March 2018 Writing

The Empty Tomb

The tomb was empty
Jesus had resurrected as had been foretold
Filling the world with new life
Lasting hope and promise for everyone
Flowing from the changed body
Cradling with His Holy Father and Holy Ghost,
For all generations through the ages
Here for us to savour and touch
To bring feeling within us
Treasure revere and spread,
With a heartfelt response and action
And giving with sincere thanks
Thank you Lord
We are yours.

Helen Mc Nicholl ©

About Lazarus

Lord, Lazarus, his sisters Martha and Mary were your friends
and you often stayed with them.
So when you said” Lazarus come out”
Lazarus would have recognised your voice.
I think he must have nearly burst with joy
at hearing your voice speak his name.
Lord I wonder if Lazarus had been in heaven when you called him?
Did he think or talk about his experience?
Was he able to settle back into everyday life afterwards?
Lord I am so glad you called him;
please when we die,
may we hear your loving voice welcoming us.


Last Breath

With my last breath as my Soul flies
His Spirit will surround me.
In dying my body will remain a while
But I have gone to Him.

You may feel great sorrow for your loss
Deep grief for all you will miss,
But be reassured that I am in a glorious place
Where the love of Christ abounds
Rejoice and thank God for the memory of me.

Barbara Rolison
©Kingdom Arts 13/03/2018


January 2018 Writing

Good Shepherd Prayers

In the closing session of the morning, this prayer was accompanied by a Tongue Drum.

Good Shepherd,
help me to be like a good sounding tongue drum.
May the sound I make in my life
enable others to hear your voice.
When I feel tired
let the sound continue on and on,
giving me strength for the journey ahead.
Give me courage to take these sounds into the world
to help others hear you speaking through the noises of the world
that clamour for our attention.
May the sound I make be beautiful to others
and to you.

Alex New


So often dismissed to the lower rungs of the animal world.
But they float through our Christmas cards.
Feed and sustain many nations. Clothe and warm chilled limbs.
Our wise ones know their wealth and their need for a loving shepherd.
With homes and food just right. A lifelong caring.
Psalm 23 echoes down through the ages.
Pictures with Christ in their midst calling out from the flock.
I am their shepherd and YOURS! Follow me.
Stray not from the path I love the weak and the strong. The marginalised the forgotten.
I will bind broken limbs, rescue you from briars or pits, and feed you richly in pastures old and new.
And raise you all up, upon my shoulder into life eternal.

Helen McNichol


In those days long ago shepherds were lowly, isolated poor and not regarded much, tending others precious flocks in scrubby pastures. They travelled on foot in search of grazing, slept on the ground, and guarded the sheep from wolves, lions, eagles and thieves. They lit fires for safety and a little warmth.
Astonished when the brightest most radiant light disturbed them so, voices sang praises to God on high. They heard the message, trusted in the Angel and left everything to see the new born Son of God.

Back on the quad bike with helmet, padded jacket and mobile the shepherd and her sheepdogs ascend the hillside to feed the flock. They are well nourished with bales of hay kept under cover, a bin of pellets and clean water. She checks the ewes for lameness, any sign of illness or harm, for they are almost ready to lamb.
Whistling to the dogs they gather the sheep and slowly bring them down to the shed. There they are nurtured and protected awaiting their time.
But what if God, just now, sent his Angel messenger? How would she receive the message hear the voice?

For Jesus is our shepherd, gathering, nourishing, nurturing and protecting us.
Slowly guiding us to his presence.

Barbara Rolison


November 2017 Writing


Spring is here
The rows are straight
The vines are pruned
All looks bare and lost
As we sometimes feel
But it is God’s given rest
His enriching soil surrounds us
Ready for that blessed new growth
We must twist and turn upward
Letting our leaves absorb His word
His love, His everlasting support
To grow His spiritual fruit
To share with friends, the world
May we ever grow
And quench our burning thirst


A prayer written after contemplation on the vine.

Father, may we glorify You through our obedience and trust in you.
Help us to follow your son wholeheartedly, abiding in His teachings and example.
Help us to cling onto your Word.
Direct our growth in the direction you choose
And remove everything that impedes our closeness to You.


October 2017 Writing


God said
I give you every seed bearing plant
And it was good
Different colours and shapes
Like all human kind
Pounded and milled for us to face life
Mixed with the water of God
Risen with the yeast of the Holy Spirit
Shaped with the love of Jesus
To become our life bread
Lifted high and blessed
Ready to share
May all be fed
To bring us nearer to God
And faith in life eternal.


