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- Page 5

  • Out and About

    This a busy week, punctuated by the start of "the clearing of clutter" in the Dibley manse (a massive project) in which beginnings and endings and lots of travelling are intertwined.

    Yesterday I spoke for the final time at Foxhuntington women's meeting - and had to smile that they'd chosen as their reading part of Luke 17 referring to end times on a day when a fairly serious thunder storm was happening - lightning even flashing right on cue.  So now I know, thunder is not angels banging drums (as the 4+ children told me last week) it is God chortling over some private joke on humanity; silly scientists, fancy thinking it's an electrical discharge!! ;-)

    Today the lunch club wrinklies have a 'magical mystery tour' and I did suggest to the Almighty that 'dry would be good.'  I'm not a great fan of praying for good weather but I really can't face a coach load of screaming 90 year-olds if we have a big storm!  Also, paddling to a cafe for tea and cake is just not much fun.

    Tomorrow is an early start as I fly up to Glasgow in time for breakfast for a couple of days with No Name Church (I used to work for a company whose initials were NNC, stnading for National Nuclear Corporation.  When GEC took us over the name was changed to NNC Ltd (a title allegedly bought cheaply from a small chip shop owner, something like Ned and Nancy's Chips) which stood for nothing, so we re-christned it the No Name Company.  In due course the church's online name will emerge I'm sure).  Lots of practical matters to talk over and a chance to explore the area a bit.

    Saturday is the wedding at D+1 and then on Sunday after our service I will be driving to Manchester in the hope of arriving to share with another little church in the final service before their building is closed due to a compulsory purchase order (we may have had to close our buidling, but at least we had ages to clear it and it was sold and demolished pretty much on our terms).  Please pray for Tim and Clare and all at the home of dancing scarecrow as they move out into their own wilderness wanderings.

    It may well be a little quieter in this corner of blogland for a bit - which is maybe no bad thing, as I suspect that sometimes, as my dad used to say, I open my mouth and my belly rumbles.

  • The insincerest form maybe...?

    OK, so inspired by comments by Jim and Andy on a recent post, and with apologies to Robin Mark, here is the revised, non-standard version of my unfavourite song of the moment, designed to be used (or not) at a forthcoming event marking my ejection/exduction/chucking out from/leaving of Dibley...

    If anyone has any more verses they wish to add, feel free via the comments section.  And if it looks a bit odd in Explorer (some with imported text seem to) ... well do as I did and shift to Firefox or some other more whizzy browser.



    These aren’t the days of Elijah,

    His chariot long since has flown:

    And these aren’t the days of Your servant Moses,

    No manna has been seen for years.

    For these are days of departure,

    When Dibley’s minister goes north,

    And, we are a voice in the school hall singing

    ‘We think its the will of the Lord.’

    Behold she goes, riding on a plane,

    Or driving in a car, fallowing the call;

    Lift your voice, it’s the day she goes away,

    Abducted, expelled or what’s it called?.

    These aren’t the days of Ezekiel,

    No weird wheeled creatures we see;

    And these aren’t the days of Your servant David,

    - whose conduct simply won’t become

    One in the pastoral office,

    Whose life must be whiter than white!

    For they must obey BUS and BUGB

    To keep their names on the roll...


  • Skipping Down the Aisle!

    Last night we were at D+2 walking through the marriage ceremony I am conducting on Saturday.  The church is a multi-functional building, the main part of which houses a pre-school during the week, so I began by wheeling the display boards of paintings to the edge of the room and helped the pianist move the electronic keyboard into position so she could practice her timings.

    All the key participants arrived and we set out a 'front row' of chairs so that people could begin to visualise what would be where (and take the weight off their feet!).  The music struck up and bride-to-be and father walked sedately down the 'aisle' before switiching to a giggling goose step - I could sense this was going to be a giggly walk through, and it was.

