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- Page 5

  • Nature Photos Challenge - Day 5

    Sunset in Tampere, Finland, 2014.

    One of the striking things about Finland was the sense of quiet and stillness... apart from bustling city centres like Helsinki anyway.  Softly spoken, content with silence, no words wasted... Finns have a distinctive personality that echoes their surroundings (so maybe we all do but just don't realise it).

    The evening strolls and stunning sunsets captured something of the essence of the place.

  • Nature Photos Challenge - Day 4

    Rainbow over the Union Canal between Falkirk and Edinburgh 2013.

    This is the laziest way I have done, if not a coast to coast, then an estuary to estuary journey.  A canal boat holiday with some friends who paths have now diverged and are going their separate ways... yet another memory tinged with poignancy; maybe that's what happens as one gets older?

    Canals pass through beautiful countryside and often the most dodgy areas of cities and towns!  Views can be idyllic or disgusting, and everywhere in between.

    This rainbow, not especially vivid, spanning the canal is a reminder that whatever the scenery, God's promises remain... and that's worth remembering any day of the week.

  • Sharing the Peace

    Today it felt right to include within the Communion part of our service the things that gets many, possibly most, Baptists very twitchy - we did that "sharing the peace thing" where people get up out of their seats, move around and bless one another with God's peace. 

    A symbol of reconciliation where relationships may have been strained...

    A symbol of welcome to someone we don't know, who may be a visitor...

    A symbol of affirmation between people who love each other as siblings in Christ...

    And it seemed to work really well.  People got up and moved (the words of invitation allowed for this to be done 'if you are able') and looked each other warmly in the eye (as the song says) and shook hands, or hugged, or kissed or some combination thereof.  And it was beautiful to behold, after I had returned to the front how people were entering into this simple yet profound act.

    And in light of that reconciliation, wlecome, affirmation, we are better able to "commune" as we share bread and 'wine' together.

    But I do need to work on one apsect... my call "the peace of the Lord be always with you" elicited the response " " (silence).  Spot which Baptist minister has spent more time in episcopal/catholic churches than her congregation!!

    Feedback on this element of the service was good - so we'll try it again some other time...

  • Faith and Deeds - A Creative Tension

    This morning we pondered the letter to Philemon, which was read in conjunction with part of Colossians and with a bit of Galatians as a call to worship.

    Paul's dilemma - he espouses a theology of a reconciled creation in which such potentially divisive categories as race, gender and status have no significance, and now he has to deal with the very real issue of a runaway slave.  How should he respond?

    We looked at four possiblities:

    The parable of the starfish method - I can't change the world but I can make a difference in this specific instance (so, not challenging the status quo of slavery but making an empassioned an dpastoral plea on behalf on Onesimus)

    The prophet method - to denounce the status quo and announce an alternative... noting that few are truly called to the prophet's role, and for most the task is to hear and respond

    The subversive method - obeying the rules to the letter in a way that shows how ricidulous they are: turning the other cheek, giving your tunic as well as your cloak, walking the extra mile

    The transformative method - being salt and light, or the leaven in the lump , or the mustard seed.  Values and actions that influence those nearby subtly and significantly, changing culture and practice.

    What we need to do is - hold on to our vision of a renewed, reconciled creation and by whatever means is right for us, starfish, prophetic, subversive, transformative or any blend thereof, live out what it is we profess.

    And that is my sermon in a fraction of the words!!

  • Breaking Bread Together in the Lord...

    I think last night went aright - we certainly had some good conversation, shared some tasty food and 'partook' of bread and 'wine' in a very informal way.

    We each agreed to host a similar gathering within the next couple of months, so the gentle 'cascade' begins, with four homes each hosting up to about half a dozen guests next time.

    Watch this space!