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  • Bake bread for the table of the Lord...

    Sunday morning, and we baked bread within the context of worship.  We reflected on a range of ideas (no coherent sermon having emerged!) including...

    If Jesus is the 'bread of life' - the staple, carbohydrate, what else do we need for healthy flourishing?  Bread and jam, cheese on toast, roll and sausage... Faith and science, faith and the arts, faith and politics, faith and family etc.

    Jesus twice used yeast as a metaphor, once for the kingdom of Good and once as a caution against the attitudes of the Pharisees.  In each one of us both kinds of 'yeast' may be active, so how do we cultivate the good yeast?  And in the post EU referendum context, how are we, indivudually and corporately good yeast?

    And communion the breaking of bread as a metaphor for Christ's broken.  If we apply the metaphor of 'Christ's body' to the church, how are we broken - scattered, consumed - for the health (and maybe salvation) of the world of which we are part?


    We used this video in lieu of a communion liturgy...


    And the bread recipe, just in case anyone wants it...

    250g strong plain flour

    1 tsp/15g dried yeast

    1/2 tsp salt

    1 tbsp oil

    125ml (probably plus a bit more) carbonated water.


    Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.

    Add the oil.

    Add the water a little at a time, mixing as you go.

    Turn out onto a floured board and knead for roughly 6 minutes

    Divide into rolls (makes 6-12 dependent on the size)

    Brush with a little water if you wish, to help with browning

    Back in a hot over 220C for 10-15 minutes


    Serve warm with friends and family!



    Photo (c) Brian Muir; faces of minors obscured.

  • 70 x 7

    The last week has been, if it is possible, even more bewildering than the one before.

    People I have known for years, and who would claim not to have a political bone in their bodies have been signing petitions, sharing gallows humour, fretting and worrying, and so on.

    Among those I know, Christian, agnostic or atheist, there has been nothing aggressive or antagonistic, even when some strong views have been expressed.  But the news reports tell a very different story.

    There is no doubt - if the experts are to be trusted, and in my view, usually they are - that we are in a mess. 

    In trying hard not to blame - even though there has to be acceptance of responsibility and there will be consequences - I also choose to forgive.

    How can I not - at the heart of Christianity is forgiveness, a God of endless second chances, a God who enters the mess we make and works with us to transform it, if only we will cooperate.

    Forgiving doesn't say that what happened doesn't matter.  And it doesn't say that there are no consequences.  It says that despite everything I choose to hope, I choose to work for reconciliation, I choose to seek the good.

    And 70 x 7 - so many times that I lose count?  At one extreme, that risks a fatalistic, doormat, victim mentality that allows itself abused because self-worth has been eroded.  At another, it trivialises the seriousness of the sin, implying that it is acceptable.  Surely the basis for endless forgiving is linked to a commitment to change - to name what is wrong and to work to repair or remake or reimagine an alternative.

    Not enough to say "I forgive you" - though it is a vital place to start.  Forgiveness demands action on both sides if it is be more than mere tokenism.

    Forgiveness is not a moment, it's a process - which maybe why the 70 x 7 is needful... because we are all flawed and failing, and even at our best will continue to stumble and fall, or to trip up others along the way.


    God of endless forgiveness

    Who pardons all who truly repent

    Have mercy on me, a sinner


  • A Hymn for Today...

    This afternoon I am looking at possible hymns for next week (it's the way I work!) and I came across this, which seems to speak into a troubled, disordered and sad world...


    When our hearts are bruised and broken,
    by events along life's way;
    when our way of life unravels,
    through the trauma of one day;
    Lord, you walk amid the darkness,
    share our pain and great distress.

    When the present crumbles round us,
    and our hopes and dreams collapse;
    when the way we saw before us
    switches to some other tracks;
    Lord, you stand and suffer with us,
    Jesus crucified with us.

    When the light we have is darkness,
    and we cannot see the way;
    when we're seeking for new signposts,
    groping in a world of grey;
    Lord your light still shines upon us,
    may your blessing rest on us.

    While we build another future,
    on beyond the pain and tears;
    while we walk towards the sunshine,
    through the days and months and years;
    Lord, the journey lies before us,
    may we know that you're with us.

    John Forster (born 1944) © John Forster