Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Last Day

The last day dawned bright and clear.
What shall I do with this last day of the year?

Let it rip and take a trip.
Walk a mile and climb a stile?
Walk through a wood, because I should?
Jump across a stream, fail and scream!
Climb a hill for the thrill
Drown my sorrow at the top of kilimanjaro?

Send a letter - to make things better.
Reply to every email - without fail!
Bake a cake for the old year's sake?
Write a novel whilst living in a hovel
Paint picture of a scintillating bewitcher
Share a joke with a funny old bloke.

Do the washing with loads of sloshing
Plant as tree in memory of '73.
Be a real high flier on a high wire
Write a play for each day of the merry month of May.
Go play 'Knock Door Run', because it isn't the thing that's done!
Swing from a trapeze - just please DON'T SNEEZE!!!
Cook a meal for a seal
Watch the sun go down over the town

Oops too late ;)

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Morning Prayer

Deliberations from this morning Morning Prayer

‘As your living Word…may the light of your love be born in us
to fill our hearts with joy’
Lord, too often my light is hidden behind my human weaknesses and inadequacies. 
Replace my fear of failure with the joy that only you can give - Joy that is pure,
and not tainted by human agenda.

‘For as the earth puts forth her blossom,
and as seeds in the garden spring up,’
This verse seems particularly apt today. 
The plants in the garden have been fooled into thinking that spring has come early,
but I fear the harsh bitterness of winter still lies ahead. 
Snow can fall as late as April. 
Do not be fooled.
This is not Spring, but a false promise. 
However, if winter does not arrive,
then I fear that the damage that mankind has done to the world is far more serious that we can understand or admit.

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the faithful and in the congregation.’
Later I will gather in the congregation to take part in the seasonal song and liturgy of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, for an evening of delightful slap dash and tomfoolery. Though more serious in nature, may our ecclesiastical ritual contain the same feeling of anticipation and joy, for surely the company of heaven is greater than any theatrical enterprise,. We are here for a season. not all eternity.

‘It goes well with those who are generous in lending and order their affairs with justice,’
Lord, I think of those whose homes and businesses have been overwhelmed 
by stinking effluent polluted floodwater, 
and I wonder how we have allowed this to be possible.  
We cannot control the weather, but what decisions have landowners made that allowed such vast amounts of water to flow into these valleys? 
Why have we built flimsy structures on floodplains? 
The quick profit from our schemes is nothing compared to the heartache of those affected, who have lost so much, and the future cost of rebuilding businesses, homes and infrastructure. It was not just bridges and buildings that were washed away, but hopes and dreams also. 
Praise to those who are working to rebuild and turn the stinking mess of greed and failure into fresh opportunities and stronger communities. 

‘From the rising of the sun to its setting
let the name of the Lord be praised.’
As I sit here and listen to the wind roar in the oak trees, and watch the darkness slowly turn to the grey dawn.
I am again amazed at your power and glory. 
You who created darkness and light,
and ordained their patterns of behaviour.
You who are Lord of the wind and cloud,
who cause the ripples to appear on
the surface of the pond,
and the leaves to dance according to your whim. You, who colour the greyness of the dawn with infinitely more than 50 shades
 and love us enough to give us free will, not bondage.

“Then the Lord spoke to the fish, and it spewed Jonah out upon the dry land.”
There is nowhere we can go and hide from you, omniscient God.
You care more about our salvation than our dignity

‘The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; 
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
upon them the light has dawned.’
Lord, thank you, that you sent your Son Jesus to earth, not that I might have a new lens for my camera (useful though that is) but  that we might be reconciled to God.

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.’

Thank you.

‘May God, who has called us out of darkness
into his marvellous light,
bless us and fill us with peace.


Monday, 28 December 2015

Limbo in Lurgy Land

For as the neighbours of Zion have now seen your capture,
so they soon will see your salvation by God,
which will come to you with great glory
and with the splendour of the Everlasting. Baruch 4:24

Ugh! Is this the 2nd or the 3rd day of Christmas?  I have lost count.
I awoke from the depths of sleep, disappointed to discover that yesterday’s sore throat was still present.  I staggered down to breakfast to discover the morning half gone, and my husband itching to undertake some great garden project.  I don’t know about the neighbours of Zion, but the neighbours of Daffy Towers witnessed me hostage to deep discussion about location of paving slabs, stepping stones and water butts.  After the recent rain the garden has all the resilience of buttercream - walk across the lawn and you expect the ground to ooze out in to the surrounding gardens…

A trip to B & Q followed, where we remained unconvinced as to what  we required so we headed off to Buildland…which we found, but were not convinced that it was open (Bank Holiday).

