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A Skinny Fairtrade Latte in the Food Court of Life - Page 3

  • Remembrance...

    I think that most clergy find Remembrance Sunday challenging - and I think that's a good thing.

    This morning I was proud of our congregation, as we met on Zoom to remember those from our church who died in the two World Wars, to hear stories about beautiful art created by prisoners of war, and to pray for peace.

    I think that I have preached eighteen of the last twenty Remembrance Sundays - some of them twice as it happens.  It gets no easier, always searching for something to say, always seeking to hold a creative tension, always risking getting it wrong.

    One little tradition of our church is to place two poppies - one red and one white - together on the cross that sits on the Communion Table.  This morning I fixed two poppies to my Welsh pew-wood cross.  This felt like an important thing to so.

    We remember all people affected by war, all animals affected by war, all creation affected by war... and we dare to dream of peace.  

  • Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego...

    This morning it was my turn for Uni Chapel prayers.  The set text was from Daniel 3, the story of Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego in the fiery furnace.  It's an old school Sunday School favourite, whereby the good, god-fearing boys emerge unscathed and without even a whiff of smoke about them.

    The book of Daniel is apocalyptic literature, full of mystery, symbol and myth.  I think this story is such.

    Because prayers are currently online, I shared pictures from children's Bibles I own - the one here is in the Children's Bible (Illustrated) that I received as a seven year old.  I loved it, full of colour pictures and enabling me, an avid reader, to get an early grasp of the sweep of scripture.

    The picture is nothing like the story as described in the Bible.  Setting aside that these are white boys, it looks almost as if they are warming themselves by a series of fireplaces.  Other story books I have have even more cutesy images, such as this one:

    shadrach et al 3.jpg

    So, what was I to say to a group of highly educated adults?  Simply that a story doesn't have to be literally true to carry truth. That perhaps sometimes life can feel a bit like we have been tied up and hurled into a terrible situation.  And that, even if we can't discern it - because we don't come out of anything unscathed - then the 'Son of Man' or the Christ, or God, or an angel of hope is there with us.

    That still has the potential to sound a bit glib, a bit too easy, but sometimes holding onto hope is all there is.

    One more cutesy image then I'm done!

    shradrach et al 2.jpg

  • Sunrise over Glasgow

    I am no photographer, and this snap, from my kitchen window, taken on a phone camera zoomed in is definitely not the finest quality.  This, to me, doesn't matter.  It was the extraordinary beauty that greeted me as I returned home from my daily 'yomp' (charity fundraiser completed, but the exercise will carry on, as it is so good for my well-being).

    The hours of daylight reduce rapidly at this time of year, and unless we are quite intentional about getting outside and enjoying even a few minutes of natural light, it can all become very dark, dingy and gloomy. And this can take its toll on our energy levels and our overall wellbeing.

    Whatever your day brings, may you find a moment that takes away your breath, just as the sunrise did mine.

  • Challenge Accomplished

    This morning I was up and out for 06:30 determined to get one final, long walk in for October. I almost beat the rain, though the last couple of miles were very wet.

    According to the wonders of FitBit, with a bit of help from Microsoft Excel, during October (and with the rest of today still to elapse) I have walked 626, 410 steps... that's a little over one for everyone who resides in Glasgow!  That equates to approximately 284 miles - or the equivalent of walking all the way to Derby going south, or Thurso going north!!

    It has been a genuine challenge, not so much the distance, but the getting up early almost every day and fitting in a couple of hours walking around other commitments.

    It has been fun though, I have loved listening to the birds, watching squirrels, once seeing a fox, and of course the sunrises (and occasional sunset) have been incredible.  I have been blown away by people's generosity, raising over a thousand pounds for the charity, at a time when many people are struggling.  I feel fitter than I have done for a long time, and I'm sure the endorphins are a good thing.  I am sleeping more hours a night than I have for years (still not the recommended level, but more!).  And of course the bonus of eating cakes with impunity - I've eaten a LOT of cake!

    And God in this?  Oh yes.  In the stillness before the world gets up, it's just 'me and God' and I love it. In the beauty of nature.  In the generosity of others.  In the smiles of strangers.  In the fleeting and in the continuing.

    It's been a blast.  And I am so pleased to have been able to do it.

  • Virtually Complete - and a Virtual Medal

    With three days of October left, I have, apparently, walked 583, 073 steps, which is evidently 256.84 miles (that feels at least two decimal places too precise).

    It's been a good challenge, and I have really enjoyed getting up and getting out to see what each new day brings.  Will I keep on stepping?  Yes, but probably not at quite the same level (although at this level I can justifiy eating cakes!).  I find that the early walks have a number of benefits for me...

    • I return energised for the day ahead
    • I have time and space to reflect and pray
    • I am better able to separate 'work' from 'home' (indeed, on the days I get a second walk after work, it's a great wind down)

    I am probably a tad odd, but early dark feels different from late dark, so I think it'll be mostly early walks going forward!