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  • The World is my Parish...

    Yesterday I went down to Manchester for a day conference, which was also being attended by a number of friends.  After it was over G, J and I met B for tea and cake before I caught my (ludicrously crowded) train to start my homeward journey.

    I had a good day, caught up with many good people, listened to interesting talks, ate far too much stodge on the way back home, and was, again, encouraged that we Gatherers are doing OK!

  • RIP Professor Stephen Hawking

    This image, which I think originates in the Guardian newspaper, is spreading far and wide on  social media.  It is beautiful, and poignant and at the same time makes me go 'hmmm!'

    Stephen Hawking was definitely a man of huge intellect and scientific ability whose life has richly benefited the study of cosmology.  He was a man whose words often showed great wisdom and compassion.  He was a man who lived a reasonably long life (and more than 50 years longer than predicted when he was diagnosed with MND).

    There are many ways to read the image.  At its simplest, it is a man now free from the constraints of a failing body and able to walk free.  And that is beautiful. It also, consiously or otherwise, expresses a belief in life beyond death that is in some way 'better' or more 'whole' than that left behind. Stephen Hawking famously said something along the lines of, 'heaven is a fairy story for those who are afraid of the dark', yet here is an image that shows him in heaven, or walking towards it.

    Many years ago (like 30 or more!) I read that the atheist communist Chairman Mao speaking on the death of his wife said something along the lines that 'the angels of heaven all came to meet her'.  I feel there is something similar in this image.

    I believe in a God of grace and mercy, whose love is for all creation, and who believes in us whether or not we beliive in God.

    I believe in the Christ of God, Jesus of Nazareth, whose death destroyed the power of sin and death for all, for all eternity.

    I believe in the Sophia Spirit wisdom of God, uncontainable and uncontrollable, reaching deeply into all creation to alert it to its origin and end.

    I believe in the grace of the triune God, reaching beyond any human construct to touch and heal, redeem and liberate all.

    And it is to that God that I gladly commend Stephen Hawkin (if to do such is in my gift) trusting that God's promises are true and trustworthy.

    Rest in peace, Professor Stephen Hawking, you lived well and enriched the lives of those who follow.  May you be pleasantly surprised by what you discover beyond the black hole.

  • Moving Forward (hopefully)

    This, hopefully, is the final box of "Anti-Dragon" medication... after roughly a year, my GP has agreed that I can wean off, something that will take two-three months.

    It's surprisingly scary to do this - what if the "Menopausal Monster" re-emerges? The answer is, of course, to revert to the meds.

    What withdrawal affects might there be? The weaning off is meant to minimise this, but yes, it could mean the same range of effects at the beginning.  Hmm. But at least it will only be short term.

    I've debated with myself whether or not to post this... is it self-indulgent (quite possibly)... does it help to break down a taboo (I hope so)... 

    Anyhow, if all goes well, the dragon is no more, and I will have learned a lot along the way!

  • Teaser...

    This image used to be located on the mantlepiece in the vestry-office at church.  When we closed the building, it came home with me and now usually sits on top of one of the cupboards in my little office.

    I absolutely love it.  The friend who gave it to me also loved it, but no longer wished to own it.

    It's an image that repays close observation, is layered with meaning and for me is a good starting point for Sunday's theme 'The Mystery of the Cross' which may yet include more images - I'm not sure, the mulling and Holy-Spirit-ing have a way to go yet!

    Meantime, feel free to enjoy this image.

  • God of Surprises

    One knock-on effect of last week's snow, is that the post in Glasgow is still all over the place - I am confident that we've only had two deliveries this week, in each of which I received items that had reached people elsewhere several days ago.  This isn't a criticism, it's just a reality, and one that had unexpectedly pleasant consequences.

    Today my new, purple 'This what a preacher looks like' tee-shirt arrived from the US.  Celebrating 25 years of the Network of Baptist Women in Ministry, the purple teeshirt is an opportunity to support financially that organisation, and to stand in solidarity with sisters across the pond.  It is a sad, and crazy, reality that there are less ordained Baptist women in the entire US than in the UK.

    Also arriving was a mysterious yellow envelope, which I opened to reveal the post card above - a lovely surprise and somehow timely that it arrived with the tee-shirt.  It comes from a friend, and member of one of the informal Baptist women's networks of which I am part.  I'll accept the compliment, R, thank you so much.

    God never ceases to surprise inspite, despite or to spite (as my Dad would say) circumstances.  "This is what a preacher looks like - fabulous woman you. " Thank you, God for words of encouragement to save for a 'rainy day'