Sunday, 30 October 2011

Irreverent friends

On a night out with some girly clergy friends, the talk turned to clerical attire - from sparkly dog collars to pink edged preaching gowns. Beware local presbyteries - services of ordination and induction are about to get much hotter in the robing up department!
So much for the sexless cassock.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Feeling the warmth

Beth has just posted that it is snowing in the Mountains in Virginia where we spent part of the summer. Although the landscape must look very different now, I was immediately transported back in my mind, recalling happy thoughts such as: Walking barefoot the labyrinth mown in the grass and resting on the bench in the middle that calls out for one to rest awhile.
Lying on my back, quietly, with folk I love, gazing at the night sky, marveling that the same stars and constellations we see in Scotland are visible across the pond.
Making music with folk who just enjoy jamming and who share their talents humbly.
Experiencing community and fellowship in brief yet enriching encounters.
Knowing acceptance because I too love and serve God.
Appreciating the invitation to be involved fleetingly but affected for ever.
Summer is a time to create memories that will provide sustenance no matter how long or how harsh the winter that follows.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Liberation theology?

I always feel that, when I preach, I convict and challenge and confront and encourage myself as much as, if not more than, anyone else. The preaching arises from the word of God speaking into my life and into the life we share in community together. In preaching this week, I quoted Oscar Romero:
 "We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work... Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us...We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that... This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.”
This week, I want, desperately, to grow into that reality - of being liberated by the enormity of the task rather than burned out by it.
Perhaps if I spent some time sitting with the notion instead of trying to disprove it, perhaps if I accepted better my inability to achieve everything, perhaps if I made some room for God's grace instead of birling like a demented dervish so that the centrifugal force of my frenetic activity sweeps the space around me of everything that might assist the Kingdom of God, perhaps then, I might know liberation. 
I certainly intend to continue to allow these words of wisdom to meander with me until I reach the point where it is me who meanders with them. Such a turnaround might just bring some true liberation and make room for God's grace to get to work - in my life and in the lives of those to whom I minister.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Dancing in the aisles

The Rae Bros New Orleans Jazz Band led us wonderfully in worship this morning. And there WERE folk up dancing in worship.
The theme of the service was Moses' journey to the Promised Land. Clearly, the Promised Land will be full of jazz musicians!
If that kind of music can free folk from their Presbyterian inhibitions, as it did this morning, that can only be a good thing.
Thanks to the Ayr Jazz Festival for bringing the musicians to Ayr and allowing us to host them in worship..

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Jazzing the gospel

As part of the 7th Ayr Jazz Festival, our worship will be led tomorrow by the Rae Bros New Orleans  Jazz Band. After church last Sunday, in the village of Collioure, we encountered this street band - a very colourful collection of musicians. I had great admiration for the conductor (a fairly diminutive woman) who managed to keep a seemingly unruly bunch in some sort of order. It was clear that these were folks loving what they did.
Hopefully, in our worship tomorrow, we will know some of that exuberance and improvisation as we submit to the orchestration of the divine conductor.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Surprising God app.

I love all things Apple. The death of Steve Jobs last week has brought a flurry of tribute cartoon depictions - Of Steve arriving at the Pearly Gates and, seeing St Peter paging through a huge tome to find his name, suggesting: "I have an app for that". Or being introduced to Moses as the man who can update his tablets.
All this has me musing - Can we surprise God?
Is our Creator capable of being amazed by the inventiveness of human beings?
I'd like to think so.
Of course, the opposite is also true - God must cringe at the levels to which we stoop. I've never been much in doubt of that.
But that means that it must also be possible to amuse and intrigue and to gladden the heart of God.
And there should be an app for that!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Counting blessings

Elder is a man happy at his work. Every time we encountered him he was chuckling. Whether serving dinner or demonstrating napkin folding or playing practical jokes, an encounter with Elder was always uplifting.
Elder came to mind tonight as I described my work to someone, expressing the joy and privilege it is to serve God full time. I was chatting with a man who is totally immersed in his church but who also has a "day job". I know that God calls us to serve wherever we work but I was struck by how blessed it is to have the luxury of full time kingdom service.
Hopefully I will remember that next time I have to deal with those difficult people who abound in every work place.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Unexpected bonus

The unseasonal autumn weather has tricked some flowers into believing that it is spring and flowers are blooming that shouldn't be at this time of year. It has also led to a more intensely coloured autumn than usual.
With the assurance that plants will flourish again in the spring as usual, this bizzare phenomenon is surely a welcome bonus.

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