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  • Prayer as Doodling...

    Sometimes what a person gets from a course, a sermon, an event, isn't what the deliverer(s) anticipate or expect.  I think this is proving the case for me with this Ignatian course I'm doing.

    Yesterday we were looking at images of God - very interesting session, some ideas I might pinch - and then invited to 'do' a Lectio Divina with a song by Bernadette Farrell called 'God Beyond Our Dreams':

    God, beyond our dreams, you have stirred in us a memory,
    you have placed your powerful spirit in the hearts of humankind.

    All around us, we have known you;
    all creation lives to hold you,
    In our living and our dying
    we are bringing you to birth.

    God, beyond all names, you have made us in your image,
    we are like you, we reflect you, we are woman, we are man.

    God, beyond all words, all creation tells your story,
    you have shaken with our laughter, you have trembled with our tears.

    God, beyond all time, you are laboring within us;
    we are moving, we are changing, in your spirit ever new.

    God of tender care, you have cradled us in goodness,
    you have mothered us in wholeness, you have loved us into birth.

    Three lines struck me, and as I worked with them I doodled the above ...

    You are labouring within us

    You are bringing us to birth

    We are bringing you to birth

    Not only, then, a God as midwife image, or even God as mother image, but also God birthed in us (making each of us in some sense a theotikos, god-bearer) or by us.  A kind of perichoretic interplay of divine and human, glimsped most fully in Jesus the Christ, yet present in every human...

    Doodling isn't for everyone, I won't be inflicting on anyone any time soon, but for me, it's helpful, if not even remotely Ignatian!

  • Colours of Autumn

    Apologies to loyal readers for there being no posts for ten days, a long time in the life of this blog.  My diary has been pretty packed, and I have been recovering from a particularly impressive chest and sinus infection combination that has meant when I'm not working I tend to be sleeping.

    The photo, a quick snap I took on Sunday morning, gives a hint of the beauty of the trees just long from where I live - hard to beat the colours of autumn, the golds, browns, reds, yellows and golds, that flutter, swirl, crunch or (if it rains) squelch underfoot.  Amidst the busyness, it's good to pause, however fleetingly, and enjoy the colours of autumn for another year.

  • Privilege and Responsibility

    Yesterday I was entrusted with one of the greatest privileges as a minister - conducting a funeral service.  This was a very special one, because it was another minister, and it was definitively the last service in Thomas Coats Memorial Baptist Church, Paisley, which had been opened specially for this purpose.

    The church was pretty full - there must have been over 200 people in the congregation - and the family were truly amazing in delivery of a significant poem and some personal memories.  Afterwards, we moved on to a local cemetery for burial before an opportunity to share memories in a hotel.

    It's always interesting to learn about people as we say farewell to them, and this was no exception, and it's always a real privilege to be permitted to share in such a personal event.

    DR was a faithful minister, a beloved family man, and I am glad I knew him these last ten years.  May he rest in peace and rise in glory.



  • A Year's Supply Maybe...

    Today I placed my first order with "Who Gives a Crap" for toilet rolls and tissues (apparently they also do kitchen rolls, so maybe another time)... A small company that sells only recycled paper and bamboo products... I opted to splash out on the bamboo loo rolls, to see what they are like... as it's a box of 48, I hope they are OK!!

    You can find out more about this company here and how buying loo rolls from them is kinder to the planet and helps to build loos for people who otherwise might not have them.

    A few months back I twinned my toilet (see how to do that here) so this seemed like the logical next step.

  • World Mental Health Day

    One day a year to focus on mental health, and this year specifically on suicide.

    Mental illness is still the subject of stigma and poor understanding, and it can be really difficult of those affected, and those who care, to negotuiate a path through the experience.  That trauma, bereavement, child-birth, hormonal changes and major physical illnesses can all impact mental health and wellbeing further complicates amtters and comments/campaigns such as "I wish I had cancer" are really not at all helpful - comparing conditions that 'mine is worse than yours' is so unhelpful.

    A decade ago, soon after I arrived in Glasgow, two young girls committed suicide, jumping from the Erskine Bridge.  That memory stays with with me, a reminder of the fragility of life and that, but for the grace of God, there go any of us.