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Wednesday, 31 May 2017

The grass really is greener...

Sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side.

I watched the cows parade through the field towards the gate leading into the next field. They were knee-high in scrub and briars, ankle deep in marsh, and the little grass that was there had been nibbled to the roots.

Yes, the field beyond beckoned. Planted in barley (I think), it tempted and tantalised the cows but the fence was just too high. They are still in the scrub tonight, chewing a bitter cud.

One day that gate, or another into an equally green field, will be opened for those cows and they will delight in a richer diet. The farmer hasn’t forgotten them. He’s just got the bigger perspective, and he knows what’s good for that herd.

We can all get stuck in the scrubland for a season, but God doesn’t forget us. He knows what’s right for us and when, and at just the right moment the gate will open and we will delight ourselves in the lush beauty of new pastures.


Giant reptiles left their mark on the earth millennia ago. Unusual conditions hardened their footprints so that we could gape at them in the natural history museum, marvelling at their size, wondering where they were going at that point – chasing a prey or fleeing a predator?

We hear a lot about our carbon footprints these days. Not a good mark to leave behind. A better souvenir is to leave footprints of love on the hearts of our friends, our family, and even the strangers we meet today. Those footprints are as timeless as those of the dinosaurs. 

May the source of all love, our Lord Jesus Christ, fill you and me with his love today so that we can walk in love, leaving footprints of grace on the hearts of those we know and meet.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Free Indeed

Freedom Tower, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at 102 floors, soars towards the clouds shoulder-high above the rest. We’re approaching the Brooklyn dock with about 4,000 people on board the ship, yet nobody is to be seen on deck as everyone prepares to disembark and become lost in the labyrinthine streets of New York City. 

The tower honours those who died in 9/11. It proclaims freedom and liberty. Defiantly. Powerfully. Proudly.  In the film Braveheart, William Wallace shouts ‘Freedom!’ Bold, defiant, proud.

Jesus said that if he sets us free, we are free indeed. Not defiant nor powerful nor proud. But free and at peace and in joy. Many working in that soaring tower are slaves to fear and don’t know the freedom Jesus gives; many imprisoned for their faith are free indeed. 

I live my life today in freedom, and not a slave to fear. So to all the things that would nibble away at my peace and joy, I say Begone in Jesus’ name. The Son has set me free, and I am free indeed.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Come away

Pedestrian Flow Zone!

The directions are clear; sometimes we just don’t see them. Times Square, NYC. The most natural thing was to pause and look, as lights and words and images projected from every direction. How could we keep moving? We didn’t even see the sign! I just noticed it now, a week later while looking through the pictures.
Life is busy. It’s easy to miss the signs, however clear they are, because of the busy-ness. Take time to smell the roses, my dear Dad used to remind me. Come away with me, Jesus invited his friends. Somewhere quiet. Somewhere peaceful and secure. Come away.

Saturday, 27 May 2017


I will never leave you, Jesus promised. I’m there through it all, carrying you, supporting you, weeping with you, loving you.

Love the juxtaposition here of the NYPD security camera assurance in the foreground, and the traditional church standing behind. Who makes you feel more secure, safer?

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Liberty and Freedom

Framing the channel down which we would pass, the Statue of Liberty held her beacon of light high on the left, while the Freedom Tower soared to the heights on the right. The skies were alive in a swirling mass of greys as dawn broke. I thought of the invitation on the Statue: ‘Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’

Here we were at the ‘golden door’, dawn breaking, our passports in order, visa secured, destination in sight, a place to go to and a daughter to see. We were not tired nor were we poor; we breathe free in our remote rural location in Scotland; we are not ‘wretched refuse, homeless, tempest-tossed’. And so we were welcomed in.

Had we been homeless, tempest-tossed refugees, the Statue of Liberty and the Freedom Tower would have initiated apprehension and fear. When my forefathers arrived on these shores, they were only afraid of rejection on health grounds. No TB and you were in to make your new life. Now? The confusing tangle of rules and regs and the fortress-mentality of the current administration, a mentality built on fear, disqualifies many if not most of the homeless, tempest-tossed refugees who cry for liberty and freedom. 

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” Jesus claimed these words from the ancient prophet Isaiah, and in him, and in him only, is there true freedom for all, vision and release from oppression.

Jesus is the light of the world, and his beacon of light still shines in the increasing darkness, inviting all who are tired and weary, hurting and broken-hearted, to shelter and thrive in him.