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  • Knit and Knatter...

    Last night's sheep-knit-a-thon was such fun.  A lovely mix of people ranging from a total novice to people whose needles fly like the wind and all stages in between.  We knitted.  We k-nattered.  Sheep began to emerge (I have two to finish off today!).  We laughed.  We munched.  We had a great time, so great that we over-ran by a full half hour before we called time and threw everyone out!


    Now then... cast on ten, work six rows in stocking stitch...

  • Sheepish...

    Today is the closing date for participating venues to register for our Sheep Trail.  At the time of typing, we have TEN confirmed and I have just sent 'high priority' emails to the two still outstanding to see if they would like to join in.  So I am happy.  Ten sounds so much better than nine!  Twelve would be ever-so churchy and a bonus... eleven would be confusing but of course we still have Glynis as a back-up if needed...

    One super, amazing, wonderful thing that has happened is that the local branch of a national bakery store (synonimous with the pasty tax debate as I recall) has not only agreed to take part, but is also going to donate mince pies for our Get in the Picture event.

    As I walked to work this morning (Advent is not the time for ministers to be 'precious' about working patterns) I found myself recalling the Lukan parable of the shepherd who left the 99 sheep in the fold to fend for themselves, and went out to search for the one that had got lost.  One of the challenges all ministers face is the balance of both caring pastorally for the 'sheep' they have and going out to find the lost ones.  I felt as if God might be saying to me, this is what I want of you... 'your' sheep can fend for themselves, you have worked with them to put in place good support structures to keep them safe... it is OK for you to be out on the 'hills' trying to find other sheep, right that you give yourself to creative ways of drawing new people into the adventure of faith.  Of course, I could just be telling myself that... we are all capable of self-delusion, but for now, I am pouring my energy into making Christmas a little more magical, a little more more meaningful for sheep of this, and other, sheepfolds.

  • Lord, you sometimes speak in....

    ... Facebook?!

    Been a busy day, demanding and challenging, but that's fine, that's what I 'signed up for' when I accepted God's call to ordained ministry.

    My propensity to over-reflect was doing it's worst, so I logged into Facebook (the only way I keep in touch with some people) to catch up on news and views.  And there was a 'shared' 'photo' that said just what I needed to hear...

    Yes, it could be plain old fashioned coincidence, as in just two things happening at the same time for no better reason than none.  Or it could be God doing what God does... Right now I prefer the latter explanation.

  • Christ the King... Sans Frontiers

    The last Sunday of the liturgical (church) year.  My sermon title today is 'there's another country' and emerges from the lectionary gospel for today, which is Jesus before Pilate, as told by John.  I hope I've done it OK... it's very hard to get the balance right between my firm theological conviction that the Kingdom of God defies any humanly constructed definition of nation, state or race (etc.) and the fact that I am living in a place where daily the politicians tell me that the country in which I live would be better off if it separated itself from the rest of the UK.  Whatever people may think about Scottish independence, for any Christian, it is largely an adventure in missing the point... humanly defined national identity and what is "better for me/us over against a 'them' that includes our brothers and sisters in Christ" sets our loyalty in the wrong place.  To self-define as 'English' or 'Scottish' before "Child of God-ish" skews my perspectives.

    I firmly believed that God called me to serve in Scotland.  The truth is God could equally have called me to serve on Oompa Loompa Land, because all places are within that Kingdom of Peace.  No matter how much I love my church, no matter how dear Scotland becomes to me, I can never seek the good of Scotland above the good of other parts of Christ's Kingdom.

    I happen to have been born in Britain, and Britain chose to join the European Union, and now faces the challenges of being one of the richer nations in a struggling, trans-national grouping.  No matter how much I love the UK, no matter how much the complexities of Brussels bemuse and bewilder me, I can never seek the good of the UK above the good of other parts of Christ's Kingdom.

    That I will never understand global economics hardly needs to be said  I do not have the answers, but I do know that the 'other country', sans frontiers, has to be the telos, the goal, towards which I live.

  • Blessed

    Today I sat down to lunch with almost two dozen women... nothing especially unusual there.  Ranging from mid-twenties to 'stopped counting' what unites us a shared experience of breast cancer.  When people talk of 'support groups' it conjures up images in my mind of drafty halls and weak tea, a those head-on-one-side looks that exude sympathy and earnest conversation in slightly sotto voce tones...  Our group is nothing like that.  We meet in a restaurant in central Glasgow, wine flows (as does lager, lemonade and tea!), laughter rings round the venue, and we talk about holidays, work, families and, yes, where appropriate cancer.

    Today, it being the meet closest to my fiftieth birthday (next month) I had said I'd bring cake... no, they siad, we'll bring cake.  And they plotted and they schemed, and surprised me with the most wonderful afternoon.  A gorgeous handcraft card, signed by everyone.  A beautifully decorated, scrumptious cake.  And gifts - a TLM 'Gift for Life' of reconstructive surgery for someone affected by leprosy and enough Lakeland vouchers to keep me in cupcake kit for a very long time!

    As I blew out my candle, one of the youngest girls said 'don't forget to make a wish'... well I wish there was no such thing as cancer, but through it have been trully blessed to meet the most amazing, loving, generous, feisty women.  Yes, at 49 and 49/52 I had an amazing advance 50th birthday.

    A little over two years ago I feared, genuinely, that I would not see fifty.  It was great to celebrate today with folk who share that reality, and for whom every birthday is a celebration.  As one of them said... "fifty is bl**** marvellous".