Sunday, 11 December 2011
Last Sunday we had a confirmation service and here is the photo of that occassion. It was a busy weekend all over and to cap it all blizzards coming back from Yell with the Bishop in the driving seat!!
Thursday, 27 October 2011
Eli puts up with her, that is about how it is. She is certainly the boss! Having said that it is good to have them both as they are company for each other and great together on walks.
Wednesday, 5 October 2011
This also means that the Northern lights are more of a possibility and true to form a week ago there they were for the first time. Wow, not as brilliant a show as when I saw them first last year but great non the less. I did try to take pictures but did not have a decent camera with me (sorry.)
The house has begun to get colder too, however I have redecorated the bathroom which now is the best room in the house!! sad... but true!
Thursday, 22 September 2011
I am going back to school literally as I have been appointed as Chaplain to the local High School, the Anderson High School.
The question will be, will all these make me feel younger? I some how doubt it, as I am feeling decidedly tired too. I feel like I could sleep for England...... oh sorry I should say Sleep for ******
Oh to be young again.... well at least I can pretend (in my dreams!)
Sunday, 11 September 2011
The Final solution in the second world war, the killing fields of Cambodia in the 70s, the genocide in 1994 in Rwanda when 800,000 people were slaughtered, Derek Bird in Cumbria, Anders Behring Breivik in Norway…. Sadly the list will be added too, but the need for forgiveness and healing to enable life to move on will be equally strong no matter what.
Let us hold before ourselves the example of Joseph, not for his fashion statement, but for his way of living, and as we are urged in our praying, forgive us our sin as we forgive those who sin against us, and we may be reminded of the question to Jesus if there was a limit to this forgiving…. No!
Coming back to Shetland was also wonderful, and now I have another companion!! Leah the other black Labrador. (photos soon). She s in fact the niece of Eli, and is now 15 weeks old.. She is keeping us old boys in check! Great fun though.
Work continues to go well here, and I stay very busy. However I am having to re apply for my care post due to the Council's vacancy committee, which says that all new post have to be advertised and interviewed! I do not claim to fully understand the logic of this system, but in the meantime it is business just as normal and my works hours are just the same! There are a few of us in the same situation,
It is a lovely day here today at the moment, though We are expecting the tail end of the hurricane later, so everyone is preparing for this and the sea birds have already come in for shelter.
Thursday, 28 July 2011
“If God is for us, who is against us?”
Some electric words here that could cause us some headaches.
On the one hand it has been taken to various extremes,
With a simple swapping of words, “God is for us” rather than making a question of it, we can be lead to many atrocities if not a high degree of arrogance.
To live a life feeling that “God is on our side” as opposed to any other side then a life of faith can become nothing more than a life of being a tyrant in the eyes of those around us.
Within the church sadly we even get the “God is on our side” syndrome as we become impatient with other Christians for not seeing that we are actually right.
If God is on our side then what we do, and how we behave, become a divine right, and if this is claimed and believed it does not matter what others may think of us.
On the other hand, and from a different perspective, If things don’t seem to be going well for us, then maybe we are indeed far from the truth. Our own faith is doubted because if we were “right with God” then surely we would be being blessed, or rewarded and not living in travail or suffering in various ways.
If the Victory has been won by Christ already, as Paul speaks about in today’s epistle, then the other question could be, again, why is everything still in such a mess?
There again we have to set these “electric verses” against there own context. So often we take verses and stories out of their context to try and prove a point or convince of a particular course of action.
So what about the context for Paul?
Paul had been beaten, persecuted, hated by various section of the church, especially the powerful Jerusalem church, he had certainly lost favour with the Jews for obvious reasons!, and he had spent years in prison.
Soon after all that he wrote these “electric” verses, and he was still to face even more imprisonment soon after.
[If we take the OT reading from Genesis then the story of Jacob is litered with ups and downs, he thinks he has done things right to win Rachel as his bride and finds things far different, and has another seven whole years to work for the pleasure, and again his own story with wealing and dealing with Esau and fleeing winning and losing sets the bigger story as it unfolds in Genesis against a bigger backdrop.]
[Solomon is praised for his wisdom, and we see the story being told today how he was confirmed with this quality, and yet apparently getting riches and wealth as well as a prize for seeking wisdom. Today we might say that the two go together anyway.
Never the less the stories of Solomon are again littered with gain and loss, right and wrong, reward and punishment set against the story of a nation. The nation is the subject of the story and not the characters, sometimes we forget this..]
So if God is for us…..? why should we begin to set this story in so personal a setting? Is this not to be a little presumptuous??
This could bring us back to the challenge set before us to be Christs in the world today. How do we live as if we were Christ? Or How do we be Christlike?