I am the Bread of Life

Broken for us,
Restored, Renewed, Revived
Everyone welcomed
Alive in God’s hands
Dying you destroyed our death and in rising you restored our life.


May 2017 Writing

Fisher of Men

The sight of Jesus alone as day breaks, watching the water.
Pale barley colours streak the grey sky line.
The sound of sea nibbling at the shore.
The smell of wood smoke, the flicker of spiralling flames,
A boat bumping in the waves.
Fishermen surprise in their voices greet you, as Peter splashing through the sea rushes to touch you.
At your instruction the net is cast rightly, soon teeming with the threshing and struggling fish of every kind and dragged to the shore.
All sharing the bread and fish not knowing that later they will call your name in many lands and voices,
Shout your praise
Cast the net wide again and share bread and wine with mankind.

Barbara Rolison
May 2017

Breakfast on the shore of the lake 

No fish and
A thin mist on the shore.

On the lake, a boat,
Rocking gently
Where tired bodies longed for bed.

When suddenly,
Through the mist,
A distant voice –
“Cast the net once more.”
Wow! The perfect catch!
Where did all that come from?

Alerted by the spectacle
Their eyes espied a fire,
Piercing the drifting mist.

Waiting for no one,
Grabbed his cloak,
Plunged into the sea
And struck out for the shore.

Not like Moses,
Tip-toeing his way:
Peter believed –
It is the Lord!
His heart reached out for the great embrace!

The great I am
Is on our shore
To feed and guide and love us all.

David New

April 2017 Writing


Trinity dancer, You came, Loving Lord
Flow of indwelling Love circling Your veins
Ye eternity in Your breath
Freedom in communion

Came into bustling, tumbling humanity
Crowds touching, following, circling You round.
Needs, noise, every word dissected
Your heart open to all

You often yearned for stillness; space of breath,
Yet never alone. Unless in a crowd.
You stilled our storms, healed our anguish,
Met all our outstretched hands.

But when Your human heart yearned to us
For companion, healing, holding touch…
Where were we then? O Dear Lord, now
We long to dry Your tears.

We walk alone so often, deep in heart
But there You always meet us, stand by us.
You touch, anoint, when we feel left alone.
In solidarity.

Victoria Barlow

The Crown of Thorns

A mosaic and poem by David New

Pilate: I must save
My face, hold on to power.
Christ gave all, saved all.

Christ carries the cross.
He, the willing substitute,
For us, the condemned.

Bearing the burden
Of war, oppression, sickness.
Stumbling but bearing.

Underneath it all.
Deeper than the worst you know.
He is there for us.

He meets his mother,
Not understanding, but there.
Be there and bear it.

Simon takes the cross.
Press-ganged to join the free man.
Disciple for life.

Jesus falls again
How embarrassing, we say,
Jesus understands.

Christ meets the women.
Weep not for yourselves, he said.
But for your children.

Christ, nailed to the cross.
Such unbearable pain, Lord,
How did you forgive?

My God, where are you?
I feel all desolation.
Paradise today!

I am so thirsty.
I crave relief, acquittal,
For my oppressors.

Behold, your mother.
Fellowship in suffering.
Church is born right here.

His body hangs limp
In the setting sun, heaven
Opens doors to earth.

Lifeless in her arms
He lies, all agony gone.
Grief and tears and peace.

They buried Jesus,
Joseph and Nicodemus,
In the rich man’s grave.

What was it, Jesus?
Stirred in them this act of faith?
“Hearts touched by my love.”

Silent Saturday.
Sabbath rest in stone cold tomb.
Peace that saves the world.

Let go and let God.
Prison cell prayer; being still.
Miracles follow!

David New


People all shapes and sizes
Different thoughts and beliefs
Waving palms with thoughts of a coming King.
How did Jesus see them?
With love and Understanding.

The fearful gathering
Dismayed at foot-washing
Not from the Master!
How did Jesus see them?
His loved ones, His brothers, His children.

The meal set for all,
The sharing of bread and wine,
A foretaste of His body and blood.
What did Jesus hope for?
An echoing continual thanksgiving
Remembering His universal forgiveness and love.

