Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Pilgrimage

Setting out hopefully
With energy
Anticipation
Determination
Walking alongside
First one,then another
Striking up conversations
Listening in to others
Hearing stories
Of other journeys
And other companions on the road
Imagining other lives
Different times
Those who have travelled this way before us 
Those who will follow on
Listening
To the voice of God
That speaks into our lives
In this place and time
Even the stones cry out
their sacred story
clamouring to be heard
imploring us to take heed
And as we place one foot in front of the other
The rhythm of the earth itself
breathes into our bones
communicates with our spirit
inviting us to rest awhile
before journeying on
with a new wisdom
a different insight
Changed not by the place
Or the destination
But by the journey
in the fellowship of God.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

A cup of cold water


A cup of cold water
a symbol of righteousness
yet so much more
the gift of sharing
the gift of caring
the gift of wanting to make a difference 
Costing so little to those who have it to give
but gifting so much to those who receive
And blessing the giver
with the reminder
that, in having a cup of cold water to give
we are blessed indeed.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Taking up a cross


Matthew 10:34-39
Not Peace, but a Sword
 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
 For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter- in- law against her mother- in- law;
 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.



Taking up a cross

Losing a life

What language is this

that sounds so foreign

from Jesus' lips?

Choosing God over family

seems to go against the grain

of this lover of justice

and prophet of peace.

Hard choices

Harsh words

uttered with love

but shot through

with a disturbing, restless Spirit

who shakes the foundations

and rakes over the ashes

of the order we thought we knew.

Spirit of God

unfettered

stirring up a restlessness

we cannot quite assuage

but which we know

will only be stilled

when the order we know

lies in the ruins

of a chaos caused

by love lived out

in the practice of justice.

 


Friday, 6 June 2014

D Day


D day
Has come to mean so many things:
The day the pay cheque arrives
The day a momentous ( or not so momentous) 
decision must be made
The final cut off
The term has featured in films,
been immortalised in song
and become the subject of poetry 
But for many in our world today
D day can only speak of one thing
Hurtling back through time
70 years ago today
A scene of
Watery, bloody carnage
The sacrifice of tens of thousands of lives
in a so called Just War
Beaches strewn with casualties
Cleaned up today
Tidied away into neat war graves
and memorials
The beginning of the end 
that took a long time to play out
and cost so much more
in its execution.
And so, 70 years on
we pause to remember
unimaginable scenes
unforgettable courage
and the incredible price of freedom.
And, should our remembering
cause us to resolve
to seek paths to peace
that are creative
and life giving
vested in honouring diversity
and in celebrating cultures
Then will our remembrance
be the memorial
that those veterans deserve
and that our world demands.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Referendum Lectionary Laughs


The All-age worship curriculum for which I write has decided, after much deliberation to switch to the Narrative Lectionary from September. Among other things, the Narrative Lectionary allows congregations to focus on bigger chunks of Bible Stories as the Liturgical year progresses. It is a 4 year cycle, rather than the 3 year cycle of the Revised Common Lectionary because it also journeys with all 4 gospels, one each year rather than just the Synoptic gospels as used by the RCL.
As we looked at texts for the first few weeks of the Narrative Lectionary, the strange noise we heard was the roar of divine laughter. As Scotland heads into the Referendum on independence, the stories in the weeks leading up to the Referendum and in the aftermath are texts that describe the oppression of nations, their bid for freedom, lands wrested from those in occupation, and the complaints of people journeying in the wilderness longing for the former life they had known. It will indeed be a challenge to preach these texts in a nation in turmoil, whatever way the people vote. Ancient texts. Contemporary opportunities. And the people of God today called to be faithful in love and in service, in making peace and creating community whether as part of the UK or in an independent Scotland. Vital to all of that will be our faith in the divine sense of humour!

Saturday, 24 May 2014

God of uncertainty


So that they would search for God and perhaps grope for God and find God—though indeed God is not far from each one of us. Acts17:27

As I sat through the many debates in the General Assembly this week,what probably saddened me more than anything else was not that we are STILL debating same sex relationships as though that were the only thing that mattered to the rest of the world, sad though that is. What saddened me most was the confident voices of those who think they have God all sussed. Those who think that the God of the Universe can be explained or encountered in a neat and tidy package. I used to yearn for that kind of certainty. And I envied those who possessed it. But then I realised that that kind of God would not satisfy. That kind of god would not be the kind of companion I long for in everyday life. Because there are always questions that cannot be answered and mysteries that cannot be explained. And I need a God who presents us with a quest of discovery. I suspect that you do too. A God for whom we grope and in the searching, discover God not far from us. That God is messy and often dirty from guddling in the muck and glaur of our lives. That God hunkers down beside us and awaits our discovery. 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

A Broad Church


As an aspiring pacifist, it always catches me unawares how emotional I feel when the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland receives the Report of the Committee on Chaplaincy to Her Majesty's Forces. To hear of the work undertaken by ministers of the gospel alongside those who serve our country in areas of armed conflict and their families, always moves me to tears. It is a gift and a privilege to be Christ to others as all who serve the church are called to be. To do that in the situations in which chaplains to the armed forces often find themselves is simply incredible.

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