Thursday, 22 September 2011

I am a student...... again!

I have successfully completed an application to complete my SVQ level three in Social Care. Apparently this means I am a student again and I even get a card.... wow! I am not sure if these means I can take part in sit in protests like before, or whether students these days do other things. (SVQ apparently stands for Scottish Vocational Qualification)
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

Sunday 11th September sermon

Ten years ago today I was chairing a meeting of the Worship Committee for Orwell Church, it had been a fairly routine meeting seeking to discover new ways in which our worship could be meaningful and grounded for the community we served. Following the meeting as people were dispersing Simon said there was something important on the TV, so we turned it on and were transfixed by what we saw.
An hour later, I was going around the village with posters saying that the church would be open that night for prayers, by 7.30 the church was very full and I had also been approached by the local radio station for comments.
The thought of what happened on the 11th September 2001 still fills me with horror and disgust, but perhaps also what fills me with horror is the reaction of much of the Western world (America and Britain particularly.) and some of the consequences of that day 10 years ago. I think it is true to say that since that day many people have felt justified in anti muslim sentiment, and a growing sense that we want to  make sure “we” are top dogs.
The saga of Joseph, his amazing technicolour dreamcoat and 11 brothers is well known. It is a moving story of fraternal jealosy, betrayal, suspicion and forgiveness. In the portion of the story we have heard today we see that despite reunion the old suspicion and anxiety between them continues albeit in a less serious form. Joseph does not rub his brothers noses in the scheming or apparently point it out to them, but he is gracious and compassionate through and through. A real hero figure who unites the family and literally keeps it together and prosperous and through whom it is seen Gods choice is made clear.
From Matthews gospel today we come to the conclusion on the section to do with church order and perhaps not surprisingly we come to the question of forgiveness. For Matthew, church order is about the authority and freedom to forgive, not about withholding forgiveness. And to illustrate this point we have the parable of the servant who had been forgiven but who refused to forgive.
Another quotation from Richard Rohr may fit in well at this point….
“There is more harm done by offence taken than by offence intended.” (Richard Rohr)
It is possible that many of us are held back from reaching truer development, or feeling truer grace and joy, by the barbs that grow on hurts done to us. We so easily become stuck in certain places. Equally we can take offence and develop it even when such a state was never intended at all. Some are naturally suspicious and expect a knife in the back or a slight of hand at any time.
Such condition it seems to me actually breeds contempt and it can stifle moving on.
It is also possible (probable) that we all know how difficult it actually is to move towards forgiveness. Much of Jesus ministry and teaching was about enabling people to move on, to be healed, to be made whole, to be forgiven and to feel released and redeemed.
The self same possibilities are meant for us too, sometimes we manage it and sometimes we do not. Praise God for the times we do, for we all know when these moments are, we all recognise their potency for real life. Jesus offers us today the same as he did then.
Somehow we have to learn to learn from the past but not let it dominate our present. There has been a real concern that the attack on the World Trade centre has changed the world as we know it today. It has certainly it would seem changed America. But even something as horrific and unbelievable as this has to healed, and living forward has to be achieved.

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!

Back from holiday!

I know it has been a while since I managed to up date you all with news etc. I have been away in Cambridge (twice!) on holiday, as some of you will already know. It was great to meet old friends again and drink decent beer. (Thank you the organizers of the Orwell show for getting in so many real ales for me to drink.) I was also able to officiate at the wedding of Sarah and Richard, which was a real privilege.  Sarah is now the first person that I have both baptised and married, so i was especially pleased to be able to do this.

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.