By the wonder of the web, a hint of what took place in Glasgow today... several Gatherers were in attendance but I didn't spot them in this video.
This one just in is really great - so long as you understand the history that lies behind it. But then, hey, I'm just one of those evil Manchester heretics....
A little bird tells me that if you enjoyed this then a good place to be at 1:30 tomorrow is here:
A few contrasting photos which give hints of life in the Gathering Place.
The menagerie that lives in the vestry, dressed and ready for festive fun...
And by contrast, a room ready for the Advent reflection...
And a closer look at our Advent ring...
One moment mad, next moment profound... what more could a minister wish for?
Lunchtime will be our third reflection for Advent. These have proved popular and rain/sleet/snow permitting today will be no exception. As I have pondered the material we are using, I have been to some degree struck by how it captures the 'halfness' of midweek meetings... although it roughly follows the traditional themes, it also points forward all the time to the next one. Thus, today as we meet between 'John the Baptist' and 'Mary' we find hints of each.
I'm glad in a way, because Mary gets a poor deal in Protestant Christianity: sometimes we are so fearful of Mariolatry that we are instead guilty of Mary-avoidance. Because she's Advent 4 we tend to be occupied with other things, things I love like nativity serivces and carol services, things that mean she gets overlooked. So it seems fitting that today's Advent three-and-a-half reflection requires us to use props that hint of a more feminine, more Mary-like feel.
I am looking forward to this space to pause, and I'm off to choose my CDs now so we can have some suitably Proddie 'Mary music'!!!
And here, for those who can handle a bit of heresy (I'm not so sure about the last couple of verses) is a Roman Catholic Mary hymn that I actually quite like...
Sing of a girl in the ripening wheat,
flowers in her hand, the sun in her hair.
All the world will run to her feet
for the child that mother will bear.
Sing of a girl that the angels surround,
dust in her hand, and straw in her hair.
Kings and their crowns will fall to the ground
before the child that mother will bear.
Sing of a girl on a hill-side alone,
blood on her hand, and grey in her hair.
Sing of a body broken and torn.
Oh, the child that mother will bear.
Sing of the girl that a new man will meet,
hand in his hand, the wind in her hair.
Joy will rise as golden as wheat
with the child that mother will bear.
Sing of a girl in a circle of love,
fire on her head, the light in her hair.
Sing of the hearts the Spirit will move
to love the child that mother will bear.
Sing of a girl who will never grow old,
joy in her eyes and gold in her hair.
Through the ages men will be told
of the child that mother will bear.
Damian Lundy (1940-1997) © 1978 Kevin Mayhew Ltd