Thursday, May 13, 2010

The best laid plans

Ok, so I thought I would get back into the swing of this blogging business and after that wee flurry of postings earlier in the week decided to hold off a day or two before the next round - then the lurgy struck! I think I picked up the same sickness bug that my children had at the end of last week, whatever it was/is it has taken two days out of my week and I am still feeling grim and not eating - though my wife says the not eating is a good thing! I am disappointed that I didn't feel well enough to take the Ascension Day service this evening and grateful that I have a very able and gracious Associate Priest who took on those duties. I think that in the past sixteen or so years I have only missed one other Asc Day service, so am a bit glum about it, but not only did I feel a bit ropey, I didn't want to be spreading any sickness around!

When I did finally make it out of bed today I made myself sit in front of my PC and wrote all the articles and bits and bobs I needed to send off to our Villages Magazine 'The Parishes Paper' - it was already a day late as I did my usual trick of leaving it until the deadline to prepare, and then getting sick on deadline day! So that, along with a couple of letters that needed doing and some diary keeping has been my work for the day. I still need to do my thought for the week for next week as the deadline is tomorrow, and it would be good to have an article to put into another local magazine called 'Yarcombe Voices' which, again, needs to be in tomorrow.

Whilst I think on those things, here's another in my catchup for thoughts for the week! This one from the week leading up to Palm Sunday!

Humility is not a virtue that seems to be encouraged these days; be the best, be famous, be better than the rest seems to be the message that is pumped out through our TV screens and most of the media. Humility is still admired though; when our leaders offer genuine apology, when those who have done well are gracious in accepting their honours, when our armed service members showing great bravery claim ‘it’s just part of the job. In the Church we remember this Palm Sunday the humility of Jesus who rode into Jerusalem not in a chariot or on horseback, but seated on a donkey, a lowly beast of burden. Though the crowds declared him saviour and Lord he didn’t use them to gain power but was willing to face death for declaring God’s message of love, justice, peace and grace. His humility is an example to us all.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ha Ha Ha

Love this video - and I say this as one very at home in the culture it parodies!

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.



I Like being an Anglican too, a very different way of expressing worship open to a whole raft of parodies too, ... though there is a long and very funny history of that, the Vicar of Dibley, for instance, or Alan Bennet's excellent Beyond the Fringe 'Take a Pew' skit...



John Betjeman had lots of things to say about Church culture, often gently satirising, such as 'Diary of a Church Mouse' or this one:

Blame the Vicar


When things go wrong it's rather tame
To find we are ourselves to blame,
It gets the trouble over quicker
To go and blame things on the Vicar.
The Vicar, after all, is paid
To keep us bright and undismayed.
The Vicar is more virtuous too
Than lay folks such as me and you.
He never swears, he never drinks,
He never should say what he thinks.
His collar is the wrong way round,
And that is why he's simply bound
To be the sort of person who
Has nothing very much to do
But take the blame for what goes wrong
And sing in tune at Evensong.
For what's a Vicar really for
Except to cheer us up? What's more,
He shouldn't ever, ever tell
If there is such a place as Hell,
For if there is it's certain he
Will go to it as well as we.
The Vicar should be all pretence
And never, never give offence.
To preach on Sunday is his task
And lend his mower when we ask
And organize our village fĂȘtes
And sing at Christmas with the waits
And in his car to give us lifts
And when we quarrel, heal the rifts.
To keep his family alive
He should industriously strive
In that enormous house he gets,
And he should always pay his debts,
For he has quite six pounds a week,
And when we're rude he should be meek
And always turn the other cheek.
He should be neat and nicely dressed
With polished shoes and trousers pressed,
For we look up to him as higher
Than anyone, except the Squire.
John Betjeman

It seems these parodies are much more about 'Anglican Culture' (if that's not an Oxymoron!) rather than worship specifically - perhaps because the 'culture' of the Church of England has been woven in to the life of English society for so many years. I would be interested if anyone has got a humourous link to an Anglican worship parody of some kind!

Can barely restrain myself....

