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  • The Other Catriona...

    This morning my Pink Ribbon Walk teeshirt arrived - which means it's now less than a month away, so I really must step up the training a bit.  What made me chuckle was the adress lable, a faithful reproduction of what I had entered using the drop down menu options on the website...


    So there you go, I am officially the Other Catriona.

  • Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled...

    Yesterday's lectionary gospel included these famous words of Jesus.  Usually read as a command (presumably reflecting a Greek 'imperative', I didn't check), yesterday I played around a little with the idea that what Jesus was actually saying was softer, more along the lines of "I really don't want you to experience this heart-sick, gut-wrenching, sleep-denying agony of grief, loss and hopelessness" and that he did so having experienced, and possibly still experiencing, it himself...

    Firstly, John 11 and the story of Martha, Mary and Lazarus.  As Jesus stood at the grave and realised the gravity of the situation, the grief of the sisters, the loss of Lazarus, the human consequences of his own tardiness, his heart was troubled; indeed so overwhelmed was he that he wept.

    Or, John 12, in the aftermath of the excitement of Palm Sunday when Jesus used the beautiful image of the ear of wheat falling to the ground to bring forth abundant fruit he went on to say ‘now my soul is troubled, and what should I say, “Father, save me from this hour.”’ Knowing that the point of no return had been reached, that the way ahead led to ridicule, rejection, torture and execution, of course Jesus’ heart would be troubled.

    Or in John 13, immediately after the foot-washing as he declared that one of his own would betray him, we are told once more that he was troubled in spirit... when would it happen, how would it happen…

    It seems to me that Jesus knows exactly what it is he wants to counter.  The dry mouth, the feeling in the pit of the stomach, the numbess, the disbelief, the anger, the bewilderment, the certain uncertainy, the agony, the sleeplessness... For me, that is incredibly comforting and reassuring.

    And in the midst of his own agony and helplessness, to all intents and purposes a dying man, he says to those closest to him, 'it'll be all right, please don't agonise over this or me, I'm just going on ahead of you...'

    The image of many dwellings, many abodes within the range of the Father's estate, is a beautiful and hopeful one.  Of course believing (in) Jesus doesn't stop us experiencing fear or grief or anxiety, but it does rob them off their power to overwhelm us.  In the that 'tracing rainbows through the rain' way we can cling, even if only by our finger nails, to the hope he offers.

    Do not let grief, worry, fear, loss, anxiety... whatever it is... overwhelm you: trust me when I say that I am going ahead to make all things ready for you.  None of this has the last word, and one day, all will be well.

  • For everyone born, a place at the table...

    This song has been going around my brain constantly for over a week!  That's no bad thing, it's a geat song, albeit a challenging one to sing.  This morning at church we adapted part of the liturgy from the BUGB-BMS Assembly Communion service as an activity at the close of the sermon - it seemed to work.

    There were around 70 adults present (small people were in Sunday School or creche) and it was not a Communion Sunday, but we had the communion table placed very prominently, with a white cloth on it and loads of space around it.  Earlier in the service we had added 12 bowls to represent the money raised for Christian Aid Scotland, which would be enough to feed 12 children for a month.  Hopefully my description makes sense - it was an amazing symbol when completed...


    The old and the young

    Even little children

    There is a place prepared for you


    [Table placed either end of communion table]


    Women and men

    free and oppressed

    there is a place prepared for you


    [white lacy cloths placed on tables]


    Regardless of our colour or ethnicity

    Impairment or ability

    there is a place prepared for you


    [Vases of flowers placed on tables]


    Singles or couples

    Straight or gay

    Friend or stranger

    there is a place prepared for you


    [Name cards for people goups in liturgy placed around extended table, all facing out to congregation]


    Rich and poor

    Employed and jobless

    Housed and homeless

    there is a place prepared for us all


    [Explanation, and invitation to add our own name and/or a people group we think is missing from the above during the singing of 'for everyone born'. Name cards passed out to congregation as tune played over, added to table at any point during the hymn]


    The tables were completely covered with place cards - an amazing sight, which really symbolised the eschatological banquet in the house with many dwellings.

    After the service, all the cards were gathered up and pinned to one of the noticeboards with the words "for everyone born a place at the table" central.  It was humbling and moving to read them


  • Pink Ribbon Playlist...

    ... currently adds up to 40 tracks as follows:

    1. Adagio for Strings, Barber
    2. Believe, Yellow Card
    3. Brothers in Arms, Dire Straights
    4. Dignity, Deacon Blue
    5. Don't Stop Me Now, Queen
    6. Falling, Haim
    7. Flapper Girl, The Lumineers
    8. Gold, Spandau Ballet
    9. Happy, Pharrel Williams
    10. Heaven, Emily Sande
    11. High, Lighthouse family
    12. High Flying Bird, Elton John
    13. I will survive, Gloria Gaynor
    14. I'm gonna be (500 miles), The Proclaimers
    15. I'm still standing, Elton John
    16. It's a Long Way to the Top, AC/DC
    17. Laura, Bat for Lashes
    18. Lose yourself to the Dance, Daft Punk
    19. Man! I feel like a woman, Shania Twain
    20. Mr Music Master, Hoagy Carmichael
    21. My Friend, Groove Armada
    22. My love, Feat. Jess Glynne
    23. Paranoid, Black Sabbath
    24. Say Goodbye to Hollywood, Billy Joel
    25. Siyahamba, Alexander L'Estrange
    26. Step by Step, Whitney Houston
    27. Summertime, Ella Fitzgerald
    28. Sweet Caroline, Neil Diamond
    29. Take me out, Franz Ferdinand
    30. These Boots were made for Walking, Nancy Sinatra
    31. Walk like an Egyptian, The Bangles
    32. Walk of Life, Dire Straits
    33. Walk on by, Dionne Warwick
    34. Walking on Sunshine, Katrina and the Waves
    35. Waterloo Sunset, The Kinks
    36. We Built this City, Starship
    37. When the going gets tough, Billy Ocean
    38. When you're young and in love, Flying Pickets
    39. Wind Beneath my Wings, Whitney Houston
    40. You'll never walk alone, Jerry and the Pacemakers

    Should anyone feel a desire to suggest a song (or other item), irrespective of whether you have or haven't sponsored me, feel free to add the title and artist/composer in a comment.

    So far I've spent nearly £40 on downloads and raised about 40p via 'easy fundraising' for church too!


  • Singing in the Rain

    Well, walking in the rain with my MP3 player singing in my ears anyway.  A lovely walk from home to Glasgow Green along the Clyde followed by a roast dinner in Debenhams (other shops are available) before nipping into Paperchase (other....) to buy bits I need for tomorrow's service.

    I love urban walking because it allows me to admire the diversity of architecture and to see things I would miss if I was in a car, bus or train.  The Clyde Walkway has some wonderful things to see including this statue:


    Bearing the inscription "it is better to die standing than to live forever on your knees" it commemorates Glaswegians who died in the Spanish Civil War

    pasionara 2.jpg

    A cry for freedom, a desire to be fully alive, if only briefly rather than endure endless, dull existence.  So it is a cry of hope, a willingness to sacrifice, a daring to dream.  Powerful stuff.

    My walk was around about six miles plus a bit of shopping, lunching and then a train home, combining some errands for church, some leisure and some training for next month's Pink Ribbon Walk.  In some odd way, the words on the statue resonated with me as I tramped along the footpath... none of us knows how much life we have measured in hours and minutes, but we do have freedom to choose how we live it.  Singing in the rain seems a good choice to me!


    Photos borrowed from the web.