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Wednesday, 30 March 2016


Our B&B guest explained his job. ‘I put telemetry in reservoirs so their volume can be remotely monitored. Most reservoirs are away from mains electricity, so the telemetric units are powered by solar panels.’

He went on to explain that the only problems he ever gets is when the operators, excited by the free electricity provided by the solar panels, decide to connect something else – like an electric fence – to them. The power supply is insufficient to meet the extra load.

There’s a spiritual message in here somewhere I’m sure! Power coming from the Son...measuring the reservoir of life-giving water within us... Sometimes we overload and that’s when our spiritual reservoir of peace and joy runs dry, and we may not recognise what the problem is. Time to go back and bask in the Son a bit longer.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Walking each other home again

A phrase which has resonated with me now for the last several months continues to yield rich blessings. As I ironed this afternoon, I thought of the meaning of home. I have understood the phrase to equate home with heaven, and today I mulled over Jesus’ template prayer for God’s kingdom to come to earth. His kingdom is our home. I believe we get a taste of heaven now, every day, encountering the kingdom in each other and different situations and hopefully bringing it into situations we encounter.

Walking each other home, then, happens all the time, when we enable others to enter in, even for just a moment. When we carry the peace of Christ into a frayed situation. When we live out our relationship with Jesus in the minutiae of our days. 

Home happens in relationships. Home is not necessarily a place. ‘Home is where I hang my hat’ is an old phrase I remember from somewhere. I have often said that I would make my home wherever Don is. So our real home is more than a place, it is in Jesus. 

I first encountered the possibility of a relationship with Jesus in the fervent singing of choruses expressing love to Jesus, sung by believers who inhabited their Lord. I still often find my home in Jesus in the congregated worship of Jesus with other believers.

Walking each other into Jesus. What better description can there be of life?

When the heat is on ...

When the heat is on, what we have doused ourselves in gives off a fragrance ... or a stink.

I’ve just finished the ironing, and as I pressed the linen jacket I often wear when I fly overseas, the sweet smell of Chanel No 5 wafted up and greeted me. I always indulge at the duty free perfume counter, spraying myself with the samples. 

And it occurred to me that the more I wallow in Jesus, the more likely it is for his sweet fragrance to emerge when the pressure is on in life.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Resurrection River

Deep and wide and flowing fast. That was the River Dee this morning at 9 am (summer time – if you didn’t move your clock you will have missed it...), as we gathered along its banks to praise Jesus on a glorious Easter morn. We meet, weirdly, just below the graveyard ... surely a resurrection service should be just above it? 

The river was in spate this morning after a night of stormy wind and rain. Sometimes life seems to be in spate, as its storms lash us. What an inspiration to look at the beautiful changing sky, well-defined clouds scudding past at speed, and praise the Lord of Creation who never changes, who is always good, who is always love, and who is the Victor over death, forever.

He is risen. He is risen indeed!!!

Friday, 25 March 2016

Walking home

Silent walk behind the cross through the town of Banchory this morning. Jet-lagged but there, because it is a highlight of the Easter observances. Some of the pavements are broad and clear; part of the walk is through a park; much of it is on narrow pavements and many times, twines of ivy or overhanging branches brush the faces of those whose meditations have taken their eyes off the pathway. A lot like life, I thought.

Walking each other home. How that phrase has enriched my life these past months and this morning, as I thought of Jesus’ own final walk through the steep streets of Jerusalem, I reflected that he, too, needed help walking home. Exhausted and savagely beaten, he crumpled beneath the weight of the cross and someone was pulled in to carry it for him. Someone may have mopped his brow. Someone cared for his body after his death. 

Jesus’ life was not a walk in the park. He asked his friends, the night before he died, to stay with him and pray and watch. They fell asleep on the job. We are all walking each other home, but at the moment, with my dear mother nearly 92, I feel most conscious of walking her home. It is a challenge in many ways, throwing me out of my comfort zone, requiring long-distance skype calls and a lot of prayer, and her forgetfulness can become tedious and demanding. But I am so conscious that this is a privilege, a blessing, that I am entrusted with staying awake with Mom, with doing what I can to make the final walk, however long or short, easier for her. May I remain awake and vigilant, inspired and empowered by Jesus.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Last Leg

Heathrow is heaving. Today is Maundy Thursday, and everyone seems to be going somewhere else. I just want to get home.

Beside me a family has an animated discussion in some other language. Across from me a mother and daughter bicker: daughter wants to shop, mum wants her to hang out together. Now they sit in sulky silence, daughter scrolling through her phone, mother munching something in silence.

The noises are overwhelming and powerful. Trolleys beep their way through the crowded concourse. Television news drones from a large screen; voices constantly overlap with boarding announcements, warnings, and passenger calls.

Jesus entered the temple in Jerusalem and offended the Pharisees by overturning tables of money and sacrificial animals. In today's secular society, one might suggest that a place like Heathrow is its sacred temple. I see from a revolving billboard that it has been voted best airport in the world for shopping, for the seventh year running.

What would Jesus say or do here? Most people here are probably unaware of the significance of the day. Or if they remember, they maybe think of the story of Jesus as an archaic legend.

The challenge for those of us who know Jesus is alive and walks with us, is to figure out a way to introduce him to this distracted generation, in a relevant way.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Home from home

Traffic roars past outside the window and I make final preps for leaving today. A myriad of thoughts and feelings crowd in. Relief to have completed so many jobs here. Sorrow at saying goodbye again to loved ones. Excitement to be going back to other loved ones.

Walking each other home can be hard. I am so glad there are no airports in heaven. Just one big, safe arrivals lounge.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

94 not out

I'm dying, the old lady announced to the two of us at the dinner table. She had arrived late and was sitting looking disoriented. Do you know how old I am? She asked it as a question and not the prelude to an admission, but we had only met once before and barely knew her name, certainly not her age.

Our quiet conversation paused as we considered answers. 94, she told us. 94. Well, she is statistically probably closer to death than I am, but not much ahead of mom and she was looking well, though confused.

A resident down the hall did pass away a couple days ago. Maybe that was preying on her mind. This little microcosm of life in a residential home is a weird sort of snapshot of life outside. All sorts of people walking each other home.

We said a few things. Consolations for her confusion. Encouraged her with smiles and pats. After dinner she thanked us, but we had done nothing and said little. Praying that God's peace embraced her in those moments of disorientation and that today will dawn brighter for her.

She was the one I wanted to avoid, because she had been so grumpy. Forgive me, Lord, when I let my feelings judge one of your children.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Groundhog Day

It used to be a day associated with the rather peculiar belief that a groundhog's behaviour on February 2 predicted the number of wintry weeks remaining until spring. But since the movie of that title was released a few years ago, it has become synonymous with a day that endlessly repeats itself in a tedious and recognisable cycle until something is altered so that the apparent progression of days resumes.

Every morning, I am introduced to people I may have met several times before. Since nobody else remembers, it doesn't matter. We eat with others who are all on their own repeat cycle of information. Sometimes it replays every thirty seconds. Sometimes one wonders if anyone else is aware of the repetitive nature of the conversations. Or if it really matters anyway.

God's faithfulness is new every morning. Even though he sits down to our endless cycles of anxious prayers, his embrace draws us in and he listens. Lord, may I live out the love you show me this morning as I head for breakfast and its cyclical conversations.