Monday, 3 October 2016

Path of Renewal: Changing the Narrative

Path of Renewal: Changing the Narrative: Matthew 11:7-9 Jesus Praises John the Baptist As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into th...

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Come sit with me

These seats are in the front area of my old primary school in Stonehaven - Arduthie Primary. They weren't there when I attended the school some 40+ years ago. I came across them on a recent visit to the town and was intrigued by them. It got me thinking. Who would I like to sit with me on these seats if I could choose anyone. My immediate thoughts went to love ones no longer with me - family and friends. Then I thought of famous people who I could chat with and learn from. Perhaps one or two of my favourite movie stars or musicians could join me. Oh and of course, some of my favourite authors too.

These thoughts reminded me of a reflective meditation that I undertook during my ministry training. We were invited to imagine that we were sitting at a table with Jesus and could choose where we sat in relation to him. It is an interesting exercise. Would you sit right next to him so that you could whisper in his ear and share your innermost thoughts and feelings? Would you sit opposite him and gaze on in wonder - God among us? Would you sit as far away as you could  - in awe and humility? Would you have him at the top of the table teaching you? Would you have him surrounded by children to watch how he interacted with them and them with him? Would you choose to simply sit at his feet?

Whoever you choose to sit with you, may you enjoy their company this evening.. 

Saturday, 2 April 2016

I see the moon

One of the advantages of becoming a grandmother is that you get to revisit seeing the world through a small person's eyes. I was driving along one afternoon with my 3 year old grandson, Seb, in the car. He was very excited about something he had seen. I asked him what it was but he didn't know the word for it. 

He then said 'like a diamond'. I worked out that he was referring to the nursery rhyme, 'Twinkle, twinkle, little star ... like a diamond in the sky'.  So, I stopped the car and looked to the sky. There I saw the moon in the sky in the middle of the afternoon and I marveled at it. 

Clearly though, Seb was puzzled. He queried, ‘it’s like a banana?’ I realised that he had probably only seen pictures of a round moon. So I said, “Well, sometimes the moon is like a banana and sometimes it is like an orange.” He seemed satisfied with my answer. 

It was a lovely moment of connection and wonder and learning. May you too have time to stop and look at the moon – whether it is a banana or an orange or something in-between!  

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Prayer is like watching for the kingfisher

Prayer is like watching for the kingfisher 
by Ann Lewin

Prayer is like watching for the kingfisher.

All you can do is
be there where he is likely to appear, and

Often nothing much happens;
there is space, silence and

No visible signs, only the
knowledge that he’s been there
and may come again.

Seeing or not seeing cease to matter,
You have been prepared.

But when you’ve almost stopped
expecting it, a flash of brightness
gives encouragement.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Sands of time

As the sands of life
ripple around our being,
may we be blessed
by the treasures that are revealed
when we push beyond the familiar
to the depths of Your presence.


Friday, 27 February 2015

The capacity to be alone

Peace Prayer

The Peace Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love. 
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in self-forgetting that we find;
And it is in dying to ourselves that we are born to eternal life.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Coming in out of the wind

I don't know about you but often when I wake up in the morning all the busy thoughts of the day come rushing into my head. Immediately I'm thinking about what I have to achieve or do before I get to bed that night. Rushing headlong into the day isn't necessarily the best move.

C S Lewis in 'Mere Christianity' describes an alternative approach:-

"The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning.

All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.

And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind."

I love that phrase 'coming in out of the wind'. If we feel that we are being buffeted about day by day we too can come in out of the wind.

To pause, to stop, to switch off. 

To take time to just be. 

To be still. 

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Snow globes of hope

Who doesn't love a snow globe? They have a magical quality to them that touches young and old. We start off with the still scene, give the globe a shake and hundreds of snowflakes bounce around. Then they gradually settle back down creating a new snowy carpeted scene. 

Our lives too have changing scenes. Well-being becomes a barometer altered by the shifting tides of failing health and healing. Relationships can grow or break down, blossom or fade, heralding emotional fluctuations. A family's dynamics shift when a member dies or leaves, for whatever reason. They also alter when there is a birth or a new person joins the family. People's roles or jobs in life can change bringing new senses of identity and have financial implications. Moving house, relocating, emigrating or working abroad bring with them altering parameters to familiar routines.

Like a snow globe we are caught in a maelstrom that requires our response. And for those of faith, our relationship with God can affect how we respond. We can bring God into the equation. We can be like the wise man who built his house on the rock. We can rebuild our lives using the roots of our faith as foundation stones. The rebuilding may be slow. It may only evolve one brick at a time. We may not even be able to envisage what the final build will look like. But, that is ok. We don’t need to know. We just need to trust that we will get there.

Then, when the snow eventually settles, we will find a new shape has been created. It won’t be the same as the one before. Life has changed. But, it will have the unspoken tenets of faith built in to it. Those building blocks of love, trust and peace enabling us to look to the future again with a sprinkling of hope.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Rainbow through the rain

Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven, Scotland

Our country is bracing itself for a severe storm today. There is word of road and rail disruptions, bridge closures and ferry cancellations. I feel for anyone working outside or caught up in the turbulent weather today and hope that they all keep safe. Hope is of course what we carry into all kinds of storms. The storms of life that can hit us all at various times: bereavement, illness, redundancy, family troubles, life changes.

Hope is what can carry us through the eye of the storm and back out to the other side. Hope that the sadness will ease, that we will feel better, that a job will be found, that the family will settle, that we can cope with the shifting rugs beneath our feet.

Hope is often symbolised by the rainbow. That spectrum of beauty and colour that emerges as the rain meets the sun. It appears just when we fear the storm will prevail and we will be overwhelmed. Its upward arch reminding us that we too can be lifted up and out of the turbulence. A spiritual symbol of God's relationship with us bringing with it the rays of hope of faith.

Whatever storms loom overhead for you today, may the glimmer of a rainbow carry you forward in hope.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Green heart of the snowdrop

Green heart of the snowdropKate McIlhagga

Into a dark world
a snow-drop comes.
a benison of hope and peace
carrying within it a green heart
a symbol of God's renewing love
Come and inhabit our darkness
Lord Jesus Christ,
for dark and light
are alike to you.
May natures white candles of hope
remind us of your birth
and light our journey
through life and beyond.