Thursday, 25 April 2013

Dog lessons

Exuberance propels her into the water
Oblivious to the cold
Plunging in for the sheer joy
Being absorbed and enveloped
Cradled in an ocean sized bath
Retrieving her stick and returning
to present her prize
and plead for the opportunity
to do it all again.
And to do it with joy
How I yearn for the ability
to practice exuberance
as it is taught by a dog
Instead, I fear reaction
I recoil from the effect
it might have on others
- the suspicion with which
I might be regarded.
So I curb my instinct
and stifle my exuberance
But be warned!
One day it will al come pouring out!

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Monday, 22 April 2013

Mad as...

The Spill the Beans team met today, not to write as we usually do but to plan and dream. Our meetings are always filled with hilarity. We cannot help but find joy in our task of somehow unravelling Lectionary texts and being creative in how we might present those with and for our different congregations.
Today we started off with a lengthy agenda. It took us less than two minutes to be totally diverted from that! And less than five minutes to mention Dr Who! With so many creative minds together in a room, sticking to an agenda is like herding cats. But we seem to get there and, certainly, each season, we come up with more and more ideas for presenting and living out the gospel together.
The Lectionary based all age church curriculum has enjoyed an amazing uptake not just in Scotland, our intentional market, but in other parts of the world too.
Taking time out today, in the beautiful surrounds of New Lanark, to plan the next stage was enriching and energising - essential components of ministry. Now to get back to writing for the season after the season after Pentecost!
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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

If we had known...

A brush of a kiss on the way out the door
A wave from the window
A stony silence
A blazing row precipitating a stormy exit
Would we have done it differently
if we'd known it would be
our final farewell?
When life - or death intervenes
causing us to pause and consider
are we changed
by that salutary encounter?
In all our impotence
to stave off evil
can't we yet
be changed by love?
Might we redouble our efforts
to tip the scales
to counter the balance?
Not simply to light the darkness
when it falls
but to push the dawn
ever nearer
so that its gentle light
pervades all
upon which it encroaches.
Need we wait
until tragedy intervenes
before we get to work?
Or might we strive
all the more
to be harbingers of light
and effectors of love.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Blessings of home

Getting away
Forsaking routine for a time
Refreshing, recharging
Bringing new perspective
Allowing space to reflect
Renewing energy
Fuelling enthusiasm
Rekindling imagination
Relieving strains and stresses
that have built up imperceptibly
dulling the senses
hiding the joy
masking the wonder
But as the tension ebbs
Joy returns
until once more
love comes easily
And the blessings of home
are known
and appreciated afresh.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Nature's composition

In this landscape
of water and trees
the setting sun
is accompanied
by a cacophony of sound
- tree frogs
and bull frogs
banjo frogs
and critters
all coorying down for the night
finding just the right spot
and trumpeting
in abandonment
and delight
when they find it.
Their symphony cannot be matched
or imitated
by the finest composers
or conductors
or musicians
It is exquisite
and complete
A worthy lullaby
to accompany dreams
of another nature filled day
A backing track
of contentment
to aid restful sleep.

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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

A welcome distraction?

The death of former British Prime Minister, Baroness Thatcher has, predictably, caused a great flurry of comment, wit and malice on social networking sites. What a welcome distraction for the current government! Having, just this week, launched more horrific welfare cuts that will plunge countless families, already struggling with poverty into even deeper misery, while protecting the rich, their policies do not merely echo but continue the philosophy that became known as Thatcherism.
"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy" said Jessica Dovey
There is no place and no excuse to rejoice in the death of any child of God. Nor should we be deflected from the injustice that continues to be perpetrated to this day by a government that continually refines the practice of segregation by social class.
In a democracy, such evil can only prosper if we, the electorate, allow it to do so.
Putting our energy into mobilising to reverse the cuts and to find a way out of the relentless descent into making the rich richer at the expense of the poor would be a much better way to mark this day - or any day.
Whatever our political hue, may we resolve to not let up on the pressure to force the current administration to rebuild the society that continues to be demolished. May we be the generation that "makes Thatcherism history."

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Monday, 8 April 2013


Psalm 8
Divine Majesty and Human Dignity
To the leader:according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.
O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

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Sunday, 7 April 2013

Walking and talking...

Two women walked the road
And as they walked
they talked -
of death and resurrection
of hope and promise
of faith and discernment
of love and discipleship
Sharing a vocation
that is costly and demanding
Sifting through the detritus
for the jewels that are buried.
And between them
was the risen Christ
listening and encouraging
consoling and affirming
making his presence known
in the breaking of the bread of life
- the sharing of stories
of joys and disappointments
of comfort and longings
Souls laid bare
not seeking answers
or solutions
not even congratulations
or commiserations
But simply the sacred gift
Of listening
in which the work of healing is begun.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 6 April 2013


Water soothes my soul
Especially fast flowing water
The sound of it tumbling
and raging over rocks
washes away those currents in me
teases out those knots
smoothes away those creases
that have begun to be etched
in the recesses
that lie under the calm exterior
that I present to the world.
The sight of it frothing and bubbling
takes me to a place
filled with mirth
and enthusiasm
and inspiration
- elements lying in wait
ready to burst to the surface once again
as the weight that suppresses them
is lifted
and they are allowed
to float free
loosed to life again.
The feel of it
icy on my toes
exhorts me
to throw caution to the wind
to scream with delight
and enjoy the sensation
of living on the edge
however briefly
so that everything seems possible.
Washed, teased, smoothed, freed
I break the surface once more
Giving thanks for water
- that soothes my soul.

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Monday, 1 April 2013

April Fools

Having preached a message of resurrection hope yesterday, one wonders how hollow that word rings in the ears of the poor and vulnerable in society today? At the risk of sounding hopeless, and while acknowledging that, in many areas, the church is already perceived as so irrelevant to large chunks of the population we seek to reach with good news, I'm pondering whether we have reached an all time low in the UK.
How can we be all smiley and full of a post Easter glow when, today, welfare cuts will further oppress those families who most need stability and care? And how have things progressed so far that we are only now mobilising when, in fact, from today, the UK government will be enforcing its biggest April Fool in a range of austerity measures?
Is it because we have taken our eye off the ball, debating, for instance, who can hold authority in church institutions, or who can be lawfully married, or what kind of love is "legitimate"?
Isn't it the case that, in this post Easter period, the life and the hope of the risen Christ is the very word we need to hear on love and equality and justice in today's world. And this unadulterated gospel, lived out, is what will make a difference for the poorest in our communities?
Less talking, more living is what will bring the untenable and unfathomable gospel back into the focus that we who call ourselves Christians have blurred.
The Resurrection IS good news but only if we stop obscuring its hopeful message.

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