Thursday, 24 December 2009

Christmas 2009

CHRIST THE SAVIOUR IS BORN, Ding Dong Merrily on high

An image of the Cross found on the beach the other day. I don't know if those who made it had any thoughts but when I saw it I saw the cross.... surprise surprise!

I am about to go to take the Christmas Eucharist in Lerwick, it is a cold night. I have had a lovely quiet day and though the shops did get a bit busier as ther day wore on the Co op this morning was very quiet indeed.

Here is my Christmas Day sermon for what its worth....

So here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody’s having fun (??_)
Look to the future it has only just begun…..
Did Noddy Holder know what he was doing when he sang that for the first time when I was a little boy? I suspect not
But of course not everybody is having fun, and it never has been the case. There have been people in different sorts of misery all the time. (what sorts of misery can we think of today?? Far off? Near to home?)
But it is true to say that the future has only just begun, well to be much more precise the present. Why put off today the good you could do tomorrow.
We spend far too much time being held back by the past and dreaming of a future that we miss the significance of this very moment now..
Some people may describe Christmas as a magical time. It does sometimes appear to be a time when peoples attitudes change just briefly anyway. And people might be nice to each other. Having said that there has been a lot around this year about how Christmas is also a time when families are more likely to fall out, and I heard that the first fall out is likely to be before 10 in the morning. (that may mean some of you have already had a grumble…..??)
I do not see Christmas as in the slightest bit magical. It may be special but not magical. It is actually very down to earth.
I do not mean here for a dry pun or to get caught up in some strange theology but the Christian church speaks at this point of incarnation, which literally means “being made flesh” or in other words “down to earth”
There are many people who feel God is distant, this may be for many reasons. They felt it too when Jesus was born. The Christian church speaks about a god who is right alongside, not far away and distant at all. A God who is down to earth. However we view the story of Jesus this is one of the things it is all about. Furthermore the whole Old testament is also about this same God who is right alongside his people, calling them and leading them and loving and redeeming them.
There is nothing magical about God, but just something special, and something very hard to explain.
There is that song which you too may sing at school, maybe even in church sometimes , I do not know…. “God is with us, round the world the message bring… come and join the celebration”
What was seen as distant has come very close. Earlier this year I heard about a group of children writing about Love and some of their answers were amusing as you can imagine.
I know that my sister loves me because she gives me her old clothes and then has to buy new ones”
Love is when two young people get close and sniff each other
But another “Love is that feeling after the Christmas presents have been opened.”
Christmas is not magical, not everyone is having fun, it is very down to earth and terribly realistic. It does not change things over night, but it can be about gift and promise, and it can be about the love we feel and the love of God for his wayward people you and I.
To end on another musical note “Man will live for ever more, because of Christmas Day” Surely the world could be a better and brighter and safer place because we are celebrating Christmas.

I hope you all have a great Christmas. I am thinking of all my friends back in the Orwell Benefice. Blessings on you all.


Wednesday, 23 December 2009

December 23rd

I spent this morning getting stuff ready for te services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I think I have got a new spin on the "The people who walked in a land of darkness" image from the prophet Isaiah. Any way I am pleased they are done anyway. I have also got a version of the "twelve days" just in case it seems the right thing to do.!!

A lot of the snow is now going though it is cold (around freezing anyway) I went for a lovely walk over bannamin Beach and down on the south end of Burra, always a favourite spot. Some of the scenery was still awsome and here are some pictures taken.
I did not take a picture of a wonderful black turkey which was wandering free at the South end on the grounds of decency. I don't suppoae he is long for this world bless him.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Saturday 19th

Wow wonderful. Woke up this morning to a winter wonderland. Snow is at last covering the land, not very much but it is still white. Gritters are very busy here and the roads seem fairly good considering. I think we may get more snow later judging by the skies. It is not quite covering everything and the odd blade of grass shows through. I cannot make snow balls or go toboganing. But it looks lovely. Off to Lerwick later.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Friday 18th December

A cold start to a great day. NO SNOW though! The news was full of snow chaos in Cambridge and round about, but nothing to speak of here. Just a light dusting on the high ground, and even this vanished as the day wore on. It is around freezing point today however but extremeely pleasant with it. Once again the winter light is fantastic.
Spent today picking up furniture for the house, storage is still an issue.

