Monday, 30 April 2012


A productive couple of weeks; I didn't read all of the books I took with me (to be honest that would not have been possible!) but I did take time to reflect, to think, to consider the future - on a personal level and in the way my ministry is developing. 
All of which were goals I had set for myself.
 Taking the time at Dunkeld - Silence and Solitude and reflecting on what Pilgrimage is and can be 
 Taking time to read, to think back over my first year in my country charge, to consider now what we could be doing to glorify God, to excite and encourage those who have fallen away from the church, and to reach out and inspire those who have no connection at all.
 Letting my imagination run, and be inspired by the Spirit to imagine the possibilities: 
 I have ideas now 
 I have things to try 
 outlines to pad out 
 and inspiration to bring about some of the things that have been bubbling away in the back of my mind 
 One of the greatest joys has been worshipping in different places - during the days at Dunkeld of course, and then on each of the Sundays I was away visiting congregations I haven't seen for a year or so - always so good to be fed and nourished - thank you Andrew and Shuna! 
 and so now to return. I must journey from north to south.
 Tomorrow back to the desk, to catching up with two weeks worth of mail and village life 
 I return refreshed, renewed and ready

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Vision

I am now into week two of study I have read a couple of new (to me) books - Brian McLaren which have stirred something - still trying to work out what that something is Today I have revisited a book that first inspired me as an undergrad in 2002; it is an old book(relatively -1992) but still it speaks to me and moves me to my very first inklings of a pastoral ministry Raymond Fung: The Isaiah Vision: the concept that a community comes together through being motivated to work together for the good of all. in his introduction he suggests that the Isaiah Vision will "make sense of Christianity to those who are not interested in Jesus Christ" (p.3)
the Vision is simple: Children do not die Old people live in dignity those who build houses live in them those who plant crops eat the fruits (Is 56:20-23)
Surely this is one of those blatantly obvious, eternal truths? The Isaiah Vision is a fresh today as it was when first written (either 1992 or even 8th century BC?!)

Friday, 20 April 2012

Silence and Solitude

Having just spent three days in the hallowed environs of Dunkeld Cathedral; listening to Ian Bradley wax lyrical about Pilgrimage I am feeling somewhat chilled.
This retreat/conference is an annual affair and to which I was invited by a dear friend. There were short lectures followed by an equal amount of silence and solitude. A chance to wander and wonder on what had been heard and what our own response was. This made for a very relaxing way to learn.
I left feeling relaxed, informed and nourished, such a refreshing change when often one returns from conferences with an information overload and needing a holiday to recover.
Now - to write; to read; to consider
I have a further 10 days of study leave - time to reflect and plan what I might put into a doctorate proposal - and indeed the thesis!!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

with this ring....

we choose a ring
as a sign and symbol
it signifies an endless quality
no beginning and no end
and with that ring
as we promise solemnly
to love and honour
we give our hopes and dreams
a wedding is just a single day - a moment that captures a new beginning
what follows is the main event
the Marriage
a lifetime of living and loving and honouring the promise of that First Day
"A cord of three strands is not quickly broken"
when God blesses a union a strong cord is created:
Husband, Wife and God
with God at the core there is strength

down-side up....

O Lord your world was upside down
We didn’t know where to go
You seemed to abandon us to chaos
And then... creeping like dawn’s early light
Came Hope!!

Then suddenly all was once again right-side up!!
Light shone into the darkest corner
There was no barrier in the way
As the dawn’s mist slowly lifted
So too did our spirits ... and around the corner
Came Hope!!

You O Lord did it!!
You did the impossible
You righted the wrongs
You restored the lost
And into the world
Came Hope!!

Thursday, 12 April 2012


What is up there?
Shall we look?
Shall we climb the rocky path to see?
Seeking answers, seeking clarity in all our questions...
*as they gave up hope and walked away to Emmaus
*as Thomas listened to his friends babbling and chattering
*as the discples listened to the hysteria of the women...
as we consider all these stories, and their absurdity
we seek to see for ourselves, to touch that remote and far off thing
to know, deep inside, for ourselves the truth of the cry
Jesus is Risen!
what does it mean for you?
What does it mean for me...
He lives on in heart and mind and soul
inspiring the faithful
comforting the lost
challenging the reluctant
and showing us the way
Come!! Let's climb the rocky ways together and see where life will take us!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

"He is our God! We have put our trust in him, and he has rescued us. He is the Lord!"
The grave is empty
the stone away
the cloths lie folded
the earth rejoices
the cross now bears a garland of joy!
Christ is Risen Halleluiah!!!

Friday, 6 April 2012

where to turn.....

Good Grief!!
Good Friday
Where do we go now?
This day - the awful, dreadful, terrible day
leaves us empty
there is nothing left
no hope
no joy
no peace
just pain and guilt and fear and longing
and the endless lists of
if only.....

