Today's PAYG was the parable of the lost sheep from Luke's gospel, one I have preached on many a time, and have indeed noted the risk the shepherd takes in leaving the ninety nine to fend for themselves in order to search for the one. What struck me in listening to the relfection was not the ideas - they were famialir - but the language of recklessness, which seems to fit with the concept of outrageous generosity. I wonder what might be the reuslt of us recongising God as reckless, and then seeking to 'go and do likewise'? Hmm. Big challenge.
An email today confirming my graduation date from the University of Manchester, and the 'degree I get in my forties'. So 16th December, just three days before my 49th birthday, I will be prancing about in MPhil robes being, as far as I can ascertain, the only person ever to get the degree I'm getting as the programme closed to new entrants and I took the exit qualification to ensure I at least completed. I recall when I signed up for this thinking I'd have a degree in each decade of my adult life and wondering what my fifties might herald in terms of learning and growing. I guess opting for an MPhil now means that if I stay NED, there is still the potential for a PhD in my fifties... We'll see.
Anyway, for now I am very grateful to the secret benefactor who has offered to take me to graduate, and look forward to the pre-birthday present of a day in my much-loved city of Manchester.
... my friend Julie has an interesting post here with an extended quote from Rabbi Julia Neuberger. Always quite interesting to hear other faith's perspectives... grist to our theological mill methinks
I have to confess I'm never entirely clear on the theological distinction between All Saints and All Souls. Is the former about 'saints official' and the latter about 'saints in the making'? Or is the former about 'believers in Christ' and the latter about 'everyone who ever lived'? And, dependent on our theologies of sainthood and salvation, how do we then mark - if indeed mark we do - this day?
I *think* (and I think the * thingy is meant to be some kind of emphasis type of indication) that saints are those who might be termed 'believers in Christ' and that souls are effectively people. I also hold fast to the one liner in 2 Peter that it is God's will that none perish... a kind of universalist leaning within God. It is no secret that I rather hope God is a universalist (and in a very broad sense, scripture indicates that God is... John 3:16-17, God sent his son into the universe (kosmos) in order to save the universe (kosmos)).
[eek, I had a great idea, got half way through the sentence, forgot what it was and now I can't recall it all all! Long term 'mild cognitive impairment' (aka long term chemobrain) strikes again]
Anyway, I have a sense that All Souls is a gentle kind of a day, one that majors on God's grace, mercy and love rather than God's anger and judgement.
Quite a few folk to remember today who died this year - four associated with the Gathering Place, one from Dibley, and two I came into indirect contatct with via the web.
Also a day to remember those who are sick in body, mind or spirit and to pray for their wholeness.
I was googling this morning, trying to find a specific Tony Campolo quotation (it's one where his langauge is a tad colourful) and stumbled upon this you-tube clip which seems to me to speak an attempt at 'outrageous generosity'. I don't know for sure what his take is on this issue (various are reported on the web) but he touches something helpful in this little interview...