Sunday best – then and now.

 NaBloPoMo is a blogging challenge – prompting us to write a post on our blog every day for the month of November. So I am giving it a whirl 😃.

Today the RevGals prompt was about Sunday clothing – for me, usually a black clerical shirt, dark skirt, Geneva gown and a stole of some kind, sometimes in a liturgical colour.

Zoom back nearly 50 (gulp) years, and my Sunday clothing was very different. Growing up in Presbyterian Scotland, it was your “Sunday best” that came out on the Sabbath. I can remember, even now, the feel and the smell of my smart brown button up coat – and how horribly itchy it was! But Sunday also meant “the muff” . 

It was a simpler time, and in the 1960s it meant this:

  
A furry hand warming thing that hung on a string around your neck. 

I certainly needed one of these in the cold dark church I attended as a young child, where the children of the Sunday School were gathered on the front pew under the pulpit and under the beady eye of the minister’s wife (a woman who terrified the living day lights out of me!)

So my early memories of church were: the cold,  the itchy coat and the warmth of the furry muff in which I clutched a “trupp’ney bit” in my sweaty palm – for those of you too young to remember “old money”, it was one of these:

  
Truppence or 3d to go in the collection plate. 

Ok, now I feel old, and am going in search of the anti wrinkle cream đŸ˜«

Getting in the swing again

I am taking up the Challenge to write a blog post every day for November, as I have rather got out of the blogging habit. So much so, that it feels as if I am learning to use WordPress all over again!

   
 
The pictures are some of the 131 shoe boxes which my congregation have collected for the Blythswood shoebox appeal.

The quilt was there to help us visualise a story I used during the service, as part of the dedication of our shoeboxes.  It is well worth reading here – at the BBC news site, a tale about “the man who kept a quilt for 70 years”.

The quilt in my picture was made by my little sister, as an engagement gift for me and my husband. Although  it is not yet 70 years old, it is wearing well in its 32 year! It usually brightens up an old sofa in our front room. It is something I treasure too, because of all the happy associations  that come with it, and the knowledge that it was made with such love and care when my sister was just 15.

Back to the blog

It’s been a while since I blogged, so for Lent I am aiming to publish a photo a day and maybe write something too, if the mood takes me.

I have downloaded WordPress onto my iPad in the hope that it will encourage me back into the routine of blogging. There is a tutorial, but I think I will just blunder my way in and hope for the best 😄

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Today’s picture is a favourite of mine. A view of Arran in February. (From the Ardrossan &Saltcoats Herald)

Hope…

flameIt has been a very difficult year.

I am always a little wary of blogging about personal stuff (mine or that relating to my congregation) which is probably why there have been so few blog posts over the past year or so.

It has been another year in limbo with our building and 18 months spent as guests in someone else’s space.

And a year in which ongoing problems with my voice have caused me to question myself and my calling.

It has been a difficult journey and now there is light breaking into darkness.

A quote from Joan Chittister has been buzzing around my mind of late.

It is  about holding on to hope and to all those small acts of will which can eventually transform darkness into light.

“Hope is not a denial of reality. But it is also not some kind of spiritual elixir. It is not a placebo infused out of nowhere. Hope is a series of small actions that transform darkness into light. It is putting one foot in front of the other when we can find no reason to do so at all”.

(Joan Chittister).

Struck down?

I was planning to do a Lenten cartoon series, but I never quite got it started (story of my life at the moment)!

Anyway, here is the first  in my occasional series of cartoons for Lent (apologies to those of you who have already seen this on my Facebook page).

Calvin

Don’t know where I found this, and I don’t think it is a genuine Calvin & Hobbes cartoon, but  it made me laugh 🙂

The singing of angels…

stained-glass-angel-laura-grishamLast year was a difficult one and I really lost momentum – not just with the blogging.

So to get me back into blogging, here is a beautiful piece called “The Singing of Angels” by Howard Thurman – some last echoes of Christmastime:

There must be always
remaining in every life,
some place for the singing of angels.