The afternoon saw me huddled under a blanket with a hot water bottle and book, whilst my husband attacked vegetation and took advantage of the relative dryness to re-sand the path…

This season of waiting, between Christmas and the New Year, a time of snuffles and sore throats, limbo in lurgy land.  We find ourselves ourselves stranded between festivities, captured by viruses encountered during our celebrations, awaiting the glories that we convinced ourselves lie ahead in 2016. While we think of those for whom the present is hopeless misery - refugees and victims of war or flood - we look forward to a time when these things will no longer have power over us.

Sunday, 6 December 2015


Fern looked outside
"Thank you for my warm, secure home.
For the services I receive,
which, as a resident of this place, I am entitled to!
I also thank you, Lord, that I am not self-satisfied and complacent.
I can clearly see that there are many out there who would like to be where I am.
In fact, many have travelled long distances and risked all.
Transported in vehicles, and then abandoned to their fate.
Often having to endure a long wait before they are given the opportunity of a new place to be.
Some are close by,
Others are further away.
Many have settled in and have found a place to be,
within sight of the place I call home.
I do not understand why they chose to be there,
out in the cold mud,
but I am not oblivious to them.
Maybe someone could help them find a new place to live.
Not here.
This is my home.
The place where God put me.

We cannot just let them all in!
Their numbers are infinite.
We do not have the infrastructure to cope!
Their mass is simply to great.
They would not fit in - literally!
They sing strange lament of hunger, cold and weariness.
Allowing them in would put me in danger,
they would bring diseases,
which my poor system would not be able to cope with.

A Christmas tree - how nice.
Imported of course,
but very tasteful!

No point in skimping
Christmas only happens once a year!

Now I must stop pondering about ferns, plants and oaks
and ponder on some of the more difficult issues of the day,
like how do we solve the problem of Calais?

Thursday, 3 December 2015

In the garden

Wednesday was dry,
and even the sun made a surprising,
but sadly brief, appearance.
The temperature was mild,
and so I found myself lured outside.
My husband was waging war on the leaves that drift down from the oaks along the southern side.  As I sit and write this today a fresh fall of leaves mock as they slowly reclaim the lawn once more.

Our front garden is small and compact, so I value every inch.
We turned part of it into extra parking for visitors, but a flower is unperturbed, and added pots - small light weigh ones, which are moved around, according to how and where we need the space.
I spent some time carefully removing the dead seed heads from the plants in the pots.

Gardening is one of those times when I feel closest to God.
As I tidied I found myself praying for my neighbours.
Then my attention was taken by the lobelia,
which even I have to admit,
is well past its best.
Hints have been dropped for some time about it needing to be removed,
and yes it is looking rather straggly in places,
but I found it hard to pull up plants while they are still flowering.
As I looked at the small delicate flowers, I thought of each and every person,
and how they matter to God.
They are not perfect.
They all have flaws.
Yet each and everyone is still important.
I know the lobelia are coming to the end of their season.
They are unlikely to make it through the winter.  Yet underneath there were new fresh shoots.
I got the grass shears and gently pruned, removing the sections that were straggly and growing yellow.
As I did this, I reflected on how God is at work in the world,
and how we need to be willing to let go of the old and familiar
in order to allow new things to take their place.

Then God said to me "You are being a bit reckless, 
gardening in your work clothes with your best scarf on! 
The one you take such delight in.
If you don't watch out you will be snipping off those lovely tassels, 
because you are so busy focusing on the task,
 that you are not looking after yourself!"
"It will be fine, " I said, and carried on with the task at hand.
Then I noticed one of my tassels was no longer attached to the scarf.
"Yes, Lord, you were right, but I didn't listen"
Not for the first time :(

I  rescued the hassle and took it inside,
meaning to reattach it later.
Alas when I took a closer look I realised that more than a hassle had been chopped off!
No-one will notice.
Only I will know... but I will remember.

In all the busyness of our Christmas preparations it is easy to forget that the baby was born to be a sacrifice...
...for us...
and in all the spending and celebrations
it all gets overlooked,
a small detail a busy world cannot see.