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A Skinny Fairtrade Latte in the Food Court of Life - Page 9

  • 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1...

    5 bags of books - from folk tales to theology, and several point in between

    4 crates of bric a brac - from lamp shades to coat hooks via vases and board games

    3 charity shops - supporting humans and animals, at home and overseas

    2 women working hard - massive thanks to J who drove and hefted the heavy bags

    1 manse floor that is now almost clear!

     

    Phase whatever number it is of the grand clear out, prompted by the upcoming visit of a house guest, and the need to get the place straight enough before new white goods get ordered... and it's surprisingly cathartic to let this stuff go.

    I've actually, perversely, got to the stage now that I am looking forward to having got rid of much the stuff that just sits there unused, untouched and unappreciated, as well as stuff I've kept 'just in case' I might one day use it again (and haven't in the last eight years!).

    I think the kitties are happier too, now that 'their' living room is not packed full of boxes and bags!

  • No lectern, no limits...

    I've always been one of those preachers who has stood behind the lectern, it gives me somewhere to put my script, and somewhere to 'hide' on the days when I am especially nearvous or apprehensive about what I am about to share.

    A couple of months ago, the lectern at the hotel disappeared, and we discovered had been thrown out.  For a few weeks I used a music stand from home, which somehow or other disappeared without trace.  And then I just decided to hold my papers in my hand.

    And it's been fine.  I haven't suddenly morphed into one of those preachers who paces the platform (not least as there is no platform) but I have managed just fine holding my notes in my hand (I've only dropped them once!  Because I'm a bean counter, the pages are numbered, so no significant harm done).

    Combined with the different style of the summer services, it's also given me 'permission' to be a bit more experimental, making greater use of visual, video or musical inputs, as well as leaving space and quiet for private reflection and response.  Not things I've never done before, but perhaps greater confidence in employing them more often.

    I am actually quite happy to place my notes on the end of the (communion) table and pick them up as and when needed - and my lovely congregation are accommodating the more 'creative' stuff with their usual grace and generosity.

  • Suspended coffee...

    Today I had to go into town, so I took the opportunity to pop into my favourite social enterprise cafe for lunch.

    As I walked in, I overheard a customer who was leaving complaining about the rough sleepers and vulnerably housed people who receive free lunches there: they're here every day, he observed, and they never pay a penny...

    I sat down at the one available table, which happened to be next to where two such men were eating their lunch - a bowl of soup, a hunk of bread and then hot drink in a take away cup as they left.  They were just like any other customers, quietly chatting, enjoying their lunch and a brief shelter from the rain.  They were polite, and they exchanged banter with the staff.  They left to go wherever they were going...

    My steaming bowl of delicious soup arrived, accompanied by a cheese and caramelised onion scone, and I began munching...

    Within a couple of minutes their place was taken by four antipodeans on a walking holiday, whose biggest concerns were whether or not they needed to buy midge nets in September (I mean, it was only bucketing with rain, no self respecting midge would be out in that weather!) and what the wifi code was for the cafe.  They ordered their lunch, which arrived just as I was leaving...

    As always, the wait time to pay is the longest part of coming to this cafe - getting food out is clearly a higher priority than getting paid!  And, as usual, I paid for a suspended hot drink (sometimes I pay for a meal) and went on my way...

    So what?

    I love that one minute I was sitting next to two men who had almost nothing, and the next people with sufficient wealth to take a holiday on the other side of the world.  I love that the staff were as polite and gracious to the grumbler as they were to the men, and no less than they were to myself or the tourists.  I love that this cafe does something vital (essential and life-giving) for whoever walks in off the street.  I love that whoever you are, you get simple food 'done right'.  I love that this is the gospel in deeds.  And so what if someone gets more free food than someone else deems fair; and yes, I'll go on suspending hot drinks when I go in there because what I cannot do, they do do.