Monday, 24 February 2014

Transfiguration blues

Looking ahead to Sundays gospel - The Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9)

We don’t do well with the unexplainable.
We’d rather be able to cram everything into boxes,
labelled and categorised, neatly packaged.
We’re discombobulated by events that refuse to fit
into our systems and theories.
It’s been like that since the beginning,
since Adam and Eve
tried to cover their nakedness
or Noah asked for a drawing
or Sarah laughed out loud
or Lot’s wife wanted one last look
or Isaac wanted a ram
or Moses wanted a speech
or Gideon wanted a sign
or David wanted a harem
or Ruth wanted a husband
or Job wanted a break
or Jeremiah wanted a pair of clean shorts
or Amos wanted a simple basket of fruit
But all of these simple requests and actions
turned into multi-faceted messages about the reign of God.
And so the disciples
on the mountain top with Jesus
want everything pegged down:
tents for the prophets,
something to do,
to keep them from feeling
so out of their depth
at Jesus throwing them
yet another curve ball,
catching them off balance
with dazzling appearances
and voices from heaven,
too preoccupied with the desire
to “normalise” this event
that they tuned out the echoes of baptism
and didn’t catch the subtlety
of the beginning mirrored
in the beginning of the end.
A mountain top experience
that didn’t quite compute
when they were back on lower ground.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 22 February 2014


A heated “discussion” with God, a.k.a. a rant.
A response to the gospel Matthew 5 : 38-48

Right, God,
what do you mean “it’s not enough”?
How much more do you want?
I’m the first to put my hand in my pocket when anyone asks for help.
Or to volunteer some time or effort.
I pass on my old clothes to the charity shop and my old vacuum cleaners
to the church.*
I uphold the law impeccably,
I am fair, I am just,
I do not get riled,
I walk away from confrontation. If someone rips me off,
I put it down to experience,
I don’t seek revenge.
If someone vents on me,
I try to put it down
to them having a bad day,
I tell myself that their abusing me is saving someone else
from similar treatment.
And now you’re telling me that all this is not enough?
How can you, from your lofty position, far removed from reality,
ask for any more for me?
Have you ever been hit on by beggars at every turn?
Or by folk wanting your time and your attention constantly?
Have you ever had to stand your ground and argue the toss?
Have you ever been wrongly accused?
Or beaten and abused by those who should know better?
Have you ever been let down by those whom you thought were your friends?
I think I can see where you’re coming from. I’m not sure I like it much.
But you want us to be like Jesus, don’t you? And that means all this... And more!
“Be perfect... as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”

* Why do churches become the repositories for old vacuum cleaners?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Law with soul

A Reflection on the gospel: Matthew 5:21-37

‘You have heard that it was said...
but I tell you...’
there he goes again,
Jesus at his best:
upsetting culture,
tweaking rules,
redefining context,
thumbing his nose
at centuries of excruciating detail
that ensures God’s people live
within the lines of the law
and don’t step over the bounds.
Cold righteousness
doesn’t cut it with Jesus
who demands more:
hearts as well as minds,
law with soul,
doing is not enough,
being matters too
trust Jesus
to bring the warmth of relationship
into the coldness of law.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 3 February 2014

The climb

It's a long way to the top
to the sunshine and vista that awaits
but at least the climb
is light and airy
with bright colour
and vegetation
Enough to make any uphill journey
that much more palatable.
And if, on the way,
there is the promise
of companionship
the destination
is immaterial
- for the journey
is where it's at.
Lightness of step
and the thrill
of shared moments
become the focus
of all that is real.
Time disappears
and distance diminishes
as souls meet
in that space
where weight is lifted
and communion
takes place.
And right then
we can hear
God's mirth echoing around the airways
of that sacred space
rejoicing that, finally,
we get it!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Getting back to it...

From the sights and sounds of New Orleans, to the wonderful colours of the Caribbean, all punctuated by the wonderful company (is there a gender neutral word for fellowship?) of RevGal colleagues, the last 10 days have been refreshing and renewing. We've laughed together, cried together ( both in joy and sorrow) and simply shared aspects of ministry that others don't "get". And all whilst pursuing some Continuing Ed exploring Spirituality and the Enneagram.

But even more wonderful has been the return to the parish and congregation I currently serve. And the knowledge that, even in these dreich grey Scottish days, it is good to be here. Plunging back in, countering jet lag, it is affirming to embrace and to be embraced by the people of God in this place. Having stepped back to examine ministry and to gain perspective, I find that I am "surprised by joy". Thanks be to God.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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