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  • The Autumn Leaves are Turning...

    Not a good photo, taken through glass, from too far away, with too simple a camera, and a deal of 'shake'... but you can see the first red-gold leaves on the trees I see from my window each morning.

    A little earlier than usual this year, and before the subtle change in the quality of the light that heralds autumn, but nonetheless it thrills my heart to see them.  Another autumn will soon begin, and I will be here to see it... and that is good news.

  • Worth Repeating?

    Oh dear.  Spectacular memory fail! I just sat down to begin work on a new sermon series and then, oops, realised that just four years ago I had done one on the same book, though arguably with some slightly different angles from those I'm thinking about this time.  It's just a bit embarassing to have zero recollection of it!

    Ah well, this week's is a fairly general overview, so hopefully it will be different enough from last time that those who do recall what I said won't feel too cheated!

    As for the rest of the series - well, we'll just have to wait and see!

  • The Vine...

    Here is our prayer/dedication grapevine from yesterday's service.  It was much admired by folk who came to our joint evening service.

    I think it symbolises a lot more than 'just' our prayers.

    It symbolises our sense of community, that in our diversity we hold together as a (broadly) reconciled unity.

    It symbolises something of the story of our life together, as we have experimented with different approaches to 'all age worship' in order to find a model that works for us, for now.

    It symbolises something of the temporality of all things - this poster-prayer will be on the wall for a few weeks, maybe a few months, and then will be discarded.

    It acts, in some small measure, as a missional tool, as anyone entering our premises will see it, and have the opportunity to read the words, to see the squiggles and symbols, and discover something of how our faith and life intertwine

    I think for me, as we near the seventh anniversary of my arrival in Glasgow, it symbolises much of what I want to celebrate about this church and my part within it.


    Jesus said, "I AM the vine... abide in me... "

    Make your home in me...

    Rest in me...

    Stick at it with me...


    Jesus said, "you are the branches..."

    When you are strong and when you are weak

    When life is easy and when it is tough

    When you  rejoice and when you weep

    When it is a season of fruit-bearing

    And when it is time for the pain of pruning


    Jesus, true and living vine

    Source of vitality and energy

    Refresh, renew and reinvigorate us all

    That, in whatever season we find ourselves

    We may bear fruit worthy of you




    Photo (c) Brian Muir

  • I AM... seven sayings in seven weeks.

    It's been fun.

    I've played around with Greek words.

    I've looked at Hellenistic and Hebrew understandings.

    I've explored exlcusivist, inclusivist and pluralist readings of John's gospel.

    I've made bread and decorated wine glasses.

    I've prepared quizzes and colouring pages.

    I've sung with the choir a couple of times.

    I've been blessed by the thoughtfulness and creativity of others.

    I've been very blessed by the two "fairies" who each week have helped set everything up for worship...


    Today was I AM the true vine ... which I tried to explore via a recap of the other six images; with a little bit of creativity we got there...

    bread - nuturition - grapes

    light - succoth - celebration - joy - wine

    gate - threshold/crossing place - many sheepfolds, many branches

    shepherd - vine-dresser

    resurrection - little deaths & little resurrections - I get knocked down, but I get up again - pruning

    way - Christian perspectives on salvation, exlcusive, inclusive and pluralist readings - many mansions - one stem, many branches

    vine - the root stock of Christ, in whom we remain, abide, rest, stay, grow, flourish, delight, weep...


    It's been a good summer - for me at least - and I've had some encouraging feedback as to what people had found helpful or thought-provoking.

    Auld claes 'n' parritch next week - or at least back to our non-summer pattern.  A short series on the book of James will be very different, but hopefully helpful and encouraging and challenging.



  • Coffee, Cake and Duffle Coats

    This morning I attended the funeral of someone I only got to know after she had been diagnosed with cancer.  That is definitely my loss, as the tributes this morning bore testimony - physically beautiful, seriously intelligent, utterly pastoral: these things I had glimsped only briefly.

    We first met in November 2014, and what struck me was that we were both wearing duffle coats; mine red, hers green.  I told her the story of my red duffle coat, that in the early weeks following my diagnosis, utterly terrified and needing to seize some control, I had bought it, a defiant act because red coats are not "sensible" or "practical" but instead '"frivolous" and "fun".  She understood and, if memory serves, her green duffle coat held similar, if not quite the same, significance.

    It was always coffee AND cake when we met.  No matter what else was going on, this little celebration of life was pretty much a ritual.  And she would always insist on paying, assuring me that the C of S paid better than Baptist churches... I learned not to argue, but instead to enjoy good conversation and good company.

    Of course I can't tell you what we talked about - that goes with me to my grave - but there was deep sharing, brutal honesty, the sacredness of a safe space in the midst of all life threw at each of us.

    It was a wonderful service this morning, a packed church, a heartfelt tribute, words and prayers of hope - all you would wish a funeral to be.

    So, I am sat at my laptop and have just drunk tea and eaten cake, a lot of it, in honour of M.  May she rest in peace and rise in glory.  I am honoured to have called her "friend".