Saturday, June 19, 2010

A quick link

Am particularly enjoying Maggi Dawn's blog at the moment, especially this poetic reflection (from Stewart Henderson) on Priestly ministry....

So Many Thoughts - So Many Weeks

It is my dream that one day I will catch up with all of these, and will be in sync with the local paper that prints them. It's called the Midweek Herald and can be found here.

A Thought for the Week for the week after Easter!

There are some things we tend to take for granted, some things that are so much a part of life that we don’t really notice them. Churches are like that, in villages they get used for special events, for the important parts of life and death, people use them in directions to get some place, every now and then you might even feel a need to go in, have a look around, take a moment of quiet or say a prayer. But on the whole they are just ‘there’. But the Churches I have been a part of are powerhouses, they work hard to make communities function as communities, they care for the sick, visit the lonely, help the needy. They run events and activities. They worship the God who made the universe. Churches are important, they will support you in need, and need your support. Thank God for Churches.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Allegri's Miserere

Having shared my rockier side with you, here's a gorgeous piece of music which I find profoundly moving.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ministry in more than two dimensions

Despite all my experience, despite the joy of getting to know so many good people, despite hearing so many stories and taking part in so many special events - I still fall into the trap of sometimes failing to see people with all the depth, beauty, wonder, sadness, joy and humanity that they undoubtedly have. What I mean is that sometimes (hopefully vary rarely) I will look at one of my congregations and classify them almost by Mr Men standards: 'Mr Snoozy', or 'Mrs Long Winded', 'Mr Stroppy', 'Little Miss Loud And Somewhat Annoying', 'Mr Won't Shut Up About The Flipping Parish Share' etc etc etc. OK, it's an exaggeration, but it's easy to think of people in terms of how they behave or what they do rather than who they are, to reduce them to two-dimensional figures like characters in a bad novel...

And then an encounter or a moment or an event occurs that makes me think again, and to remember that I am ministering to, or chatting with, or making friends with, or just being with a richly multifaceted human being. A person with stories that could astound - and often do - and a life of their own which is wonderful, profound and affecting. A number of encounters lately have reminded me of this richness that exists - some of them funeral visits where I have heard things about people which have added such depth to my experience of them, other times chance meetings or conversations in Church or the pub or around the villages.

Take for instance one young woman who attends one of the Churches in this Mission Community. The fact that she is young makers her out as something special, but also meant that I thought of her as 'Little Miss Unusually Young For This Particular Congregation' then I went to a concert where she played a musical instrument with such skill and talent along with a depth of feeling that belied her age and I realised that behind my initial limited viewpoint was a creative and inspired person.

Then there was the encounter with someone in a local pub who has been 'Mr Bloke That Sits At The Bar' but in conversation I discovered he was a skilled metalworker, a businessman, an entrepreneur, a farmer and someone who was compassionate, interesting and funny.

Again, at a recent Community lunch I was sitting next to someone who I thought of as 'Mr Quite Deaf' turned out to be an expert gardener with vast experience of travel and a life working in livestock.

I could go on and on. Sometimes I think we all need a reminder to treat people as people, not just lumps of flesh we interact with! As ministers it is easy to reduce people to those we have to minster to or those who are 'pew fodder' or potential members of committees or names on the rota. I have to check myself from just looking at folk as congregation, or mentally dividing up the churchgoers from the non-churchgoers. They, we, are all much loved, much valued members of God's family, made in the image of the divine, and worth so much more time and effort than any two dimensional perceptions will allow.

A thought for a week

It's not THE thought for this week as I am still playing catch up due to my ongoing propensity to leave this blog for longer than I like and then come back with a flurry of posts... Here's the one from Easter - but as Easter should be a 24/7 - 365 experience for us as Christians I am happy to post it now...

and you might get half a dozen more in the next couple of days :-)

Have you ever been a part of something that has changed the world? Maybe you’ve given to a charity? Run in the race for life? Been a part of a world record attempt?

Or perhaps you’ve been to Church?

Yes, the Church has changed the world, or more accurately Jesus Christ changed the world. When he died on the first Good Friday he took upon himself all the evils and wrongdoing in the world from all time. An innocent man taking to himself the sin of the world. And when he rose again from the dead, as we celebrate on Easter Sunday, all of the effects of that sin, the death and brokenness of the world, all of it was defeated. And if we let him, Jesus will change us, we will share in his new life and through us Jesus will continue to change the world!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

REZ Land of Stolen Breath - Mobile.m4v

I have a fondness for heavy rock - goes with the whole biker/guitarist/yobbo vibe that I succumb to every now and then (having spent day at Bishop's House in grubby jeans and clerical collar as I rode to my training day today). For me the epitome of well put together heavy music with a message is REZ aka Resurrection Band. They may have a somewhat different take on Christian Faith to me, in some ways, but the passion and the prophetic nature of their music and ministry inspires and challenges me, I love the music too - though I realise it probably isn't everyone's cuppa tea :-) This particular song is one of my favourites, with a very powerful message behind the slightly ropey 1990s video.... Just a little glimpse into my slightly odd, yet deeply committed to faith, world....