Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Taking time

I thought after the busy weekend, I'd be able to slow down some this week. Wrong again!

However I haven't been running so fast that I've been unable to appreciate the beauty that has surrounded me today - some stunning rainbows. And then, as I was hurrying along a Glasgow street, I glanced behind and caught this marvellous view - 0n my phone. I am convinced that there is always sunshine lurking behind the clouds. The trick is not to be scudding along so fast that we miss out on the glimpses, however brief.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Pause for reflection

Its been an exceptionally busy weekend. Late nights and early mornings. Lots of work and enjoyable encounters. After work today the need to escape was overwhelming. Fortunately, in this part of the world, 30 mins on a ferry affords the chance to fulfill that desire. Lungfuls of fresh, clean and cleansing air. And everything was so green. Spring is finally here. In the sunny reflections its hard to tell where reality ends and reflection begins. Perhaps its good that they should merge. That all of life becomes an opportunity to ponder and marvel and give thanks - even when we'd rather drown in the reflection than live in the reality.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Taking a risk

I wonder if this Killdeer's eggs have hatched yet. She laid them at the edge of the church car park and kept us entertained on our visit with all sorts of decoy rituals. Wouldn't it be easier to lay eggs somewhere quieter and out of harm's way? We admired her courage, her dedication and her ingenuity in trying to deflect us from her precious cargo. Taking risks is something most of us avoid. But then we miss out on riches in life and in faith.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Making history

Couldn't resist posting this- posing with the next President?

I have enjoyed reading The Audacity of hope and I'm looking forward to Dreams from my Father by Obama.

Here is an excerpt from Audacity:

"It was because of these newfound understandings- that religious commitment did not require me to suspend critical thinking, disengage from the battle for economic and social justice, or otherwise retreat from the world that I knew and loved... The questions I had did not magically disappear... but... I felt God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself and dedicated myself to discovering God's truth"

An articulate president will certainly be a refreshing change!

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Travelling mercies

We left Indiana lunchtime Friday to begin our journey back to Washington DC for our flight home to UK via Amsterdam. So we saw a huge chunk of the country. This trip, we drove through parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Indiana, not necessarily in that order.
Arriving home around lunchtime today UK time, we've unpacked, napped and done laundry. Definitely "back to auld claes and porridge" as they say in Scotland.
Trying hard to be grateful for all the time spent with friends rather than focussing on how much I miss them.
This pic of Virginia sky reflected in a pond reminds me that there are all sorts of ways to see things and that reflections are often stunning and bring new perspectives.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Moving on

It was with great reluctance that we left McDowell after worship on Sunday. For 10 days we had experienced such beautiful surroundings and even more beautiful people. In that short time they had crept into our hearts and opened themselves to these Scottish invaders. Partly through sharing in worship but, mainly through sharing each other. And to hear their rendition of Scotland the Brave rounding off our last service together was truly awesome. I hope it won't be too long before we can return. Meantime we are truly grateful for all the grace that we experienced and for the memories created that we can savour for a long time to come. Thanks be to God.

Friday, 11 April 2008


This is proving to be a restful and healing break. We are surrounded by awesome beauty. The past few nights at dusk have found us out by some beaver ponds watching and waiting. By the time the beavers appear, its too dark to get any photographs but it is magical to watch them and listen to their tails slapping the water. There are also bats, geese and a couple of herons that come in to roost. Tonight, we even saw some kind of turtle. I wish we could capture it all in a jar and take it back for those stressful days that confront us in normal life. But I guess we will have to drink our fill and release it slowly when we need calm and a reminder of the perfection of creation.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Lost...and found

When we arrived in McDowell, late Friday evening, the trusty sat nav became confused. After driving around in circles for a couple of hours I was really beginning to fear that we were going to have to spend the night lost in the mountains. However a flash of inspiration saw us headed for a town near where we should be, albeit in the opposite direction, and we managed to find our way from there. Today, we decided to retrace our steps to see what we had missed in the darkness. What beautiful sights met us today, in glorious sunshine.
What an incredible difference the brightness of day makes. Roads that were menacing in the darkness of night were unveiled as places of beauty. Instead of near panic, we enjoyed the tranquility of a leisurely , scenic drive.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

The other side of the pond

This morning I preached in McDowell Presbyterian Church, Highland County in Virginia.

My friend, Beth who is the pastor here has left for two months to work with the Christian Peacemaking Team in Iraq.

Its always a joy to share our traditions in different places, recognising commonality. This morning as we journeyed with the disciples on the Emmaus Road and then shared communion, ancient, familiar words brought us together and, along with a wonderfully warm welcome, really did make us feel at home. Now its time for a Sunday afternoon nap. That's also a common response for preachers.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Flying dreams

Decided to get the whole primary school to make and fly paper aeroplane prayers today at their end of term service. I heard a bit on the Radio yesterday saying that NASA was getting involved in a paper aeroplane making competition. It seemed like a good idea until the service was over and the kids all left. The church was covered in 300 paper aeroplanes. Oops! Lots of fun, though. I'm off on a real plane tomorrow. Can't wait!

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

For whom the bell tolls...

This job often brings such privelege. Its just that in the dross of the everyday its easy to lose sight of the gems.
Today I facilitated a funeral. I say facilitated because my role was insignificant. This lady's family had put together some wonderful tributes, music and prayer. The whole service was infused with such love. Its wonderful when funerals can be a real celebration of the life of a loved one - as was this funeral today. And its good to be allowed to "eavesdrop" on love.
Everyone left the crematorium smiling- that probably says it all. Somehow dying in Eastertide makes the hope of our Christian faith all the more poignant, and the timing was a significance appreciated today.

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