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  • Interviews and Webinars and things!

    It's a strange old week, suddenly I am appearing all over the web!

    An interview for the Baptist Times here and some samples from the awesome collection that is 'Crumbs' here.  And a webinar - thankfully with friends - to come next week (it's an empty shell at the moment)  here.

    Who knew!

  • A new verse...

    One of favourite Communion Hymns is Shirley Erena Murray's For Everyone Born' with an extra verse the author of which is unknown.  So today, I wrote another new verse...

    In Covid-19, a place at the table

    Together-apart, a time to break bread

    On-line, on the phone [or, ‘alone’], the mystery of sharing,

    In Covid-19 the memory lived…

    So here's the full thing with evxtra added verses, and some strange BlogSpirit format glitshes!...

    For everyone born, a place at the table,
    for everyone born, clean water and bread,
    a shelter, a space, a safe place for growing,
    for everyone born, a star overhead,

    And God will delight
    when we are creators of justice and joy,
    yes, God will delight
    when we are creators of justice, justice and joy!

    For woman and man, a place at the table,
    revising the roles, deciding the share,
    with wisdom and grace, dividing the power,
    for woman and man, a system that's fair,

    For young and for old, a place at the table,
    a voice to be heard, a part in the song,
    the hands of a child in hands that are wrinkled,
    for young and for old, the right to belong,


    For gay and for straight, a place at the table.

    A covenant shared, a welcoming space.

    A rainbow of race and gender and colour.

    For gay and for straight, the chalice of grace.


    For just and unjust, a place at the table,
    abuser, abused, with need to forgive,
    in anger, in hurt, a mindset of mercy,
    for just and unjust, a new way to live,


     In Covid-19, a place at the table

    Together-apart, a time to break bread

    On-line, on the phone [or, ‘alone’], the mystery of sharing,

    In Covid-19 the memory lived…


    For everyone born, a place at the table,
    to live without fear, and simply to be,
    to work, to speak out, to witness and worship,
    for everyone born, the right to be free,


    Shirley Erena Murray Words © 1998 Hope Publishing Company; verse 4 author unknown, verse 6 Catriona Gorton

  • Wise Words...

    Facebook has an algorithm that shows you what you posted on 'this day' in past years'.  On the whole, I enjoy this reminder of what I have been up to in the seven or so years I've been a 'member'.  I always try to keep my posts positive, and try not to get sucked into the current 'I want to remember this time next year the price of petrol, the things in short supply and what Boris/Nicola/Donald said' memes that are strangely popular.

    I've found myself calling to mind over and again the words 'That Paul Bloke' wrote to the Jesus followers in Philippi, which The Message paraphrase renders thus:

    "Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse."

    Wise counsel, if not always easy, but worth aspiring to each new day.


  • Eleven years ago today...

    ... a 46 year-old me preached for the first time at the Gathering Place.

    It was a beautiful spring day, and I vividly recall the colourful azaleas and rhododendrons blooming on the Botanic Gardens.

    I remember the all age slot, where I spoke about Susan Boyle's recent appearance on Britain's Got Talent, before preaching on two of favourite gospel men, Peter and Thomas.  I've preached on them a lot since!

    After the service we squeezed into the moderator's little red car and headed off to the, then, Church Secretary's home for lunch and 'grill the candidate' time.  Later, another couple took me to the Botanics and gave me tea before dropping me back to the airport.

    The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

    Today is an equally beautiful day, and my permitted walk took me close to the Botanics, though they were still closed as I was too early. Even so, there are azaleas and rhododendrons on full bloom, blue skies and birdsong.

    Today I will reflect on Peter, in a service that borrows a title from that first one.  Being on Zoom is very different - and thankfully no-one (as far as I know) us sussing out my suitability! No lunch with church folk today, no probing questions, no flight to another place.  But lots of memories to cherish, very few regrets, and lots of glimpses of the grace and love of God.

    Happy whatever it is to us all - God is good and the Gatherers are great: surely that is sufficient unto the day.

  • Signs - and wondering...

    At the top of Kelvin Way in Glasgow, just set back from the road, stands this sign 'Scotland's Tree of the Year 2015', a Hungarian oak tree was planted in 1918 by the women's suffrage movement.  That if itself is interesting.

    The poor tree has been heavily pollarded, and carries a huge scar in its trunk where bark has been torn away.  I couldn't help wondering if that was more significantly symbolic than anyone might intend?  A century on, gender-justice is still a huge challenge throughout the world.

    I hope the tree recover - oaks, after all, can live for centuries - and I hope that the world-changing achievements of women will continue to be celebrated and honoured...