Sunday, 22 January 2012

The haggis mouse

Bearing in mind this is a posting from a girl in the glens it will come of no surprise to glean that the mouse on the plate is in fact some haggis! We are of course heading towards the anniversary of our bard - Robert Burns - on 25th January. 

Last night I had my first Burns Supper of the season. Our church had their supper at Memus Hall - we dined well on Scotch Broth, haggis, neeps and tatties followed by trifle and shortbread. The entertainment was superb with reflections, readings, poems, highland dancing and singing. The teenagers from our local high school were very involved in all of this and it was great to see them all undertake their tasks and performances with such keenness and aptitude.

Two of the girls beautifully sang a duet of Burns' song 'Ae Fond Kiss'
Lovely words and lovely music. If you ever drop into any of our church services in Kirriemuir and the Glens you will hear this tune played every week. We sing our blessing at the end of the service to this music. 
I will end with the words now - sing along if you wish:-

May the God of peace go with you,
as you travel from this place,
may the love of Jesus keep you,
firm in hope and full of grace.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A capsule of eternity

Looking out into my garden one frosty winter's morning I had to pick up the camera, head outside and capture the moment. 

A moment in time where I was drawn to the light, the shadows, the freshness, the wonder of my world.

Heading back inside, to the warmth and picking up my cup of coffee again. 

Feeling that I had, for a moment, been in a capsule of eternity and a certain peace descended on me.
Thou art the peace of all things calm
Thou art the place to hide from harm
Thou art the light that shines in dark
Thou art the heart’s eternal spark

Thou art the door that’s open wide
Thou art the guest who waits inside
Thou are the stranger at the door
Thou are the calling of the poor

Thou art my Lord and with me still
Thou art my love, keep me from ill,
Thou art the light, the truth, the way,
Thou art my Saviour this very day.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

A silent friend

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. 

The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

From clouds to comforts

You mustn’t be frightened ... if a sadness rises in front of you, 
larger than any you have ever seen;
if an anxiety, like light and cloud–shadows, 
moves over your hands and everything you do.
You must realize that something is happening to you, 
that life has not forgotten you,
that it holds you in the palm of its hand and will not let you fall.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Taking front stage

Well, here I am,
standing here, in a good place, watching, waiting, 
It's gone well so far.
I'm happy with the progress.
I'm content to stay in the wings, waiting, watching,

But you had more in mind for me than that, didn't you?
So here I am, now centre stage.
Here I stand not knowing what end is up,
when I'd rather be watching and waiting in the wings.

So forgive me if I appear a bit overwhelmed.
Be patient with me when I don't quite know what's going on.
Understand me when I give the impression
that it's all too much ...

Oh, and this blessing bit,
this voice that I keep hearing when I'm out front, 
when I'd rather be in the wings, waiting and watching,
is that for real?

I hope so.
For now I'm here, instead of watching and waiting, 
I reckon I'll need all the blessing that's going.

Tom Gordon 
'A Blessing to Follow - Contemporary parables for living'

Saturday, 7 January 2012

A Change of Perspective

Gulls - Broughty Ferry, Dundee, December 2011

Don't you love this photo? I think it shouts out for a caption competition. Something like the guy at the bottom saying to the guy on the left 'No, I said turn RIGHT!'.  Any suggestions???

One thought sprung to mind when I stopped to look at this photo and that will be my thought for the day:-

"Sometimes you just have to step out of the crowd to see things from a different perspective."

I often think that that is what the journey of faith is like. We see the same things as everyone else but we can also consider them from a different perspective and weigh them up in that light. 

Friday, 6 January 2012

The Light of Luminous moments

Holy Island of Lindisfarne

David Adam, a writer in the Celtic tradition and former vicar of Holy Island and writes in his book 'Glimpses of Glory':-

"I love misty days when the sun suddenly breaks through, sometimes I have purposely driven high into the hills to rise out of the fog, knowing that it is low-lying fog and it can be overcome.

At the moment you nearly come out of the fog it takes on a strange brightness, a luminosity that promises something different. Then suddenly you are in a land of brightness and everything seems to be bathed in a new glory: sometimes it is as if the world is being totally renewed in colour and splendour, and we see creation taking place.

