Temp at 8 am was 0C! (32F) Oh no. Harbinger of things to come. It is beautiful, but the apparent price to pay for a clear blue sky in t...
Not much time for blogging recently, but my attention was drawn to the spikes on the timeline of how many people check out the blog from one...
Another sunny day here. Walking along Seal Beach, I suddenly noticed a dad and his 2 year old boy. The dad was staggering along under the we...
Dusty and I diverted from our usual walk this morning. Having followed her nose to the ‘haunted house’, she then lost interest and wanted...
Just back from my morning walk with Dusty. Same route most mornings. Down the path to the ‘fort’, though in the morning I am less incline...
Moment by moment. Every moment is part of the journey. Journeys conjure many things. Trials perhaps. Weariness. Uncertainty. Fun. Laughter....
Our plans this morning include a visit to a location which is for me, a thin place. I understand a thin place to be a geographical spot whe...
A small posy of sweet peas perfumes the air beside me. There is something near divine about the fragrance of sweet peas, and roses. A...
"...stood in tears amid the alien corn... " Love that line. Homesick Ruth, stood in tears amid the alien corn. Keats. Ode to a Ni...
Peace. Shalom. Something we all seek but which remains increasingly elusive to many of us. I feel my stomach has been in the middle of a w...
Friday, 30 June 2017
I guess when you’ve been fasting for a month, it is all about the food. Food and friendship, laughter and chatter.
Of course most of it was in Arabic; after the two or three words we know we are a bit stuck. But the smiles and the welcome and the hospitality of these refugee folks who have lost everything was lovely.
It was pouring rain yesterday when we arrived for the Eid celebration. The hall had been double booked so everyone was traipsing up the street to the town hall carrying their trays of special food, pushing buggies and holding umbrellas and dodging puddles. Nothing quite like a Scottish summer. It must be so different from Iraq and Syria.
But there were no complaints, nothing but happy smiles, children playing with balloons, and the food, which was different and delicious. The motto of our church’s youth fellowship is ‘make contact, make friends, make disciples’.
We have made contact, and will press on to make friends. It is a privilege.
Thursday, 29 June 2017
New experiences. We are getting ready to go share Eid with some of the refugees newly settled in our area. No idea what to expect, or who to expect.
So I’m still here in my jeans, not ready in my dress or appearance (though not too sure exactly what is expected). But I spent twenty minutes in my prayer window getting ready.
Jesus is the light of the world. Praying his light emanates from my eyes, my lips, my attitudes. God is love. Praying his love is tangible through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Going to meet people just like us, but not. People who have grown up under other value systems and who have experienced traumas I hope never to experience.
Praying that the Prince of Peace is powerful in that place today, in us, through us, in others, through others. That traumatised and weary people will be drawn to the one who can really give them rest.
Wednesday, 28 June 2017
God is love. The Bible is clear on that. One passage I’ve been reading is from one of John’s letters and the bit I’ve been looking at ends with the order to ‘keep yourself from idols’. It seems to jar.
What do idols have to do with God being love, I wondered.
Following on from that, I considered how I can love life more than I love Jesus. Oh, not in my head but in the way I act and speak. But since life is a gift from God, can that be wrong?
Many idols start out as gifts. Life. Money. Jewellery. Children. Spouse. Talents. Maybe a car or a house. They start out as gifts but their importance in our lives can grow until they overshadow the giver. They become the focus rather than the love of either the person, or God, who gave us the gift.
We live to worship God, not his gifts. They come our way out of the overflow of his heart, and so that we can share them with others.
I’ve got a picture of worshippers, faces turned to heaven, arms reaching out, receiving gifts gratefully but allowing them to pile up around us in hills of blessing for others to receive, too. Our gaze is not distracted to the gifts but focused on the giver.
For this, Lord, I need the essential gift of your Spirit, to help me maintain focus. Amen.
Monday, 26 June 2017
Charlie read out a lot of ideas of what heaven is like. Several folk envisaged it being like a beautiful beach, waves crashing in and a lovely sunrise or sunset streaking the sky with colour. That’s definitely something I understand: for me it would be sitting on a cliff top in California watching the Pacific breakers roll in, pelicans diving for fish and surfers ‘hanging ten’. Others saw it in relationships, in food, in being curled by the fire with a good book.
Thinking about it more, I imagine heaven is being content in the moment. Not wallowing in a nostalgic look at ‘the way we were’ nor yearning for a future holiday or meeting or season. Finding joy in the here and now.
We don’t want to lose sight of where we’ve come from, nor lose ambition for where we are going, but still, to rest in the moment. To appreciate the taste of that coffee (which is why I don’t like drinking coffee on the run in a take-out cup), to lose myself in the beauty of that Scottish sky – greys though they are, they are beautiful greys, to turn my hand to the work of the moment and do it with all my attention and ability.
The real foretaste of heaven, though, is when we are gathered with other believers and lose ourselves in worship, and the room becomes a ‘thin place’ where the presence of God is tangible. May his presence transform your moments into tasty bites of heaven today.
Sunday, 25 June 2017
The brave fire-fighters who strove to lead those trapped in the inferno out into safety first had to put on their protective gear and breathing masks. Then they found that fiery debris was raining down from above so they had to wait for others to bring riot shields which could be held above their heads like Romans used their shields, to prevent injury from these falling projectiles.
We are called to stand as the body of Christ and move as one to retake the world for Jesus. We need to work together in unity, as those fire fighters did. We need to lay aside our differences and protect each other with a shield of powerful prayer.
Effective weapons of the enemy are to stir up fear and division. Fear can paralyse us and leave us curled up, babbling and ineffective against the enemy. Division dilutes or even negates our effectiveness. If we’re going to bring hope and life to those in despair and darkness, we need to cooperate and we need to listen to our Commander in Chief.
Elizabeth told Mary that she was blessed because she believed that what the Lord told her would come to pass.
We need to listen together, read and understand our Bibles, and obey our Saviour.
Saturday, 24 June 2017
I asked God to show me what was on his heart this morning, as I sat waiting for just five minutes.
I saw stone supports rising up within the church building, joining the roof in decorative flourishes as in some of the ancient cathedrals. Then they turned into geysers of water, powerfully shooting up and then the water sprinkled on all the people sitting in the church. Life-giving water.
This is the Lord’s heart: that those who are ‘supports’ in the church will be transformed from static, stone supports and become sources of living water rising up powerfully and showering down on all gathered.
Where the droplets fall there is instant growth of new life, each drop bringing forth a new plant/flower. The sterile, solemn church transforms into a living, fragrant space.
To come into the church as an ‘outsider’ is like Dorothy landing in Oz: going from a monochrome world into a vibrant, living, colourful and fragrant, dare I say enchanted space.
Yes, enchanted in that spiritual gifts are other-worldly, spiritual, and these are in evidence in church.
And out of church. As we leave church we take the fragrance, colour and spiritual gifts into the black and white world outside, transforming every place we go.
Amen. As this is God’s vision, this is my prayer.