Friday, 26 October 2012

Autumn morning

Crunching through leaves
Seeing, through the gloom
breath whipped away on the wind
as it mists in the morning frost
Anticipating in the darkness
shapes looming out of the shadows
of fellow travellers
on the journey
Are they coming or going?
Arriving or leaving?
Starting the day?
Or finishing the night?
There is evidence all around
of those whose work is done for now -
The steam emerging from the bakers
carrying the enticing aroma
of freshly baked bread;
Breakfast rolls ready for those just newly wakened.
The smell of polish in offices
that hints at night time cleaning
ready for a new days mess.
Freshly stocked shelves in the supermarket
prepared all through the night
so that daytime shoppers might find
all that their hearts desire.
We pass each other on our journey to work-
those whose shift is done
and those who are just beginning
unaware of how
we rely on each other
each providing a part
of a whole
that is not complete
until both have performed
their allotted task,
their part in the vast, complex jigsaw
that comprises daily life.
In the early morning light, each is wrapped up
in their own cocoon
filled with thoughts
and plans
and anxieties,
unthinking, unseeing
barely noticing
life teeming around us
far less being mindful
of other lives
In our community
whose days are bereft of purpose
who long to be going about
the mindlessness
of everyday routine.
The unemployed
the grieving
those sick
in body, mind or soul,
those who feel rejected
unloved and unwanted.
Those who have spent the hours of darkness
longing for the day
and who will spend the day
longing for the night
when they can once more retreat
into the shadows
out of the glare
and put in their shift of suffering.
The riot of autumn colours
does not impinge
on their unremitting
shades of grey.
The miracle of frost patterns
fails to distract them
from the bleakness
that fashions their landscape.
The creeping in of dawn
fails to charm them
with its hues of pink and mauve and purple
for colours are silenced
by the power of the darkness
that inhabits their world.
And so we journey on
caring not how we affect each other,
unaware of the dreams lost
or trampled underfoot
like autumn leaves
or not even begun,
whisked away like breath
in the early morning frost.
We journey on absorbed and consumed
by all the demands
of our own day.
And all around us nature calls
to us and tries to beguile us
with its beauty and colour,
the colour of caring and hope and promise.
We journey on
In a strange kind of blindness,
by swirling leaves
and frosty breath
and unimpressed
by the colour of hope.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Multiple personality

I had an interesting day yesterday playing the part of an interviewee being assessed as a potential candidate for full time ministry in the Church of Scotland - (for the purposes of assessor training). Both interview teams asked very different questions and I left feeling that I had portrayed two quite different people!
That struck me as quite congruent in ministry when we are called to be so many different things to different people at different times and in a wide variety of situations. These are often brief encounters and might leave folk with little snapshots, pieces of a very complex jigsaw.
Few will ever see the bigger picture or even a sizeable part of it but all will be affected, for good or ill, by the sense they make of what they do see. Striving to reflect the image of God in every encounter becomes much more vital when seen from that perspective. It is less important that folk get to know us than that they get to see God in us.
I'm not sure that either account I gave of myself yesterday merited acceptance as a candidate for training. But that's another story!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


Yet another wonderful thing about train travel is that you are forced to listen in to people's conversations. OK - that can be really irritating when it's a tedious, banal, unnecessary, stating the obvious, phone convo. And that's not just because it's one-sided. It would be double torture to have to listen to the other side of those conversations. On my journey this morning i was fascinated by a conversation that ranged from the sadness of Stalin to the desirability of Machiavelli, with Terry Pratchett thrown in along the way. it might have been pretentious if the folk involved hadn't been so earnest. I certainly learned a few things that I'm sure will come in handy at some point. Maybe when there are political history questions in the next pub quiz!
So- what have you learned as you've journeyed today. And, perhaps more salutary, what have others learned from your conversations?
Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, 2 October 2012


Pronouncing blessing
on the freshness of the breeze
that snatches away
all those gnawing thoughts
and clamouring ideas
that will keep
until another time
Pronouncing blessing
on the salty tang
that cleanses the palate
of the bitter taste
of judgment and criticism
unwelcome companions
on the journey
Pronouncing blessing
on the biting cold
that numbs the wounded spirit
damaged beyond repair
from too many searing remarks
cast thoughtlessly over the shoulder
by those considered friends
Pronouncing blessing
on a moments peace
an at-one-ness with nature
and all its healing balm
Pronouncing blessing
on the God of creation
who meets us
in that moment
Thanks be to God

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