Monday, December 17, 2012

Poem: Cheshire Cat

Cheshire Cat
The Cheshire cat grinned
As he lay in his nest;
A grey, woolen blanket,
Wrapped tight round his chest.
Reclining and dreaming,
He rolled on his back,
While fireflies danced
Across oceans of black.
Their reflections all sparkling,
Like pin-pricks of light,
Yet not even their dance
Gave old Cheshire a fright.
When his blanket rolled off
Blown away by the wind,
His right ear just twitched
And old Cheshire just grinned.
You may sometimes see him
But only at night,
You see he is wary
Of dazzling sunlight,
Preferring to shine
When you can see him best.
And flash you his smile,
From his grey, woolen nest.
I think you might know him
If you looked up tonight,
Just look for the smile
That bathes you in light.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

A more beautiful sound

I don't know if you've ever read the Greek myths? When I was at school I loved reading them. The gods, heroes and monsters make fantastical reading. They lead you on stories of glory and wonder. As a kid, he goriness of lot of them caught my attention too!

In one story there is a group of creatures called the sirens who lived on an island. Women that sang so beautifully that every man who heard their voices would steer their ship towards them. They'd wreck thrir ships on the rocks of the island and the sirens would feast. Grizzly stuff I know. But one hero had a plan. His name was Odysseus and he decided that when he and his crew were drawing near the island, they would put wax in their ears but tie him to the mast. As they passed the island, he would hear their singing but would be safe. So as they passed the island the sailors kept rowing and Odysseus heard the rapturous singing. He strained against the ropes and screamed at his crew to untie him, but they kept rowing. As they rowed away and returned home though, Odysseus realised he had survived the Sirens but had lost his heart. He was burned out inside, hollow.

This is me. I've been captured and enthralled by all sorts of things which may have entertained or satisfied me for a while, but have left me hollow. Burnt out and empty. These things are not enough. They don't fully satisfy me. What's more, I can't run from them. I can't ignore them as they pass me by. I give in and let my mind think about things which aren't helpful, use my time in unhelpful ways.

I am drawn to hese things because they capture me.Yet all I end up doing, if I'm being honest, is dash myself on the rocks of these things. I allow these things to feast on me. I end up broken and empty. Consumed.

But there was another Greek hero, whose name was Aeneas. Like Odysseus, he had to pass the island of thr Sirens, but he didn't try to restrain himself, hold back & stop his ears. Instead, he brought with him a group of musicians. As they drew near the island of the Sirens, he ordered them to play the most beautiful music they could until they had passed the island. The result was that Aeneas and his crew were so transfixed by his far more beautiful music that they weren't interested in the Sirens' calls. In light of this new music, their calls turned to screeches and cries for the men to come back. They survived the island of the Sirens with their hearts intact.

This is also me. I've got another choice when the noise of things around me threatens to devour and empty me. I can tune in to a more beautiful music which doesn't just drown out the other noise, it captures me. It fills me and warms me. This new music moves me to be satisfied in nothing less. It becomes as if the volume on this old noise has been turned down so it becomes nothing more than white noise. In engineering terms, the frequency in the soundwave has been filtered out. It has been far surpassed by this new, rich and enrapturing music.

This music keeps me whole.

This music guards my heart and enables me to become the person I was meant to be. Jesus enables this in me. His good news is this more beautiful music. When he world tells me I'm not good enough, his more beautiful truth reminds me that I am perfect in Him. When I'm tempted to watch or look or listen to things I know will be unhelpful, will empty or devour me, He reminds me that he is refining my mind to be something So much more beautiful. When people make me feel wretched, betrayed or useless, Jesus' more beautiful song reminds me He will 'never leave me, nor forsake me', and that His strength is enough for me, and that my hope is entirely in Him.

Like Aeneas, who chose to listen to more beautiful music in the midst of the sickly sweet song of the Sirens, I can choose to listen to the more beautiful song of my loving Father, the one who chose me first (not the other way round) and chooses to call me His son. A song which reminds me that I am His, that he loves me deeply, that he went to the ultimate length in giving His son up for me.

This song of His drowns out the noise around me. It drowns out temptation, it drowns out the lies of my worthlessness and low self-image. It roots me in the one thing that does not change - Jesus' love for me. It fills my ears, tunes out the noise and satisfies me fully, while preserving and even warming my heart.

Some days I choose to listen, and let the more beautiful music fill my ears. If I'm being honest, more often I listen to the noise. It is familiar to me because it's what my sinful nature knows best. But I also know now, through God's goodness and mercy, that His more beautiful music satisfies me like this other noise never can.

He wants my heart, but not to feast on it. He wants me to hear this more beautiful music 'that drowns all music but its own', and feast on Him.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lest we forget

Lest we forget

Blood red flowers fill the scene
Where brave men fought and died for me.
That through their sacrifice, unseen,
I might live a life that's free.

Free from rule of dark, cruel powers,
Free from their hard tyranny.
Free to know through Flanders' flowers
I'm not locked in to slavery.

Reminded of a Father's love
That gave His Son to die for me
A single perfect sacrifice
Upon a bare and ruddy tree.

They gave their all, and most their lives
To buy the freedom we enjoy.
They chose not 'I' but 'them' instead
And lived that out to their great cost.

Oh Flanders' fields, your poppies sway
Deep rooted in earth, washed dark red,
Each day may we know freedom's kiss
And remember still, lest we forget.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oh sweetest adoption

Oh sweetest adoption

I was once an orphan child
Alone and unawares
Of what it meant to be
Loved by a father who cares
I wondered what this could be
To know a father's hand
But I stood amazed as he loved me
And made these lame feet stand.

For you came to make me yours
Your dear and cherished child.

Oh sweetest adoption
To know my father's love
Oh sweetest adoption
That Abba I can cry in love
Oh lovely adopter
You now call me yours
Oh beautiful Jesus
In thanks I give my all.

I knew not adoption
Nor my father's love
Til you revealed to me
Your lovely son.
He came before
And loved me first
He poured himself
And quenched my thirst.

Oh sweetest of saviours
My Lord and my King
Oh sweetest of saviours
My soul's everything
Oh sweetest of choices
You chose me first
Oh dear sweet redemption
Your gift, Lord, to me.

As you love the Son
So now is your love for me
Unreserved and full
Is your eternal love for me.
And as for inheritance
Of this I will sing,
That I am joint heir with Christ
And share everything.

Oh sweetest adoption,
When my greatest of stains
Was taken by you
As you welcomed me in.
Oh sweetest adoption,
Most lovely of kings,
My friend and my healer
Your praise my heart sings.

Oh sweetest adopter
One day you'll return
And in light and in glory,
Life's race full run,
You'll turn to your family,
With beaming dad's smile
And say 'Welcome home
My dear, full-loved child.'

Oh sweetest adoption,
My God and my king,
When they ask, who's your hope?
'My Jesus!' I'll sing.
My Abba, my Father,
My beautiful one.
Let me always remember
I'm your child through your son.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

As the deer pants (alternative tune)

A new tune to the hymn 'As the deer pants'.
WordPress plugin

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Resting as a teacher

One of the things I've found challenging from the time I came to uni (and in boarding school to a degree) is the matter of resting.  When I was in boarding school, this looked like not working on a Sunday.  Not because of any deep-thought-through reason, but because it had always been my family's resting day.  It was the day we went to church, and was known as the 'day of rest', as the bible describes the Sabbath - the day of rest.

However, when I came to uni, this 'taking Sunday off regardless of what needed doing' mentality started to niggle away at me.  There were some times (usually involving coursework deadlines or exams) when I'd feasibly need to work on Sunday (usually because of dedicating too many hours to playing PC games) in order to meet a deadline.  This gave the enemy a hayday when it came to my thoughts, which went something like this:

Me: Hmm, need to get that work done.
Enemy: But it's a Sunday.  You shouldn't work on a Sunday!
Me: Mmm, maybe, but I really need to get it done.
Enemy: Don't do it, or you'll be letting God down!  He wants you to rest, remember?

And so sometimes I didn't work, and then worried about the work for the rest of the day and ended up more stressed through worry.  Or I did work, and then had a nagging feeling at the back of my mind that I ought to be resting instead.  Catch 22.  After all, wasn't I suppose to be resting one day a week?

