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  • On #EURef Day

    Shortly I will pick up my voting card and walk the short distance to the Polling Place (Station) and make my mark in pencil on a piece of paper that will play a miniscule part in shaping the future not only of this city, or this country, or this sovereign-state-as-defined-by-the-United-Nations, or this continent but, in some measure, this whole world.

    As the archetypal floating voter, and possibly one of the most conflicted and torn-apart voters in the Scottish Independence referendum, it may surprise you to know that this one has, for me, been a no-brainer.  It's been a no-brainer since I researched and delivered a speech in a school debate at the tender age of 12 when we held a 'mock referendum' back in 1975.

    It's not for me to tell anyone how to vote, but I think I do have the right to ask people to consider their motives in deciding and their attitudes to those with whom they disagree.

    For me, this is not about what is "better for Scotland" as a poster I saw yesterday said, or what's "better for England" as I have seen on social media (as if Wales and Northern Ireland simply don't exist or don't matter, presumably) or what's "better for Britain" as I am sure I'd see on billboards south of Hadrian's wall.  It's not about me and mine - or at least, not only about me and mine.

    Surely the guiding principle has to be the words that sum up the law and the prophets...

    Love the Lord your God with all you heart, all your mind and all your strength; and love youur neighbour as you love yourself

    So, if "better for Britain" or "better for England" or "better for Scotland" is the motivator, then it must also mean "better for Syria", "better for Israel-Palestine", "better for Greece", "better for Hungary"... "better for Europe" (and so on)


    However you vote, do so thoughtfully, do so graciously, do so humbly, do so well


    God of all nations

    God beyond nationality

    God of freedom

    God of interdependence

    As we vote this day

    Grant us wisdom

    Grant us courage

    Grant us generosity

    Grant us grace

    And, above all,

    Surround us and fill us with love

  • Teaser...

    This coming Sunday we are sharing in a 'Songs of Praise' style service celebrating the life of our church. 

    Twelve people respresenting twelve aspects of our life together have chosen hymns that, in some way or other, connect with their representative role.

    I have twelve short Bible readings that I think sort of go with each theme.

    And I have 12 other readings, some overtly sacred, some ostensibly secular, some serious, some humorous and so on.

    So by way of a teaser among the authors and sources we will find...

    Dancing Scarecrow (Clare McBeath and Tim Presswood)

    Brother Lawrence

    Michel Quoist

    George W Stevens

    John Calvin

    Vernon Scannell

    Masao Takenaka

    Jennifer Dines

    John O'Donohue

    R S Thomas

    So, if you want to know more, and happen to be in Glasgow on Sunday, you know where to find us... bring your singing voice and join us for a fun act of worship.

  • A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven...

    This morning I decided to begin my annual cull of the wardrobe... clothes that have not been worn in the last 12 months are reviewed and probably (but not always) set aside to go to a charity shop.  Perhaps it is the effect of having cleared out my Mum's flat, but this year I have felt able to be a lot more ruthless (not properly ruthless, but more so) and a lot of things I've kept out of sentimentality have found themselves consigned to the charity shop bag/box/heap and others to the bin.

    The photo shows the collection of hair-slides and other hair things that had sat in a drawer for nearly six years and will never be needed again.  Why was I kepeing them?  Pure sentimentality, a reluctance to let go of the past perhaps, or maybe because many of them had associations with people or places or events.  In the end, I selected one to keep, a heavy, metal celtic knot that I hope can be converted into a brooch.

    Today I also packed up the 14+ inch long plait that had been carefully stored in my underwear drawer and posted it off to The Little Princess Trust where it might find itself used to make a wig for a child experiencing hair loss.  It was a strange, slightly bittersweet moment when finally I sealed up the envelope and marched out of my front door to the Post Office to send it on its way.  Perhaps a tad hard on myself, there was a sense that the "properly grown-up" thing to have done would have been to donate the hair in September 2010.  But at that stage it was all too raw, I was too afraid of what tomorrow might bring, and somehow a long plait in a plastic bag in a knicker drawer was a source of comfort at a time when certainty, confidence and sense of identity were rapdily disappearing.  Today it was not such a big deal.  I held the plait one last time, inhaled its still sweet smell, packed it and sent it on its way.

    To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.

    One thing I have been doing today is photographing things; the prize-winning jumpers I knitted as a teenager that have lain unworn for at least a decade; the hair slides that for most of my adult life were coordinated to outfits and events; the plait and its donation form just before it was packed up.  The memories can be prompted by the pictures, the actual objects can be let go, freeing whoever, one day, has to clear out my clutter from wondering why on earth this woman had a collection of hair accessories or fairisle jumpers or whatever it may have been.

    A useful lesson for me, I think.