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  • An Advent Makeover!

    Well, why not?  This seems as much of a purple colour scheme is is on offer, and it is rather attractive.

    And the Advent Candle badge to help count the days...

  • Go Forth in Faith...

    Today our Advent theme was "Patriarches and Matriarchs" and I tried to imagine the stories of Abram & Sarai aka Abraham & Sarah, and of Elizabeth & Zechariah as if the women had told them.  There was some reading of commentaries and some exegesis worked in there somewhere... it seemed to be quite well received, and this despite allusions to geriatic love-making!!

    Anyway his is one of the hymns we sang, flawed in so far as it gives Abraham faith and Sarah doubt, when in fact they each laughed at the preposterous dea of a child in their dotage (read Genesis 18 only in the light of Genesis 17), but which, overall carries a powerful message:

    1  "Go forth in faith, from kindred, home and custom.
        Leave the old gods":- what easy words to say!
        How hard to move, with Abraham's decision,
        break free, and risk a new uncertain way.

    2  How hard to trek from ease in Pharaoh's palace,
        from boardroom power, or popular acclaim,
        to bear discomfort, ridicule, or malice,
        with earth's discarded people, in God's name.

    3  Yet when we laugh at hope, like Sarah, grieving
        that nothing changes, nothing can be done,
        we bear, like her a promise past conceiving,
        of justice, joy, shalom, and kingdom-come.

    4  Within the womb of every best tradition
        the Spirit moves, and cannot be ignored.
        We feel the kicking of our inner vision   
        and sing, "My soul shall glorify the Lord!"

    5  The voices from the past re-echo round us.
        Take courage from the faith of many friends.
        Go forth in faith, and look ahead to Jesus,
        on whom, from start to finish, faith depends.

    6  With faith newborn, and passionate for justice,
        together now, we'll travel out from home,
        to sacrifice the peace of calm uprightness,
        an struggle for the city of Shalom.

    Brian Wren (born 1936) © 1989 Stainer & Bell Ltd

    We sang it to the tune of "heaven shall not wait" (Iona) but it oculd also be sung to Finlandia or the Londonderry Air to name but two.

  • First Sunday in Advent


    BPW 139

    Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
    Born to set thy people free,
     From our fears and sins release us,
    Let us find our rest in thee.

    Israel's strength and consolation,
    Hope of all the earth thou art;
    Dear desire of every nation,
     Joy of every longing heart.

    Born thy people to deliver,
     Born a child and yet a king,
    Born to reign in us for ever,
    Now thy gracious kingdom bring.

    By thine own eternal Spirit
    Rule in all our hearts alone;
     By thine all-sufficient merit
    Raise us to thy glorious throne.

    Charles Wesley (1707-1788)


  • Singing through Advent

    Each year I challenge myself to some kind of daily blogging challenge for Advent... last year it was poems from a book I was reading.  This year I thought I'd make up my own scheme, beginning with the hymns in the Advent section of BPW (Numbers 139 to 149) in numerical order, and then adding on others from Advent selection in HymnQuest.  This won't make for a tidy journey, but I think it will be an interesting experiment.

  • A year on...


    Hard to believe that a year has flown by since the tragedy of a police helicopter crashing into this Glasgow pub on the banks of the Clyde... the date anniversary is tomorrow, the equivalent day today.

    Like all tragedies, there was a huge flurry of activity at the time, and then the media circus moved on, people went back to their everyday lives and the broken building waited silently, as it is still does, to discover its future.

    There was a lot of talk about this or that event to raise money to restore it, and I have no idea how much of that actually came to pass.

    Last Sunday I took this photo as I passed... a queue of cars waiting at the lights, a clear blue sky, people wandering along the road going about there ordinary Sunday lives.  A year on and normality has returned... except for the families of those who lost their lives, or who are emotionally scarred by their experiences... and for those whose livelihoods were wiped out along with the roof.

    Black Friday?  Well, for so many here last year it really was a black day... I hope an dpray that this year will for all of them be just a bit brighter