On Holy Island the main windows of our house face the west and the sunsets. On some cloudy days the sun manages at sunset to drop beneath the clouds and flood the land with light, every pool and bend in the river picks up that light in a reflected glory. It is then good to stop whatever you are doing for a few moments and let that glory enter you also. Occasionally I have to climb a small hill to see the reflected light better; I have to turn aside from what I am doing and take note of what is going on around me; I have to make an effort to behold the glory. Glory does suddenly break into our lives, yet we have to make the effort to see and experience it."

As R.S.Thomas wrote:-

'The Bright Field'

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it.
But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
the treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that i have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying ...
on to a receding future, not hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush: to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

Being mindful of the present moment with its potential for surprise as God breaks through in the most unexpected ways.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

All weathers nourish souls

The child remembered how when she was a very little child she had sympathized with the grey sea.
The blue sea was a happy sea.
The green sea, when the waves thereof tossed themselves and roared, was a triumphant sea.

But the grey sea looked anxious.
So the child was sorry for the grey sea.
Grey weather she abhorred.

Something of this feeling was with her still.
Grey weather was not among the things for which she gave thanks.
Then God her father said to her:
All weathers nourish souls.
                                                                                                                    Amy Carmichael

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Less Ambitious Books

I've been Twittering away recently and enjoying the vast array of subjects that arise each day. Yesterday's fun slot were postings called #lessambitiousbooks. (The hash sign is a hashtag and links all posts with that tag word/s in it).

Some examples of #lessambitiousbooks were:-

'The Mediocre Gatsby',
'Medium Expectations', 
'Near the Looking Glass', 
'Harry Potter and the chamber of common knowledge', 
'The Grapes of Irritation' 
'The Girl with the Dragon Sticker,
 'Mildly Depressing House',
'Sort-Of Difficult Times'
& 'The Now-and-then Gardener'.

You get the drift! I love playing on words like that. Some made me laugh out loud and that is not a bad thing. We all need to find things that bring a little light to our days when so much of the input from the news and media is gloomy. 

Of course, nothing compares to joy that comes from inside.
The fruit of the Spirit. 
The joy of feeling right with God, 
at one with the folk around you 
and at peace with the world. 
That kind of joy is not a mediocre or a medium gift 
but one of the greatest gifts of all.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A Spring of Grace

 Swan on the River Tay at Broughty Ferry, Scotland - December 2011

Dipped into Margaret Silf's '2012 - A book of grace-filled days' for January 2nd. She writes:-

What was it that first drew your heart more consciously toward God? Perhaps a glimpse of the mystery - something you did not understand but intuited in a moment of deep peace - or of profound relationship with another person, or of awe and wonder in some aspect of God's creation. 

In such moments, a spring of grace breaks into our lives and potentially changes everything. Keep those moments alive. Let them remain alive in you and continue to empower and assure you.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Elementary my dear Watson

We love Sherlock Holmes. The books, the movies & the tv series. Tonight we continue to watch the series. It is great the way Sherlock deduces his information. He is so observant. Nothing goes past him. He absorbs all the minute detail that go past the other mere mortals who are with him. 

Not a bad way to be. Observant. Paying attention. Noticing the minute around us. Being aware of how our words and actions affect others. Noticing what needs our care and support. Appreciating the beauty of this world.

Heading into 2012 perhaps we could do with honing our observation skills and developing the Sherlock within each one of us!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Recipe for a Happy New Year

I came across this Recipe for a Happy New Year:-

Recipe for a Happy New Year.

Take twelve fine, full-grown months; 
see that these are thoroughly free from old memories of bitterness, rancor and hate, 
cleanse them completely from every clinging spite; 
pick off all specks of pettiness and littleness; 
in short, see that these months are freed from all the past
—have them fresh and clean as when they first came from the great storehouse of Time. 

Cut these months into thirty or thirty-one equal parts. 
Do not attempt to make up the whole batch at one time 
(so many persons spoil the entire lot this way) 
but prepare one day at a time.

Into each day put equal parts of faith, patience, courage, 
work (some people omit this ingredient and so spoil the flavor of the rest), 
hope, fidelity, liberality, kindness, 
rest (leaving this out is like leaving the oil out of the salad dressing— don’t do it), 
prayer, meditation, and one well-selected resolution. 

Put in about one teaspoonful of good spirits, a dash of fun, 
a pinch of folly, a sprinkling of play, and a heaping cupful of good humor.

Wherever you are and whatever this year holds for you may the God of peace go with you.

Happy New Year!