Monday, 27 September 2010

Riffing the gospel

We had wonderful fun in worship yesterday with the West Jesmond Rhythm Kings jazz band. Although permission WAS given at the start of the service, folk didn't take up the opportunity to dance in the aisles, something many of them now regret. Maybe we can address that next week... :)

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Multi talented

Our organist produced this wonderful birthday cake for our son this week. Aren't we blessed to have such a multi talented musician? Go Christopher!!!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Going home

It was great to be a part of the thousands of pilgrims at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow last week as the Pope celebrated the Mass. The whole event was so well orchestrated - the travel arrangements, the pre-mass entertainment (including Susan Boyle), the precision of the serving of communion, and the journey home. All those involved, in security, in stewarding, the police officers, the rail staff, were good natured contributing positively to an historic occasion. Even the sun shone bravely. Of course I couldn't share in communion but to be part of such a massive worship experience held its own magic.
The task for all of us pilgrims now is to share our enthusiasm with our neighbour, renewing and enlivening faith on our doorsteps.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

In context

I'm looking after three parishes at the moment. This morning I had an early start, driving out to conduct worship in the two rural parishes.As I drove, I was listening to BBC Radio Scotland, enjoying discussion of the Sunday papers. However, I realised that I wasn't really paying that much attention when I heard the presenter say: "That would be a big coup going into an election". Driving past a field of cows at the time, I made totally the wrong connection. I prefer the picture I had in my head of one of these big coos clutching voting papers. Sometimes it's good to drive to work.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Lost Generation

When Pope John Paul II visited Scotland in 1982, I had a real day job and was not able to go and see him. This Papal Visit, I have been invited by our local parish to attend, so I am taking the opportunity to go with them to Bellahouston. In 1982, 300,000 pilgrims attended. Tomorrow, 65,000 are expected. A wake up call for the church - of all denominations? 
The media this week have been particularly brutal about this pope. He needs no defense from me. However many of the atrocities cited and corruption exposed were not just the preserve of the Roman catholic church but of many of our institutions entrusted with a duty of care for the vulnerable. The legislation under which we currently toil when we attempt to serve those at risk is testament to the failings of the past and, hopefully, a signal to the present and future that such abuse of power is not possible in a society that is learning harsh lessons from its past. Too late for so many but a necessary sign of hope for generations to come.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Night in

Summer has turned to winter in a mere 24 hours. It's blowing a hoolie outside. Seems like a night for curling up with a warming drink and a good friend.
Jesus and me?

Friday, 10 September 2010

Come, sit here awhile

Invitation to linger
In a week crammed full to overflowing with work, this bench, even virtual, is very inviting.
It always quietly amuses me how irate folk get when their calls are not returned and emails go unanswered. Both of these tasks involve being home long enough (or at the desk long enough) to respond. As I try to work out what can be shelved for now simply because there is no space left in my diary, I imagine Jesus sitting, enjoying the view, taking the air and beckoning me to come sit awhile.
And, even though there's no time and even less energy to engage with the invitation, I'm drawn nonetheless. Drawn to Jesus' calmness, to his easy, undemanding company. How refreshing to be embraced by such unconditional love. A love that asks nothing of me but yet draws my response of love and gratitude.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Faith and longing

I once heard a preacher talking of faith and using an aeroplane as an illustration. He made an assumption, as preachers often do: He said, when you drive past the airport and see planes taking off, you don't think - I wonder how that stays in the sky - you just have faith that it does. I didn't altogether agree with his premise. Furthermore, when I see an aeroplane taking off, I usually think, I wonder where that's going and I wish I was on it!
The ascending aeroplane speaks to me not so much of faith but of longing.
And, it seems, longing is more likely to lead to a striving than any blindness of faith.
I never did like to conform just to fulfill a preacher's assumption!

Monday, 6 September 2010

The A Team

This is the God Squad - the ministers team who were runners up in the church quiz this year, defeated by the Kirk Session - so what's new! The good news is - over £300 was raised for Christian Aid.

Friday, 3 September 2010

In focus

Today was much more of a beach day with a few work interruptions. A good opportunity to blow away some of the cobwebs that have gathered this week.
All good preparation for this evening, meeting up with colleagues around the table, kicking around ideas for another installment of Spill the beans.
We're hoping to have another pilot ready for Lent, picking up on all the valuable feedback we received from our first offering, before tackling a complete all age resource that should be available for the start of next church session - September 2011. Seems very far away now but, with all the work involved, we have to get started.
We had an interesting discussion around the Scottish flavour of the materials we produce - that's an important part of the resource and differentiates it from other curricula. It was interesting to discover that this "Scottishness" is not contrived but is authentic - arising simply because of who we are and the culture out of which we write. Out last pilot reached some far flung places. Hopefully the Scottish slant was an attraction and not a barrier in other cultures and settings.
One slightly amusing aspect is that we didn't want to spoon feed people and supply everything ready made but the responses seem to indicate that that is exactly what folk want - a ready to use resource, so we'll do our best to fill in some gaps and provide even more options. A challenge - but one which was met by relish by the group who started the ball rolling tonight. Looking forward to some more "spilt beans".

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Beam me up

These wee guys look inviting. I'd love to go wherever they are headed. Escape from the endless round of meetings that have made up this week.
A wise old minister once told me that "preparation is an act of love" and so I've tried to be well prepared for meetings. This week, though, all the preparation has left me worn out. The weekend is pretty packed too - and not with R and R. Alien abduction sounds like a good alternative.
But, then, tomorrow is another day.

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