Friday, 26 December 2008
Monday, 22 December 2008
Sunday, 21 December 2008
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.
3 God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
4 The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.
14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.
St John chapter 1 v 1-5, 14
Love came down at Christmas,
The words of this familiar Christmas carol might lull us into a warm fuzzy sentimental notion of Christmas. Nothing could be further from the stark reality of a crude stable in a land occupied by enemy forces. But it was that darkness that the arrival of God dispelled.
And the light of love kindled by the advent of the Christ child continues to outshine darkness.
In many ways, nothing has changed- there are still vast areas of darkness. And yet in fact, everything has changed because love came down and continues to be born in every place where change is needed. This fourth week in advent, where can love be seen beyond all the trimmings – love that lasts and transforms.
Saturday, 20 December 2008
Sunday, 14 December 2008
Isaiah 61 v 1-3
What would constitute good news for you today? What would bring beauty into your brokenness? Change is inevitable throughout life although we tend to be much less tolerant of change in the church. Change is not always bad as many seem to assume – like the hymn that has the line “change and decay in all around I see”. Change can, more often, be a very positive thing. But how we react to change is what matters. Those who followed that baby, grown into Christ the man, turned their world upside down in response to his challenge and call.
A challenge and a call that hasn’t altered through the course of history. A challenge and a call that is re- issued to you and me in this time and in this place.
Dare we engage with that challenge today? Dare we move from where we are to where God wants us to be – still transforming the world around us?
Look again at the baby this year and see God changing the world.
Can we risk God changing us today?
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Sunday, 7 December 2008
3 Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! 4 Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. 5 Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The Lord has spoken!”
Isaiah 40 v 3-5
“Always winter and never Christmas” .So it was in the magical land of Narnia under the spell of the Witch, until, with the help of four children, her spell was broken.
The CS Lewis classics The Chronicles of Narnia are appealing to a whole new audience of youngsters thanks to Disney making movies of the books.
For the children in the story, it all starts when they discover, behind the fur coats at the back of an old wardrobe, a door that leads to a whole new world. Their entry to this new world is not welcomed by the witch who lives there who can see that her reign is threatened by their arrival.
Christmas, penetrating the darkness of our winter is not always welcomed either by those who would want to see folk left in darkness. For Christmas brings the hope of a new beginning, the warmth of love and the possibility of change. The church’s Christmas message mirrors the themes of Narnia – finding hope in unlikely places, triumphing over the odds and restoration of peace and goodwill. In a world in need of hope, love and peace, the baby born at Christmas grows up to fulfil our dreams and calls us to do the same.
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Tuesday, 2 December 2008
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.
They lived in a land of shadows but now light is shining on them. Isaiah 9 v 2
This first week in advent we ponder the liberation of folk who have known only oppression for such a long time.
And, immediately, we see how the advent message pierces today’s world. There are so many suffering people in our world and in our community for whom it seems there is no respite. Injustice prevails and expectations hit an all time low. To be touched by the hope of advent and to begin to imagine a vestige of light at the end of the tunnel would be miracle enough. As we remember those who know no justice or freedom and look into the dark places in our own lives, may we experience hope – for ourselves and for our world.
Sunday, 30 November 2008
I explained to colleagues that it was important to take time out to prepare for the season before all hell broke loose in the headlong rush into Christmas. A colleague very gently reminded me that, rather than all hell breaking loose, what we were preparing for was all heaven breaking loose. How true. We celebrate God coming into the world in human form. It takes time to grasp the enormity of that.
Most years, the approach of Christmas is relentless. It is upon us before we know it, ready or not.
And yet the church calendar has set aside a season before Christmas to allow us to prepare.
Often we’re so busy rushing ahead to Christmas to appreciate the beauty of Advent.
This year, I've written some short reflections for my congregation, one for each week of Advent. It is hoped that these short reflections will help to restore just a little of the balance and allow us to pause for a time – and then to welcome all heaven breaking loose in our lives.
Friday, 21 November 2008
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
Went for a walk early this morning to try and shake off some of the sadness that's kind of settled in on me. The news of Obama's victory at the polls certainly helped to clear some clouds. I was tempted to skip through these leaves sending them flying but I settled for just crunching through them. I walked and walked until I came to the beach and there, the freshness and sheer beauty helped to shake some things into place. Loss is hard enough. Compounded by insensitivity, its so much harder. This morning, I gave thanks for life and for ministry in such a beautiful place with folk who know how to show their love. That beach is going to be my friend.
Friends just called from Indiana. They are having a party! Obama has secured enough to win the presidential election. I assured them that we in the UK are just as excited. Although its only 4am, I can't possibly sleep now. History is being made!I will go and give my bumper sticker an extra polish. YIPPEEEEE!!!!
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
Thursday, 30 October 2008
Monday, 27 October 2008
Its been a curious day. As usual, trying to juggle lots of things at once, it seemed as though nothing had been achieved. But tonight, after taking time to catch up on a good friendship, I was in reflective mood as I drove home. And I realised how much has shifted recently. How my skin seems to fit better than it has for a long, long time. I'm almost frightened to say it but I think I'm becoming comfortable with me. Its a long time since I felt that, if ever. Its not been a day without conflict. Its not been a day free from criticism. Its not been a day where great things were achieved. But its been a day when I felt - its OK to be me. Whatever next? One never knows I might even be able to give myself some time off for good behaviour. Or is that just a step too far? Steady....
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Saturday, 4 October 2008
Monday, 29 September 2008
Thursday, 25 September 2008
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
As ever, the after-conference - that setting the church to rights and catching up with long lost and newly found colleagues - proved more stimulating than the conference.
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Friday, 19 September 2008
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Saturday, 13 September 2008
Tuesday, 9 September 2008
On the mainland shore it was very still, perfect for affording a moment of calm.
Any other time I may well have sped past. But tonight, I was able to stop and breathe in the beauty. Nourishment for the onward (and inward) journey.
Monday, 8 September 2008
Wednesday, 3 September 2008
Well, I survived my first meeting of my new Presbytery last night. It wasn't really as bad as I had feared. Its early days! Most presbytery meetings are pretty grim - the fellowship for which they were created gets submerged by business and politics. This is not a judgement, simply a fact.
However, what was disappointing was that there was no "apres-court" - at least not one to which I was invited. I was left to find my own way home and mull over all that had happened. And everyone knows that that is an exercise best undertaken in company and with glass in hand. There is obviously a role for me here!!!
Monday, 1 September 2008
Thursday, 28 August 2008
Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Sunday, 24 August 2008
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
Well, its finally kicked in. I'm back at the grindstone. I was right to enjoy the quiet while I could because things are hotting up. Within an hour today, I spoke with 4 funeral directors and it looks like a big portion of next week will be spent at various crematoria. I had difficulty getting to a meeting tonight because I just couldn't get off the phone long enough to set off. However, when I finally did, the walk gave me time to reflect on how it felt to be back in harness. You know what? It feels great. I function better when I'm under pressure. But the other thing I was very conscious of is that this is a welcome kind of pressure, not the kind of oppressive cloud that I've been living under for quite some time. God and me - we're in this together.