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  • Ultimate Subversion...

    This little quotation from a commentary on Ephesians gave me the way in to last Sunday's sermon:

    “The whole armour of God who won his pacific victory over the powers through the cross [...] is nothing less than the naked, defencelessness of the crucified Christ”

    John Muddiman The Epistle to the Ephesians London,. Continuum, 2001 page 283

     

    Go ponder, it's worth it!

  • Five Years On

    Monday 23rd August 2010 was a lovely bright, sunny day.  Even though Monday is usually my 'day off' I had agreed to a morning meeting with someone at church to discuss some financial matters (probably taxation, I can't remember).

    I picked an egg mayonnaise sandwich and a bottle of water in the Tesco round the corner from church for my lunch and wended my way the whole five minute walk to hospital where I would spend the afternoon.

    Five years on, I can still recall the smells, sounds, tastes and sensations of that afternoon... in fact about the only thing I can't recall is what I was wearing!

    That day, my Mum was undergoing pioneering life-saving surgery far away in Oxford, and I was waiting for news about that at the same time as I sat in pale blue faux-leather chair in the waiting area of a Victorian building.

    I still recall the first words spoken to me by the man who I now trust as 'my' breast surgeon, introducing himself by name, checking if I had come alone (I had) before taking my history and carrying out the initial examination.  I can still see his face as he said "I'm sorry it's cancer" just as I can still recall how 'my' breast care nurse gently took my hand in hers whilst the biopsies were taken.  Those first impressions matter, and this team, consumately professional whilst utterly humane, got it just right for me.

    In the one, maybe two, second(s) it took to say the words, a paradigm shift took place.

    Fearful I would not see Christmas, let alone a five year anniversary, I took very much to heart the parting words of my surgeon who said, "we'll talk about this in five years".  I wasn't convinced, but the words gave me just a shred of hope.

    And now those years have passed by.  The Victorian hospital has all but closed (a month until the breast out patient clinic moves to its temporary home en route to a final relocation).  I have continued to live with long term effects of treatment and to reflect on my experiences, much, but not all, of it via this blog.  I have met and made friends with many wonderful people, have laughed and cried, and said farewell to far too many whose journey with this cruel disease was much shorter.  I've travelled to New Zealand, spoken at a conference, supported other ministersaffected by cancer, shared parts of my story with students and ministers and trained as a peer support volunteer.  And always in the background, just there, quiet and supportive have been the people who were there at the start... my medical team, friends, family and The Gatherers.

    Sunday 23rd August 2015 - preaching on Ephesians 6, being and doing what I believe I am called to be and do, in the place I feel I am called to be and do it.  It feels like a very good way to mark the transit of five years, to give thanks to God for all that has been, and to step forward into the future with all that these years have shown me.

  • Thankfulness Playlist

    So, today is the day, and here is the thankfulness playlist suggested by assorted friends 'real' and 'virtual' - absolutely love it.  A wonderful afternoon's listening in prospect.

    A Whisper Away - Michael English
    Dimming of the Day - Alison Krauss
    Everybody Hurts - R.E.M.
    Go forth into the world in peace - John Rutter
    Happiness - The Blue Nile
    Here Comes the Sun - The Beatles
    Homeward Bound - Simon & Garfunkel
    I can see Elvis - Waterboys
    I hope you dance - Lee Ann Womack
    I want to break free - Queen
    Ille Libro Del AMore - 2Cellos featuring Zucchero
    Living Doll - Cliff Richard
    Love lift us up where we belong - Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes
    More than Words - Extreme
    Morning has broken - Cat Stevens
    O God, you search me and you know me - Bernadette Farrell
    O love that will not let me go - George Matheson (hymnwriter)
    One more step along the world I go - Sydney Carter (hymnwriter)
    Spem im Alium - Thomas Tallis (a little bit of culture!!)
    Step by Step - Whitney Houston
    Thank you (FRalletinmebe Mice Elf Again) Sly and the Family Stone
    The Heart of Worship - Matt Redman
    The Living Years - Mike and the Mechanics
    The Prayer - Andrea Bocelli & Celine Dion
    This is the Day - David Wellington (hymnwriter)
    Tubthumping - Chumbawumba
    Wings - Birdy
    Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton
    Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
    You've got a friend - Carole King
    Zipadeedoodah - Disney