Skip to main content

Posts

Love begins when convenience ends

    ‘What is the most loving thing to do right now?’    This was the question I left my church with last Sunday.   We were exploring 1 Corinthians 13, Paul’s famous chapter on love, in which there are 15 verbs about love…that love is something we do, not just something we feel.   Often that space for action, to do, is very small, as we find ourselves reacting to things that happen to us.    It is into this small space that I suggested we could try to wedge this question, what is the most living thing to do right now?   It was Victor Frankl the Viennese Psychotherapist and Auschwitz survivor who famously said  “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”    Frankl believed that the choice to love, painful or as difficult as that maybe, is what leads to growth and freedom.  And as I heard someone say just this morning, love begins when convenience ends.   We usually know we love s
Recent posts

Leaping into a happiness not yet realised

  When I go to the hills, along with my rucksack full of the usual, I often take with me something I'm mulling over...the hills are a good place to mull. It could be a decision,  a project, a passage from the bible, a new idea I'd just come across, or as in the case today something I'd been reading recently that had rocked me back on my heels.  A FB pal Graham (we are yet to actually meet!) had kindly sent me a wonderful book for Christmas:  Backpacking with the Saints  . I had just been challenged yesterday to   give myself to Joy in the full awareness of all the unrealised joys in my life.  To embrace felicity (bliss) despite a world of endlessly unmet needs.   The author is referencing Thomas Traherne an Anglican priest, mystic and poet from the 1600's who had a very intense spirituality and an amazing way with words.  He believed that God himself recklessly participated in unfulfilled desires and that in the Cross He assumes the pain of all our thwarted hopes and

Letting go and letting come

 Liminal is a word that resonates well at this time.   It has a cluster of meanings including transitional stage, start of a process, threshold, being at a boundary.   A liminal season implies a period of time when things are changing from what they were and are still  in flux and a new normal has not emerged yet.  A lot of uncertainty and even insecurity can go with this experience.  Old patterns, ways of doing things and even ways of thinking and believing no longer work so well anymore but we are not sure yet what they are being replaced with. There's no doubt that these last two years have been an extended liminal time to some extent in that a lot of our old ways of being in the world and in public spaces have changed.  We don't know yet what the long term future of for example shopping, travelling, worshipping etc, will look like.   As I write this my niece is checking in at Heathrow airport en-route to Sri Lanka for a few months, a Heathrow which is much quieter than norm

Dawn is coming: Temple visits 3 and 4

 This Advent I'm exploring ways in which Jesus came to his Temple and he was not what people expected.    Jesus came to the Temple twice in the last week of his life.  In Matthew 21:12-15 we find Jesus indignant at the way the temple had become a place of changing money and selling goods, albeit in the name of religion.   He turns the stalls over and chases the money lenders and others out crying out 'my house will be called a house of prayer but you have made it a den of robbers'.   Just as the Jews had been waiting for a long time, so too we can be waiting, but in our waiting things can drift.  There were (semi) good reasons for the money changers and the sellers of doves to be there, to facilitate the sacrifices and offerings of people.  Over time though a religious habit had become so entrenched that it actually took away from what worship of Yahweh was about.   It could be time for us to look at ways that some of our religious habits as individuals and corporately have

Advent 2: God asks questions

  The second time Jesus visits the temple is as a young teenager when he stays behind "in the temple courts sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions." (Luke 2:46).   I love this image of a young person full of curiosity and an openness to learning, asking questions that would probably be quite different than the usual ones the teachers of the law mulled over. Young people look at things differently and have a perspective that can be both quite refreshing and disconcerting at the same time.   In my experience knowing the right questions to ask can open up new avenues of discovery and experience.  It often involves letting go of previous assumptions...as I said last week 'we're all addicted to your point of view'! May this advent be one in which you feel liberated, and perhaps even playful and youthful enough, to ask questions, even strange and unusual ones.  You never know where they might lead.   Perhaps they may open our eyes enough

The shy soul

 During Advent I will be looking at Jesus' visits to the Temple. The first visit is when Jesus is presented as a baby at the Temple by Mary and Joseph, in keeping with the custom that all first born sons were dedicated to God.   The story is told in Luke 2:21-40 and somehow in that great courtyard of milling crowds they were noticed by Simeon and then Anna. … my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the sight of all people.   In our own Advents and our long waitings for God to answer prayers, or circumstances to change, or the world to become a more just place, or the church to reflect more unity, have there been fragile, ordinary, even innocuous visits from God that we have missed?   God came in the form of a young infant, held by shy, overwhelmed new parents, trying to be faithful to what they had been given to do.    Can we learn from their example first of all, by keeping faithful to what is in front of us.    What God may hereafter require of you, you mu

A slide with a view

  I had been to see the sun setting on Monday night and once it had gone behind the horizon I came home and got ready for bed when I caught a glimpse of red through a gap in the curtains.   The sky was afire with afterglow and this was something I couldn’t miss.   I took Ina’s camera with her lenses to get a shot from our front door then realised I needed to go out into the street, then a bit further down until I ended up in the park.   The sky was spectacular here but it was only once I was standing on top of the slide that I had enough elevation to frame the sky with Dumgoyne and the Campsies.   Still wearing pyjamas and slippers. Appreciating creation and its wonders is a form of thanksgiving as we recognise the beauty of this world that God has made and make the effort sometimes to get out there and participate in moments like this that come by, often unexpectedly.   I’m not sure whether Bishopbriggs is ready for a rash of St James parishioners in pyjamas outside in precarious