By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

- Page 3

  • Third Week in Advent: Wednesday

    Today's PAYG told the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, and the promise of the some who would be called John.  Dumbstruck by the possibility, they waited and wondered until, sure enough, in due course the baby arrived.  Part of what struck me as I heard the reading was the anticipation of what his life might be like - the promises and dictates of the angel, the reactions of his parents who began to dream and wonder.

    Perhaps it struck me as I celebrate my own "significant birthday", and I read the words penned by mother in the card she sent, recalling her feelings on that winter's day half a century ago.  I wonder what she hoped and dreamed and imagined on that day, and to what extent her endeavours to fulfil those goals have been successful?  I know that some of what she assumed has not come to pass, and that much she could never have imagined has.  At least she has lived to see how my life turned out - I doubt very much John's parents did.


    God of Elizabeth and Zechariah,

    Who conceives each new life even before s/he is physcially present

    Help me - help us - to recognise afresh

    The sacrificial love and the hope-filled dreams that inspired our parents

    Who bore us, and brought us up,

    Who taught us and shaped our lives


    We are not naive enough to pretend that all children are cherished

    Not blind to the violence and poverty that blight, in differing ways, young lives

    Not foolish enough to think that every parent sees their children fulfilled

    But in this moment, on this day

    We thank you for what has been good in our own upbringing

    And, if needs be, let go regret, bitterness or grudges that snare us


    God of hopes and dreams

    Hear our prayer


  • Fifty Years - Deo Gratia

    Born 02:40 (or thereabouts) 19/12/1962


    One per decade, with three for my forties...

    Age 0

    Age 10

    Age 23 (long wait for London graduations in those days!)

    Age 35

    Age 46

    Age 47

    Age 49


    Catriona Age 9.jpg






  • Third Week of Advent: Tuesday

    So far today, I have sat around more than a bit, waiting for a delivery van to arrive, at time unspecified bearing gift unknown.  The only reason I am doing this is that giver far away warned me that this would be the case.

    I am curious to discover what it is that will be arriving at my doorstep later today (but not opened until tomorrow) and grateful to the friends who have arranged this surprise.  But it would be dishonest to pretend that sitting around all day is not my cup of tea - especially as I do have to go out later first to do some visiting and then to attend a meeting.

    All of which seems to have something to say to me about Advent waiting, and reminds me of the characteristics of 'active waiting' on which I preached in the not so distant past.  There is a kind of impatient patience, I think... a patience that is never resigned to an interminable (or seemingly so) wait, but employs its time anticipating, both looking forward to, and pre-empting, that for which it waits.

    I think this is part of the mystery of Advent... at one level we know it is a maximum of four weeks until Chritmas, at another the wait for the eschaton is unending.  At one level we know what is coming, at another we haven't a clue.  part of the challenge, if I can borrow some words from a hymn, is to "live tomorrow's life today"... to be signs and symbols that point or direct or draw others into this same mystery.


    Waiting, waiting, waiting...

    I'm not good at waiting, God,

    I want to get this done and move on to the next thing

    I'm not good at waiting, God,

    I don't know how best to employ this gift of time

    I'm not good at waiting, God,

    I don't find 'being' as attractive or engaging as 'doing'


    Show me how to wait for you

    To wait with you

    To learn how to 'be'

    To delight more fully in the present moment

    To be still, or at least to slow down

    And discover your gift of patience




    A footnote of sorts!  If nothing else the last couple of years have affected the way I view what may be termed "empty" time - unplanned hanging around, delays, people arriving late, etc.  This is definitely not "time to kill" or "wasted time" it is a precious gift of "extra time" or "time to be".  The danger is that as more time elapses, I will forget that again... I hope I won't.

  • Sheep Round-Up!

    Today we went out to round up our knitted sheep.  Seven are back safe and sound in the vestry at the Gathering Place.  One has gone a a loving home via Greggs the bakers - they just could not bear to say farewell to Cyril the Sheep, and as they had given us 60 yummy scrummy mince pies absolutely free...  Sophie is still at the Botanic Gardens, and will find her way back home via a Church member who is in charge there!  Oreo went to an independent ice cream shop which has suddenly closed for refurbishment, according to the signs on the shop front.  We are sure Oreo is safe and sound, but plan to try to contact the proprietors to ensure they are OK.

    Shaun held court on a plinth in Oxfam books; George guarded the ewe's milk cheese in a deli (once he'd been rescued from the fridge with the lamb chops!), Rosie went to Ryman's, Norman hid in JoJo Maman Bebe,  Dewey lodged in the library, Prudence stayed in a gift shop, and Doodles watched over the cards in the independent newsagent.

    A great time was had by all the participating venues - who we rewarded with Fairtrade chocolate from the Glasgow One World Shop (which is once again empty after our visit!)

  • Third Week in Advent: Monday

    Today's PAYG used Matthew's genealogy of Jesus... described as one of the hardest passages in the Bible to read, let alone to relate to!

    Growing up, I have to admit I usually skipped over this, dismissing it as boring; and anyway wasn't there that admonition against 'meaningless genealogies'?  In more recent times, I have both preached and led studies on the five women in the genealogy (for named, one identified by the name of her murdered husband).

    Today I was struck by the gentle, rhythmic, almost poetic flow of the lists, fourteen generation, fourteen generations fourteen generations...  I assume if I was into gamatria or numerilogy I could have fun with that three lots of fourteen, three lots of two times seven... but I'm not.

    I think for me in the busyness of this pre-Christmas period, it was good simply to pause and allow the rhythm and lilt of the words wash over me, connecting me once more into the stroy that began before time and flows, uninterrupted through it.


    In the beginning, God,

    You breathed, spoke and loved life into being


    And as father begat father

    Mother gave birth to mother

    Generation flowed into generation

    Nations spread and shrank,

    Empires rose and fell

    Worldviews emerged, shifted and evaporated...

    As all that rhythm of life flowed

    Inexorably onward through time

    You were there

    At the heart of it all...


    And are here now

    In our generation

    In the place we call home

    Among the people we meet...


    And closer still

    In thinking and speaking

    In my working and sleeping

    In my creating and continuing


    God of gentle rhythm

    God of all time

    Hear my prayer.