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  • A Litany of Sorts...

    Someone produced a really slick Facebook live prayer stream, with respected speakers and original music.

    And God said: that's awesome

    Someone produced a clunky Skype for Business live prayer stream, with glitches and hitches

    And God said: that's awesome

     Someone held a Zoom service, with recorded music, readings, prayers and 'break out rooms' for coffee time

    And God said: that's awesome

    Someone recorded a short message and uploaded it to YouTube

    And God said: that's awesome

    Someone produced a simple outline and posted to their faithful, elderly congregation

    And God said: that's awesome

    Someone watched Songs of Praise or listened to Radio 4

    And God said: that's awesome

    Someone went for their daily exercise

    And God said: that's awesome

    Someone phoned someone who was all alone

    And God said: that's awesome

    Someone picked up essentials or a prescription for a neighbour

    And God said: that's awesome


    Someone wept alone, because they felt afraid

    And God said: I'm afraid too

    Someone felt guilty because they didn't feel what others felt

    And God said: I feel guilty too

    Someone felt frustrated because they couldn't do what they longed to

    And God said: I feel frustration too

    Someone felt helpless, because they didn't know what to do

    And God said: I feel helpless  too

    Someone felt inadequate because they couldn't do technology

    And God said: I feel inadequate too

    Someone went to work because they were defined as a key-worker

    And God said: I am working too


    Someone wrote a prayer online, a litany of sorts, because though she could do technology, and though she had the most awesome congregation on God's earth, she was intimidated by those who were already theologising and reflecting, when her best was simply to take one day at a time...

    And God said: yup, me too.

  • Dashing away with the smoothing iron...

    It seems a lifetime ago that the manse was welcoming friends visiting Glasgow... our link mission partner, our placement student and her children, the grown up daughter of a minister friend taking a course in adolescent mental health...

    I always strip beds and wash sheets straight away when my guest leave, but ironing? So not my favourite task!  It gets put off.

    This morning as I ironed several sets of sheets, and a table cloth, I recalled the happy times of those who visited, and entrusted them, and those they love to God's safe-keeping.

    Not the most 'fun' thing to do on a day off, but one that brought it's own joy... and I do love the smell of freshly ironed linen! 

  • Sermons, Homilies and Talks

    It was a common, weak, joke when I was at 'vicar school'...


    Question: what's the difference between a sermon and a homily?

    Answer: About 15 minutes


    One thing about using Zoom for services is that we have pared things back quite a bit - the feel of sitting at a screen with mics muted is very different from a Sunday when we are all in the same room, and brevity seems a good thing.

    I am aiming for 5 - 7 minute 'reflections' - sermonettes, homilies, whatever they are called.  It's a new skill to learn, and a good one.  It forces me to focus on essentials and to move swiftly between general and specific.

    My respect for those who are good are five minute homilies - on radio, in church, wherever - grows apace.  Anyone can waffle for 20 minutes, it takes real skill to say something in 5.

  • And God declared it 'very good'

    This week I have had virtual conversations with ministers all over the UK (and beyond) as we have tried to negotiate the new territory in which we find ourselves.  Some have eagerly engaged with new technology, some have felt overwhelmed, all have done their best to keep community, to be church.

    I have found myself recalling the apocryphal tale of the dispirited minister who dreamed he (it was a he in those days!) was taken on a guided tour of heaven.  Finally they neared a room where he heard the most beautiful 'sung worship' ever.  Tears rolled down his cheeks, and he recalled the croaky voices of his congregation, the bum notes on the organ, his own stumbling prayers.  Quietly, the angel who was showing him round opened the door and led him inside... there they were, his own folk... He awoke reminded that what God hears and sees is not the fraility but the beautiful authenticity.

    This week I have shared in stuff that was really slick and stuff that was really clunky.  I have seen ministers bragging how they will be doing X or Y, and ministers weeping because they can't do any of it.  It's uncharted territory (not an Exodus, not an Exile, let the reader understand) and we are doing our best.

    When God's Sophia zooms her way over the world this Sunday, and returns home to God, the Trinity will dance for joy, because it is so very, very good.

  • Throwback....

    This morning I went to the supermarket, the first time I had been to a shop for a week.  There is absolutely nothing unusual about that. But it was the first time since lock down.

    It was a really positive experience.  The queue of people waiting to go in was short and well spaced.  The staff member on the door was friendly, polite and authoritative.  Most, though not all, people in the queue exchanged smiles and greetings, and I had a lovely distanced chat with with the woman two metres (and two minutes) ahead of me.

    Once inside it was an intorvert's dream!  Most shelves were well stocked, with plenty of basics, so I was in and out within ten minutes having bought all I need for another full week, plus a couple of treats.  OK, I forgot to buy cheese, but I can live without that!

    Like many others, my skin is paying the price for increased hand hygiene, and I wanted some lotion for that.  Not a huge choice - well not a choice actually, just good old E45.

    That was a throw-back of almost a decade, as it was the one lotion I was allowed to use during my chemo.  It's good stuff but it doesn't smell all that nice.  Back then my sense of smell was practically non existent, and has never entirely recovered, but today I am really grateful for the smell of E45, for the awesome staff at Sainsbury's in Partick and for the fact that I was able to go there to shop.