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  • Forty Days of Photos - Day 35

    I'm not sure if I am technically permitted to share this, as it's only just beginning to be sent out to contributors (mine seems to have got stuck at the border, this is a photo of someone else's), but I am excited by this...

    A century ago the first women were ordained and accredited by BUGB, and a whole edition of the 'Together' magazine is being given over to celebrate that.  Hopefully it will land on my doormat in the next day or two, and hopefully it will be widely read (online or in paper form) byu lots of people.

    If Advent is about waiting, about saying 'yes' to God even when the world says 'no to you, about hopeful imagination, then this is surely an Advent image worth sharing.

    (And yes, as hinted above, I am one of the privileged contributors to this beautiful violet-covered volume)


    EDIT: Now available online here

  • A Celtic Advent - Day 35

    When we were teenagers, I recall my sister saying one year, 'if Christmas didn't exist we'd have to invent it.'  This astute observation arose when were discussing winter festivals that predated Christmas and/or came from other faiths and cultures.  In the cold and dark of a British winter, we need something to cheer us up.

    Today's reflection follows a similar path, beginning with Samhain and moving on Geola, Jul and Yule.  The writer notes that some suggest that 'jolly' derives from these words; neither I nor the online etymology dictionaries are convinced!  Whatever the etymology, the idea of jolly, happy celebrations in the midst of winter cold and dark is good - and given the nature of the ancient Jewish festivals, something God would probably give a stamp of approval!

    The prayer:

    God of joy and celebration, thank you that, even in the midst of drarkness, we can celebrate light. We know that you brought festivals into the lives of your peopel, and you still want us to enjoy ourselves.  May I know a sense of divine joy as I celebrate this season. Amen.

  • A Happy (Birth)Day

    December birthdays can be utterly subsumed by all things Christmas, so it's extra lovely when they are not, and today was one such.

    After treating myself to a midweek croissant for breakfast, it was off to our Coffee Club where someone had supplied a birthday cake, before a delicious lunch with another friend.  There were lovely cards and messages as well as surprise gifts.

    Thank you everyone who has contributed to a very happy (birth)day.

  • Forty Days of Photos - Day 34

    This is just brilliant - thank you B&K - great punning and really made me chuckle.

    If I recall correctly, to a first approximation, the left hand side of the body is controlled by the right hand side of the brain, so us lefties are dominantly right-brained, or some such, at least so far as motor skills are concerned.

    Whether 'brain' and 'mind' are interchangeable is not important here, there is a gentle humour that only left-handed people are in their 'right minds' - are sane and normal - which is the absolute opposite of the historical association with 'sinister' as evil or worse.

    Advent and Christmas are times when puns and double-meanings (we'll ignore double entendres!) abound.  Sometimes we discover new levels of meaning or significance, new insights, maybe even new fun and laughter, as the Word-made-flesh breaks into our familair world with new (or renewed) meaning.

  • Not Impossible (Hmmm...)

    One of the Bible readings I was directed to this morning was the annunciation to Mary as recorded by Luke.  The study guide rightly noted that if we ask ourselves the 'how' question we get nowhere, what we need to ask is the 'why' question... How Mary became pregnant fades into insignificance compared with why... if God could utter a word and creation began (or a big bang occured or whatever it was) then a woman conceiving a child asexually is probably not such a big deal. We need the language of 'mystery' to make any sense whatsoever of this account, and a God who would operate in such a ridiculous fashion.

    However, what struck me this morning, wasn't Mary's story per se, but the words of the angel, and the double negative (at least in Greek) that "will not be impossible with God [every word]".  Annoyingly the comentaries I have all ignore the 'every word' a quick check suggests only the NIV retains it in translation - 'no word from God will ever fail' (not a very close translation imo). 

    "Not impossible" - a phrase that we use when we mean "I can't rule it out, but it's really unlikely..."

    This morning I heard it - and maybe God spoke it to me - differently, as "that which seems impossible is indeed possible... every word of it."

    I heard it very much as a word of encouragement, speaking into some complicated matters I have been pondering, almost as the angel spoke to Mary ... "stop asking how this will work out, it is not impossible with God."

    Lord, you sometimes speak in things that make me go 'hmmm...'