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  • Hmmm... ahhh....

    Among those of us who participate in both morning and evenig worship, there is often a surprising sense of connection between two services prepared totally independently.

    Yesterday morning, we had explored the 'Mysteries of the Rosary' asking ourselves 'what kind of God' is glimpsed in the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries, which are (with only a couple of exceptions) firmly rooted in scripture.

    In the evening, someone was sharing with us a selection of beautiful Hebredian prayers, translated from Gaelic, that were mostly Roman Catholic in origin, and had been collected in the 19th Century as Carmina Gadelica, which can be found online here.  It was a very beautiful, relaxed evening and a much needed close to a weekend distrubed by news of human inhumanity.

    So, one of those 'hmmm' moments, and a much needed 'ahhh' in the presence of the God whose embrace is safe and sure.

  • The Rain it Raineth...

    Having spent a large part of my adult life in the North West of England, including Manchester, and now living in Glasgow, rain is just part of everyday life.  From mizzle and drizzle to stair-rods and 'cats and dogs', bouncing and stoating, and many, many more.

    I recall, and have shared many times, the occasion when I was asked to take a South African exchange student to register at the Manchester University Library.  It was raining, and he said, "so we can't go."  I looked at him, probably a very old-fashioned look, and said, "if you don't go our when it rains, you'll never go out"

    After a wonderful, and uncharacteristically dry October (though it was very similar in 2009 when I arrived, and I have a thing about 6-7 year weather cycles!) it is now making up for it here, with lots of full on rain, some of almost monsoon quality!!  And I found myself recalling that even Shakespeare knew of such weather when he wrote Twelfth Night whith Feste observing (maybe metaphorically) "the rain it raineth every day"...


    When that I was and a little tiny boy,
    With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
    A foolish thing was but a toy,
    For the rain it raineth every day.

    But when I came to man's estate,
    With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
    'Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gate,
    For the rain, it raineth every day.

    But when I came, alas! to wive,
    With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
    By swaggering could I never thrive,
    For the rain, it raineth every day.

    But when I came unto my beds,
    With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
    With toss-pots still had drunken heads,
    For the rain, it raineth every day.

    A great while ago the world begun,
    With hey, ho, the wind and the rain.
    But that's all one, our play is done,
    And we'll strive to please you every day.


    As anyone who lives in the wet parts of these islands will tell you, there's no such thing as the wrong kind of weather, just the wrong kind of clothes!

  • From Ferderation Baptiste de France (tr. CK)

    This, from the website of the French BU, translated by Friend of the Gathering Place and BMS Mission partner CK


    From the French Baptist Union (Federation Baptiste de France)

    France under shock

    Once again, our country has experienced the horror of terrorism, dark, cold, blind and blinded. .France, where the state of emergency has been decreed, wakes up in pain , grief and bereavement. Beyond outrage, sadness and misunderstanding , the Federation Baptiste says all its compassion for the victims and families affected by these murderous attacks . The Federation Baptiste encourages all our churches to support and to help in actions and in prayers

    The Bible invites us to true, loving, authentic and committed prayer

    1 Timothy 2:1-8

    I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle – I am telling the truth, I am not lying – and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.
    Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.
    Darkness cannot drive out darkness,
    Only light can do that
    Hate cannot drive out hate
    Only Love can do that

    ML King
    We pray for the victims and their families
    We pray for French authorities and government
    We pray for medical staff helping the victims
    We pray for armed forces mobilized in our country and abroad in maintaining security
    We pray for our chaplains in charge of accompanying those who , in the army, in hospitals , airports , prisons , need to hear the Gospel
    We pray for our enemies
    Let us pray for our country
    Pray that God will protect us from all evil on the outside and inside of ourselves

    We receive many messages of solidarity from our different foreign partners
    We thank them for their prayers and their fraternal thoughts
    Goodness is stronger than evil;
    Love is stronger than hate;
    Light is stronger than darkness;
    Life is stronger than death;
    Victory is ours through Him who loves us.

    Desmond Tutu

  • Pray for the World...

    It has been interesting to see what's being posted on social media in response to events in Paris, and indeed the (sometimes ugly and evil) responses in print and broadcast media.  Please don't believe the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday or other vile islamophobic drivel (sorry, don't usually rant quite so blatantly here, but it makes my blood boil).

    Some people have turned their Facebook profile pictures into French tricolour as a sign of solidarity.  Neither of my two French-born Facebook friends has.  There are other folk like me who haven't, and who feel uneasy about the use of national flags, setting one nation-state over against another.  Maybe my views are coloured (no pun intended) by seeing the English St George flag appropriated by right-wing extremists to such an extent that I, and many fo my friends of all politcal and religious hues would never fly one.  In Scotland the saltire is proudly displayed as a symbol of identity and shared values, maybe had I grown up here I'd think differently, I don't know.

    After a deal of pondering, I've decided today to use the Coventry Litany of Reconciliation in lieu of my planned prayers of approach today, and I will place a globe on our Communion Table... it is one world and we are all God's children.  Maybe coexistence is less than ideal, but it's surely a massive step forward.

    The Coventry Litany of Reconciliation

    All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

    The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,

    The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,

    The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,

    Our envy of welfare and happiness of others,

    Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,

    The lust which dishonours the bodies of men, women and children,

    The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God

    Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.


  • Speechless... yet needing to respond

    It's very rare I have a lie-in, usually the kitties have me up and active long before the radio-alarm goes off.  Today they let me rest, until I was wrenched from slumber by the news of events in Paris; news that left me shocked, speechless, impotent, sorrowful.  I have friends who have family in Paris, and some are still waiting for confirmation their loved ones are safe.

    So, as I have no words, I'm borrowing some from others, far wiser than myself, each of who knew the pain of hatred directed towards them and those they love... a photo, above, with a quote from Martin Luther King, and a song adaptation of words by Desmond Tutu

      Goodness is stronger than evil;
      love is stronger than hate;
      light is stronger than darkness;
      life is stronger than death.
      Victory is ours, victory is ours
      through him who loved us.

    Desmond Tutu (born 1931) adaped John L Bell (born 1949) © Desmond Tutu