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  • Pray for...

    Every few days it seems there is a new hashtag or temporary, social media, profile picture 'cast' along the lines of 'pray for the-latest-place-to-have-a-tragedy'.

    And I totally understand why people use them, because rendered helpless but whatever it may be, this is something that anyone can do. 

    But pray what, exactly?

    It troubles me not just because I am not sure what to pray - let there be peace/healing/reconciliation/justice etc - but because I am not sure it isn't just a sop to our own consciences.  We utter a quick prayer and go back to our own world.

    What is needed is not so much to 'type the prayer' but to 'be the prayer' - and that's much harder.  Because it inevitably means being selective, taking a standpoint, doing something other than wringing our hands or sighing holy sighs; it means accepting we cannot do everything whilst recognising that we must do something.

    What might I do, small and local, that lives out that prayer?  Pray for [insert name] by all means, but, if I may plagiarise the book of James, prayer, like faith, without deeds, is as good as dead.

  • Apple Christening Day

    My Dad always called St Swithin's Day 'Apple Christening Day'.  I never gave it any thought until today when my neighbour observed that it was St Swithin's Day and it had been raining a lot all day.

    A bit of googling and it seems my Dad was not alone in this practice - and that rain on St Swithin's Day was sometimes seen as christening the apples... I guess there may be a corelation between rain in mid July and a good harvest of apples, but I haven't checked.

    It more reminded me of the lore that every family has, with sayings and associations that mean little or nothing to others.  Not so very different from churches or the Church then...

    May the apples be blessed with sweet juiciness... and can we not have another 39 wet days straight!

  • Unexpectedly Intriguing!

    One of the things I enjoy about preparing sermons is their propensity to take me in directions I had not anticipated, or to make links that I had never before made.

    So, I am intrigued that for the second week running I have made links between the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew and the I Am sayings in John.  No doubt loads of poeple have done this before, but it is intriguing me, at least as long as it works (which may not be much longer, but it's been fun!).

    This Sunday will be 'I am the Gate" which is intriguing for all sorts of reasons.  Hope I can communicate something of what it's got me thinking about!