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  • The Brink of Advent

    On Tuesday evening I was reminded of this wonderful poem, and spent my reflection/prayer time with it...

    Advent Calendar

    He will come like last leaf's fall.
    One night when the November wind
    has flayed the trees to the bone, and earth
    wakes choking on the mould,
    the soft shroud's folding.

    He will come like frost.
    One morning when the shrinking earth
    opens on mist, to find itself
    arrested in the net
    of alien, sword-set beauty.

    He will come like dark.
    One evening when the bursting red
    December sun draws up the sheet
    and penny-masks its eye to yield
    the star-snowed fields of sky.

    He will come, will come,
    will come like crying in the night,
    like blood, like breaking,
    as the earth writhes to toss him free.
    He will come like child.

    © Rowan Williams

  • It's beginning to look a lot like....

    Isn't this fun!  I saw it yesterday when I had to pop over to Paisley for a meeting.

    Two pensioners were looking at it, observing how the reindeer each have their own stride.  Two young adults were chatting to the security man guarding it.  Smiles rose on faces as each new person passed by.

    Composed of 'Lego' bricks this is a truly amazing - and fragile - creation.  It's sad that it needs to be guarded, but it's wonderful that it brings joy to a somewhat depressed High St on a grey November day.

    I guess there's a sermon in there somewhere.

    PS I believe there's currently a penguin trail in Paisley, if anyone with small children wants an inexpensive day out!

  • Everyday God

    I learned this song last night - the idea of an 'everyday God' is as mind-blowing as it is simple and grounded...

    Earth's creator, Everyday God,
    Loving Maker, O Jesus,
    You who shaped us, O Spirit,
    Recreate us, Come, be with us.

    In your presence, Everyday God,
    We are gathered, O Jesus,
    You have called us, O Spirit,
    To restore us, Come, be with us.

    Life of all lives, Everyday God,
    Love of all loves, O Jesus,
    Hope of all hopes, O Spirit,
    Light of all lights, Come, be with us.

    In our resting, Everyday God,
    In our rising, O Jesus,
    In our hoping, O Spirit,
    In our waiting, Come, be with us.

    In our dreaming, Everyday God,
    In our daring, O Jesus,
    In our searching, O Spirit,
    In our sharing, Come, be with us.

    God of laughter, Everyday God,
    God of sorrow, O Jesus,
    Home and shelter, O Spirit,
    Strong and patient, Come, be with us.

    Way of freedom, Everyday God,
    Star of morning, O Jesus,
    Timeless healer, O Spirit,
    Flame eternal, Come, be with us.

    Word of gladness, Everyday God,
    Word of mercy, O Jesus,
    Word of friendship, O Spirit,
    Word of challenge, Come, be with us.

    Gentle father, Everyday God,
    Faithful brother, O Jesus,
    Tender sister, O Spirit.
    Loving mother, Come, be with us.

    Our beginning, Everyday God,
    Our unfolding, O Jesus,
    Our enduring, O Spirit,
    Journey's ending, Come, be with us.

    Alleluia, Everyday God,
    Now and always, O Jesus,
    Alleluia, O Spirit,
    Through all ages, Come, be with us.

  • Retreating and Reflecting

    It's been a curious couple of days, all of which as largely taken the form of 'retreat' and during which, more than anything else has come a sense that God delights in me, is pleased with me and simply wants me to be me.  As I said to the retreat accompanier on Tuesday evening, I do Proddy guilt really well, am good at feeling I should work harder, better, smarter, that I should be more holy, more spiritual, more disciplined etc. etc.  And in amongst it all God was saying, so it seems, 'just be you.'

    The picture is a doodle on that theme, colours chosen because I like them, swirls (spirals) of reflection and integration, a dandelion clock which is a symbol a friend and I share which captures something of God's Sophia Ruach active in uncontrollable ways, red shoes because red shoes (obviously)... and other stuff that matters only to me, and means stuff only to me.

    So, being me means...

    Continuing to learn what it means to be a prophetic, poetic, pragmatic, preaching pastor - a challenging blend if ever there was one.

    Continuing the work of using language other than male power language for God

    Giving expression to the creativity God has blessed me with, in places and spaces where that is safe and helpful for me and for others

    Something about non-striving, about enjoying and celebrating my spirituality for what it is

    And continuing to be the minister to the Gatherers for any foreseeable future.


    At the 24 hour ministers' retreat we were asked to reflect on 'how have I changed (in the last five years)' and 'what does God required of me'.

    In essence, I am the same person I was five years ago but, shaped by some painful and difficult experiences, and having worked hard to explore and address those, I am far more at peace with myself (and with others). 

    As to what God requires of me - apart from the obvious Great Commandment and Micah Challenge - simply to be 'me', not trying to conform or comply, not worrying, whinging or whittling, but instead delighting in who I am and all that God enables me to be.



  • Glorious...

    It was a beautiful sunsrise this morning, and although I cannot adeqautely capture it in a photo, nonethless, something of it is here.

    The next few days I will be 'out of circulation' but hardly in active!

    This evening it's a 'retreat evening' for my Ignatian course, and then it's off to Pitlochry for two days to reflect on what it means to be a minister here and now, in this place, at this time.  The it's a long weekend 'off' when I will meet with others to edit the book project we've been working on this year - the first and also pretty much the final edit.

    Then it'll be Advent, or thereabouts, so look out out for more regular posting during December.