So, here goes again, a small flurry of blog posts... thoughts for the week continue

In our group of parishes our Lent course has been talking about how in the Gospel stories everyone who meets Jesus goes away changed in some way. For some the challenge of giving up their comforts to follow Jesus is too much, others find healing and forgiveness – even those who nailed him to a cross. Meeting Jesus changed people, and still should. But alongside the change that being a Christian should bring there is also reassurance that, as an old prayer says, amongst ‘the changes and chances of this mortal life’ God’s love remains changeless. The question to ask ourselves is, then, “when changes come (as they always do) to what do we cling, to whom do we turn, to give us security”? Faith doesn’t protect us from the changes or troubles of this world, but if we allow God to, he will give us strength to get through them.


Also as an aside, I have got 'Foxy Tunes' set up on my Firefox, so you may find little notes at the end of posts saying what I am listening to!

----------------
Now playing: Resurrection Band - Shadows
via FoxyTunes

Things I should be doing

One of the many diversions I have in life, which also enhance things somewhat, is my role as a reviewer of Albums for Cross Rhythms, a Christian music website and of books for Christian Marketplace, a rather interesting publication that goes to (the few remaining) Christian booksellers and those interested in recently published books. At the moment I have three Albums for which I should really have completed the reviews a couple of weeks ago, and four books two of which I have read - which were rather good. The time to actually sit down and review these coherently is lacking, though, and when I do have a bit of time to myself I actually want to get on and read, or pray, or just 'be'...

Sometimes the incentive to get these things done is just not there! When I get them done I may well post them, it will add to the sense of achievement I have now I have found what exists under those papers that previously were scattered all over my study... I suspect I will have one of those emails soon which says 'we are awaiting your reviews'...

Oh and I really should get on with sorting out my expenses records, that duck house isn't going to pay for itself... Only kidding!

Another thought, another week....

In the UK we celebrate Mothering Sunday on the fourth Sunday of Lent - which is where I have got to in my Thought For the Week catchup! Having just had 'Mother's Day' in the US & Canada it seems appropriate to put it up now. So here it is....

On March 14th, this coming Sunday, the Church celebrates Mothering Sunday (one of my grumpy quirks is that it isn’t Mother’s Day, which is an invention of Card Companies, but an old English Tradition of Mothering Sunday!). It is an important day where we give thanks for those who have cared for us and raised us, for the Church which – at it’s best – nurtures us and we remember a God who is tender and compassionate. Though we use ‘Father’ as our most common way of talking about God don’t confuse that with God being a man, or even just like our own fathers – God is like the best, most perfect father and mother, loving, caring, nurturing, challenging, encouraging. This Mothering Sunday, as you take your wife/mum/granny breakfast in bed, remember that both she and you are loved by the God who welcomes us all in to his (or her) family!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Is a tidy desk the sign of a sick mind?

My Study is tidy, or rather it is significantly tidier than it has been for a looooooooong time. Part of my lack of posting is the simple fact that I've not felt at home at my desk for weeks which, though it hasn't stopped me working, has stopped me speculating and generally being in blog mode for a bit! A long time ago I said that I think my study is an externalisation of my internal state, if that's the case then I am at the moment feeling that things are in a place on the way somewhere to being sorted, there's still a way to go, but it looks OK.

Actually I think that might be a relatively good way of describing my view of life generally rather than specifically. I am very aware of the 'now and the not yet' state of the Christian journey. Now we live in Christ, redeemed and made clean, forgiven and whole, healed and complete. Except we aren't quite there. We are not only saved, we are being sanctified, prepared, made holy so that one day we will see God face to face. It's not a 'pie in the sky when you die' thing, but a journey, a growth, a movement - or if you prefer 'a pilgrimage'. OK, it might be the other side of death when we get to the point of fully realising and receiving this wholeness, this shalom which comes from the grace of God in response to work of Christ - but potentially it could be now, and so we reach out for it, we wait, we wonder, we pray and (hopefully) we grow.

So we're in the now of the life of Christ, and the not yet of completing that work within us.

So my study is a pretty good reflection of my life, and life in general.

Now to get to work on another pile of paper....