Fast forward to a week ago and I remembered something someone had mentioned in passing a while back.  And it was to do with why God rested after creating the universe over 6 days.  Part of me has always just accepted that this is 'what God did' when it came to universe creating.  And as such, this was a good rule - work 6 days, take one off.  Bargain, sorted.  But this comment of my friend compelled me to look at it again.  Here's what it says in Genesis 2:2-3

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (NIV)

The first thing that struck me was that God rests, not because he was tired (this is the all powerful God we're talking about), but because the work was finished.  I am called to rest after my work is completed.  As a teacher this sometimes feels like a neverending cycle - of planning, teaching, marking, resourcing etc.  But God says (after creating the world, I might add), that he chooses to rest - because the work was done.  The trick I think, is looking at what needs to be done, and then doing it.  Not putting it off, nor procrastinating, or finding a million other little jobs to do, but to just get on and do it.  And then, when it's done, rest time arrives and the second thing kicks in.

The second thing, and this part really rocked my socks, was in verse 3 where God blesses the seventh day (the time he rested) and made it holy - literally, I think, separate or 'set apart' from the working time.  it is time to be enjoyed, to not work (or often in my case, think about work!) and to simply enjoy life.  For me, this is time with just Cat and myself.  It might be having friends over for dinner or playing a game.  It might be reading a book or listening to some music.  For me, this includes making things (and remembering to tidy them away afterwards!).  But, I think the thing that's stuck with me most from verse 3 is that this time is blessed.  Blessed to be a time of resting from all the work you've done.  Time to enjoy life outside of work.

As a teacher, work-life balance is something that doesn't come easily, and really makes you think about how you prioritise your time.  I value my time with Cat, my friends and family.  I enjoy doing fun things.  Equally, I thoroughly enjoy being a teacher.  Planning helps me get my thoughts down on paper, teaching reminds me I am human and makes me rely on God that much more each day, and working with children is an amazing privilege.  I wouldn't swap my job for another at the moment.  But equally, I don't want my week to become 6 days of working and 1 day or rest because it's a pattern.  I want to use that day of rest to bless those around me.  I want to rest because in that work-free rest I enjoy life SO much more.  I see God in my wife, my friends, the books I read and the view out my window.  Time to enjoy life is vital and nourishing.  It is just so good!

And so, as I really need to get on with my planning, I'll finish there.  I now enjoy time with our church family on Sunday afternoon and work after lunch, but have Saturday as my time to rest and spend time with my lovely wife.  That time is precious to me, and it means I prioritise it.  Work has it's place, and now I am finding I enjoy resting more.  I rest not because I feel obliged to, but because the work that needs to be done is done.  And how much sweeter that rest is because of knowing the work is finished. Just like Jesus did for me.  He lived my perfect life so I could have rest.  Epic-squared.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Washing up or Jesus

Washing up or Jesus

I don't know what kind of morning routine you have.  Maybe it includes a shower or shave and a calm, quiet cup of tea or coffee.  You may enjoy reading.  Call me crazy, I quite like to do useful things like washing up when I get up.  Weird, I know.  I like to start my day by simply praying up the things on my mind, Cat, her relay workers, my friends and family.  I don't always manage that as those of you who know me know very well that I easily get distracted.  And that's ok.  I'm very thankful that I don't have to pray and start my day reading my bible to be a Christian.

But that's all as an aside.  This morning I was about to sit down and chat to God when I noticed the washing up on the side.  Now, I can be a bit 'OCD' at times about tidiness, which my lovely wife is very patient with.  But I wanted to share the internal 'conversation' that happened as I looked at the washing up.  Because I think it happens to us all in some way or another.

The OCD part of my said that the washing up NEEDED to be done.  That it would be a BLESSING to Cat to have it out of the way.  But another part of my said that washing up can be done at any time, and that praying and spending time with God would be better.

This reminded me of a story in the bible of Mary, Martha and Jesus.  Jesus comes to visit their house and Martha busies herself cleaning the house, while Mary just sits with Jesus.  Here's the story...

   Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her"

I realised while considering the washing up that I can be so busily 'getting my house ready'.  Part of me likes to be busy, to be doing things.  I find it hard that Jesus says to 'be still that know that I am God'.  Not 'go do stuff', but just to 'know'.  Jesus enables us to take time out and enjoy just being with Him.

In reflection on the washing up thing, spending time reading my bible and talking to God resets my crazy OCD tendencies, helps me get perspective and gives me a fresh appreciation for the sheer hoard of good things God has given me in my life - chiefly in Jesus.

Jesus invites me to sit at his feet, not as a slave sitting by his master.  But as a child sitting by his father. Because of Jesus, I am God's son.  And as a child, I love my dad.  At times I might argue with him, but I love my dad. And sitting with him and just talking to him is just what I need.  As frequently as I can!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

You called me yours

A long time since my last blog post but there you go!  May I ask you a question?  Who are you?  Are you your job?  Are you a husband or a wife?  Are you loved by friends or colleagues?  I find all too easily I'm satisfied to be just that - defined by my job, being a husband or liked by people.  It's so easy to settle for something easy to see.

Whatever goes through my mind though, I'm thankful for one thing above all others; I am God's.  I am reminded that I am his child.  I am reminded that aside from all these other things that I could try to define my life by, that I am his.  First and foremostly, I am a child of God.  That, though SO easy to forget, is by far the most comforting, encouraging, emboldening and scandalously crazy fact of my life. Nothing else defines me better than a loser loved by the almighty God.  This song goes some way to reflect my loser-ish nature, yet God's scandalous love in spite of this.

You know I never knew
All that you actually were
Not just the lies I’d heard
But you were so much more
A man and God combined
Could this be true at all?
Could this be true at all?

You saw the worse in me
But chose me anyway.
You knew the secrets I hid
You gave yourself for me.
You heard me shout aloud
Against the things you gave
And yet you called me yours
And yet you called me yours.

I heard the things you said
They took me by surprise
They showed who I am
Not just the guilt inside
To learn I was your child
A person loved by you
A person loved by you

I stood up on that hill
Took the easy way
Picked up the crowd’s own chant
Threw it in your face
I knew your true identity
It was too much for me
It was too much for me.

I watched you on that hill
Take all the flak for me
Bore my very sin
Upon that cross for me
Died for every thing I’d done
Instead of me
Instead of me

Final refrain
You called me yours.
You called me yours.


Monday, May 07, 2012

Would you enjoy me?

I asked him once
what should I do?
He waited just one moment to reply.
"Would you enjoy me?"
"Why?" said I.
"There must be more that I could do?"
"More than my son achieved for you?"
"Well, what about the people who
have yet to know you, like I do?"
"But would they know me,
through knowing you,
if you didn't first enjoy me too?"
I stopped and pondered just a while
enough to think on what he'd said.
Could my heart be burning,
yet be dead?
Burnt out on all the things I'd said
that I would say and do?
"But what about the time I spend
reading all that I can each day,
giving myself in both work and play
to find out more in books and word?"
"Do they warm your heart to me?
Do they make your spirit sing
as the Spirit longs your soul to sing
with words that he would give to you?"
I stopped again and thought.
Though reading much, had I simply bought
self-satisfaction that I was
doing all I felt I ought to?"
"And if my heart was cold through all?"
"Then ask me to reveal myself instead.
And in play and work, in trial and ease,
don't feel like you have to appease
me, son.
He walked the life you're trying hard
to live.
He lived it so you'd not have to.
No longer to tightrope walk the sense
that what you're doing's not enough,
it's done.
Would you accept his life is enough for you?"
Speechless I saw his love,
clear as crystal light,
His son's life enough for me
and the helper who reminded me each day.
"It is enough," I smiled at him.
"Now enjoy me, son." His voice replied.


