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A Skinny Fairtrade Latte in the Food Court of Life

  • Is This the Last Time?

    As I stepped onto the north-bound train to bring me back up from Milton Keynes to Northampton, at the end of a slightly convoluted train journey, it struck me, surprisingly forcefully that this might be the last time I ever do this... next time I head this way it will probably be to Wellingborough... I may have arrived at the shiny new Northampton railway station for the last time.

    I've always known that this day would come, that one time would be the last time because there would no longer be a reason to come back.  But it is very strange to realise that this might be it, and that I had made no plans for farewell visits to anything or anyone.

    It's not the case that I can never return, it's just unlikely, once the practicalities are sorted out that I will do so.

    And it's very weird... bittersweet... this place is no longer home, nor has it been for decades, and yet it is precious... so many memories... I wasn't expecting to feel the sadness I experienced as I stepped from the train...

    Lots of practical stuff to get done, but I hope, too I can find/make the time to say my farewells to places that once I knew well, and capture some last memories.

    I've always claimed to have little or no place attachment - and I think that's still true, it's just that, of the many places I love, this the first where my primary reasons to return are ending.

  • An Upper Room, Made Ready...

    This morning I am excited at the prospect of leading worship in a hotel conference room, into which a few folk went yesterday evening so that all is ready (bar projection stuff which is my responsibility) for when we arrive.

    Loads of careful planning, preparing, thinking and praying has gone into this.  People with skills in event and programme production, audio, music etc. have all worked hard to ensure that every 'i' is dotted and every 't' crossed.  Not one jot or tittle has been missed!  I am truly grateful to these folk whose work makes all this possible.

    For my part, I have thought and re-thought what I will say, have adjusted length and refined content to fit around those things over which I (rightly) have no control.  I have tried to step into the shoes of the person who might be anxious about the whole endeavour, and to do everything I can to help make it a positive experience.

    I am excited about the experiment.  I am totally relaxed about the experiment.  Yet I know fine well that with just a few minutes to go the nerves will kick in as they always do - sometimes the weight of responsibility of preaching fleetingly becomes almost unbearable, until I stand up, speak the first words and all is well...

    If you happen to be a Gatherer reading this before you leave home this morning, my prayers are with you.  If you happen to be someone else reading this before 11 a.m. today, maybe spares us a quick prayer or thought.  If you are reading it any other time, look out for reports back!

  • God is (not)...

    Yesterday afternoon I was the "speaker" at a small friendship group we run at church.  I chose to centre on the hymn to love in 1 Corinthians, with the reminder that we also understand that "God is Love".  When it came to the prayers, I worked my way through the attributes of love, substituting the word "God".  It's not original by any means, but it certainly made me think...

    God is patient;
    God is is kind;
    God is not envious
    God is not boastful
    God is not arrogant
    God is not rude.
    God does not insist on Gods own way;
    God is not irritable
    God is not resentful;
    God does not rejoice in wrongdoing,
    God rejoices in the truth. 
    God bears all things,
    God believes all things,
    God hopes all things,
    God endures all things.

    God never ends...

    Some profound and challenging ideas there... especially the one that seems to express 'free will' (God does not insist on God's own way).

    I wonder if any of them speak to you?