On Monday, We received our first Christmas card for 2020! Since then we have received two other cards.
I never send out Christmas cards. I wait until January before I write to people with my New year cards!
Previously I started my card writing in September to post in December as we had hundreds of Christmas cards to send and we received hundreds too. The truth is there is never enough time to read the cards properly and it is also difficult to keep track of the senders.
In Scotland, especially up in the Highlands there are some protestant Christians who don’t celebrate Christmas because of the Reformation so what they do is send New Year cards. In fact, you will be able to find New Year cards in selected bookshops!
Anyway, I borrowed that idea not because we don’t celebrate Christmas but because December is a month of party and celebrations, January tends to be bleak and so I decided that a nice little surprise in the post in January will not go amiss!
Lesslie Newbigin’s A South India Diary caught my eye when I was browsing through the Mhinisteir’s library. The reason why it caught my eye was pedantic. I just had to take the book out to be sure that Newbigin did indeed have two Ss on his first name!
As you can see from the photo, This is a very old book published in 1951. The title was too attractive for someone fascinated by India. Furthermore I realised that Newbigin was first ordained in the Church of Scotland.
Lesslie Newbigin was a British Clergyman who became the first Bishop of South India. The book is really a diary of Newbigin’s time in India as the first Bishop of South India. It is a very interesting read even though at times it can feel repetitive as his days were very long and usually taken up by the same things (meeting people, attending meetings, conducting worship, solving disputes etc). It was an eye opener to read about another culture but also to learn of the challenges faced by converts to Christianity in that culture.
As Newbigin had a good way with words, this book gets a 3/5.
This week has been a strange one. The lockdown itself is not bothering me because even before the Coronavirus pandemic, I have been self isolating due to health reason.
For the Mhinisteir, the weeks leading up to Easter is always busy. Holy Week is especially busy. My Protestant upbringing means that every week is Holy Week and every Sunday is Easter! For that reason I don’t do anything special. Health permitting, I usually try and go to the Chrism service in the Cathedral. This week has been fairly quiet in that sense. The Mhinisteir is still busy. Being in rural parishes mean that we have more elderly people in our Churches and in the last few weeks, a good number have been taken ill some critically.
We heard this week that a friend of ours had passed away quite suddenly. He had collapsed at home. Taken to hospital. When his wife phone the next morning, She was told that he was doing well. He passed away around lunchtime that day when he collapsed for the second time!
Despite the lockdown, we had a good number of Easter Cards & Chocolates from our Parishioners. A few of them have been sneaking out when dark falls. Something that we don’t encourage of course!
I baked a banana cake on Friday! It was only after I had baked that I remembered it was Good Friday even though I had watched an online service!!!!
Again on Good Friday, The Mhinisteir got a phone call from a parishioner wishing him a Happy Easter. Happy Easter on Good Friday??? We are living through strange times after all!!!!
Just yesterday, I discovered that Fortnum and Mason’s have started doing Sparkling Tea. I was super excited and wanted to get my hands on it as the bottle looks very luxurious. I have just had a look at their website. They have both the alcoholic and the non alcoholic version. It will have to be the non alcoholic version for a teetotal like me. I am disappointed that they only have one non alcoholic version but I suppose it is better than nothing. Strangely, both versions have got the same price tag!!!
Disclaimer: I am not paid by Fortnum and Mason to promote their products
In early December, I got a letter from our bank which is the Royal Bank of Scotland to say that they owe me a few hundred pounds in PPI Claim on a loan that we took almost 20 years ago.
Just this past week, I got another letter from the same bank saying that they owe me more money in another PPI claim. Really?? I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the letter. Another reminder that God is not only generous but that He knows our every needs!
Rural living is expensive as you have to have your oil tank topped up in addition to paying for electricity. It is for this reason that I think that the Church of England should give Rural Living Allowance to clergy who minister in Rural areas. I know for a fact that the Church of Scotland used to give out Island living allowance for clergy who ministered on Scottish Islands. I don’t know if they still do but I hope they do.
Anyway, we hope to use the PPI claim towards our Winter fuel expense as we need more oil top ups in the Winter months in order to keep warm. Oil is expensive and It doesn’t help that the minimum order for oil is 500 litres!!!!
I have just finished writing two condolence letters. I usually take at least two weeks to gather my thoughts before I put pen to paper but this time round it has taken me a whole month. No, I didn’t procrastinate.
I have been praying for the right words but I just couldn’t get the right words until Saturday morning.
Both the widows had been married to their husbands for a very very long time. One was a retired clergy from Scotland and a former colleague of the Mhinisteir while the other a retired librarian from our last parish in England.
I hope my feeble words will bring some comfort to these widows.
Power through prayer by E.M. Bounds was recommended by the Rev Eric Alexander formerly of The Tron in Glasgow in one of his online sermons that the Mhinisteir and I listen to as part of our family worship just before bedtime.
The Mhinisteir allowed me to borrow this book from his library and I have spent the last two weeks reading it.
Edward McKendree Bounds (1835 – 1913) started each day by praying for three hours. He stresses on the importance of prayer in the life of the clergy but I think it is relevant to all Christians. It is a thin book with short chapters.
I have always wanted to know the true meaning of the word “Unction” and I got three chapters of clear and proper description.
Many years ago, while still living in Scotland, an acquaintance and I together with our husbands found ourselves attending a Presbyterian church service on a Scottish Island one Sabbath evening.
We quickly made our way to the first pew available and took our seats. In those days, there was pin drop silence in these Churches before the start of a church service. Within minutes of sitting down…. I heard the acquaintance whisper to her husband ” They have stolen this from us!!!” I was quite taken aback by her statement and was anxious to know what she was referring to!!!! I was afraid that the locals might hear her and chuck us out!!!
She was pointing to an image of the burning bush on the front cover of the Scottish Psalter! I couldn’t believe my eyes!!! Hang on a minute….How can you steal the burning bush??? The burning bush is the emblem used by almost all Presbyterian Churches worldwide.
It is usually accompanied by the Latin words “Nec Tamen Consumebatur” which means the bush was not consumed. The bush referred to here is the one that Moses encountered in the book of Exodus Chapter 3 verse 2.
My acquaintance is the daughter of a Church of Scotland Minister (deceased) and Wife of an elder! You would think that she would have known better. What saddened me most was that when we go to another Church we are very quick to find fault or in this case accuse them of theft!!!!