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Ash Wednesday

I went to a Church service on Ash Wednesday.  I did not participate in the imposition of Ashes.  Why? Simply because I still don’t fully understand why we do it but also because of the following verses from Matthew’s Gospel where it says

16when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
As I observed yesterday’s service, I couldn’t help but wonder if we were going to the past.  The feeling that I got was that Christ will have to be crucified all over again!  Nowhere in the service were we reminded that this was just a commemoration.  Given my Protestant background, the question I had was if as we say in our services that Christ has died, Christ has risen and Christ will come again….. why then do we go back to the past?
Up in the highlands of Scotland, during Communion seasons (communions are only held four times a year*).  As people came to part-take in the communion, they would be dressed in black from head to toe.  Sadly they commemorated the death of Christ but seem to ignore the great truth that Christ was raised from the dead on the third day and that He is now at the right hand of God the Father.   Again, they too are holding on to the past and are struggling to move forward.
*I will have to write a whole new blogpost explaining the communion seasons!!!
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Absent Friends

In January 2018 alone, we heard of three deaths.  Deaths of men whom we knew very well from our Scotland days.   Usually when I hear of a death, I like to spend some time thinking about the person and usually the good times that I have had with them.   Sadly, it is not always possible to go to the funerals.

As  I did my usual thinking, I was very quickly reminded that we had lost contact with all three of them. Why??? I kept asking myself before I came up with the following reason.

It is a peculiar reason but every time we move away, the relationship begins to cool.  Phone calls and letters go unanswered.  It is genuinely sad because we had such good times together and we had promised to pray for one another and to keep in touch.

I still don’t know the real reason why this is the case….

As  I mourn the loss of my friends who I once held dear….. I prefer to hold on to the good memories I have had with them.

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The Passion Play

The Mhinisteir has been invited to play the role of Jesus in the Passion Play.   Initially I thought he will be doing a voice over from behind the curtains so I was shocked to learn that he will actually be acting!

My first thought was “will he be hanging on the cross semi naked”????????

The play is being organised by a neighbouring Church in the run up to Good Friday.

I might do a post play entry to reveal if the minister did hang on the cross semi naked!!!!!! Watch the space!

 

 

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Neighbours – Everybody need good Neighbours!

Just last week we heard the sad news that our former neighbour from the Scottish Highlands had died very suddenly. DM was a widower who lived with his dog Murphy. His Brother NM  and Sister-in-law lived next door to him.  Our manse faced both their houses.

They together with the rest in the village made excellent neighbours. We didn’t have burglar alarms or any other security feature.  One day in my excitement to go to the supermarket, I left the keys in the keyhole after locking the door.  As you might have guessed, thankfully nothing happened.

Our neighbours knew what time our bedroom lights went off each night and who our visitors were! Yes, it did feel like being in a goldfish bowl and yes there were times when I wished that we didn’t have neighbours!  But it was these same neighbours who kept a close eye on our house and helped with our bins etc when we went away on holidays.  They were the ones who shared their meat with us after they have been to the abbatoir with their animals and whenever they had fresh eggs and vegetables in abundance. Never expecting anything in return.

Here in No 130, we are surrounded by houses but are struggling to get to know our neighbours.  The Minister and I have made conscious effort to speak to then neighbours and to get to know them but they seem to prefer to keep to themselves. It is probably a city thing.   Having come from close knit communities I am struggling to be without neighbours whom I can wave/chat to.   Back in the highlands, I used to wave goodnight to one of my neighbours Mrs M every single night from my kitchen window!

I have learnt the painful lesson that it is better to have nosy neighbours than no neighbours.

 

Book Review

The Work of the Pastor

I have just finished reading “The Work of the Pastor” by William Still.

It is an old book written in the 80s by William Still who was the Minister of Gilcomston Church of Scotland in Aberdeen and has since passed away.

It is an excellent book explaining the Work of the Pastor.  According to Still, the main duty of the Pastor is to feed the sheep through the Word of God.   I am not one for reading theological books but I was gripped by this book and found myself agreeing with him.

