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  • On this day in history...

    Ten years ago today I preached for the first time at the church that would become known on this blog as 'The Gathering Place' - it was the Sunday after Low Sunday, and we were just beginning the careful process of discerning whether there might be a 'match' to be made.

    I still remember the look of incredulity on the face of the door steward when I said I'd come up from Leicestershire ('lester-sheer')... "'lester-shyre' that's an awffy long way" she said

    I also still remember the sense of home-coming, the amusement that having spent several years in HBC (Dibley) I might now be about to spend some in HBC (Weegie).

    I remember standing at the corner of Torness Street (near the now closed Western Infirmary) and smiling at the irony of a street sharing a name with the power station I'd worked for/on (at as distance) for more than a decade before trainign for ministry.

    This autumn it will be 20 years since I went to Northern Baptist College to start training and 10 since I moved to Glasgow. I find that double anniversary thingy quite significant - more so than perhaps I'd realised until now.

  • Easter Monday - Been a Fun Day

    Today has been a 'proper' day off - I had a nice lie-in after I'd fed the cats at 6 a.m., and then mid-morning headed off to Kelvingrove because I wanted to see Dippy the Dinosaur. I love Kelvingrove precisely because it is probably the most chaotic museum I ever go to... you either get it and love it, or you don't. Where else could you listen to an organist playing the tune used for 'Thine be the Glory' closely followed by 'Flower of Scotland' whilst a man dressed in a dinosaur suit poses for selfies with small children?  Where else can you see an exhibition of pencil sketches by Leonardo da Vinci and then eat cake whilst overlooking the park but they refuse to give you a lunch menu because you are five minutes too early!!

    After the perfect meld of sublime and ridiculous, I meandered through the West End to the Botanic Gardens where the lawns resembled Blackpool beach on a sunny Bank Holiday (all the people sitting facing the same way on the grass, the smell of sun screen and small children with dripping ice-creams) whilst in a tucked away room a second hand book fair was taking place. The daffodils were fading away and the blossom is giving way to new green leaves... soon the summer planting will begin.

    Then it was along Great Western Road (well the terraces on the south side of the road where it is more shady) and back home, pausing to by an ice-lolly and something to cook for tea.

    I am very blessed to live in a place where there is so much to see and do in easy walking distance.  And it is a real blessing to have such a glorious day to be 'off' after all the busy Lent and Easter stuff.

    Back to work tomorrow with a real sense of having had a fun day today.

  • Easter Sunday 2019

    At 8:30, around 60 of us gathered under the blossom spangled, natural vault of the trees in Glasgow Botanic Gardens, as the birds sang their morning praises. It was a lovely start to the day of Resurrection, an oasis of peace and tranquility.

    Afterwards, a few of us gathered in the hotel dining room for tea and toast before setting up for morning worship.  As the choir rehearsed and others of us laid out the 'props' someone brought me news of the terrible events in Sri Lanka, where worshippers had been killed as they gathered to celebrate God's defeat of death...

    At 11, a group of around 50 shared in Easter celebration praise.

    As part of our worship, we decorated the cross (from last week) with butterflies - small, colourful stickers, and large, foam cut outs on which prayers were written or symbolised in some way.  Perhaps the most beautiful aspect of this was a father and his toddler son sitting together and adding numerous butterflies.  Perhaps it was the young woman who knelt to place her own butterfly enabling others to take the courage to add theirs.  Perhaps it was the prayers, earnest and creative, transforming plain white card into a beautiful collage of hope.

    Now it's all done and dusted for another year - and I expect in a week or two I'll have totally forgotten what we did.  But that doesn't matter.  What matters is the truth that love is stronger than hate, that good is stronger than evil, that life is stronger and death. And we will go on rehearsing this truth year in, year out, until it is the lived experience of everyone on earth.

  • Surrexit

    Probably the best Easter 'joke' I saw recently was "surrexit means surrexit"...

    The traditional greeting and response "He is Risen!" and "He is risen indeed."

    However we understand the resurrection, one thing we can be sure of:

    Christ is Risen...

    Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green...


    May you be blessed this Easter with unquenchable joy and tenacious hope to sustain you in the everyday challenges of life.

  • Holy Saturday

    That strange day when heaven seems silent, and no-one quite knows what to do with it.

    That strange day when many, maybe most, ministers/preachers are frantically doing last minute preparations for Easter services.

    That strange day which, actually, is probably the most normal and natural part of the Easter season.  Its very normality and uneventfulness makes it real. The not knowing what to do with it echoes the experience of anyone who has lost a loved one and is waiting for a funeral. The silence from heaven is just how it is most of the time.

    Today I have bought flowers and last minute gifts, have finally written the service and treated myself to an upmarket delivery meal (who knew you could get delicious bruschetta delivered to your door?!).

    For the first time in what feels like eons, I have an evening when I don't have lots still to do.  There is enjoyable quizzing to be watched on television. The kitties are relaxing and so am I.

    However Easter Saturday is/has been for you, I hope the very normality of it is, in some way, comforting.