Sunday, 30 September 2007
In hiddenness there is at least hope. Hope that all is not revealed. Hope that there are better things to come. Hope that, in the present, doesn't provide a lot of comfort but that at least offers a glimmer of light in the darkness that seems to stretch into infinity. What we see and what we know simply isn't enough. There has to be some recompense for pain and for suffering, some lightening of the load that many have to bear.
But the revelation will have to be pretty spectacular to make the present justifiable. Those who cry in anguish now will need some hefty inducement to balance the scales. Sometimes the promise for the future seems just too obscure to make a difference to the hellishness of the present. So we can't see the whole picture but will that whole picture ever be enough?
Saturday, 29 September 2007
A group of us from church popped over to Paris for lunch midweek. I know its not very Carbon friendly, but the attraction of a cheap flight and the opportunity of a whole day in Paris was too much to resist.
By 10:30 we were enjoying breakfast at Port Maillot, we had lunch at Montmartre among the artists and then dinner on the Champs Elysees before heading back to Beauvais for the flight home.
What a difference a day makes!
I feel as if the whole of the week before and after the trip was spent making up for lost time but it was well worth it. Its great to live in an age where such things are possible and to have the means to just go for it. God forbid that we should ever take such luxury - and sheer decadence - for granted. But just every now and again its good to sin big style!!!
Thursday, 27 September 2007
A new store opened in the village today. Inverkip is a village with an ever expanding population and few facilities so a new super market is a welcome addition - especially a new Sainsbury's. I felt I could have spent the whole day hanging around the store, catching up with the parish. There were so many people coming and going and the sunshine contributed to brightened spirits.
I was reminded how lucky I am to serve in such a defined community where life very much revolves around church, school and pub - and now, our local supermarket.
Tuesday, 25 September 2007
Church without walls next summer at the National Gathering will be exploring All you can't leave behind. What are the things that you wouldn't or couldn't ditch? What really matters? I'm looking forward, I think, to working out the essentials of "church" for me. I suspect that it doesn't even resemble anything I call "church" at the moment. I'm happy to discard loads, but what will it be replaced by? I'll keep you posted!
Monday, 24 September 2007
There's supposed to be a path round the back of our house. But the ground keeps slipping and encroaching. It looks very green just now but through the summer it was, firstly purple, with beautiful irises and then orange with montbretia. Beautiful - but not the path its supposed to be.
How many attractive things turn up in the wrong place? Does it mean they can't be appreciated just because they're out of context? Inconvenience makes beauty all the more poignant. Life's too short and too fraught for us not to appreciate beauty wherever it shows itself.
We need to address the path situation at some point but, for now, we will enjoy the wild.
Sunday, 23 September 2007
This giant toadstool has been growing in our jungle of a garden. In the sunshine today, I thought I could see Christ's face on the fungus. So have I been watching too much sci fi or reading too much weird and wonderful material? Or can you see it too?
Last week, I read of someone finding Christ's face on a frozen lemon slice.
So - do we create Christ in our image? Is that why his face pops up in all sorts of bizarre places on all sorts of innate objects. Have we given him one of those faces that we see everywhere? Is it an optical illusion?
Its an interesting thought - the image we have super imposed on Christ. How good would it be if Christ did appear everywhere, evidenced by us human beings loving and serving each other, just as Jesus did? Christ incarnate - wherever I am, wherever you are.
Saturday, 22 September 2007
Wednesday, 19 September 2007
Today, I have been on a course about discernment and navigating transition. Lots of stimulating stuff. But, sometimes, when I return to the nitty gritty and often pettiness of the parish, I seriously wonder what its all about. And I want to find another starting point.
Grey and grumpy
Fixed and immovable
Could be so different.
Could be a marker, pointing the way to the light.
Demonstrating faith and solidity, not just hardness stuck fast.
Could be a point from which to leap, landing in the squishy, soft heather.
Could even be a place to rest the weary soul before tramping on over unknown ground.
Catching the last rays of light before its time to move on.
Its time, its time, its time, but I wouldn't start from here.
Monday, 17 September 2007
Sunday, 16 September 2007
Todays gospel - the lost sheep, lost coin parables was challenging for those of us who consider ourselves "found". Aren't we, with the Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus' day, guilty of subscribing to an exclusive, respectable club? Vincent Donovan, in Christianity Rediscovered recounts the wisdom imparted to him by one of the Masai elders among whom he worked. The old Masai compared our comfortable Western faith with that of a white hunter, whose involvement extends only to the eye and the finger as a target is shot from a safe distance. Real belief, however, the Masai elder likened to the committment of a lion going after its prey. His whole body is involved right to the kill. As for leaving everything to seek out God, the Masai elder knew that God is the one who takes the risks, coming after us, seeking us out. On those days when we assume the kingdom is down to us let's step back and hear the rejoicing that goes on in heaven.
