Sunday, 30 August 2009

Grace

Reekie Linn Falls, Angus

Cascading, cleansing, reviving
washing away hurts
removing the harshness of judgement
restoring love.
Relaxing shoulders hunched defensively
against unjust attack
and wrong conclusions reached in haste.
Bathing eyes sore from weeping
and throats aching with tears unshed
Healing wounds
exposed and picked over
Restoring, making new
All these miracles accomplished
through grace, the most amazing thing of all

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Result!


Someone referred to me today as an a-typical minister. She was thinking in particular of the way I dress and the car(s) I drive. For me, that was a huge boost. It's something I've been striving to achieve for 20 years in "professional ministry". Now I just need the church to be a-typical too - in all the best ways.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Back on track

Then Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. "What a huge harvest!" he said to his disciples. "How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands! The prayer was no sooner prayed than it was answered. Jesus called twelve of his followers and sent them into the ripe fields. He gave them power to kick out the evil spirits and to tenderly care for the bruised and hurt lives.

Matthew 9:35-10:4 (The Message)

These words from Matthew's gospel, especially in The Message translation, provide a timely reminder of God's mission in which we are privileged to share as well as lending some perspective to the priorities of that mission.
"Tenderly caring for bruised and hurt lives".
Today there has been opportunity to do just that and to be appreciated for making the effort.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

For the sake of the kingdom


I'm not sure which is worse - adults who play silly games or those who respond in kind and often end up colluding. What I do know for sure is that it's frustrating and exhausting to be caught in the middle. I'm tempted to say: get a life. I'm tempted to say: you're confusing me...(as in pic) but, instead, I will continue to smile sweetly and try to minimise the damage. And keep on remembering that the Kingdom is much bigger than all this crap.
Rant over for now.


Monday, 24 August 2009

Steaming along

Some days, most days, are 100mph days. Often, at the end of the day, there is little to show for all the running around, all the energy expended.
Today, has been a day seemingly from a bygone era. A day spent catching up with people, spending quality time, responding to calls and to requests for input later in the session. All interspersed with unexpected phone calls bringing both good news and bad. And, as always, welcome, unplanned encounters. It would be great to have even one of these days in each week, days that seem to get back to the heart of ministry. Sharing Christ in community. Being out there where God already is, pitching in my lot. Days like that are the building blocks that underpin all the crazy times when I'm so busy trying to do that I forget that it is enough simply to be.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

In yer face!

One of the things I'm finding very refreshing in my "new" parish (its been a year now) is that folks are very much more "in yer face" - that is upfront and open. I'm used to folk being more reserved. But that just means it's hard to tell where you are with them.
The other day, on the train, I encountered a mum with a special needs child. I debated over whether to speak with her, frightened of being judged as forward or prying. But I plunged in and we had a good conversation. She was visiting this part of the world to see a specialist with her son. As she left the train, I gave her my card, just in case I could be of any assistance while she was in this area. That too I was a bit shy of doing - didn't want her to think that, being a minister, I had any hidden agenda. It was simply the action of one mum recognising in the other the struggle to do the best for our children who have special needs. Fortunately, my actions were taken in the spirit in which they were offered.
But why the angst?
Why can't I just put myself out there without worrying about being misinterpreted?
I suppose that's a legacy of too many experiences of being judged and found wanting.
Seems like it's time to let that go and be prepared to risk.
Progress or what?

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Eavesdropping


Snippets

Greek philosophy
Cartoon cats
Writer’s club syllabus
Early pregnancy woes

Post maternity leave
Girl power
Feminist rampant
Swine flu, malaria
And friends in Afghanistan

All snippets overheard
On the early morning train
Snippets of life
Folk revealed
Confidences shared
Even if they weren’t meant to be

And those were just the conversations going on around me
Haven’t even got to the mobile phones yet
Those one-sided encounters
That are so scarily illuminating
Or so crushingly boring

All this drama
Accompanied by the steady rhythm of the train
Eating up the miles
Ferrying folk to work and play

So much going on in such a small space.
Multiply that a million times over
In every part of the world
All hours of the day and night

Is this what it’s like for God?
A constant bombardment of noise
And activity
Snippets of all sorts
Assaulting the divine ears
Maybe
But I prefer to think of a much more serene picture
Of a lot more sifting
A lot more sorting
And an awful lot more sense
Being made of our random lives


And the encounters that are so brief
So uninvolved
Those snippets met with little interest in the morning rush hour
I like to think of
As being vitally important
To the God who deals in trivia
And for whom everything matters
I’d love to know what that God makes of all these snippets
Meantime, I’ll just imagine
And boggle at how fascinating they must be
And give thanks that they do matter to someone

(Liz Crumlish August 2009)

Sunday, 16 August 2009

We're all in this together

Enjoyed bowling at Girvan recently in the church's annual bowling club summer outing. There is a beautiful view from the green in Girvan, which must be great compensation when the play isn't up to scratch. The teams were very competitive and each team member seemed to know their part and were even able to accommodate the amateurs who had gone along for the day.
We have a tendency in the Church of Scotland to forget that the ministry of the church is all about team work. We elect a paid professional to make all the decisions and keep all the plates spinning and then sit back and wait for things to come crashing around our ears - as they inevitably will. I'm amazed at how often crossing the threshold of the church renders perfectly competent people unable to take decisions or use initiative. What happened to our theology of the body of Christ being made up of many parts, each part gifted and equipped for differing tasks? There is something in the depths of Scottish church psyche that makes us surrender all responsibility that no amount of preaching or sharing can seem to combat. Will that outlook ever change? Can we ever truly become a "priesthood of all believers"? The spirit of Scottish Presbyterianism lays out an ostensibly level playing field but we seem to much prefer the "Animal Farm" model that all are equal but that some are more equal than others.
We often blame Calvinism for our reticence - our being backward at coming forward, citing our inherent Calvinist upbringing as the reason we won't overstep the mark and "get above ourselves" but it was Calvin himself who said:
"Is it faith to understand nothing, and merely submit your convictions implicitly to the Church?"
We are called not only to be the body of Christ but the thinking body of Christ.
Calvin also said: "All the blessings we enjoy are Divine deposits, committed to our trust on this condition, that they should be dispensed for the benefit of our neighbours."
So let's take that team work more seriously.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Rocking at the Holiday Club

video
It's been a busy week at our Pyramid Rock Holiday Club this week. The video shows a sample of our daily warm up. But it's great to be working with such an enthusiastic bunch of volunteers.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Seasonal change

Last time I visited Auchmithie was a couple of years ago, in January. What a difference to see it in August on a warm, sunny day. The dramatic coastline was bathed in beautiful sunshine. I never fail to be amazed at natural features - arches hewn out of rocks and caves and passageways. But even on such a bright, enticing day, danger was very present. It's easy to forget in seductive sunshine that our coastlines can be treacherous and unforgiving and must always be treated with care and respect. It is no bad thing that enjoyment is tinged with awe.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Return from Neverland



After a week of escape, learning about J M Barrie, it's time to return to reality.
And how!
It's 11:30pm on Saturday night, Sunday is fast approaching and the sermon is not written - at least not on paper - I think it's all in my head - we'll see.
That's why I'm frittering away time blogging!
Maybe the crocodile will get me before the morning.

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