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  • Candles and Celtic Knots

    Yesterday I completed my first four-week run of services at Railway Town Baptist Church.  We have been exploring images of God - shepherd, mother (human, hen, eagle, bear) and potter - and I wanted to end with 'community'... or, as it's more usually referred to, 'trinity'.

    I used some Celtic knots and designs as part of our way in...things that have no beginning or end, things that are mysterious and beautiful, things that seem impossible and yet...

    A little bit of Genesis 1, and the God who is simultaneously singular and plural, and a wondering that maybe the ancients thought 'if God made us like God, then God must be, in some way we can't quite fathom, like us, a community...'  Heresy?  Maybe, but the Trinity is about Community, at least in some sense

    We then used some bits of Acts 2 and Acts 4 to think about the earliest records of church communities, characterised by hospitality and generosity in sharing, and wondered what that might say about ministry and mission for us.

    I've enjoyed leading this series, been delighted with the willingness of people to engage in some of my more interactive ideas, and their attentive listening to my sermons/reflections.  Apart from one more preach, for Church Anniversary of 5th November, that's me done preaching until Advent... time to shift my focus to vision/strategy for a few weeks.

  • Nearly but not quite!

    Yesterday, I popped into Aldi - my corner shop! - for some milk and spotted these, which I felt compelled to buy!

    They are unlike any strawberry tarts I ever saw in Scotland, and, although decidedly sweet, far too healthy to be authentic!!  There was no 'sauce' just some strawberry jelly on the top, and they were made with fresh cream not the imitation stuff more typically found in such delicacies.

    Even so, they tasted nice and made me smile... fond memories of the Scottish cake selections that we offered in Glasgow supermarkets!

  • Assistance Cats?

    It's been a busy - in a good way - kind of a week, which meant that it wasn't until today that I sat down to write my sermon... I don't really like delivering a 'first draft' but sometimes that's what happens.  Fortunately, I've had plenty of time to mull over the ideas, and it's subject matter I am reasonably familiar with.

    Sophie was on hand to ensure that all the pages were printed out, in the correct order... and that they are now suitably safe ready to take to church tomorrow morning.

  • Plasticine Prayers...

    Really good participation this morning, with lots of people forming things from plasticine for which they wanted to give thanks.  We used some of the words to add verses to the song 'thank you God for this new day' which people sang with gusto a capella (a glitch with two versions of sheet music in different keys threw the musicians).  Overall, a fun morning that people seemed to enjoy.

  • God as Potty Potter!

    Today our 'Images of God' series takes up the idea of God as a potter, and a particularly potty potter at that.  Drawing on Jeremiah's visit to the potter's house, and the 2 Corinthians concept of treasure in throw away cups, we will reach a point of imagining God having a Repair Shop where broken pieces are put back together with the golden glue of a Kintsugi restoration... the scars becoming part of a new or renewed beauty.  And into these repaired pots, God places the treasure of Good News, of love, of hope, of joy, faith, gentleness and so on.

    I will briefly note that the better analogy for 'vessels of clay' is 'paper take away cups' but today it's the God who forms, reforms, repairs and renews that I want to focus on.

    God puts this treasure into cheap, disposable cups...

    We are chipped, cracked and broken... yet God does not throw us away

    God takes the golden glue of grace and carefully puts us together with love

    Making something beautiful from our brokenness

    Not removing the scars but transforming us to include them

    God is the potty potter who makes, remakes, repairs and renews -

    Because God loves all God has made.


    My sermon is much longer and less poetic.  There will be plasticine for prayers.  There will songs to sing.  And God will also join these bits together with the golden glue of God's unending love.