Under changing skies

Under changing skies

Under changing skies I wait
and wonder while I wander.
Preferring to walk and think
rather than sit and wait,
let the world pass by,
friendships come and go,
I score a path behind me
human snail in the trails I leave
upon the hearts and lives
of people new and old.
Hoping trails leave a helpful
imprint in the minds of those
who stumble across them
and whose lives have been left changed.
What will they remember
when I'm gone?
The ever-changing sky of life,
a character reduced to simple words
faint memories etched in time,
or something greater, more profound
which sears the soul
and leaves burning tracks
through mental pathways
seemingly dead?
Under changing skies I wait
to see your face,
and feel my soul on fire.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Meet you there

You feel so far tonight
sat their in your snug cocoon
but I can't speak to you
far beyond the sun and moon
moonbeams flood your face
as you race on
through time and space
you'll reach those gates quite soon
so go on before me,
I'll meet you there.

Run in meadows sweet
use those legs
you're now complete
You missed him for so long
now arms will hold you
firm and strong
though I can hold you close
you mind has wandered
far away
one day I'll hold you close
I'll meet you there.

Final beat, you've gone
left behind
that broken shell
Now wake and see his face
how I wish that I
could hold his gaze
so let yourself be free
to run those fields
you loved so much
not long to go now,
I'll meet you there.


Saturday, March 03, 2012

Just an apple?

While eating an apple this afternoon, I had a thought. Did Adam blame the apple for what happened in the garden of Eden? The bible's pretty clear that the eating of the apple was the turning point for him and Eve and started the chain of the events that saw them having to leave the garden. To leave God's presence as he'd made them to enjoy it.

Was it the apple's fault? It's pretty easy to blame the things near to us for things that happen - They made me angry! That image just came into my head! I just got distracted! I can hear myself saying all three of these things and a hundred more. But are these things to blame? Do they have power over me to bend my will?

They don't. It was my choice. My heart wanted to. I chose it. It always does. What was the same for Adam in the garden is the same for me today. I wanted it. It was my decision. The situations I am in each day - those which notably challenge me, and those I don't realise do - serve to show me my heart. I am innately selfish - it goes down to the bone. Part of me feels I need or should have these things which erode me. But there again is that smack of selfishness. Someone once said there is no 'I' in team, though another points out there is a 'me', though you wouldn't notice it on first glance. This is the way of things that tempt us, push us, challenge us, threaten. Things the enemy loves to use. The chinks in our armour.

We need to recognise the chinks in our armour. And harder than this, because our selfish hearts hate to do this, is to ask, to plead with God to show them to us. Romans 8v37 says we can't be separated from God's love. However my heart can choose to ignore it. And it often does.

So is it just an apple? No. It's a signpost to the state of my heart. It's a reminder that I am a sinner (rebel) and will continue to sin (rebel) until the day I die. But that Jesus says there is a better way. Knowing him is just so much better than the 'apples' I come across in my life. The true fruit of the garden was knowing and walking with God. Do I really want it? Yes. And I am amazingly thankful that God not only can help me change my mind and heart on that one, he also wants to. All I need to is turn to Him, and ask.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A sandbox life

Over the past 3 months I've enjoyed playing a PC/Mac game called Terraria. This is a sandbox game which means it is made more for exploring and being creative rather than having a player completing traditional 'levels'. I've enjoyed exploring without the pressure of a structure in things, being able to make buildings and creations out of the blocks of the world but in reflection I've seen that as the game has no specific goals - like the end of a level or beating a boss and progressing in the game - that it's easy to spend a lot of time just playing it. With no fixed end-points, game-imposed goals or targets I find it hard to play for set times without the aid of our egg timer. In short, I need goals. I need something to aim towards.

In further reflection I wonder if this is true for our lives as a whole. Can we live contentedly with purpose if we have no end-game goal, no target to work towards? For example, I know I work better when there's a deadline on coming up, or even if a job needs to be done by the end of the day. But are these goals and targets placed in my life by work or society's view of life sufficient? What if you woke up and those waypoints in your life are gone? What then?

I think we're made for purpose - we need something solid to live for, something certain - and for me, that's Jesus, the relationship he wants to have with me, and the promise of a future with him when he comes again. Sometimes I think we set our sights too low in our targets. Are we too easily content in the familiar things in our lives?

In playing Terraria I've been reminded it's easy to live a sandbox life - content to live in my me-bubble of contentedness - and miss the potential of life outside it. The risk of real life, the love and the hurt of real life, the reward of real life. For me that real life is a life where I know Jesus. What is it to you?