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Maundy Thursday

A Prayer for Maundy Thursday Communion

Tonight we give you thanks and praise
Loving God
We remember tonight Jesus sharing a last supper with his companions
Laying aside his garments
Taking a towel and pouring out water and kneeling at the feet of his friends to wash away the dust of the day; and the stain of all sin

We remember Jesus taking bread and wine, the things of every day and setting the apart from all ordinary use to the most mysterious and wondrous use of all

Tonight we break bread together, fruit of the earth, work of human hands; we pour out wine, and share the fruit of the vine, crushed and flowing out a rich red symbol of all you did for us in Jesus; this we do as he told us to do and as every generation since has done, remembering him and this Holy Night
We praise your name
Your grace permeates our world
Turning despair into hope
Transforming pain into peace
Lifting your faithful people form sorrow into joy
If only we were more appreciative more responsive to your Spirit’s prompting
Tonight we remember the holiness which emptied itself out in bitter betrayal and abandonment at Gethsemane accepting the cup as the disciples slept
With your words ‘not my will but yours Father’
In gratitude and thanks for your selfless love in Jesus we praise your name

Come to us now in the power of the Holy Spirit and as Christ blessed the bread and wine on that first night so bless us now as we gather here in this place:
May we sit at his table
Share in His feast
Offer ourselves in service
And look forward to the fullness of eternity

30 pieces of silver

that was all it took to set the wheels in motion
30 pieces of silver isn't much
not a life changing amount of money
not a fitting cost for a priceless treasure
but once you shake on it
then you're done
the deal is struck
the contract made
no turning back
no turning back
30 pieces of silver
not much for a life
not much for a friend
not much at all

how heavy did it feel in its bag?
how heavy did it weigh on your heart?
was it worth it?
what was it worth - oh yes - a small plot of land....
just enough for a burial ground.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The calm before the storm

Tuesday blew in with a blizzard and a gale all wrapped up in a power cut
there was a little adjustment needed to the day
we cancelled our monthly worship at the sheltered housing - not wanting to encourage folks to brave the elements
but communion in the Care Home still went ahead - they have their own generator
and folks with various types of dementia or Alzheimer's or stroke impairment need their routine
And so we gathered, and they listened to the Easter Story
and we sang Easter hymns
and those who could sang along
holding the hymn sheets upside down, or scrunched up
but singing along anyway to words they have known all their life
When I Survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of Glory died
my richest gain I count but loss
and pour contempt on all my pride
They who have lost so much
they sang out
knowing the words
knowing Jesus
being known by him.
We have such privilege, we who are called to serve
the schedule in Holy Week can be overwhelming
planning, choosing, recruiting, writing, seeking to share the immensity of those words
see from his head, his hands his feet
sorrow and love flow mingled down
did e'er such love and sorrow meet
or thorns compose so rich a crown
and when it's all done
when we've remembered how God was dismembered
we we've re-membered Him
put him back together for another year
we'll sit and sigh
and offer him everything - the tired eyes, and the sore feet and the weary back
and know it's nothing
we give him whatever we can
whatever we have
whoever we are
and know we can never come close to meeting the debt we owe
were the whole realm of nature mine
that were an offering far too small
love so amazing so divine
demands my soul, my life my all
here I am Lord
ready to serve




Monday, 2 April 2012


While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper....
How long does it take for a name to stick?
and how much longer does it take to lose it again?
Simon the Leper
he wasn't a leper any more
in fact he must have been clean for a long time
otherwise no one would have been at his home
especially not him
and yet - this mystery woman at his home is remembered for what she did - but not who she was
and he is remembered for a disease that was gone
did Jesus clean him?
was he one of the ten?
she did a beautiful thing
he used to be a leper
wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Why did you Judas?

Judas, what were you thinking?
Judas, what did you do?
What was your motivation Judas?
Did you want your dream come true?

Judas, what did you think?
That he’d come with his heavenly band?
And then what Judas did you expect?
From the man who took to the stand?

Judas – you wanted to bring it all right
You wanted to see God change it all
Instead all you did was betray him
And sent your friend to his earthly pall

What did you do Judas?
Oh tell me please, tell me now
God needed someone to do it
But why Judas, did you know how

It would pain him, and tear him apart
Before all the trials began
He loved you just as you were Judas
A keen and a righteous man

Why did you do it Judas?
Did you think it would make all things right?
You went to your master and teacher
And then ran off into the night

And when it was over Judas
What did you go and do then?
Did you really know so little
Of the plans God had for men?

Oh where did you go then Judas?
In the darkest night of your soul
If you’d only waited a little
His forgiveness was there for all

Yes, even for you, precious Judas
Who acted within God’s whole scheme
Jesus death was for all who knew him
All those who hope and who dream

Where did you go to Judas
When you did that deadly deed?
Was Jesus waiting there for you?
A bruised but not broken reed.