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  • Caim or Birkat?

    On a roll now...

    Part of Sunday's servcie is going to involve circling/compassing prayer - also known as Caim.  I googled this and found some lovely examples.  I also found this one which seems more like a Birkat (a Jewish blessing) which can in fact be somewhat ironic, being more of a curse (as for example, the birkat ha minim, a curse on heretics/gentiles)...

    May those who love us, love us.
    And those who don't love us,
    May God turn their hearts;
    And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
    May He turn their ankles,
    So we will know them by their limping.

    Made me chuckle anyway.

  • Mysterious Ways

    A bit 'blog light' at the moment.  Not because I'm fed up with it, not because nothing is happening, but because there doesn't seem to be much that is either appropriate or pertinent to share.

    It's been a busy week - which is good - and since Sunday morning I've already worked around 30 hours even with a day off along the way, so perhaps not too surprising I'm starting to feel tired.  This week has involved two meetings - the Pastoral Care Team and the Deacons-By-Any-Other-Name - each of which weas purposeful and productive.  The 'mysterious ways' refers to a couple of links from today's BUGB e-news sweep one on pastoral visitation and one on worship.  These are well worth a look see.

    John Rackley on pastoral visitation seems to have a similar approach to my own, and in a sense says nothing much new.  Our pastoral care approach is multiplex, with almost everyone being 'buddied' by two others as well as being on a 'list' for periodic contact or visiting.  On top of that the Bible Study groups, Coffee Club and other networks serve a pastoral as well as spiritual purpose. It seems to work pretty well, but it's good to read reflect on what others have to say.

    Jonathan Langley's post here, comes with a health warning!  It is laugh out load funny in places, so best not read whilst supping your tea/coffee or munching your lunch.  Spraying the computer with any of these is rather unfortunate and not very edifying.  Nothing he says he new, but he says it brilliantly and pertinently, so go take a look!  We are  are in the midst of a bit of an experiment with our worship format, which is proving a catalyst for some serious reflection on just what we are about on a Sunday morning.  This is something I doubt would have occurred had we not made the changes.  People are engaging, even with things that they don't especially like (or maybe actively dislike) and seem to be open to exploring the broader, more profound questions that arise.

    Back to the tasks in hand now - service prep, admin, church magazine article, some longer term thinking... love it!

  • Fifty for Fifty? Golden Challenges...

    Among the people I met when I was climbing Ben Nevis were two women a year older than me who had decided to set themsleves the challenge of completing "fifty things" to celebrate reaching their fiftieth birthdays.  These included challenges, crazy capers and of course some treats.  As I will reach said milestone quite soon (hurrah, hurrah, I am genuinely happy to be reaching fifty!) I thought I might to come up with a list of fifty things to do during my year of being fifty.

    I am open to suggestions that are safe, legal and befit my status in life!  Not sure if I will get to fifty, but it's worth contemplating!

    On my list so far are...

    • visit a friend in Mozambique
    • write a conference paper for the Baptist 'hearts & minds' gathering in August 2013
    • do some charity fundraising for a local (rather than national) charity
    • get away to at least one guided retreat (possibly during my sabbatical)
    • possibly climb Snowdon and Scafell - slowly, sedately and just for fun! (depends how the joints bear up under continued drug side effects)
    • laugh a lot and enjoy every moment as much as I can (actually that should be top of the list!)
  • Bonny Banks...




    As my Dad used to say, all four seasons in one day! 

    A lovely walk yesterday alongside Loch Lomond on part of the WHW from Inversnaid towards Rowardenan


















    And this sign on a memorial bench overlooking a singularly idyllic spot:


    Prof Tom Wheldon was a specialist in radiotherapy who moved from Hammersmith in London to work in Glasgow.  As the plaque shows, his life was short, he died of secondary cancer in 2000.  At the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, the radiotherapy building is called the Tom Wheldon Building.  I was pleased to see his memorial bench and in a way to thank him for what his work has given me...

  • The Bible Says What?!

    Today we explored Psalm 90 as part of a very short series praying with the psalms.  This psalm of lament/disorientation is not likely to top anyone's list of favourite psalms, it is rather gloomy!  But right in the middle of it comes these verses (12-14 KJV) ...

    So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
    Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants.
    O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

    It is the middle line which is so shocking, and so far as I can ascertain only the KJV translates accurately from Hebrew... the writer tells God to repent!  This eternal God, whose essential nature is unchanging, is angry and vengeful, so the writer demands that God repents, turns round and changes direction.  Stop being angry, stop judging, stop punishing and instead be merciful, forgiving, gracious.  Flip'n'eck!  Would I dare address God thus?  Wow!  Or whoa!

    Psalm 90, attributed to Moses, is a complex psalm, and it is one that arises from life in the raw, whether exile and slavery in Egypt, or confused wandering in the wilderness.  It is a psalm that acknowledges the shortness and frailty of human life and contrasts this with God's timeless eternity.  It is a psalm that basically says, given life is short, difficult, painful, brutal perhaps, how best can we live it?

    Not an easy psalm, but one with which it is worth wrestling, and from which we can, perhaps, learn to pray with greater authenticity.