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  • A Celtic Advent - Day 16

    Today we move into what the book terms Christ's Second Coming - though so far, just one day in, this has nothing to do with apocryphal stuff.  We'll see how it unfolds.

    Today's reading focusses on the idea that the Kingdom of God is within us, using a passage from Luke 17 to prompt thought.

    As so often with these reflections it's the almost throw away phrases that catch my attention - today it is the term "warrior peacemaker" which feels like something of an oxymoron to me.  The idea of Christ's followers as soldiers, as an army of some sort, engaged in a battle or war of some sort is well established.  It is an image/metaphor that many, myself included, find troubling.  Certainly, I have yet to resolve adequately in my own mind how the Prince of Peace leads a Mighty Army.

    There are hymns and songs that speak of 'weapons' of truth, love, courage, and the battle/war as against 'evil'. It is quite hard (for me at least) to come up with a more helpful image. Maybe something medical, with evil as a disease/dis-ease to be treated or cured. Maybe other readers have a better idea?

    Then again, maybe the oxymoron concept in itself is helpful... the 'warrior peacemaker' or the 'servant King', or even the "God man" (dual nature of Christ).  Perhaps these create a tension in our thinking and understanding that draws us deeper in to awe and wonder?


    Today's prayer from the book:

    Christ the King, I simply say: your kingdom come within me; your will be done within me. Amen.

  • Forty Days of Photos - Day 15

    Bingham's Pond on Great Western Road, Glasgow, looking towards the Garnavel Hospitals.

    It was teeming with rain, sleety rain at that, when I paused to watch the ducks and swans trenchantly swimming on the pond.

    One swan - just about visible at the left hand side of this photo - seemed to have its head under water for an inordinately long time, and I began to worry.  Then, smooth as you like, it drew it up and extended its neck to full length.

    This pre-Christmas season can feel a bit like all of that, I think. Dogged determination keeps us going, paddling like crazy under the water whilst apparently glding along the surface. And sometimes, just when it looks like it might all prove too much, we look up, see the horizon towards which our journey is headed, and find new strength to carry on.

    A couple more snaps I took whilst I watched the water birds - because sometimes a bit of a pause is just what is needed.



  • Flippancy...

    When I was a child, my Dad, having grown up in the contryside, was good a reading the signs of the weather.  It was from him I learned the colour of snow clouds, the smell of incoming rain, and even how to check the wind direction with a wet finger.

    When he died, my Mum asserted that he was now employed as 'Clerk of the Weathers' and, to be fair, important family events have, so far as I can recall, had good weather.  Even the day of my Mum's funeral where the morning was wet and forecast grim, dried and brightened up in good time for the service, and at the 'do' several relatives stood outside in afternoon sunshine.

    All of which has caused me gentle amusement now that storm Diana has now arrived in the UK.  Why? My Mum was Diana, and it amuses me to imagine the two of them in cahoots redirecting the wind and rain to engineer this.  Of course I don't actually believe this is the cause, but just because something isn't fact doesn't mean it isn't true, if I may misquote a song about bumble bees and their impossible ability to fly.

  • A Celtic Advent - Day 15

    Today I felt challenged by the quotation from some writing by Christopher Bamford (whoever he is)...

    "The fact that we live our lives as if the Word had not come, and as if we are still in the prison of darkness rather than the freedom of the Light, is an illusion, one which can be overcome"

    Quite often I hear people of faith speaking about the deep darkness of the world, that it's getting worse, that 'they' will overcome 'us', and intuitively I feel they are wrong, that if they believe what they claim to believe then, however dark it may seem, the light still shines, hope still exists, good will still overcome evil.

    I think this is what Bamford is referring to - albeit I had to read it a few times!

    If, as yesterday's reflection led me to ponder, God is in us, that we are ontolgoically not just practically little candles of god-ness  then we cannot be pessimistic, thinking the world is going to hell in a handcart.  Instead we have to do as Jesus told his followers, and let our light shine, right here, right now.

    It's a dreich morning here in Glasgow, and I cannot see 'my' magic hills because they are shrouded in cloud.  But they are still there, and so is the hope, love, joy and expectation that arises from being indwelt (indwelled?) by God's living Word.


    The prayer from the book:

    Great light who shines in the dpeths of all darkenss, may I know you in my life today.  May I be aware of your Light shining in my darkness.  May I live a life in the relaity of what it means that you have come and overcomse the darkness rather than in the illusion of the darkness still having dominion.  Amen.

  • Forty Days of Photos - Day 14

    Before the dawn, yesterday (I'm posting a day late, again!)

    I have always loved being out early in the morning when it is still dark and quiet.  For me, there is always a frisson of excitement, a sense that it is 'only God and I who are up at this time'.  And there is a sense of anticipation that I don't experience once it is light.

    Possibly I am odd, but I actually never minded the days of going out a few minutes early to scrape ice from the windows of my car, nor do I mind getting up at silly o'clock to get a taxi to the early train.  The song may say that 'the darkest hour is just before dawn' but, for me, in that darkness hope always springs anew.

    I'll try to catch up with the photos today.