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  • Church in a Box and other fun!

    Today has been spent, for the most part, sorting stuff in my office at church in preparation for the big move to my home office on Wednesday.  It's not all done yet, but I made some good inroads, and had some fun along the way.  Among my many discoveries were these two rather fine (and somewhat rusty) boxes, which brought a smile to my face.  As we plan to pack up and move out for a bit, it seems out forebears were ahead of us with these tin trunks!

    It has also been a day of circulating inventories and phoning charities and boxing up stuff to be passed on... from cups and plates, via card, chalks and crayons, to part burned candles (yes, really!).  It's been great fun - in a way that perhaps only I can count as fun; being able to be generous to others, mostly locally but in some cases nationally, is a real privilege.

    Tomorrow I have more sorting to do before, and probably after, a training (half-)day but hopefully all will be just about there in time for Wednesday morning when the packers and the van arrive!

    I love the metal boxes into which we can, if we wish, pack the essentials of church and carry them with us, Ark of Covenant style, during our tabernacling phase.

    And now, after a long, happy day, it's time to stop before I flop!!

  • Gazing on God's Glory in Glenrothes!

    Gazing on God's Glory - a nice alliterative title for an Assembly.

    Overall, it was a good Assembly, not great, in so far as I didn't leave with new ideas or new energy, but certainly not any less than good, because the content was good and the atmosphere generous and gracious (see, I can do alliteration with 'g' too!)

    The photo above is the view over the car park outside the hotel where I stayed which was, as you can just make out, next to the bus station.

    A lot of speakers spoke about glimsping God in the every day (see, hardly a new idea, even if a good reminder).

    I had looked out of the window and snapped a photo of the last vestiges of the sunrise, then thought, no, it's down I need to look... if I claim I know that God's glory is glimpsed here on the 'plain' every bit as on the 'mountain' then that's what I should photograph.

    And I deliberately chose to include the double decker bus that was just setting out on its route, as the song flooded my mind, "What if God was one of us, just a stranger on the bus..."

    Again, nothing new there, it's a song I've known for years that expresses ideas I've pondered almost as long

    So where did I glimpse God's glory - not sure I can honestly claimed to have done much gazing - in Glenrothes?

    In the taxi driver who picked me up at Markinch railway station and made conversation about the (cold, grey, drizzly) weather

    In the stewards in bright yellow poloshirts and wafting oversized red foam hands, who smiled and joshed as they directed delegates. 

    In the catering staff of Rothes Halls who served tea and coffee at intervals, and a range of hot and cold food in the cafe at meal times - and especially in the one or two I managed to engage in chit chat.

    In the man in the mobility scooter who had come in to use the toilets only to discover he couldn't get in as he needed a speical fob from reception - so I went and got him one.

    In the young man who took my breakfast order and the hotel recptionist who checked me in.

    In a bowl of piping hot soup and in a ridiculously sweet doughnut

    In the stillness of a near deserted car park as I walked back to my hotel at night, and in the silver-grey of morning as I reversed the journey to the Assembly

    In the beauty of the bridges over the Forth and the east coast towards Fife.

    In the majesty of the Kelpies and in the colours of autmn leaves

    In songs I actively disliked (go figure!) and moments when I felt fully alive

    In the overload of my senses in the main event, and in the quiet moments sought out to be alone

    I learned nothing new.  I heard nothing that disturbed my complacency, on the whole it affirmed my reality. And all of that is utterly fine because sometimes what is needed is not new ideas or new inspiration, sometimes what is needed is the 'still, small voice', the 'sound of silence', in which God embraces our ordinariness and declares it good.

    The next couple of weeks are going to be utterly manic, in a good way, and for good reasons, and it is hard to explain how glad it makes me to have health and strength sufficient for that reality.  I hope, that in the craziness of it all, I will still catch glimpses of God's glory in the people I meet, the environment we share and the things we do.

    As the song says:

    And yeah, yeah, God is great,

    yeah, yeah, God is good,

    yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah...

  • Baptist Assembly in Scotland

    Today I will be heading Fifewards, if there is such a word, for the BUS/BMS Assembly. Looking forward to catching up with friends and hearing news from Baptist churches, some learning and worship and sharing.


    Back home Saturday - taking an extra night there rather than a late journey home on Friday.


    Should be interesting and enjoyable. And yes, I really did post this at silly o'clock...

  • ... I wouldn't start from here!

    There was a saying, when I lived in the Midlands, "if I was going there, I wouldn't start from here..."

    For the second time in a fortnight, I've looked at the Bible passages set in the scheme I'm following and wondered how on earth they got from there to the title they propose (and which I blindly and blithely have adopted in the preaching plan).

    To make matters more complicated, the gospel passage I'm currently working with requires me to engage in all manner of mental gymnastics if I am to make any sense of it whatsoever... all my commentaries are at church whilst I wait at home for the bookcase builder, and the online stuff is variable and questionable.

    Not at all sure I can bend the exegesis to fit the title (for the second week running) but it is an intriguing passage to work with, so we'll see what emerges by the end of today when I have to have it done (I am at Baptist Assembly in Scotland for the next two days...)

  • In praise of adjectives!

    The latest version of Microsoft Office's Word has an annoying habit of trying to remove my adjectives citing the need to be concise.  This annoys me greatly, because using them is always a conscious effort on my part (my scientist brain can do concise without thinking, adjectives take a little longer).

    This morning an email arrived in my inbox with a sign off that referred to "this gorgeous morning"... and it really is a gorgeous morning.  More significantly, it was the feel of the greeeting, lost without the adjective, gave a lift to my spirits.

    So, adjectives (and adverbs) are good and, if used apppropriately, have the potential  to transform the boring in to the beautiful.

    Have a great day, gentle reader, and enjoy the adjectives that brighten your own day!