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  • At Home in Lent - Day 33

    It's Passion Sunday, and our guide takes a more overtly spiritual theme with today's object - a Bible.

    Like the Vicar of Dibley, I have a Bible shelf.  Well, actually I have more than one!

    There is the bookcase containing 50 pew Bibles that I am keeping until we return to our shiny new church.

    There is the shelf in my office containing more than 20 versions of Bible and/or one of the Testaments.

    There is also half a shelf of Bible story books and a collection of ladybird books of Bible stories.

    There are Bibles on my desk, by my bed, on my computers and even on my smart phone!

    They are part of the 'wallpaper', part of my everyday life, something I give little thought to, unless I want to check something or prepare for a specific service.

    The author notes the importance and influence of the Bible, and also that it needs to be read to come alive or have meaning. Using the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch, he notes also that we can (do) need assistance making sense of what we read - it isn't really a solo enterprise.

    Over the next couple of weeks I will drawing on story books and Bibles to help generate services that are meaningful and helpful, not just for myself, but in community with others.


    God whose WORD became flesh, and whose story is told in the Word recorded by faithful men (and women?), help those of us entrusted to preach and to teach to use our words wisely to your glory of your name. Amen.

  • At Home in Lent - Days 31 and 32

    Friday (Day31)  - computer, or more specifically hard drive.

    Saturday (Day 32) - pen

    It's been a busy couple of days, even by my busy standards, and a lot of it has involved pens or computers or both.  I really don't have any intellectual or physical energy spare to write/type something worth reading, so instead I'm simply going to copy the beautifully poetic passage from Job 19:23 - 27 which is used by the author for today:

    ‘O that my words were written down!
        O that they were inscribed in a book!
    O that with an iron pen and with lead
        they were engraved on a rock for ever!
    For I know that my Redeemer lives,
        and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;
    and after my skin has been thus destroyed,
        then in my flesh I shall see God,
    whom I shall see on my side,
        and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
    My heart faints within me!'


    Whether or not our thoughts are preserved, we still have the wonderful promises of the God who never leaves us.

    Loving God, help us always to hold fast to the wonderful promise that our redeemer lives and will never fail us, even to the end of time. Amen.



  • A Glasgow Calvary

    The blurb on the back of the booklet says: "A Glasgow Calvary is a contemporary depiction of the Stations of the Cross set against 15 Glasgow street cross-roads and the buildings around them. Each station is accompanied by a meditation by the artist."

    The artist is John Cairney, and the image I've photographed from the booklet is station 8, set at Broomhill Cross, just outside my window.

    I am privileged to have been invited to participate in a service, based on these paintings, taking place in the Memorial Chapel of Glasgow University on Tuesday 16th April at 7p.m.  If you  are nearby, and can cope with standing for a long time, do come along.

  • At Home in Lent - Day 30

    The television - once the box in the corner around which families gathered, now a flat screen operated by remote control and slowly (or not so slowly maybe) being replaced by computers, tablets and smart phones.

    A thing that enables us to see things happening in far away places, that can entertain us, and can educate us.  A thing that has the potential, if we let it, to lure us into forms of idolatry and greed.  And a thing that, if we get too close (or with flat screens at the wrong angle) distorts into pixels or blurry messes.

    Sometimes what we need is the longer view; sometimes what we need is to turn off the devices and go out into the real world; sometimes what we need is to reflect on the influence we allow this device to have in our daily lives.

    Recently, for the first time, I watched the BBC Parliament channel - it was enlightening if not edifying. Usually, during my meal breaks I'll watch 'Bargain Hunt' or 'Pointless' - entertaining if not educational. Most days I'll watch at least one national and 'regions and nations' news broadcast.  And today, if I remember to turn on my TV there's a new series of 'Scot Squad' just waiting to have me in tucks of laughter.

    God of the scientist, thank you for the people who discovered the 'magic' of broadcasting, and for those who saw its potential for education, entertainment and peace-making.  As I idly switch on my TV, for whatever reason, help me to recognise its value - and its harmful potential - in informing and shaping my everyday life. Amen.

  • Unexpected Blessings

    Yesterday was a surprisingly happy day - not that others aren't, it was just surprising in its quality of happiness, all down to unexpected blessings.

    I had to travel to Preston for a meeting with the minister for whom I am a mentor.  For various reasons, I hadn't booked the tickets until Monday, when I was utterly whacked, and chose to pay the extra myself in order to go first class - that way I'd get lunch/tea and have a table so I could do some work.  I got on my train, settled in and, horror - someone else had the same seat reserved.  On closer inspection, I'd messed up, and booked a ticket for Monday not Tuesday... gathering my bits I decamped to a very busy second class carriage and waited for the train manager to arrive so that I could buy a new ticket.

    When he arrived, I explained I was the numpty who bought a ticket for the wrong day, and I could I please buy a single to Preston.  He asked to see my ticket, looked me in the eye, and said, 'it's alright,' before sending me back to first class.

    'Lunch' turned out to be fruit salad and biscuit, as it was still morning in Virgin Trains speak, but the tea was hot and plentiful, and I did get some work done.

    I bought a new ticket for the return journey - it would have been wrong, so wrong, knowingly to get on a train with a 'yesterday' ticket.

    It's not often these things happen, but so joyful when they do!