Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Jesus on the Dublin bus

On a clergy day out today the craic supplied by our Dublin bus driver was, as always, informative and hilarious.
At one point he said: "Being born in a stable does not make one a horse."
Of course he was unaware that he was transporting a group of ministers (we never admit to what we do on days out!). But his one-liner struck me as being particularly profound in this season of Advent.
The one we prepare to celebrate, born in a stable, was not a horse but the Prince of Peace.
A sacred moment and pause for thought on a Dublin bus!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


Stormy weather is causing widespread flooding and travel chaos throughout Scotland this week. Cyberspace is filled with laments about plans disrupted and lives inconvenienced. The majority of us commenting on the bizarre disruption have warm homes to return to - or in which to remain. But what about those who have no such luxury, those for whom reaching over to switch on the kettle, make another cup of tea and wait out the storm is not an option?
Our faith calls us to be alert to the plight of others. to reach out and care "for the least of these".
But then, faith is pretty inconvenient too, is it not?

Monday, 28 November 2011

Not Redundant

Waiting out the storm
until they are required
to be used as they were meant to be
Created for a purpose
and of little use
when not engaged
as intended.
Waiting for a season
In this season of Advent,
we wait too
unused as we are to delay
We wait
May the waiting refresh us
and enable us
to rediscover
our purpose
so that we can welcome
the one who comes to us
to be born in us
and to give us life.
Liz Crumlish Nov 2011

Sunday, 27 November 2011


This year, we're having a Chrismon tree in church - an evergreen tree adorned with white and gold Christ Monograms - all symbols of christian life and faith, and lit by white lights, symbols of Christ the light of the world.
Not only is it a lovely focus for our journey through Advent, it has also been a wonderful teaching tool for our youth church over the past few weeks as they learned the significance of the Chrismon tree and created decorations for it. They shared that teaching with the whole church this morning.
Advent is one of those rare seasons in the church when we allow the children to teach the adults. We try to see the story through the eyes of children. So very fitting as we prepare to welcome the Christ child.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Alzheimers is the pits!

Enjoyed a brilliant concert this week by Glen Campbell, doing a farewell tour after his recent diagnosis of Alzheimers. He needed a fair bit of direction and keeping right and relied heavily on the auto cue but his voice and his playing were outstanding - what a talent. It is cruel that, daily, folks lives are affected by the rampant progression of such disease. It is also wonderful that so many sufferers refuse to lie down to it and fight it at every turn proving that diagnosis is not the last word but merely another step on a journey.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Out of season

Perhaps a bit late in the season
these blackberries appear
some green, some just reddening
some ripe, ready to be picked
but it's almost Advent
and we're moving on
Instead of filling jam jars
or scrumptious pies
these berries will feed birds
or simply die on the tree
their season has come and gone.
And as we await with anticipation
the one who comes into the world
new born and full of hope
we are painfully reminded
that this promise of life
was out of season too
never allowed to ripen
but also left
to die on the tree
Such are the vagaries
of (human) nature.
Liz Crumlish November 2011

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Wo-man up!

Over the years I have experienced so much misappropriation of power in the church that I have come to associate power with abuse. This means that I shy away from leadership, having developed many negative connotations surrounding being in a position of leadership. Of course this is really challenging given what I do - lead a congregation. To date I have managed pretty well in my various appointments modeling a very collaborative style of ministry. And, while I would always assert that ministry is collaborative and that, as the whole people of God, we all share the responsibility, with God, for mission, there comes a time when people need clear leadership, leadership that maps out the path ahead and which offers protection from those who would jeopardise the journey.
The discomfort I might have felt in offering such leadership has however been offset by a very extensive and often intensive time of preparation, some conscious, some unconscious.  I know I shouldn't really be surprised that this is the case, that the gifts I now need to embrace are to hand, having been carefully honed.
Stepping up and stepping out is not nearly so daunting when we can glimpse God ahead of us on the path. And, when that vision of God is of a playful God, hiding around the corner, ready to jump out and say "Gotcha!" it's time to abandon fear and pitch in with grace and humour. That playful God birls me around until I give in and, with a smile on my face and laughter in my heart, I embrace those tasks of leadership to which I am called.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Ending the year

The local radio station, Westsound held its Hogmanay party tonight. It's being recorded and will be broadcast on 31st December. Those who attended will get to celebrate twice this year.
The church also does that - this Sunday marks the end of the liturgical year. We celebrate Christ the King Sunday. The lectionary reading is from Matthew's gospel - about sheep and goats and the notion that "as you did it for the least of these, you did it for me". It's a funny kind of king that we celebrate.
Next Sunday sees the start of Advent, a new year in the church when we move from Matthew's gospel to Mark's.
Sunday's reading is a good one to finish off the year - reminding us of how whatever we do for others has far reaching consequences. I believe that doing good can be contagious and, at the end of this, the church's year, my hope is that I can move into the new year infecting others with the gift of compassion.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Seeing beyond

In spite of or more probably because of my views on war, I love putting together our annual Remembrance Service. It is challenging to hold together all the tensions that arise and attempt to make our collective remembrance worthy of all those who have borne the great cost of war and point to a future hope that we can find other ways to resolve conflict throughout the world. And, of course, year on year, as well as those who have died, we also want to affirm and support the growing number of casualties who are sentenced to a life bearing the physical and mental scars inflicted by their obedience in service as well as the many civilians who have also had their lives irrevocably changed - the "collateral damage" of government speak. Of course to do this effectively takes a huge amount of effort and this is generally appreciated. Sadly, there will always be those who are, quite simply, just too wrapped up in their own trivia to get even the briefest glimpse of a bigger picture. To catch that vision of hope that God affords, we have to lift our eyes and squint into the light.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Working with the stars

Another great day of creativity with some of the Spill the Beans team, creating resources for Lent and Easter. It is energising when there are so many sparks flying - in a good way - and, although there is so much more work to be done, getting together serves to remind us of what we are about and how much fun it is to share. I hope those using the resources have as much fun as we have had putting them together. It makes all the midnight oil burning so worthwhile.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Revgals nostalgia

This week, I've been looking back to the birth of this blog, at the kind of things I was posting 4 years ago, the discovery of revgalblogpals and the subsequent involvement with that supportive, online community. Tonight I shared that story with a group of church office bearers as an illustration of my journey as a woman in ministry. It has been a wonderful roller coaster of laughter and tears, joy and sorrow, isolation and embracing, fulfillment and frustration.
Above all, it has been a journey of discovery and of community. It has been good to look back this week and recognise growth and movement and, above all, experience a sense of loving and being loved. I look forward to further adventures on this voyage into the unknown, upheld by the love of God and the support of good friends - virtual and real.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

All the saints

The paper chain
is not a forgotten Christmas decoration
but a living reminder
of the family of God
past and present 
visible and out of sight.
The saints who have gone before us
and those who still mentor us
in our everyday.
The colours speak of the vibrancy of their witness
and pay tribute to the vitality
of their influence on us
who seek to be saints
for our day.
not because of our goodness
or our giftedness
but saints
because God declares us so.
And so we fluff up our wings
and polish up our halos
and walk tall
in the power of God
forging ever more links 
in that living chain.

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed