Sunday, 30 November 2008

Advent Reflections

A few years ago, I organized a retreat for clergy right at the beginning of advent.
I explained to colleagues that it was important to take time out to prepare for the season before all hell broke loose in the headlong rush into Christmas. A colleague very gently reminded me that, rather than all hell breaking loose, what we were preparing for was all heaven breaking loose. How true. We celebrate God coming into the world in human form. It takes time to grasp the enormity of that.
Most years, the approach of Christmas is relentless. It is upon us before we know it, ready or not.
And yet the church calendar has set aside a season before Christmas to allow us to prepare.
Often we’re so busy rushing ahead to Christmas to appreciate the beauty of Advent.
This year, I've written some short reflections for my congregation, one for each week of Advent. It is hoped that these short reflections will help to restore just a little of the balance and allow us to pause for a time – and then to welcome all heaven breaking loose in our lives.
My prayer is that these brief meditations will become a part of our Christmas preparations and that, together, we will be able to welcome the Christ child with peace and hope in our hearts.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Life's a beach

Even on gray, blustery days, the beach is a place of refreshment. A place of space and solitude where concerns are carried on the wind and anxieties melt into the sand. The waves surge, the tide turns and so it goes on. Footprints left are soon erased and detritus is swept up and carried away. Spending time on the beach allows the laying down of accumulated junk that invades the everyday and breathing in lungfuls of fresh, salt-filled air clears the way for a new start. There can never be too much beach in one's life. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Remember, remember

Standing sentinel
hunched against the cold
as were many today
observing armistice
respecting sacrifice
knowing that our momentary discomfort
is nothing compared with their relentless giving
The cold wet horror of trenches
the torture of seeing comrades perish in the war to end all wars
But shouldn't our observation of silence make more of a difference?
Shouldn't our sophisticated knowledge of the horror of war prevent us from allowing others to be sacrificed?
All our respect counts for nothing
if we cannot eradicate the acceptability of sacrifice that prevails in the face of perceived threat.
There is no war that can end all wars.
The price of peace has to be raised by other means.
Then our silence can honour the past and insure the future.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

New dawn

Went for a walk early this morning to try and shake off some of the sadness that's kind of settled in on me. The news of Obama's victory at the polls certainly helped to clear some clouds. I was tempted to skip through these leaves sending them flying but I settled for just crunching through them. I walked and walked until I came to the beach and there, the freshness and sheer beauty helped to shake some things into place. Loss is hard enough. Compounded by insensitivity, its so much harder. This morning, I gave thanks for life and for ministry in such a beautiful place with folk who know how to show their love. That beach is going to be my friend.

Wake up call

Friends just called from Indiana. They are having a party! Obama has secured enough to win the presidential election. I assured them that we in the UK are just as excited. Although its only 4am, I can't possibly sleep now. History is being made!I will go and give my bumper sticker an extra polish. YIPPEEEEE!!!!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Too soon

Janice - Missing you already. Cheers!

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