I find that I am no longer fed on a Sunday as I used to be.  I go to Church hungry and come back home hungry and angry! Over these 2 years I have become increasingly frustrated.  In fact that is the only reason why I ended up reading this book from the Mhinisteir’s library.    My observation is that people who come to Church Sunday by Sunday want to be fed but sadly we are given no food or junk food.

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John Calvin, the Scotsman

John Calvin is a household name in Scotland among Protestant Christians.   For a long time, I didn’t know who John Calvin was.  All I knew was that he was a Protestant Christian who was well liked and so for a long time thought he was a Scotsman!!!!

It was only much later that I realised that John Calvin was a French Theologian who was one of the key figures in the Protestant Reformation.

My excuse which I hope is a valid one for thinking of Calvin as a Scotsman is this…… Among Protestant Christians in Scotland when they discuss theology which is as frequent as our moaning about the British Weather, one of the first questions asked is “What would Calvin say”???

Now that I am wiser and more mature, my question is does it matter what Calvin would have said?  The more important question I believe is what would God say in this matter?  After all, Calvin is as fallible as any of us.  Just that he was not a Scotsman!!!!!

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2017 – Annus Horribilis

is how I would sum up 2017 if I wasn’t a Christian.  Simply for the following reasons…..

02 January 2017

Mice problem.  I absolutely hate them and so I was terrorised by the thought of them being in the house.

End of January 2017

We were informed by our elderly landlord that due to unforeseen circumstance he was selling the house that we were temporarily renting and so we had to move out asap as he was hoping to make a quick sale!  Where will we go?

01 March 2017

We were confronted by road rage on our way back from a Lent course.  There were at least 3 young men armed with metal rods.   Our car was abruptly stopped on a quiet road and out came these 3 young men from their car.  They tried to open the door to the driver’s seat and it was only literally seconds before that I had asked the minister to lock the car.  I dread to think what would have happened if the doors had remained unlocked.   You see we don’t lock our cars or our house doors up in the Highlands of Scotland!  I have never been so calm in my life before but I must confess that the whole incident bothered me a great deal and added to my homesickness for Scotland.

End April 2017 until now

I became seriously unwell after being misdiagnosed 4 times.  At one point there was a serious threat to my life as the consultant was convinced that the infection had spread to my brain.   It has been a life changing experience with permanent damage to my health.   I am not able to leave the house on my own these days.  I conserve all my energy to be in Church on Sundays other than that my bed has become my companion.

27 August 2017

No 130 was burgled!  We have never been burgled before.  Again, having lived in the Scottish Highlands we never bothered with security as our neighbours acted as our security.   We didn’t even bother locking the doors!  It was a very unsettling experience.  I must confess that until today I still am a little nervous.  The whole house was turned upside down.  Strangely, the burglars went away with very little not that we had plenty in the house anyway.

 October 2017

We were informed by the storage company that ALL our earthly possessions that were in storage in the Highlands of Scotland had gone missing! Thankfully most of the items have been found but sadly some still remain missing.

Despite it being an extremely difficult year and having brushed death not once but twice, I cannot but echo the words of the Psalmist…….

Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for though art with me and thy rod and thy staff shall comfort me – Psalm 23:4

 

 

 

 

 

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I am David

I am David is a book that I read recently.   It is an old children’s book written in 1963.  It was given to me by a 92 year old friend.  She thought I will enjoy the book and enjoy I did.

It is a fiction about an orphan who escapes a concentration camp and heads out to Denmark with severe trials along the way.

It is a very grown up Children’s book.  I loved the way he always started his prayers with “God of the pastures green and still waters” and ended them with  “I am David.  Amen”

Highly recommended!

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The Missing Bath

You will by now be quite used to things going missing in our lives so here’s another story about the missing bath.

A few months before we moved to No.130, we had the opportunity to view the property.  Sadly the tenant was rushing off so we only had 5 minutes to view the house.

We liked everything we saw.   I was quite relieved that it was a detached house as all the previous manses were detached properties.    However the house didn’t have a bath or at least I didn’t see one.

I quite like a bath and especially enjoy a nice long soak during the winter months.

I decided to pray over it hoping that the diocese will somehow miraculously provide a bath so imagine my delight when I saw the bath on the day we moved into No.130!

I still don’t know how I didn’t see the bath all those months ago but all I could say was my prayers were answered!!!