Catching up 2…

More pictures from London – still catching up:

March 30th: “struggle”

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The ongoing struggle between democracy and security, so recently and tragically illustrated in London.

March 31st: “relief”

IMG_2967.JPGThe relief of sitting down for a moment (Palace of Westminster)

April 1st: “Meditate”

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Back to the Greenwich Naval College – where we stopped for a moment to mediate in the chapel.

#LentenSnapshots2017

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 😫

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.

One bead at a time…


Inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness. I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten—happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another.(Brenda Ueland)

I came across this quote on my old blog while I was looking for something completely different!

I love this description of inspiration – especially the image of writing being like putting beads on a string one after another because that is how it works for me. I have a magpie mind and am always collecting and filing things away for use later. Today I was frustrated because I remembered snippets of a story I wanted for a sermon but just could not track it down – maybe I will just use what I can remember and make up the rest 🙂

I also like the assertion that we need a little solitude and idleness as a primer for writing and creativity. I know I need this but I still get twinges of guilt about time spent quietly in the garden or elsewhere. Especially as in ministry there is always something more concrete and tangible needing to be done.

Being off sick for such a long period of time has shown me that the majority of the concrete and tangible things can wait; they will still be there tomorrow and tomorrow. But we need to catch those moments of solitude and idleness as not only will our writing benefit but also they will help us to live a more balanced and fruitful life.

Picture is ‘prayer beads’ by Jonny Baker on Flickr

Trading Joy

The trading of joy comes naturally because it is of the nature of joy to proclaim and share itself. Joy cannot contain itself, as we say. It overflows.

Frederick Buechner

This was this morning’s thought from inward/outward, and it came through just as I was thinking about the worship theme for this coming Sunday (yes I am starting back to work at last).

I was thinking about recognition and how we all need to be recognised, appreciated and loved. And I was reminded of this wonderful short film, part of which I am hoping to show on Sunday morning.

So if you have a dose of the Monday morning blues – then grab a coffee, put your feet up and watch this – I guarantee it will make you smile 🙂

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)

New life…

God of spring time

as the frost melts

and the trees bud

may I cross over

from darkness to light

from grumbling to appreciation

from hesitating to striding

from boredom to creativity

from looking down to gazing up

from indifference to your Passion

from chill to warmth and love

in this world and the next.

(found here on beautyfromchaos)

Picture is ‘new life’ by Jonny Baker on Flickr

Sacred space?

Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky…
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth
Is spread with the same.

Walt Whitman

“Every cubic inch of space a miracle?  Jesus, God Incarnate, made the whole world that sort of Sacred Space.  Holy Week reveals to us again that even the dark and bloody places of the world are sanctified by his life, death and resurrection.  The journey we make with him in retelling and experiencing his Passion through symbolic worship in Holy Week draws us into that sanctifying mystery.  We enter the darkness that we might see the light more clearly.”

(Whitman quote and reflection pinched wholesale from this Lenten blog which is well worth a look.)

Photo is ’57th‘ by Jonny Baker on Flickr