Jesus sets before us today the parable of the mustard seed and the small lump of leven. Both images of smallness and almost insignificance. Yet this smallness in both parables becomes the determining factor for what is to come.
The Smallest seed grows to the biggest tree, the small lump of leven raises all the mixture.
When Hannah and Simon were small they used to make “Friendship cakes” I was talking with Sonja about this this week……. (what do friendship cakes do?)
Jesus came proclaiming that the Kingdom of heaven and arrived. Some doubted this and some still do, and yet we believe we play our part in making this kingdom real and possible. We become small seeds and small speaks of yeast.
Jacob , Solomon, and Paul alike may have had good cause to doubt that God was with them or for them, and yet patience and tenacity and the big pictures show us that God is indeed there, the kingdom has come and is yet to come more.
We probably get too hung up on trying to judge things from our own “small” perspective, as though we mattered more than the big story.
I was trying to find the words to that little ditty about passing a smile on, and came across this particular phrase instead,
I wonder whether Paul, Jacob or Solomon lived like this, perhaps they did or tried to.
Do you know, it said next to the “hint” that it probably takes 7 years to achieve this!
I really do believe that nothing separates us from the Love of God, hardship, peril or sword, and I believe this same love seeks a way of showing itself to the people I meet and speak with each day.
Let us continue to be Christ’s in the world today, no matter how small we think our seed may be.
Tuesday, 26 July 2011
Thursday, 21 July 2011
Tuesday, 19 July 2011
Last week we considered the Elephant and the six blind men who found different aspects of it and thought that they had found the full explanation of what it was like. The elephant was a symbol for God and we wondered how it was we could satisfactorily understand God, or describe him.
We noticed that Paul, amongst many other well known Christians, were Jesus centered because by looking to Jesus “as the pioneer and perfector of our faith” (Hebrews) they found that an experience of God – likeness was easier to grasp.
We also noticed that Jesus constantly helped people understand what God was like as he reflected the nature of God to the people he met and spoke with, both disciples (followers) and those he healed and made whole. (there is no evidence that all those he healed became his followers)
And so to us, where does this then lead us today as people who may look to Jesus to find God.
In looking to Jesus we not only discover something of God, “The God that is Christ-like”, but we in turn seek to follow his way. This following becomes for us a life long journey, and as I was SPEAKING WITH SOMEONE THIS WEEK WE BOTH ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THIS JOURNEY has both its successes and failures and has ups and downs.
In the words of a famous hymn, “A man that look on glass on it may stay his eye, or if he pleaseth, through it pass and then the heaven espy…) (Gerard Manly Hopkins)
We can look on the glass and simply see our own reflection, which keeps us centered on ourselves, and this may not lead us far and can easily keep us focused on the downs of our lives,
We can allow our eyes to see through the glass and gaze “on heaven” and see Christ looking back at us and see the God in Christ calling us.
As we have in our Eucharistic prayer…. Our life and Gods can be a wonderful exchange because of Jesus and this is the goal for Christians.
Our communion with God is physical and Spiritual in the Eucharist as we eat and drink. Christs body we say comes into us. And as we also believe we become today his body on earth.
As the famous 16th century words say:
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
Teresa of Avila 1515-1582
We reflect to those we meet and speak with Christ himself, and this is no small thing. In fact it is a huge thing we claim to try and do.
It does mean however once again that Being Christ’s is not just a spiritual thing, we cannot simply pray our way into Christ, it is a doing and transforming action thing too. The practical showing forth of being Christ’s is called for.
Christianity has always been an incarnational faith in that it both proclaims Christ was Godlike and God was Christ-like, but to be Christ’s means being (and doing) as well as believing.
Take a look at your hands now…..
Think about your voice and how you have used it…..
How many times this week have you found your feet walking away from need and not meeting it?
Think about the times you have looked on someone and thought bad of them, or judged them because they were in some way different or challenging?
Being Christlike, being Chrsist’s body is never going to be easy. I do not or at least sadly cannot say it is even second nature…. Oh I wish it was!
I do this however looking to Jesus who I see as the pioneer of the faith, the one who makes it possible even for me to aspire to. The one to whom I look when I know I have once again messed up, or just simply got rather lost.
I read this week words of Richard Rohr, “ When you get the, “who am I?” question right, all the “what should I do?” questions tend to take care of themselves.” (Richard Rohr, “Falling upward” pg 5/6)
Praise be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I received an e mail this morning.......(thanks Trevor)
One day, God was looking down at the Earth and saw all the wicked behaviour going on...
He sent one of his angels to earth to look into it.
When the angel returned, he told God, "Yes, it is bad on earth; 95% are misbehaving and only 5% are not."
God was not pleased so he decided to e-mail the 5% that were good, because he wanted to encourage them and give them a little something to help keep them going...
Do you know what the e-mail said?