Saturday, January 28, 2012

There in the garden

Yesterday morning I was thinking about Cat being away on the international outreach in London and I was struck that what they are holding out to these international students is not a faith system, or an ideology or religion, but Jesus. And that will start or continue a journey for all of them that brings them to either accept or reject the claims of Jesus recorded in the bible. Though in truth, as a Christian I believe that our choice to walk away from a relationship with God began in a garden, many years ago. How amazing it is that he still pursues us to restore it now!

There in the garden
There in the garden,
my shame complete.
I chose to take what
I did not need.
For all the riches
that I could want
had been given me in God
A piece of fruit
my biggest fall,
yet not the fruit
but my all in all
was what I lost
that cursed day
I chose myself over my god.

For the life he'd given me was good
though lacking every modern thing
In the garden, I walked with God,
After I only walked in sin.

There on the hilltop,
my anger raged
against a man from Galilee
As he lay there
nailed to a cross
he bid his Father forgive me
and with a cry
he breathed his last
yet there was love there
in those eyes.
I'd been so lost
but in that moment
I was no longer despised.

For the life he'd given up was good
so blameless that he took my sin.
On that hilltop, I looked on God
the God who took away my sin.

There on that mountain
when Christ returns
and every eye at last shall see
my sin forgotten,
my life restored,
he shall return in victory.
And this old Earth
shall melt away
restored to how it once was made
no longer strangers
but sons we'll reign
beside our God.

For the life he's given me is good
it will not tarnish nor grow old
but but ever draws me on to his day
when he will glorious, return.


Everlasting God

Some thoughts on how God is trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) a couple of Sunday mornings ago prompted me to write a poem. And it is this amazing truth of God being Father, Son and Holy Spirit that sets him apart for me as a Christian.

Everlasting God
There in the beginning
Before all things were made
Father, Son and Spirit
the one-ness of God displayed.
Enjoying each other
sufficient together
the Trinity lived as one.
The everlasting God just was,
The Father, Spirit and Son.

There in creation
the whole world was yours
created by your hand
alone as sovereign God you stand.
All power was yours
yet you chose to create
a people t call your own.
The everlasting God worked there,
The Father, Spirit and Son.

There on the beam of the cross,
you were there in all, God.
Though we heckled and spat on
the lamb that you sent down
and Jesus contained my sin,
while the Father was forced to forsake
and the Spirit waited to come
the everlasting God,
spent for humanity.

There at the end of the age,
sin then no more,
the Son will return
as burning hearts yearn.
Victory complete,
the Everlasting God still will be!
Satan defeated,
and us with God united,
for all eternity.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Good shepherd

Hey guys, I've been out of the blogdom since before Christmas but have been writing mostly poetry in the time gone by so I thought I'd post a couple of poem while I think through what my blog is for.

The first is about shepherd who finds on returning to the sheep pen that he is missing one of his sheep. Such is his love for that sheep that he leaves the other 99 and goes after the 1 that is missing. Such is his love. This is the story.

The good shepherd
The rain fell fast
and the wind blew cold
as the shepherd huddled
inside the sheep fold.
He counted once
and once again,
just to be sure
all his sheep were home.
But where 100 should be
only 99 stood,
So, taking his crook
and donning his hood,
He closed up the gate,
his love burnt like the sun,
and leaving the rest
he set out for the one.
The good shepherd walked
out into the dark night
searching the hilltops
by the guttering moonlight.
Every pasture he checked,
then when all those were through,
to the back-ways he went
looking pleasant and green
but easy to get lost
and lose where you'd been.
As darkness drew closer,
the shepherd ploughed on
the love in his heart
was the light that he shone,
til far in the distance
a faint bleat he heard
bursting into a run
by his lost lamb's cry, spurred,
and there on a cliff
was the sheep that he sought,
bedraggled and wet,
forlorn and distraught.
Then onto his sholders
the good shepherd hung
the poor tired sheep;
its master had come.
And back to the city
the good shepherd ran,
such was his joy at finding his lamb.
For though it was lost
in the darkness, alone,
the good shepherd came
and brought his lamb home.