

Take my love, and fill my life with Yours, Lord
At Your feet its treasure store I pour
May it refresh the feet of Your redeemed ones
Lord, take my love, and fill my life with Yours.

Take my heart, it shall be Yours for ever
May it be a royal throne for You
Come purify my longings and desires
Lord, take my heart, it shall be Yours alone.

Lord, take myself and these my Zion brethren,
Transform our hearts to love with Jesus’ love,
That world will see we’re Your disciples
And join themselves to our Redeemer’s Bride.

In the Old Testament ‘Zion’ was the district in Jerusalem where the temple stood and the Jews saw it as the place where God was present in a special way – in the midst of His people. There are many prophecies in the Old Testament about the restoration of Zion after its destruction in 587BC at the hands of the Babylonians. Over the centuries Christians have seen the church as ‘Zion’ and part of the fulfilment of these prophecies.

 
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Posted by on Thu 8th Nov 2012 in Historical, Poetry

 

Don’t Go For Silver When You Could Go For Gold

Download the single here – Don’t Go For Silver.

 
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Posted by on Thu 25th Oct 2012 in Poetry

 

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Different sexualities, marriage history and celibacy – and thoughts of an asexual

This poem was sent into Undividedblog by someone who is asexual, describing his experience.

Everything is Ace

Not for me, the table for two
Drowning in each other’s eyes
No lingering French kisses
Or intimate caresses
Or sweating and panting
In fevered embraces

I’ve never known lust
I’m a stranger to passion
And jealousy
And the pain of love spurned
My nights are free of fantasy
My heart has never burned

Some say I’m a freak
Or that I’m sick
Or even mentally ill
They show me their pity
“Maybe,” they say, “there’s a pill”
Others say “You’ve not met the right one”
No, and I never will

I used to date, to dine and chat
I was very fond of that
But, after some weeks, my partners tire
For they don’t see in me
That sexual fire
They wanted to be more than friends
So that is where our friendship ends

I don’t want your pity
I’m free, you see
For the time and the money
You spend on amore
I have fun with my friends
They all know the score-ay

Just one final word
To that fine poet Les
Is poetry better than sex?
Yes, for some, it is

I really like this poem and  I reckon the key verse is in verse 5 when it says, ‘I don’t want your pity, I’m free, you see …’

People sometimes ask: can I be a committed Christian celibate if I’ve been married or have had a partner? Can I be a celibate if I’m gay or asexual?

Celibacy brings freedom from family responsibilities and it gives us time and space to give ourselves, our heart, our devotion, to a wide, wide range of people. It frees us to love the many.

My response to the questions is a resounding, ‘yes. Of course.’ Our past sexual history (or the lack of it) is no bar to receiving the gift … and I’m not theorising. I know committed celibates who are widowed or have formerly been married, practising gays or have lived loosely who are now committed, fruitful celibates. Brilliant.

God does not stand to judge our pasts; rather He is intimately involved in and concerned about the present and the future, a God of fresh starts.

I’m not saying there won’t be issues to work out. There will be. But who hasn’t got issues to wrestle with?

The church needs committed celibates. God has a very broad heart. His gifts are ours for the taking.

Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” Matthew 19: 11,12

 
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Posted by on Tue 16th Oct 2012 in FAQ, Poetry

 

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Love works

It’s funny how Love works
You make yourself vulnerable
Feel terrible, naked, alone
And then comes Love
With a rose between His teeth
Enticing, proposing, freeing
Smiling, loving, enjoying
And suddenly you realise
You feel a bit naughty
A little bit wild
Confident in who you are
There’s a warmth lit inside
That means you walk and talk
With an air of confidence
A woman in Love
Not fallen in love like you tripped and fell
But ‘In Love’ purposefully, divinely
Captured by Love, to dance with Love
To know Love

 
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Posted by on Thu 11th Oct 2012 in Poetry

 

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Priceless Jewel in Soho: Mother Teresa exhibition

Nirmal Hriday, the home Mother Teresa established in 1952 to care for the poor of Calcutta

‘Celibacy’

Inspired by a visit to the Mother Teresa Exhibition in Soho Aug 2012

 by Sue Withers

Soho: place of flaunted sin and hidden shame; a strange setting, in your seedy streets, for a priceless jewel.

A gift bestowed on single-hearted lovers of their God and of the poor who stood out from the crowd.

Their selfless service a resplendent light from Heaven irradiating the darkness.

For these the celibate life enabled their devotion, and fuelled their passion.

They became the mothers and fathers who adopted the unwanted, unloved and untouchable of their generation.

Dare we aspire to follow them ?

 

 
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Posted by on Fri 28th Sep 2012 in Poetry

 

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