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  • Christmas in a Day...

    So, how do you set about advertising yuor wares for Christmas?  Collection, editing and combining more than a hundred homes videos does not sound like an obvious choice.

    Irrespective of where you might choose to shop, I think that this 48 minute film 'by Sainsburys' is the most wonderful social commentary on British Christmases in the early 21st century.  Who cares if it silently advertises Co-op products or contains the odd naughty word?  With some real feel good moments and some laugh aloud funny bits (especially from the 106 year old!) I simply enjoyed watching... hope you might too


    NB as it says on You Tube, contains scenes of partial nudity and animal slaughter

  • Weeping with those who Weep

    If I stand in my kitchen and look out of the window, I can watch the various helicopters take off and land.  Often when I am out walking I hear the familiar whir of rotors and look up to see the distinctive yellow or grey shape of one of the helicopters going about its business.

    So waking up to the 7:30 national news summary which was a single story, telling me that the Police Scotland helicopter had crashed into a pub only around 2 miles from home was shocking, frightening and deeply upsetting.  Logging in to Facebook the top notification was to let me know a minister friend in the Midlands had posted a messgae of support and prayer on my timeline - tears welled in my eyes.

    Stockwell Street is a vibrant part of the dynamic city centre that is Glasgow, and on a Friday night it would have been hoaching with happy people enjoying themselves.  Glasgow Royal is where I had my surgery, and the burns unit is underneath the wards where I was - it's fair to say the plastics wards will be full of people bumped to make room for critically injured people coming in.  It is also likely that WIG, GGH and SGH, hospitals I know to an extent, will be treating some of the injured people.

    I don't have any wise words right now, just an ache for those affected, concern lest any of 'my' people are directly or indirectly involved, and trust in a God who shares the pain...


    On Police Scotland

    On Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

    On Scottish Ambulance Service

    On NHS GGC especially GRI

    On Glasgow City Council

    On those directly involved

    On their families and friends

    Lord have mercy


    Last night I was doing the epilogue for the group who meet for company and support at the Gathering Place.  I used the gospel for Christ the King (year C) and centred on the 'bad' thief who just asked Jesus not to forget him, and was instead promised paradise...


    Jesus, remember everyone affected by this tragedy

    Wipe away tears

    Embrace with love

    Where possible fulfil hope

    Where not fulfil your promise, which is, afterall the ultimate hope

  • Another Year Over...

    Liturgically speaking anyway.  Taking a little break from blogging tomorrow, and then will begin my annual disicpline of reflections for Advent.

    Oddly in recent weeks I have been experiencing 'flashbacks' to what was going on three years ago.  Nothing disturbing or distressing, just a keen sense of the way that sometimes time and space collapses (or seems to anyway).  Three years ago was the start of the last RCL year A, which will begin again on Sunday, so maybe there is something of the 'ever-circling years' that bring us nearer to the source and telos of hope - the new creation.

    Three years ago the darkness felt very deep and threatening; hope was a flickering reed guarded by the servant of God who defies discouragement.  This Sunday I will be reflecting on what we might mean when we speak of 'walking in the light', and doing so from a very different, and much brighter, lighter place.  Yet it is also the same place, as Advent 1 turns our gaze backwards and forwards in time whilst being firmly rooted here and now.

    I love Advent, and am really looking forward to the familiar-unfamiliar journey that will propel me to Christmas once more.

  • Catalytic Drupes and other Conferences!

    I am back home after a wonderful time in Manchester at BMS Catalyst Live (aka Catalyst Olive courtesy of Lucy Berry).  Whichever metaphor you choose - smorgesbord (sp?) or box of chocolates - it was certainly diverse and rich.  Not everything was to my taste, but there was much to delight the senses and nourish the grey matter. I laughed, I frowned, I regretted, I delighted, I chatted, I listened, I hugged, I was hugged, I was on familiar turf, I was with friends for whom it was foreign 'turf', I met new people... With music, art, poetry, preaching, science, history, current affairs and more it was, all-in-all, one of the best times I've had in many a long day.

    And then into my inbox came the offical registration for the International Symposium on Theology, Spirituality and Cancer in which I am clearly identified as a speaker.  I am a little apprehensive about this - the paper is not even in draft form yet, let alone honed, and I am 'the' overseas speaker.

    Yesterday there were several overseas speakers, chief among them being Jurgen Moltmann.  Oh dear, these poor New Zealanders will get a very pale imitation in me - even I have just spent a whole month preaching on hope and saying pretty much what Moltmann said yesterday!!  Still, for the one and only time ever, I am able to put myself in the same sentence as Professor Moltmann when talking about conference speakers - how smug is that!

  • All Kinds of Everything...

    In a few minutes I will be heading off to a launch meeting for More Than Gold 2014 followed by a showing of Chariots of Fire.  I remember seeing that in the then ABC cinema in Northampton, a three screen emporium no less: back in the 1980s that was quite the thing!

    abc npton.jpg

    Nowadays it is one the main centres for the 'Jesus Army' - something that began as a renewal movement in a tiny Baptist church, caused untold problems in its early days, was allegedly chucked out of the Baptist Union (no means to verify that either way) and now is just one among many Christian groups whose origins lie in this part of England.  For sure, they are very good at befriending lonely and vulnerable people and live out their faith with tremendous earnestness.

    So 'Chariots of Fire' a film that prompts all kinds of associations for me.  More importantly, I hope it inspires the local churches to get involved in this unique opportunity to offer hospitality and service to those who visit our city.

    After that it is down to Manchester for a few days - sermon writing on the train, BMS Catalyst Live in the middle and catching up with a few friends in between.

    Thereafter comes Advent - and no day left in my diary without at least one engagement until after Christmas!  All kinds of lovely and exciting things, but I will need to pace myself and remember that I am nearing 51 not 21...