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  • Whatever is Lovely...

    Here in Glasgow we are finally enjoying some gorgeous weather, and as the first hints of autumn play around the leaves of the trees, I find myself delighting in the beauty of creation and calling to mind these words from Philippians 4:8

     

    Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious - the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

    The Message paraphrase

    How easy it is to slip into whinge and whine mode, focussing on things negative.  How easy to take for granted or not even notice all the natural beauty and goodness and loveliness that surrounds us because we are preoccupied by other things.  I like this injunction to look for the good rather than the bad, the lovely not the ugly, the hopefilled not the hatefilled and so on.  And it's a challenge, for sure.

    So, it's a challenge I've decided to accept and make my own; that each day I will consciously look for a thing of beauty and loveliness.  It might be the toothless smile of an old man out fetching his paper, it might be the way the sunlight plays on the trees, it might be the feel of the breeze playing on my skin, or the indulgence of an extra latte, who knows.  But I am excited to accept the challenge and learn more of the wonder of God's creativity through it.

  • Swimming in God's love

    At last night's Songs of Praise we sang a lovely Welsh (funeral) hymn.  Alas, the English translation didn't scan (I'd failed to check) so we ended up with a trio by our three Weslsh speakers.  And it was a delight to hear Welsh voices singing as only Welsh voices can.  Here's the final verse...

      O fryniau Caersalem ceir gweled       
      Holl daith yr anialwch i gyd,       
      Pryd hyn y daw troeon yr yrfa       
      Yn felys i lanw ein bryd;       
      Cawn edrych ar stormydd ac ofnau       
      Ac angau dychrynllyd a'r bedd,       
      A ninnau'n ddihangol o'u cyrraedd  

    Yn nofio mewn cariad a hedd.

           
    From the hills of Jerusalem can be seen
       The entire journey all through the desert,       
       This time come turns of the course       
       Sweetly to fill our mind;       
       We can look at the storms and fears       
       And horrendous death and the grave,       
       And we have escaped from their reach       
       Swimming in love and peace.       
  • Student Squash

    In the days when I was at university in London - a very long time ago now - the Fresher's event at my college was called the Freshers' Squash or more usually the Squashers' Fresh.  Today we had a brief after service meeting to talk about our student welcome event, to which I expected about half a dozen stalwarts to turn up.  In the end there were around 20 of us squashed in the church lounge, some on chairs, some on cushions, some standing... it was a proper studenty meeting.  And it was exciting, no, it was EXCITING.  Exciting because almost all our overseas students stayed to share and brought ideas of what they thought would be helpful and valuable.  Exciting because our home undergrads and post grads joined in.  Exciting because the oldest person involved was over ninety.  Exciting because it had energy and humour and drive

    So...

    On Saturday 18th September at the Gathering Place will be a drop in traditional British afternoon tea for any students who care to come along from University of Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian University and Strathclyde University.  If you are reading this and know someone who ticks any of these boxes - fresher, returner, post-grad, under-grad - please tell them to get in touch with us cos we'd love to serve you our.... wait for it.....

    Fairtrade, Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten free/Nut free*/meat-lovers/diabetic friendly/you-name-it-we'll-try-to-accommodate-it tea.

    And it will be served on lovely three-tier cake stands to boot.  A free gift bag for students who turn up and maybe even a church mug...

    *Freedom from nuts refers only the edible variety.... we'll be there after all.