Saturday, 26 February 2011

Being present

The wildlife around here is pretty amazing. Seeing all sorts of creatures I don't have names for. Yesterday we walked alongside the highway (not done around here) and saw an amazing array of birds living in marshland right beside all the speeding traffic. Most fok are unaware off the presence of such beauty in their midst. That applies to wildlife - and to the people we meet every day - every one of them created in God's image.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Shooting the breeze

Been hanging out at this place, just enjoying the company of a sister and soul mate before we join the rest of the revgals on the cruise. Looking out over the water where the fish keep jumping. I'm sure there is a scientific reason why the fish jump out of the water but I like to think it is just their natural exuberance. Happy fish!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Meenisters and boats

I'm finally getting around to thinking about Study Leave  - which begins this Thursday. I'm heading out to Tampa, Florida to meet up with 40 women ministers who are part of Rev Gal Blog Pals, an online lectionary forum and support network that I've been part of for the past few years. We are embarking on a cruise and studying together Reframing Hope with author Carol Howard Merrit. Para Handy would be birling in his grave at the thought of so many ministers on the one boat! And women at that! Who would have thought that, after years of sharing struggles and supporting each other with the texts week by week, I'd get the chance to meet up in real life with some of these colleagues whom I feel I know so well?
And, it was a bonus to discover David Tennant (aka Dr Who) in this clip of the old series about the Scottish puffer The Vital Spark and her crew.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Too busy not to!

My study leave begins on Thursday. There simply aren't enough hours between now and then to do all that must be done before I leave - preaching, praying, teaching, praying, cooking, praying, shopping, praying, packing, praying.... At times like these it is so important that prayer doesn't get squeezed out of the picture.
As well as being built up by spending time with God, I have also been conscious this week of being emptied - not because God isn't interested in all the frenetic activity but because God is skilled at creating space within us to take on more and, in the silence and stillness, God speaks and directs and achieves what, in the whirlwind, seems impossible.
It's a relief to know that God doesn't require us to retreat before we can be refueled (though I LOVE retreats) but that God is also skilled at taking our overstuffed lives and pouring grace in to settle in all the nooks and crannies.
The image in my head this morning is of an over full suitcase (not that I've even started packing yet) that God will skilfully rearrange so that there is still room for what is important.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Notes of change

I heard the sound of Spring today
in the middle of town
above the noise of the traffic
on the busy road
birdsong rose high above all else
Not the rough call of the crow
or the battle cry of the magpies
but the clear, sweet song 
of birds preparing to nest
busy with activity
accompanied by music
that heralds change
- the good sort.
I heard the sound of Spring.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Beach drama

A dragon stalks the beach
seeking unsuspecting fools
who dare to brave the hail
and traipse the sand.
A reminder that summer pleasures
are still a long way off.
 But who can resist the lure
and the drama unfolding hourly
as the landscape shifts and changes
A reminder that nothing stands still
Creation goes on
being amazing
always surprising
and delighting
mimicking the creator - 
who entertains
to perfection.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Litany of choosing

Get up now or snuggle in?
Toast, cereal, tea or coffee?
Zesty lemon shower gel or honey and almond?
Blue socks or green?
Shoes or boots?
Walk or drive?
From the minute we open our eyes
or not
our day is full of choices.
Some huge, some little
but all with consequences.
Impacting us and our neighbour,
folk like us with choices
and folk for whom there are no options
only unremitting sameness
and resignation.
So whether the deal
seems big or small
whatever the ease or difficulty of decision
May we always value the luxury of choice
And may our choices be life enhancing.

See I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity.
Deuteronomy 30 v 15

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Spilling more beans

After a couple of days back in November, planning with some creative friends and then filling in the blanks through December, the second pilot of Spill the Beans is ready - thanks to Roddy and Peter for their editing skills.
Spill the beans is a lectionary based all age worship curriculum for use in churches. It has a distinctive Scottish flavour. This pilot covers the season of Lent. You can download yours from either Roddy's or Peter's blogs.
Go on - you know you want to.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Salt and Light

We were off lectionary this morning, launching some new music initiatives, but I couldn't help reflecting on the Lectionary passage - Jesus' words to his listeners about being salt and light in the world. These words seem alien in a society that warns about the dangers of too much salt in our diet and flags up light pollution. Is there any way to retrieve the essence of Jesus' teaching in our contemporary living? The impact that must have accompanied Jesus' words - to listeners who really appreciated the difference a grain of salt could make and who knew the value of the dimmest light in real darkness - is just lost on us.
That concept of making a difference through basic infiltration - how does that look today? What would be the  contemporary images or word bytes that might speak to Christ's followers in this age? It's tempting to think that it might be about being techno-savvy - getting ourselves out there on the web - being "connected". Making the biggest impact while conserving effort. But, the truth is that even in this vastly changed world, so different from the world that Christ entered, our affecting each other in the end comes down, quite simply, to relationships. Personal, up close relationships. Global community is undeniably important and can make a difference. But our relationship with our neighbour is still at the heart of our witness. It is still the single most effective tool. Salt and light might not have the same conceptual impact that it may have had in Jesus' day but the idea of gentle, persuasive interaction persists to create a real difference in the communities we inhabit - global and local.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Heads in the sand

Flooding, cyclones, snowlocausts and, here in Scotland, the usual wind and rain - weather is the hot topic of conversation just now. While recent extreme weather has wreaked havoc and caused devastation, talking about that saves us from having to think about violent events in Tunisia or Egypt or other communities that have reached boiling point because their citizens are asserting their right to be treated as human beings. Talking about the weather also prevents us from having to face up to our complicity in perpetuating such injustice. The luxury of irrelevance.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Thin evangelism?

In my last parish, I indulged in some pub evangelism. I've not had that opportunity in my present charge - mainly because the pub in the parish is a dive - and the first time I went there I was asked to move because I had taken someone's seat - worse than the kirk!
However, today, at the local slimming club, I saw a great model of evangelism. Folk shared openly the ups and downs, what worked and what didn't. Achievements, mainly losses, were celebrated. They were supportive of each other, even swapping details so that contact could be made when things got tough. And, on top of all that, they had a good laugh together. What a good model of church! Sharing and learning.

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