Thursday, 28 November 2013

Weegie Theology

I was enjoying a coffee with friends in George Square in Glasgow yesterday. Seeing that we were trying to avoid the pigeons, a friendly Glaswegian approached and proceeded to give us his theological treatise on feeding the birds.
He began to tell us of St Francis and why he is often depicted surrounded by birds and then went on to speak of Jesus and the approaching Nativity celebrations, concluding that there is no better time to make room for and care for the birds.
Then, having said his piece and, satisfied that he had furthered our education, he moved on and left us to our lunch.
Only in Glasgow!
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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Wise men wondering...

On the way...

By now the wise men are asking:
Are we nearly there yet?
A long, arduous journey.
A mystery tour
with no end in sight
and no promise of fulfilment
The shine has gone
and the star is proving an elusive guide
Are they regretting that rashness
to pack up and set off
on the adventure of a lifetime?
Is the reality falling short
of their expectations?
Are they already longing
to settle down
to enjoy home cooking
to slip back into that routine
from which their restlessness took them
on this crazy departure from reality?
And what of those gifts
nestled safely at the bottom of their packs?
Do they now seem rash and foolish?
Based on a whim?
Tired, weary, doubting,
do they question their wisdom?
Or is their resolve as strong as ever,
their purpose unwavering?
Do they still sense that
history in the making
and their role in it?

(Liz Crumlish November 2013)

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Thursday, 21 November 2013

Morning commute

Heads lolling in sleep
Or huddled over an amusing text message
Or buried in a kindle
Eyes closed listening to music
- not all of it contained by headphones
As another train speeds past
there is a brief glimpse
into another world
of morning commuters.
For how many will this be
the only respite of the day
Eagerly snatched peace
from a day that promises
to be frenetic
How many are anxious
to already be at their destination
To see a task accomplished
To meet a loved one
To reach a hospital
To begin something new
A whole world of life
and love and emotions
speeding past
And whatever the destination
whatever awaits these particular commuters
Life is lived
and love is won and lost
in the journey
a part of life itself

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Sunday, 17 November 2013

House of dreams

In response to Isaiah's vision of God's world - where there is justice and peace, where folk enjoy the fruits of their labours, living long and prosperous lives( not just the privileged few), we built a house of dreams this morning and tiled the roof with our prayers for others.
It was fun. The harder part is fulfilling those dreams by becoming the instruments by which Gods Kingdom becomes reality.
The house of dreams and these prayers will accompany us into Advent and the Christmas season as we prepare to be transformed by the love of God taking on flesh.

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Monday, 11 November 2013

The humble poppy?

In this season of Remembrance, we are again in the midst of the "poppy wars". Politically correct folk of every hue are questioning the mass wearing of the poppy as a symbol of Remembrance for the pity of war.
Was Earl Haig, whose wife suggested setting up a poppy factory in England after WW1 to provide employment and raise funds for ex service personnel, a war hero or a butcher?
Is the poem written by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John MacCrae and oft repeated in Acts of Remembrance glorifying war and calling for more sacrifice?("Take up our quarrel with the foe...)
Should we wear red or white poppies or both?
This year, I feel a bit like the Queen in Alice in Wonderland, crying " It means whatever I want it to mean"
I wear a poppy as a symbol that, though I believe war can never be justified, still I respect those who served their country and paid with their lives, as well as those who still bear the scars of war, service men and women as well as the countless civilians who simply got in the way of war.
I will continue to wear a poppy to show that respect and to symbolise my commitment to working toward peace, to bringing about the day when talking will happen before fighting, when those who have served are properly cared for and when joining our armed forces will not seem an attractive alternative to long term unemployment for our nation's young people.

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Sunday, 10 November 2013

News that changed the world

Can you recall hearing Neville Chamberlain proclaiming on the radio: Britain is now at war?
Do you remember where you were when JFK was assassinated?
What about the summer that Elvis died?
Or the invasion of the Falklands?
Or waking up one morning to learn that the UK was involved in the Gulf war?
Where were you when the news came of a shooting in a primary school in Dunblane?
Or the death of Diana?
How did you hear about 9/11?
And the invasion of Iraq?
Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in Thailand or the earthquake in Japan?
All news that changed the world.
News that brought people together to care and to help each other.
News that saw folk respond with love.
To make the worst that had already happened tolerable in the sharing of anguish and bitterness and grief and worry.
And what about our worlds?
The look on the doctors face before she said the words you dreaded but just knew were coming?
Or the sight of the police officer coming up the path?
Or the look on a loved ones face that said it all?
News changes the world and shapes community.
We cannot shield ourselves or those we love from the pain of living.
But the force of love offers strength that makes a difference.
We have the power, not to change the news but to change the world with the power of love.
Love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love that never ends.
To turn news that changed the world into love that changed the world.
So be it.

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Tuesday, 5 November 2013


Drinking cinnamon flavoured coffee and eating cinnamon doughnuts as I am right now, immediately transports me to America (USA) and brings to mind the wonderful people I have met there. Those I have worked with, those who have ministered to me, those with whom I have shared joys and sorrows and adventures. And I am grateful for all the sharing. Some of those friends I connect with regularly, virtually and face to face, others I see or hear from infrequently, while still others I probably won't have the privilege of meeting again in this life. But all have been a part of my journey and, for that, I give thanks.
I wonder what tastes or smells evoke, for them, memories of Scotland?

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Friday, 1 November 2013

For all the saints...

Tendrils stretching through the years
Continuing to shape and influence the present
Reaching in with the sustenance of love
Reaching out with the buoyancy of hope
For all those who have shaped us into who we are today
Those who have been a good influence
And encouraged us to grow
And those who left a negative impact
but yet taught us how to be resilient and forgiving
For the discovery that no learning, however painful
is ever wasted
And for all who surround us today
Continuing to exert their influence
for good or ill
Encouraging us to learn toughness or tenderness
Still moulding, still shaping
the individuals that we are.
All saints together.
Some who's halos have become a tad tarnished
But still with the potential to gleam again
This day for all the saints
we pause, reflect, give thanks
we celebrate the saints of the past,
the saints of the present
and take our place in that vast continuum
that cloud visible and invisible
whose subscription never runs out
whose membership never expires
whose capacity stretches to infinity.
Thanks be to God.

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