Now also beginning to plan the services for Sunday and over Christmas. It is great to be here and I am still meeting old friends here and making new ones too. Everything is just so relaxed and it is a pleasure to be amongst the people.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Another cracking day

Despite a dull beginning the sunrise from the East side was stunning once again. We are having occasional short showers but in between it is great sunshine and blue sky. Eli and I are out to the West side today for lunch with Friends. I have been able to move some of my books into the Rectory in Lerwick, so at least I can see them there. This is just a temporary solution, but handy. I was offered another interview today later in January. I was not expecting this to go so far, and it is indeed very interesting. A community Development Officer. I was not expecting the application to get to this next stage and now I have to think of a presentation to make. This is all wonderful experience and I am pleased. What it is showing at least is that there are good opportunities here and some of them will be my good opportunities.

More later

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Tuesday 15th

It is slightly cooler here today but not at all bad. I think it is much colder in Cambridgeshire from what I can learn. Last night the bishop of aberdeen and I went out for supper in a local eatery. I chose one out of Lerwick. There were a group of ladies having their Christmas dinner there, and later in the evening I began to have the odd exchange with them, especially when the CD being played started to skip and jump. I suggested they could all sing better than that. Some suggested we had a duet! a little later two of the ladies started commenting on some hymn they had been singing... this was when I realised they were probabbly some local church guild.. this proved to be correct. we had a few more exchanges and then out of the blue one lady suddenly exclaimed "is there a reverend Brice in the room?". I had never met her nor she me, but somehow she knew I was on Shetland and had heard I had moved up. I owned up to being the person in question! Quite a strange moment amongst a bunch of strangers.

This morning seems to be brightening up. Eliu and I have already been over the headland known as the "hurds". This is one of our favourite morning jaunts. The sea was calm today with a cool nrtherly breeze

Friday, 11 December 2009

One week in

Well one week today I arrived here, and it has been a busy week really, hence the lack of entries. I was also not on line at home until just the other day so that made it difficult adding entries too.
The weather has been very mixed with good wind and rain some days and yesterday and today totally superb sunshine and great light. The picture of Hamnavoe pier was taken this morning when I went down to get the paper.
Yesterday the sae was very active indeed and Eli and I went for a walk down at the south end of the island and watched the waves crashing and boiling against the cliffs. It was breathtaking.
Last night was a lovely evening and really quite warm too. A clear sky and no light polution meant the stars were stunning. Lyndsey, Broooke, Axl and Daytona and I had a beach party and bonfire. It was very lovely and we cooked sausages on the fire and ate cake and roasted marshmallows. It was Brookes last night here as she leaves Shetland later today.

During the week I have had an interview at the Walter and Joan Gray care home in Scalloway and I am pleased to say that I have been succesful in getting at least a part time job, to start as soon as the police checks come back.
I have also met with the bishop of Aberdeen. We went for a walk and I showed him Papil church and the Papil stone replica. He is still keen for me to help out at St Magnus and St Colmans, and I begin taking services on the 20th. I am already practicing the twelve days of Christmas!!!
I have met many old friends now and I even discovered that George and Helen are now up here full time and I bumped into Helen in town this morning, so next week I will be down to see George in his home and Sandwick. George was the elderly gentleman who shared my cabin when I came up on Sabbatical in 2004 and we became quite friendly over the time. I am so please he is here all the time and that I can visit him more often now.
I had coffee with another friend Alan ths morning, this was good too and he tells me he is getting married next year too.

here is another picture from today

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Happy Birthday Neil

My friend Neil has at last caught up with me. He celebrated 50 years yesterday so we went out for a drink last night. There were two other birthdays being celebrated in the pub at the same time, a 79ys old and a 42. Birthday cake was shared around. Neil and I went to Shetland together in 1971 and he spent time with me in Fishers Croft last November... a very nostalgic time.
Tonight I am going out with Helen, another Shetland visitor in 1971, so it will be great to catch up with her too.
More later