    It is always a special moment hearing the couple speak aloud for the first time the promises they will make to each other, and seeing the enormity begin to strike home.  We had the inevitable stumbles over words - and are altering a non-legal bit so they can their tongues round it  - and much giggling.  The funniest moment was when I read out part of the vow and the groom-to-be said "what was that?" having not heard a word I'd said.

    This was the first couple I've met who opted to 'rehearse' the kiss following the declaration (which I don't read out at the walk through), which was actually surprisingly moving for the gathered onlookers.  Then when it got to the walk from church they chose to skip.  I almost wish they would do so on Saturday, though a long white frock will make it a tad tricky!

    This will only be the fourth marriage I've conducted, and like the other three there is a really moving underlying story of how the couple reached this moment.  In a time when marriage is somewhat out of vogue, it is wonderful to have two people who want to 'plight their troth' in this way.  The last year has been especially tough for this young couple; the bride-to-be's mother died last autumn and the groom-to-be recently lost his job.  There are the inevitable 'interesting' relatives who may or may not turn up and may or may not behave if they do.  There are the sneering bystanders who are vocal in their judgements.  But here are two young people who have had their struggles and stayed together, who want to make their vows in an overtly Christian setting and who have entrusted me with their special day.  It seems to me that is reason enoguh to skip up, down and through the aisle!

    G & R may God bless you with a lifetime of loyalty, love and trust.

  • Liturgy for End of Pastorate?

    When we get new ministers we have big jamboree services called Inductions - evidently the etymology of this is Latin not Greek so I can't change the 'in ' for 'ex' to make the opposite for a final not-so-jamboree service.  Maybe this is part of the problem? The antonymns I found online include 'rejection' 'expulsion' and 'blackballing' - I hope none of these is what we're about!!

    I want to make my last service at Dibley a formal ending, in which we will give thanks for what has been good, forgive each other for, and let go of, those things that either 'party' has muffed along the way, release each other from the covenants that bound us and commend each other to God's care.  So a kind of sanctified ecclesiastical divorce maybe?  I have been starting to look around for any suitable liturgies both in books and on line (and I have Human Rites in case anyone was about to suggest it) with no success.  So, does anyone know of anything that's out there or that they have used themselves which would give me a starter for ten?  If not, then I'll have to put more effort into developing something and then I'll post it with comments on how it went.  I am looking at early September (to give me a notional break between churches!) so no great urgency yet.

  • Obstructing God?

    So, this morning at D+1 I delivered my 'obstructing Jesus' sermon.  On the whole I think it was fairly well received - one of my folk said to me afterwards "thank you for that... I think!"  I think that was praise.  Someone else said she almost stood up and applauded (now that would be a first).  I think my best comment was from one of my folk who said 'you know how you never notice your car or your watch until they're not there...'

    What was so amazing?  Nothing really, I just shared what I'd been reflecting on as it relates to these two little churches whose combined congregation was only the size mine usually is.  We began with me asking the question 'can we obstruct Jesus?' to which pretty much half said 'no' and half said 'yes' - it was noticeable that all the 'yes' votes came from my lot.  Using the Mark 6 passage we then explored a bit about what happened there and how it might be a bit like us.  The people at Nazareth weren't bad people, they included some very religious folk, but for they thought they knew Jesus so well, they couldn't recognise who he was.  So, how are we a like that?  Then we looked at the sending out of the 12 in twos and how scary that must have been for them - and what might Jesus be saying to us about leaving our security and going out into the community around us?  We also thought a bit about how we endeavour to discern the mind of Christ (the church meeting!) and questions about we decide we've succeeded - 51% 67% 90% 100% - or whether we simply affirm our own wills.

    After the service one of my folk who has orginally thuoght we could not obstruct Jesus, that he could do anything, commented that he know realised it was more complex - that free will has implications for God as well as for us.   Jesus can do anything consitent with his divine nature - and running roughshod over free will it isn't.  Or at least that's my heresy!

    On balance a good morning's work I think.  Probably didn't win me any friends, especially at D+1, but I felt I discharged my responsibility - which is what actually matters.