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  • Scrunching the leaves...

    It's fair to say that this past week has been incredibly busy, today is 'day 13' since I had a full day off, and I don't think I've worked a day under 12 hours in that time. Tut. Tut.

    Tomorrow morning, I head off on retreat for five days, and in order to avoid taking any work with me, I have loads still get done today.  So the displacement activity of a quick blog post!

    After church, and then a meeting to plan for Advent, I felt the need for some fresh air (and a Gregg's apple turnover!) so I went for a short walk.  The leaves are spread carpet-like across the pavements, and there is nothing I like better than kicking them up or scrunching them underfoot.

    It's become one of my 'rituals' of gratitude, something I do once at least every autumn, to celebrate the fact that I am still here, still healthy and still enjoying life.

    I have a lot to do before I can even think about packing for tomorrow.  But it's been good to take 'five' to enjoy a bright, cold autumn day and to scrunch the leaves once again.

  • Trans/From and Other Poems

    This year the Baptist Assembly in Scotland again had a 'poet in residence'.  I really enjoyed the poetry from Fiona Stewart of Foolproof Creative Arts, which can be read or downloaded here. Last night she read one called 'Trans/form' (see page 10-11 of the PDF document) which , given the context was hugely risk-taking and prophetic - probably the most 'fearless' thing of the whole event.

    In a context where our LGBQTI+ friends are all too often expected to hide away, to deny or to change, this poem cleverly uses the words transform and transition to describe the changes needed in all of us if we are to discover our true humanity.  At the same time, it speaks prophetically into the context of the Church, where transformation is, all too often, expected to be all one way.

    I hope you enjoy the poem (and the others) and that it speaks to you in some way, too.

  • Mysterious Ways... Or, Sermon Prep Brain Wanderings...

    So today, I'm getting ahead start on sermon prep for Sunday coming.  I have some ideas, and a rough trajectory in mind, but now it's time to read commentaries and start the mulling.

    Walter Brueggemann on the psalms - one of my favourites with his threefold schema of orientation, disorientation and reorientation.  Among the books I have is a pocket-sized one called 'Spirituality of the Psalms' and it's just wonderful.  I am tempted to quote a large chunk of it in Sunday's sermon because it says so eloquently more than I oculd ever say.  If I don't go with quoting, I'll almost certainly put it on a handout, it's just so good.

    The Word Biblical Commentary Volume 21 and a focus on the psalm that will form the centre of my sermon.  Not shrinking from the cursing with which the psalm closes, the writer, Leslie C Allen, quotes a novel by P D James (and as I read the citation, I recalled using this in a sermon a couple of years or so ago).  I've been looking for something new to read for a while, so have ordered, not the book mentioned, but the first in the series of which it is part.

    And then is the annoying ear-worm that goes with this psalm and having been a child/adolesecent in the 1970s... Boney M have a lot to answer for!!

    So now, into mull mode proper.  An extended quotation to scan or transcribe.  And, with God's help, a sermon will come out at the other end.