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- Page 5

  • When will we ever learn...?

    poppy_scotland_logo2.gifWatching the news last evening, and seeing new crosses being added daily to the memorial garden at Westminster Abbey was profoundly moving.  Hearing the parents and grandparents of a young man killed in Afghanistan express their views, some for, some against, yet united in pride for their loved one and grief at his untimely death illustrated the complexity of it all.  Preparing for Sunday's worship when some will recall their own familiy members killed a lifetime ago and others have relatives or friwnds on active service, when some are avowed pacifists and others work on defence projects, I find myself asking, as I ask myself each year, when we will ever learn?poppies traf sq (british legion).jpg

    (Pictures from British Legion and Poppy Scotland websites)


  • One Bad Pun...

    millie mole.jpgMeet Millie Mole.  If you don't understand the awful pun, then you clearly managed to avoid studying chemistry beyond 'O' level/'O' grade/GCSE/standard grade or any other equivalent 15/16+ qualification.

    Millie is my new friend and has joined my church where she has already made herself very much at home and is enjoying meeting new people.  She speaks very quietly - only I can hear her - but she is very keen to engage in church life.  Amazingly she has a good grasp of theology and enough nouse to know when it is better to stay tucked up in my office (such as this Sunday coming) - hopefully she can teach me a thing or two...

    Having children and young people in church is WONDERFUL, as is not being the youngest adult!  I am really looking forward to this Sunday when the Sunday School will be leading our thoughts on the reason for Remembrance Sunday.  Children, especially quite small ones, have an amazing innate ability to sense the 'moment' and can remain still and silent for a whole two minutes, knowing that this is something different.

    Millie Mole is fun to work with (though a new challenge in her own right) but having the privilege of sharing with children and young people is a real blessing.  I am excited about the opportunities that are opening up to build relationships with them and share in their faith stories.

  • Prayers for Grief and Gratitude

    Thought I'd post a prayer sequence I used last Sunday evening, in case anyone finds it helpful/useful.  The bidding and response (last two lines of each stanza) were 'given' and I wrote the rest around them.  Writing them helped me in my own rather dazed state at the time...


    When Jesus stood at the grave of his friend Lazarus, he wept because he loved him

    In the ache of separation,

    In the tears of grief,

    The numbness of loss

    Reassure us of your promise:

    Do not be afraid for I shall be with you

    Lighten our path, Lord, show us the way


    As Jesus hung on the cross, alone and in agony, his body wracked with pain and his slips parched he had the audacity to ask ‘My God, why?’

    In our confusion and questioning

    In our denial or disbelief

    In our anger and in our emptiness

    Reassure us of your promise:

    Do not be afraid for I shall be with you

    Lighten our path, Lord, show us the way


    On meeting Mary in the garden, as she sought to embrace him, Jesus said ‘do not cling on to me’

    In our reluctance to let go

    In our desire to turn back the clock

    In every ‘if only’ that haunts our minds

    Reassure us of your promise:

    Do not be afraid for I shall be with you

    Lighten our path, Lord, show us the way


    In an upstairs room where bewildered disciples needed reassurance, Jesus said “peace be with you”

    In our remembering of times past

    In our celebration of lives lived

    In our grief and in our gratitude

    Reassure us of your promise:

    Do not be afraid for I shall be with you

    Lighten our path, Lord, show us the way


    A man had a dream in which he glimpsed eternity

    There was no more death

    No more mourning

    No more weeping

    No more pain


    Lord of life,

    You shared our life with all its joy and sorrow

    You experienced our death, defeating its power with love

    Lead us onwards in the confident hope of your promise:

    Do not be afraid for I shall be with you

    Lighten our path, Lord, show us the way


    This day, and every day, Amen.

  • Picking hymns...

    ... for a week on Sunday, as you do (or I do anyway) using the trusty tool that is HymnQuest and I spotted this one, which I won't be using, but it made me pause...



    The trouble with many of our churches
    is that they are not singing the blues.
    The trouble with its staunch belongers
    is the detached way they watch the news.
    The trouble with our Sunday buildings
    is people staying glued to their pews.

    The problem with religious people?
    They can't read graffiti on the wall,
    they argue finer point of dogma,
    their ears are too full to hear the Call.
    The problem with those holy people
    is that they are too sure they won't fall.

    So many males, mitred in splendour,
    are stifling their passion like a yawn,
    telling peace-makers they should 'cool it',
    huddling in prayer while earth is going-gone.
    The holy people in procession
    are leading (having) us on and on and on and on....

    No wonder Christ wept for the city,
    over the rulers and Pharisees,
    he sings the blues of love and struggle:
    'If only you knew the way of peace'.
    He still calls his people to follow,
    to fight against death and make a feast!

    Fred Kaan (born 1929)   
    © 1985 Stainer & Bell Ltd


    Fred Kaan died just a few weeks back, so no more gems like this from his pen.  May he rest in peace, and we be stirred to hear God's voice.

  • Colours of Day

    At the moment one of the joys I encounter daily is my walk through the Botanic Gardens on my way to church.  Although the crispness has given way to sogginess, the late autumn colours of the trees are stunning and I love the way they carpet the paths as they fall (though I'm sure the gardeners don't!).  The change of the clocks back to GMT means that it is now, for a while, light again after a couple of weeks of sunrise strolls, and I miss the stillness of the early darkness.

    A week or so back at church we sang 'Colours of Day' which is, I finally spotted (duh!), an urban hymn not a rural one.

    'Go through the park on in to the town' is exactly what I do each morning, and I love it!

    'Go down in the city, into the street, and let's give the message to the people we meet'

    In the red-gold-brown soggyifed-former-crispness of leaves in the park the song lifts my spirits and I almost skip along to work each day.

    In a world where sad and bad news abounds, it is good to recall one of my favourite portrayals of God, in the film Dogma (which is pretty grim overall): God is a young woman turning cartwheels in a garden.  A God who delights in colour and brings hope amidst the 'stidegeon gloom' - this is Good News indeed.