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A Skinny Fairtrade Latte in the Food Court of Life - Page 6

  • A Celtic Advent - Day 29

    Where would you like to be buried?  Or for your ashes to be scattered? Does it matter to you? This, it seems (in terms of burial since cremation hadn't been invented in these islands) was an important question for the celtic Christians, who would seek out a 'thin' place where their body might rest until the day of general resurrection at the end of time.  If their souls were to wake from sleep, and their bodies rise again, then being somewhere where the veil between earth and heaven was especially thin seemed a good idea.

    So, I'll tell you my answer to the question, shall I? Because I believe the land is for those living, and because I am yet to be convinced that woodland burial grounds actual 'work' (the few I've seen are as littered with memorial itrems as any cemetery), then cremation is the way for me.  If a demonstrably greener method has been identified by then, then that would be my preference.  But however my 'mortal remains' are disposed of, I want no memorial, and, if cremated, simply for my ashes to be set free on the wind, wherever is convenient.  I need no 'thin' place per se, because, for me, the  gap between heaven and earth is always thin, and, whatever heaven might be, and whenever I might arrive there, all will be well.

    The book says that we don't like talking about death or disposal, let alone resurrection, and notes that this isn't very healthy or helpful.  It troubles me to see a rise in coffin-free funerals, religious or  non-religious, with bodies being sent alone to the crematorium, out of sight, and, maybe, out of mind, while surivors celebrate a life now ended.  Perhaps what we need, all of us, is to take our courage in both hands and speak to those we love about we want, what they want, and so to discover it isn't after all so scary.  One thing I am grateful for with both my parents is that their wishes were known and understood, and that gave great assurance when the time came.

    The prayer for today...

    Holy God of all eternity, death has no sting for those who folow you, who believe your words about resurrection and being with you. May I see 'death' as it simply is - a transference of exisitence from this mortal frame into a greater sense and dimension.  May I find my place of resurrection. Amen.

  • A Celtic Advent - Day 28

    Way back, in 2009, when I was working out my notice at Dibley, and actively seeking to discern where God might lead me to serve, I would sometimes look out of my office window and say to God, half joking, half serious,'can't you just write it on a cloud?'  I would joke to friends about looking at fluffy cumulus clouds, trying to work out if they looked like Wales or Scotland - or a shoe (Northampton), or a sheep/ram (Derby) or, well, you get the drift.

    Today's reading invites us to think about the fact that the early Celtic saints did expect God to speak to them through the natural world.  Not by cosmic sign-writing but through 'portents', signs and wonders.  What we would simply dismiss as a bad storm might be understood by them as a sign of God's displeasure, or as a warning from God of impending trouble.  God using the natural world to speak to us.

    A post-Enlightenment, scientific worldview makes it very difficult to entertain the possiblity that God would really somehow speak to me through strange weather patterns, let alone inscribe meaningful words on the side a cloud.  But maybe God does allow nature to speak to us of the consequences of our (collective) choices - plastic choked oceans, rising sea levels, species extinction... each of them warnings that all is not well.

    Sometimes, though, even though I don't expect it to happen, I do half wish God could just make the 'answer' crystal clear rather than expecting me to use my brain, intuition and judgement.

    Today's prayer:

    Creator God, who interacts with your creation, may I see your hand and presence within the natural world around me.  May I also be open to you using the natural world to speak to me, and to send warnings and words to me so that I can know your guidance. Amen.

  • Preston Station Buffet

    On Remembrance Sunday, I spoke about the station buffet at Preston station - and today, as I sat there between trains, I snapped a couple of photos.  Above one of the brass plaques, and below one of the newer illustrations...

    preston buffet.jpg