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- Page 5

  • Ministry - the Best Bits (well one of them)

    Home Communion this afternoon - I love doing this, such a privilege, and simulatenously intimate and universal (mystery).


    Old hymns

    Ancient words

    Familiar prayers

    Bread and juice

    Tea and biscuits




    Memories stirred

    Moments shared

    And, today, home grown roses to bring away




    Whatever it is, I love it.


    Ministry has the best bits for sure.

  • All will be well...

    I remind myself of this periodically, and yesterday which had begun with two really good meetings, ended up with me reminding myself of what really matters...

    Having travelled a large chunk of my journey on Tuesday on a rather full train with a booked seat that failed to tick most of the boxes I'd ticked, I had not achieved any of the service prep I'd hoped for, but I had read 100 pages of the book I have to review by September.  I got up early yesterday (6:30) so that after breakfast I could catch an earlier train to squeeze in an extra (and very interesting) informal meeting.  My main meeting was good fun - old and new colleagues, great banter and I learned loads of useful stuff.  We finished quite early so I headed off for my train thinking this was great, time to grab a meal somewhere before boarding my final train...

    Arriving at Didcot Parkway it was clear the trains were in disarray, automated systems announcing delays to trains that had actually been cancelled.  The tragedy of 'person hit by train'...which is almost always code for a suicide, and the horror of someone who felt life was so awful they could not bear to live anymore; the grief and guilt of family and friends who have lost one they love; the trauma to the train driver and witnesses... and the inevitable disruption to services which seem to last for many hours.

    Eventually a train arrived, crammed to the gunwales with people, an unscheduled stop to scoop up those of us travelling to Oxford, as the platform was so crowded that safety would soon be compromised.  Blitz spirit triumphed, several of us helped a frail elderly woman up the steps and into the 'lobby' where we stood like vertical sardines for the ten minute journey.

    Unexpectedly, and miraculously or so it felt, I made my booked train, which was on time, and safely and efficiently was carried to Birmingham International to await the 18:53 to Glasgow... except it was now the 18:53 to Preston where further announcements would be made.  No catering on board and the train was packed out, so no possibility of doing any work even if I'd had a socket, which I didn't.  Regular updates at every calling point showed we were getting later and later, and we were due to transfer to another service at Preston becuase the overhead cables were defunct north of Motherwell...

    Arriving at Preston we were told to make our way as quickly as possible to a different train, which was being held for us and would take us to Carlisle.  So upwards of 200 people flocked up the steps, over the bridge, down the steps and into the already heaving train... I headed along the platform and, to my amazement, found a vacant seat to travel on to Carlisle.  Evidently the passengers from four trains had been transferred onto one - two Edinburgh and two Glasgow.

    Arriving at Carlisle we once again streamed as fast as our feet would carry us to queue for the buses that would take us onwards - to Edinburgh/Glasgow/Motherwell/Lockerbie... super coaches, minibuses even a few taxis... and finally we arrived at GLC main entrance with no trains left to go anywhere, and a huge taxi queue

    And then I got home, which was ultimately all that mattered, safe and sound, if hungry, tired and with almost a week's work still to do.  But somewhere, in the south of England, a train driver was traumatised, a family was grieving and a life was lost.  Today I am so tired that my concentration is poor and I have still ahcieved almost nothing that I need to achieve... but I am alive, well, fed and watered, and all will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.

    Eternal rest grant unto the 'person hit by train', oh Lord, let perpetual light shine upon them, may they rest in peace.

    To the train driver peace and release, to the family and friends, comfort... and to the young accountant wondering whether to claim a refund and keep it as his employers would pay anyway give wisdom, integrity and a sense of perspective.

  • The Declutterthon Begins!

    So I thought, if I sort the clutter, move the storage and furniture around then I can offer my Glasgow 2014 guests two guest bedrooms rather than one having the sofa bed in the living room...

    A couple of hours in and I have:

    • sorted a whole heap of items that will, at a future date, either go to a car-boot or to Ebay to raise some small amount of pennies for upcoming "big church project" - after all 'every little helps'
    • binned a load of broken bits 'n' bobs which had sentimental value but, really I never looked at them and one day someone will have to sort them out
    • decided that 29 years after completing my engineering degree I really can justify throwing out all the notes I took - and that the MPhil ones can probably go too (BA ones cirrently at church but likely to be chucked in the near future)
    • lost sight of the floor in the one room I was trying to dejunk!  But it will, in time be much less cluttered and much more useable.

    Probably need to call it a day now otherwise I will overdo it with my 'bad' arm... although establishing a path out of here without mountaineering might be a plan!!

    As for furniture shifting - that's a way off yet!

  • How would you reply?

    Mark 10: 51:  Then Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?

    All eyes turned to the blind man, Bartimaeus, time stood still, he pondered his reply and then he spoke...

    "I want to see"


    But what other answers might haved passed through his mind..?

    "I want to be rich so I never need to beg again"

    "I want to know why my life has been so hard"

    "I want you to blind all the people who have ridiculed me (or otherwise smite them)"

    "I want to be like everyone else"

    "I want to be respected"

    "I want to be liked"

    "I want to see... "


    So what would you reply if Jesus asked you the same question "what do you want me to do for you?"

    This was the challenge of today's sermon... to myself as much as, if not more than, to anyone else

    What is it I want Jesus to do for me...


    This is no genie from a lamp offering three boons to a temporary slave, but the Lord of Life whose gaze searches our deepest recesses and then asks us one question

    So what or how do we reply...?

  • All Quiet on the Blogging Front

    Been a very busy week, not worked a day under ten hours from Tuesday to Friday and most substantially more.

    Been a productive week, with a lot of enjoyable worship preparation for a couple of evening services I'll be leading iun a few weeks.

    Been a week of several important meetings, which seemed to be productive from where I sat.

    Been a week of eating with friends, new and established, catching up, swapping news.

    Been a week in which sad/bad news reached me from a friend 'down south' who now keeps vigil at a hospital bedside when she should be at a big birthday party.

    Been a week in which blogging has just not been on my radar... stuff I wanted to reflect on wasn't appropriate for public consumption, stuff that was appropriate was either banal or dull.

    Been a week in which I have found some new reserves of energy, or new sources to energise, or something like that, so that, as it draws to a close I am healthily tired and overall fairly happy with what's been achieved.

    So apologies if you've checked by and wondered where I was - just been busy living and loving and laughing and struggling and hurting and rejoicing and labouring and... well, you know, ministering.