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  • A Poem - and a few thoughts

    Many, many moons ago, when I was at vicar school, we were required to read 'Things Fall Apart' by Chinua Achebe, a striking novel that draws it's title from the W B yeats poem "The Second Coming". As I've listened to the news over the past few days, and seen things falling apart in a country I love, seen anger and vitriol, intolerance and bitterness, I've found the opening lines of the poem flooding into my mind...


        Turning and turning in the widening gyre
        The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
        Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
        Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
        The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
        The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
        The best lack all conviction, while the worst
        Are full of passionate intensity.

        Surely some revelation is at hand;
        Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
        The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
        When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
        Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
        A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
        A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
        Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
        Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

        The darkness drops again but now I know
        That twenty centuries of stony sleep
        Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
        And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
        Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


    I cannot claim to understand the poem, but its first stanza rings horribly true just now.

    Kyrie eleison - LORD have mercy

    Today I am moved, very strongly, to pray for justice, peace and truth:

    For a young woman whose citizenship has been stripped from her (wrongly in my view) because having made a poor choice she now seeks to return home (think Prodigal son story...)

    For a young man whose trial for the rape and murder of a young girl reveals a complex web of disorder and dis-ease at the heart of those affected (justice is not revenge, sentence should be rehabilitation, if at all possible)

    For the family of a six year-old girl who went to bed happy, and whose life was ruthlessly cut short.

    For the countless unknown ones whose lives are irrevocably changed by the foolish, selfish and sometimes even malevolent decisions and actions of those who wield power, elected or imposed.

    Things fall apart - the centre cannot hold, and yet, in the brokeness of it all is the inexteingushable flicker of light that is Love, that is is Life, that is Hope. Amen.

  • A Still Space

    The Prayer Room in Glasgow Airport.

    When I arrived very early last Thursday morning nothing was open except the Prayer Room.

    It's a very quiet, still space in a very noisy, busy place. The sound proofing is incredible, by use of effectively an airlock, no noise from the busy areas gets into the Prayer Room itself.

    It's also an inclusive space. No-one may remove or cover the religious artefacts that have been placed there... there are prayer rugs, icons, candles, Bibles, leaflets, and many more.

    The stained glass is lovely, incorporating the symbols of the largest world faiths, and some gentle, soothing colours.

    I spent a very relaxed half hour in there, praying, reflecting and simply being... when I emerged the departure gates were just opening and I set off on my way to Florence.

    Chaplaincy spaces are so important, and so valued by people of all faiths. I'm grateful to God for this space and the time it gave me in the wee small hours.

  • Home again!

    Florence was lovely, as was Pisa, and we packed plenty into our short break. 

    I arrived in Florence feeling dreadful, with a heavy cold, blocked ears, sore throat and streaming nose... so it was straight to bed for a few hours sleep before taking an evening stroll.  Now I am home, my ears are still blocked, my throat is better and my cough has progressed to the 'productive' stage (tmi probably).

    As is so often the case, a few major sites is lovely, but it's the unepxected bits that take my breath away... like the cloistered convent we stumbled across in a side street, or the (now) Orthodox church with air so heavy with incense it permeated my lack of smell!

    Likewise with cafes, it was Il Vegetranio, frequented by locals, and serving honest peasant food, where we enjoyed the best meal of the holiday.

    I was amused (and impressed) to be able to give directions to a French tourist in Pisa, using my limited French, and being understood.

    Now it's auld clase 'n' parrtich...

    Annual trip to breast clinic this morning, and all seems good (depends on outcome of mammogram) so I'm now 8 years a NED unless they tell me otherwise.

    Lots of Admin and some service prep - and kitties reclaiming me!

    In all this ordinariness, God is there and God is good.

  • Still here!

    Apologies, loyal readers, for lack of posting. Life is very busy, and I hardly have time to turn around.  Tomorrow morning I get up before God does to catch a plane to take me away to Florence for a few day's break.

    Suffice to say, today I have a sore throat, a temperature and the start of a cold - deep joy!

    When I am back there will new tales to tell, but for now, there is a meeting to prepare for, and a few loose ends to tie up, so I'm signing out!

  • Double or Nothing...

    This arrived today.

    In theory, I should not be in this system because I am still under the care of the breast team at my local hospital, but surely better to picked up twice than not at all...

    This appointment is for the day after my routine check-up at the breast clinic, so I don't actually need it but... if you 'decline' too often you are denied screening, and in two years time I need to be back in that system... Tricky one! Will have a mull before I decide what to do!!

    All that aside, screening is important... so I'm actually happy to be double counted rather than overlooked.

    If you are female, have breasts and aged 47-73 or 50-70, depending where you live, then Do. The. Screening!!