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- Page 5

  • Coffee Club

    This morning I am working from home because it is Coffee Club day (aka Wednesday) and I am going along for the first time in ages; well a few weeks anyway, it only began in January.  Since it's a 20 minute walk one way to church and then a 25-30 min walk to the pub form there, or 15 minute walk another way from here, it's a non-choice really.

    esquire house g12 3hu.jpgCoffee Club is a very informal gathering in a local-ish pub that serves coffee all day long.  It kind of emerged and was kind of a response to one of my sermons (at least according to the person who makes sure it happens).  Simply, anyone who wants to meets in the pub at 10:30 on a Wednesday morning to share a good blether over a cuppa. It is not a 'holy huddle' - meeting in a very public space prevents that - and it has very blurry edges.  On average around 8-12 folk gather, not always the same ones, some of whom would otherwise sit at home with a lonely cup of instant coffee or a tea-bag on a string.

    I am enthused by this endeavour, so simple, so effective.  Not everyone likes it, like all churches we have those who look askance when you say the word 'pub' or who baulk at the idea of a meeting sans epilogue.  Maybe I'm biased, actually no maybe, I am biased, but my past experience of the effectiveness of out-of-church befriending over comestibles means I delight in this new expression of gospel living.  The fact that it happens without me and that I can pop along now and then is even better.

    So, Gatherers and others visiting this proud city, should you be around on a Wednesday morning feel free to join us for high communion in tea and coffee!  (I should note that once licensing hours begin you can, if it's your wish, also get something stronger, and if you are in no rush to leave they sell inexpensive lunches too...)

  • A Noisy Book?

    I have just finished reading Lucy Winkett's Our Sound is Our Wound, the 2010 Archbishop's Lent Book.  It is an honest and brave exploration of a range of topics through the metaphor of sound.  If anything I found it a 'noisy' book - each chapter full to bursting with ideas, quotations and anecdotes.  For me, with a linear mind, it didn't quite work, and I found it too busy, too buzzy... almost becoming a noise in its own right.  But that quite possibly says more about me than the book - a quick trawl of the Internet suggests others have found it profoundly helpful.

    What it did remind me of, though, is the need for occasional stillness, of time to be quiet, of the moments, often late at night, when I swear I do hear the angels singing, if only fleetingly, before consciousness dulls my sensitivity.

    Not one for my 'top tips' but definitely readable and accessible.

  • How do you read it?!

    For Palm Sunday I am planning an extended dramatisation of part of Luke's gospel for our morning worship.  With a cast of around 20 (including a bit of doubling up) arranging a 'run through' is quite important.  The biggest unknown is whether the person allocated to play Jesus will be available - just a minor inconvenience...

    Someone pointed out to me that 'Jesus' is studying motor-sport engineering, and is rather preoccupied with F1 at the moment... but also that Jesus seems to do fair bit of 'driving' too.

    So to Luke 19:45...

    He entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling...

    Now a whole new image comes to mind!

    Anyway, all things being equal we'll have a good experience of Holy Week when we get there.

  • Life is Good - And Then Some

    life manchester.jpgI have a postcard of this plaque on the wall of my kitchen, one of two postcards bought to remind me of the happy years I spent living in Manchester.  On Saturday someone found this suitably bizarre as their experiences of England's self-appointed second city (don't mention that in Birmingham) had been less than positive.  We laughed about it, but my postcard stays firmly on the wall declaring what for me was so.

    Yesterday someone asked, 'what makes life good?' to which my reply was 'how long have you got?'

    Whether in Manchester (where 'life is good') or Glasgow (which is 'miles better'), or anywhere and everywhere else, there is much to demonstrate that life is good...

    Sunrise and sunset, over the sea, the hills or the rooftops

    Full moons hanging in a blue-black sky

    Ice-cream eaten out of doors on cold days

    Hot chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream enjoyed in front of a roaring fire

    The untameable ocean on a winter's day as the wind whips your hair into a terrible tangle

    The smell of new books - and old libraries

    Vivaldi's four seasons, Barber's Adagio, Elgar's cello concerto - and primary school recorder groups

    Cats and tigers

    The smell of freshly ironed linen and the cool smoothness of clean sheets

    Sunday roasts and summer picnics (even in the rain)

    Dandelion clocks, varigated carnations, daffodils and fresias

    Children laughing - and old people singing 'away in a manger'

    Skinny Fairtade lattes in food courts as I mull the meaning of life, the universe and everything...


    I could go on all day and then some.

    Life is good, may God be praised!

    glasgow miles.jpg

  • God for All Ages

    Yesterday our choir sang this Brian Wren hymn as the 'background' for our offering.  It is lovely and I am espeically struck by how it subverts steorotypes of father as strong and mother as cuddly... enjoy.

    Bring many names,
    beautiful and good,
    celebrate, in parable and story,
    holiness in glory,
    living, loving God.
    Hail and Hosanna!
    bring many names!

    Strong mother God,
    working night and day,
    planning all the wonders of creation,
    setting each equation,
    genius at play:
    Hail and Hosanna,
    strong mother God!

    Warm father God,
    hugging every child,
    feeling all the strains of human living,
    caring and forgiving
    till we're reconciled:
    Hail and Hosanna,
    warm father God!

    Old, aching God,
    grey with endless care,
    calmly piercing evil's new disguises,
    glad of good surprises,
    wiser than despair:
    Hail and Hosanna,
    old, aching God!

    Young, growing God,
    eager, on the move,
    saying no to falsehood and unkindness,
    crying out for justice,
    giving all you have:
    Hail and Hosanna,
    young, growing God!

    Great, living God,
    never fully known,
    joyful darkness far beyond our seeing,
    closer yet than breathing,
    everlasting home:
    Hail and Hosanna,
    great, living God!

    Brian Wren (born 1936)    © 1989 Stainer & Bell Ltd