Friday, 14 September 2007
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
This poor wee mite flew into our window this evening and died instantly. A song we used to sing in Sunday School went: His eye is on the sparrow, so I know he watches me. Even from a young age I thought this song brought little comfort. On my daily tramp over fields to school, I would encounter dead birds often enough to doubt that God offered them much protection.
Thankfully as I grew I encountered folk who allowed me to express these doubts and who listened to my hard questions. Until now, still on that same journey of question and discovery and learning to live with mystery, I have the privelege of accompanying others as they grapple with faith and with doubt.
I give thanks every day that we don't have to be like the queen in Alice in Wonderland who had to believe in 6 impossible things every morning before breakfast. Its not just practice in believing we need but real people to stand alongside us as we refuse to settle for easy answers but keep on seeking out more and more difficult questions.
Tuesday, 11 September 2007
Sunday, 9 September 2007
I feel like asking in belligerent tones - what part of that do you not understand? But of course I'm much too polite - or perhaps just too much of a coward.
Communication is a huge thing in all of life. In the church, it seems to be the bane of life. Why is that when the gospel we preach is so simple? Sure the road isn't easy and disipleship means sacrifice but the underlying core of love that underpins the whole of Christian life is not rocket science - just nuclear.
It must be bad - I feel moved to write another poem.
Instead of Presbyterian heron, this is:
Does love in the church always have to be at a distance.
Full of decorum.
Not even a hint of spontaneity.
Far less emotion.
Love - is it me or the others
Am I making it too simple - or too complex
Are my eyes too rosy - or are theirs growing cataracts.
What is there to misinterpret
Well, it seems there is plenty
So I'll have to try again
Another day -
when I've topped up the reserves.
God give me love.
Saturday, 8 September 2007
Thursday, 6 September 2007
I've spent the day walking the parish. Something I should do much more. Unfortunately time doesn't often permit such decadence. But at least I was able to find my way easily from visit to visit.
The good news is that my Tom Tom is back up and running. One of the wonderful men in my life (the main man) went on to the website and helpfully discovered that the Tom Tom has a reset button. As a mere woman I have to say that it is very cunningly concealed in the casing! What would I be doing looking at the back of the instrument? My relationship with anything technical is on a strictly need to know basis. Any way there's no stopping me now that I can be directed once again. Oh and all that stuff about not becoming too reliant? I'll shelf that until the next time. Leah (the beetle) Darth Vadar (the Tom tom) and I are off on a mission. God is in her heaven and all is well.
Wednesday, 5 September 2007
I have no sense of direction. You may have gathered that from the random meanderings of this blog. So, for me, sat nav is a wonderful blessing. Even when I have been places before, I use my trusty Darth Vadar voiced TomTom to guide me. Except, this morning, Darth Vadar expired. Having programmed him last night, all looked well for a stress free visit this morning. But, sometime during the night, my friend decided to power down and was not for reviving. A forty minute journey thus took me one hour as I drove around in circles.
I suddenly realised how utterly reliant I had become on this disembodied voice. Well, he did guide me all round the Netherlands in the summer!
Perhaps a salutory warning that, often, we become dependant on things not worthy of our trust. To be so reliant discourages us from trusting ourselves and discovering the depths within ourselves and the rich resources gifted to each of us.
A proper preacher would sum up this post by pointing out that God is the only one we can truly rely on but, at the risk of being zapped, I have to point out that the Creator was also curiously silent this morning when I was asking for road directions! That leads me to conclude that God is therefore a woman.
Tuesday, 4 September 2007
The premises we occupied at the weekend, primarily an indoor Guide camp facility is fairly new, only completed in the last few years and had lots of modern touches including a state of the art fire detection system linked to the local station. So, when the fire alarm roused us from our slumbers at 3am we managed to evacuate the building super quickly and had to wait patiently for the Brigade to arrive. I've always imagined the sight of 6 burly firemen, (there were no women in this crew), to be the stuff of dreams. But somehow, dressed in jammies, trying to reassure scared youngsters, there was little glamour around. And the boys, after checking out the building and declaring it safe, wouldn't even wait for hot chocolate. Maybe reality doesn't always match up to our dreams but that should never stop us dreaming.
Monday, 3 September 2007
Isn't that typical of much of life? We enjoy the colour and excitement but not so much the picking up the left over pieces.
I had hoped to return to the burn the next day to check it out in the day light but the opportunity didn't arise. Maybe its no bad thing though to simply think of it as a place charged with excitement and lit with enthusiasm and togetherness. And it means I just have to return soon.