In the absence of me having anything original to say for myself, here are a couple of excellent quotes:

What we in the church must be about, I am convinced, is a return to religion of passion—a way of being in which anything less than spilling over with the Spirit of God is not enough; spilling over with desire to know and do the will of God in our daily work and play. (Source: Carter Heyward- Our Passion for Justice)

Sadly in today’s world being passionate about religious faith is regarded with deep suspicion, as if it was somehow akin to extremism.

But passion is so important; it is much more than just deep emotion. Passion is practical. It is about attitude. It is about the outpouring (or over spilling) of our experience of God into every part of our living, making everything is vital and vibrant.

With passion the ordinary becomes extraordinary – this is the journey of discipleship.

Happiness consists in finding out precisely what the ‘one thing necessary’ may be, in our lives, and in gladly relinquishing all the rest. For then, by a divine paradox, we find that everything else is given us together with the one thing we needed. (Source: Thomas Merton- No Man is an Island)

This passion for God (our discipleship) is ‘the one thing necessary’ … everything else pales into insignificance before the desire to know him and to serve him… and in the reality of journeying with him.

Photo: ‘dance in the flame of life’ by Mike Lockie on Flickr.

Word of the week…

Scunnered. (Noun: Scunneration)

This is one of my favourite words ever. It’s one of those brilliant Scottish words whose meaning is almost onomatopoeic – just saying it, with the right inflection (and the precise balance of vehemence and resignation) communicates its meaning:

sick of it
had enough
I’m outa here

Scunnered is a sort of blending of all these emotions into one ‘catch all’ word… we Scots are good at that!!

Being scunnered… it just isnae funny!!!


The space in between…

in the space between
the hurt and the healing
the question and the answer
the disease and the cure
we search for a kind of calm to get us through

a kind of happiness that defies logic
a kind of peace that cancels out despair
a kind of joy that overrides circumstances
a kind of courage that commands attention
and demands a shift in focus

all this waits
in the space between

hope is not mere sentiment
or wishful thinking
but a treasure map to follow
all the way through the darkest night…

This is part of a poem posted by Jen Lemen (the picture is by Jen too).

I like this idea of hope filling the “space in between” life’s transitions, especially if that hope is grounded in the God of surprises and possibilities (Isaiah 43:19)… the God who in Christ makes all things new (2 Corinthians 5:17)… the God whose light shines on even in the darkest night  (John 1:5).

Humming in the dark…

I came across this meditation from Henri Nouwen recently.. and I post it here for myself and for everyone else in need of hope.

“Hope means to keep living
amid desperation
and to keep humming
in the darkness.

Hope is knowing that there is love,
it is trust in tomorrow.

It is falling asleep
and waking up again
when the sun rises.

In the midst of a gale at sea,
it is to discover land.

In the eyes of another,
it is to see that you are understood.

There will also be prayer . . .
And you will be held
in God’s hands.”

Picture: ‘waking the forest’ by Mike Lockie on Flickr

On waking early…

Those of you who followed my previous blog will know how much I like Mary Oliver’s poetry.

I thought I would post this one, giving testimony to the glory of creation on a bright sunny morning – “best preacher there ever was”.

It seems appropriate for the first day of British Summer Time.

Why I Wake Early

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even,
the miserable and the crotchety
– best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens to be
where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light
– good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

Picture is ‘morning glow’ by Jonny Baker on Flickr

In Blackwater…

A “Sunshine and Shadows” type poem for Saturday from the wonderful Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Picture is ‘across the water’ by Jonny Baker on Flickr

Towards Sunday… a blessing

Be ye our angel unawares
If after Kirk ye bide a wee,
There’s some would like to speak to ye,
If after Kirk ye rise and flee
We’ all seem cauld and still to ye.
The one that’s in the seat with ye
Is stranger here than ye, maybe.
All here have got their fears and cares,
Add ye your soul unto our prayers,
Be ye our angel unawares.

(Scottish Blessing from this site)

Perhaps this Sunday you will be “our angel unawares” for someone who needs a kind word or the hand of friendship.