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  • Nothing is wasted...

    ... and in all things God works for good for those who love him.

    These are two of my theological maxims (along with "faith without deeds is dead").

    Today I traipsed down to Ibrox in the pouring rain having managed to get a 'next day' appointment to see the people who supply lymphoedema sleeves to the NHS in Glasgow.  I not only needed a new sleeve but my lymphoedema has spread to my hand, leaving me with fingers that resemble a bunch of juicy sausages, and a hand like a small, pink balloon!

    Anyway, the young woman measured me up for a new sleeve and glove, advising on the best combination to avoid creating a hiatus in my wrist or forearm.

    She then said, are you going home [viz to England] for Christmas?  No, I said, I'm working, which opened the way for a short conversation about what I do, the Christmas Day lunch at church, the likely hospital visits and so on.

    Now, God certainly did not smite me with cancer, and especially did not do so in order to make me talk to people about what I do for a living or about my faith. But (never start a sentence with a coinjunction except for dramatic effect) given that it happened, I have had unexpected and unpressurised opportunities to talk to all sorts of people about such things.  I do not "give them the gospel" though I kind of hope that my demeanour might speak more than my words.  I do not challenge them about their faith or life, though will engage in conversation if asked.  And what I find is that people are interested (and amazed at the Christmas Day lunch) and open.

    Nothing is wasted... in all things God works for good... if we are willing to do our bit, too.

  • 'Haphazard by Starlight' - Day 20

    Northumbrian Sequence, 4

    by Kathleen Raine

    Let in the wind,
    Let in the rain,
    Let in the moors tonight,

    The storm beats on my window-pane,
    Night stands at my bed-foot,
    Let in the fear,
    Let in the pain,
    Let in the trees that toss and groan,
    Let in the north tonight.

    Let in the nameless formless power
    That beats upon my door,
    Let in the ice, let in the snow,
    The banshee howling on the moor,
    The bracken-bush on the bleak hillside,
    Let in the dead tonight.

    The whistling ghost behind the dyke,
    The dead that rot in the mire,
    Let in the thronging ancestors,
    The unfilled desire,
    Let in the wraith of the dead earl,
    Let in the dead tonight.

    Let in the cold,
    Let in the wet,
    Let in the loneliness,
    Let in the quick,
    Let in the dead,
    Let in the unpeopled skies.

    Oh how can virgin fingers weave
    A covering for the void,
    How can my fearful heart conceive
    Gigantic solitude?
    How can a house so small contain
    A company so great?
    Let in the dark,
    Let in the dead,
    Let in your love tonight.

    Let in the snow that numbs the grave,
    Let in the acorn-tree,
    The mountain stream and mountain stone,
    Let in the bitter sea.

    Fearful is my virgin heart
    And frail my virgin form,
    And must I then take pity on
    The raging of the storm
    That rose up from the great abyss
    Before the earth was made,
    That pours the stars in cataracts
    And shakes this violent world?

    Let in the fire,
    Let in the power,
    Let in the invading might.

    Gentle must my fingers be
    And pitiful my heart
    Since I must bind in human form
    A living power so great,
    A living impulse great and wild
    That cries about my house
    With all the violence of desire
    Desiring this my peace.

    Pitiful my heart must hold
    The lonely stars at rest,
    Have pity on the raven’s cry,
    The torrent and the eagle’s wing,
    The icy water of the tarn
    And on the biting blast.

    Let in the wound,
    Let in the pain,
    Let in your child tonight.


    (I am very grateful to have found this online rather than having to type it in myself!!)

  • Another Year Older...

    Today has been characterised by little surprise messages wishing me a happy birthday as well as some lovely treats... For once in a way, I made a deliberate decision to downplay it, but still people remembered and have made it a special day.

    Cards, flowers, gifts, a cake... I have been well spoiled. 

    Every birthday is a celebration.

    I am very blessed.

  • BMS Catalyst Live

    Lucy Berry reading her poetry at Manchester - enjoy!  Plenty more talks available from here


    And here she is in Reading - reading different poems

  • BUGB and other Free Churches speak out...

    This from BUGB's Facebook page (apologies if formatting is iffy)....

    The Baptist Union along with other free churches have sent this letter to the Guardian.

    Subsidiarity without solidarity equals injustice
    It is with a sense of anger and consternation that we the undersigned have learnt of the UK government’s decision to block the extension of the fund for the distribution of material assistance to the most deprived in the EU member states to support food banks and homeless shelters. At a time of growing demand for food aid from food banks in the UK, it is distressing to hear that the government has rejected this strand of funding in favour of funding for “immaterial assistance” to cover counselling and budget maintenance based on the principle of subsidiarity.
    As churches who are at the forefront of delivering food aid to growing numbers of people across the UK, we take strong exception to the government pointing to our pastoral care as a prime example of the ‘Big Society at work’ whilst actively opposing EU funding to support this vital social service. This is not only hypocritical but unjust, as subsidiarity must always be balanced with the Gospel value of solidarity, as Catholic Social Teaching makes clear.
    At this Christmas time as we once more reflect on God’s loving solidarity with suffering humanity in the person of Jesus Christ, we are reminded that ‘as members of the one human family, we have mutual obligations to promote the rights and development of peoples across communities and nations. Solidarity is the fundamental bond of unity with our fellow human beings and the resulting interdependence. All are responsible for all; and in particular the rich have responsibilities towards the poor. National and international structures must reflect this!’
    We therefore issue an urgent summons to the UK government to rethink their decision to reject funding from the £2.5bn fund – European Aid to the Most Deprived – to ensure that not only are people helped into sustainable work (which we all agree is the best long term solution), but that as a caring society we are able to continue providing food aid and other essential services to those who find themselves in extremity in the midst of abundance.