Some place for that
which in itself
is breathless and
beautiful.

Old burdens become lighter
deep and ancient wounds
lose much of their old hurting.

Despite all the crassness of life,
all the hardness and
harsh discords,
life is saved by
the singing of angels.

(Source: The Mood of Christmas from inward/outward)

Picture is “stained glass angel” by Laura Grisham.

Easter blessings

If you were not risen,
Lord Christ, to whom would we go
to discover a radiance
of the face of God?

If you were not risen,
we would not be together
seeking your communion.
We would not find in your presence
forgiveness,
wellspring of a new beginning.

If you were not risen,
where would we draw the energy
for following you
right to the end of our existence,
for choosing you again and anew?

Brother Roger of Taize

A prayer for Tuesday after Holy Week and Easter, for all those who now draw breath and seek rest and renewal.

Those of you following the blog will know that Lent, Holy Week and Easter have happened without me this year. It has been strange observing rather than participating in worship.

It has been a virtual journey through the season for me, following Lenten blogs and observing how others have prepared and participated through their postings on social networking sites.

I have especially enjoyed the posts and comments on Revgalblogpals blogspot and on their Facebook page. And I have stored away some ideas for next Easter. Thanks ladies (and gents too) for creating sacred space in the blogsphere.

After nearly three months of coughing – day and night –  it seems to have eased off at last over the past week or so and I am beginning to feel human again! My residual worry is the effect all this coughing has had on my voice which is still rather hoarse, so your prayers for this are appreciated – for obvious reasons!

A belated happy Easter to all, especially the bloggers and posters who have shared the journey with me – without even knowing it 🙂

(Photo taken in the Lake District by the Husband)

Eternal perspective…

My previous blog was called “Rumours of Angels”  and it carried the strap line “all is in flux turn, but a stone and an angel moves” taken from this prayer (Man is made to rise) written by the Very Rev Dr George Fielden MacLeod, Baron MacLeod of Fuinary (founder of the Iona Community).

It is about seeing the world through the eyes of faith, seeing beyond the earthly to the eternal:

 Invisible we see You, Christ above us.
With earthy eyes we see above us, clouds or sunshine, grey or bright.
But with the eye of faith we know you reign:
instinct in the sun ray
speaking in the storm,
warming and moving all creation, Christ above us.

We do not see all things subject unto You.
But we know that man is made to rise.
Already exalted, already honoured, even now our
citizenship is in heaven
Christ above us, invisible we see You.

Invisible we see You, Christ beneath us.
With earthly eyes we see beneath us stones and dust and dross,
fit subjects for the analyst’s table.
But with the eye of faith, we know You uphold.
In You all things consist and hang together:
the very atom is light energy
the grass is vibrant,
the rock pulsate.

All is in flux, turn but a stone and an angel moves.
Underneath are the everlasting arms.
Unknowable we know you, Christ beneath us.

If you have never read any of George MacLeod’s prayers then I commend them to you – a great place to start is this book Daily Readings with George MacLeod.

(Photo is of pebbles on Chesil Beach from davesdistrictblog)

The walk

The walk by Rainer Maria Rilke.

My eyes already touch the sunny hill.
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has inner light, even from a distance-

and charges us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are; a gesture waves us on
answering our own wave…
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.

I have no idea what this means! But even though I don’t really understand it, I like the sense of purpose that Rilke conveys here.

Looking beyond where we are to the place we might eventually be.

Having an idea or even a vision of our destination gives us hope on the journey. It motivates us when things are difficult and when we do not feel we are up to the task.

These lines resonated with me as this week as I am still signed off sick (the cough having helpfully morphed into laryngitis!) feeling bored and tired, knowing that important meetings are going ahead without me (hard for the control freak in me).

So nothing else for it but to keeping blogging through Lent – finding snippets to inspire and encourage me on towards the sunny hill.

Picture was taken in the Lake District (2010) by The Husband 🙂