The creeping away, Judas
With thoughts of money and betrayal.
Have we crept quietly away?
How did Jesus see him?
Ever knowing, grieving.

In the garden the absence God created
Deep prayer amongst scents and sounds
Sleeping disciples and a broken heart.
How did Jesus see God?
With slow acceptance and pain.

Upon the cross in anguish
Gasping for breath, skin tearing
Two robbers, family support.
How did Jesus see them?
With Forgiveness, concern and love.

Leaving the tomb, risen in Glory
Accomplished, one with the Father
New life for the mission of God.
How do we see Jesus?
Our Saviour, our Hope and Joy
The path for life into Eternity.

Helen McNicol

March 2017 Writing: Labyrinth

The Labyrinth

When we visit a new city,
we search for its centre.
We are optimistic.
We follow a winding trail that leads us to a grand cathedral,
the spiritual centre.

Here is where the history lies.
Where countless pilgrims have sought comfort, healing, guidance, answers;
Have raised eyes and hands in
awe, despair, sadness, joy, yearning.

As we walk our own personal labyrinth
We try to avoid distractions.

We want to move on,
‘To see Thee more clearly
Love Thee more dearly
Follow Thee more nearly.’

The Labyrinth has no dead ends like a maze.
It encourages us to seek for truth,
To bring our whole being into focus.
We are not led up garden paths leading to nowhere.
We take a continuous course mapping our thoughts and feelings on the way,
Hoping to reach the centre.
Will Jesus be there?
We remember His Healing,
His Teaching His Praying;
His tortuous journey to Jerusalem.
There is no turning back for Him.

We continue on our labyrinth walk
until we reach the centre,
Where Jesus stretches out his arms for us.
We linger with Him awhile.
Encircled by His love, we retrace our steps.
Jesus guides us back
And ‘sends us out into the world
To live and work to His praise and Glory.’

Sue Ashby-Davis Lent 2017


Tracing a finger round the labyrinth I recall the Mappa Mundi where Jerusalem is the centre of the world.
Is this my labyrinthine pilgrimage? Will my journey towards Christ lead me to my Jerusalem?
Pilgrimage is a lifetime of thinking, a long time to ponder the mysteries of our world, the challenges, lack of purpose, desperation, decisions.
I focus on Jesus and his journey to Jerusalem, his sacrifice for me. I reimagine his tests and trials as he prepared mind and spirit for death, beyond death to resurrection and God.
My God, where will my journey lead me, where is my redemption my Jerusalem?

Barbara Rolison
March 2017

Oct 2016 Writing: Psalm 23

Inspired by Psalm 23

We come to your banquet Lord
Because we need refreshing.
You offer us the fruit of the spirit
To revive our souls,
And to each one you give a gift
So that we too may share your goodness with others
And drink in your abundant delights.
Then Lord, may we go out and share
With others who do not know and love you,
For your table overflows with love
And you will lead us all home safely.

Sep 2016 Writing: Psalms of Praise


Inspired by Psalm 8

Lost in wonder
I look into skies
Lost in wonder
Lifted high in praise
Submitting myself to your glory
This great and mighty universe.

Wondrous to behold
Only a nano percent understood
Is as nothing compared to you
Beyond all knowing
But choosing to reveal yourself
In Jesus of Nazareth.

Beyond time and space
Present in time and space
Submitting to our limitations
That we may rise in glory
To the life of endless worship
Lost in wonder
Lifted high in praise.

Judy Morris


Jesus the light of the world has come.
A gift to all mankind
Shining, beaming, radiating God’s Glory,
Sadness into laughter,
Sorrow into gladness,

The lame will walk, run, and be healed,
Those that are bound will be set free.
Chains unleashed,
Sins forgiven,

The warmth and glow of your holy Spirit enfolds us
Into a rainbow of trust and love,
Enveloping us in the everlasting arms,
A trust that will stand,
A trust that never gives up.

We stand amazed in your presence,
Now and for evermore,
No greater gift than this.

 Jan Whitehead.

Jan 2016 Writing: Haiku on Journeys

Train moves me swiftly
Arriving meeting loving
God moves us onward

Spires upward towering
Open church doors and warm hearts
New uplifting blood

Helen McNicol

Abram journeys on
At the great tree of Moreh
Rustling leaves whisper

Spiritual voyage
Trust belief and faithfulness
Blessing of the soul

Barbara Rolison