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Is that it? Finished?

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The third and last of my monologues for Holy week from the perspective of Simon Peter.

He was right… Everything he said would happen happened… And everything that I vowed I would do were only empty words… And I have cried myself empty in the time since… After the confusion of last’s Passover meal, it at first felt like a relief to get out of that room and head across to Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives… We’d gone there before with him this week… it’s there that he talked about the troubled times to come when the temple would be torn down… But we didn’t expect our world, our hopes and dreams to be torn down in a similar way… He went there to pray and had asked us to pray with him… but we were exhausted, and full of food and wine, and so we nodded off… three times he came to wake us up… And he was wound up in a way I had never seen him before… But the third time, while he was still speaking to us we saw a mob coming up, through the olive grove… there were temple guards among them and Juda…

Do you Understand?

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The second in my short series of monologues for Holy Week, tonight looking at the events in the upper room on the night before Jesus died. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ he asked.  No I do not… the more time I spend with Jesus the less I understand… He is forever turning things upside down… If it’s not the temple traders’ tables, it’s the established order of things! I mean, take tonight for example… We’d all gathered to celebrate the Passover together… The lamb had been duly prepared and we were all together remembering the old, old stories of God rescuing his people from the hands of their oppressors… sharing not only the lamb, but the unleavened bread, the bitter herbs and wine… Everything was familiar, then in the middle of it he starts talking about the bread being his body, broken for us… the wine, his blood poured out for us… Andrew and John whispered about something Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptiser had said years ago, before I met Jesus, about him being the Lamb of …

It's Time

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The first of 3 new monologues written for our Holy Week Services on the New South and Central Belfast Circuit in a series entitled "In the Footsteps of the Fisherman" looking at the events of Jesus' last week through the eyes of Simon Peter. This one was based on the "mini apocalypse" of Mark 13, where Jesus says that before too long the Temple will be torn down (as it was 40 years later) before going on to refer to other unsettling events... 
It’s time… surely it’s time… Time to throw off the yoke of our oppressors. To take control of our own destiny again. One nation under God. Time for us to be great again, as we were in the time of David and Solomon when the temple was first built… Time for us to throw out the foreigners like they did in the time of the Maccabees when the second temple was ruined. Time to humble the ruling religious elite down here in Jerusalem… They don’t care one jot or tittle for us up in the north… They’ve worked hand in glove with the R…

Hate

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OK! Here's my final TFTD for a while. Hope you don't hate it...  Can hate ever be good? Morning is not my favourite time of day… there are days when I hate it... and the news rarely does much to improve my mood… And yesterday was a case in point, with a number of news stories sharing a similar theme. One that, sadly, there have been at least 320 hate crimes against the small Muslim community here in Belfast over the past five years… Then there was the appalling video circulating on social media of young people, some wearing Northern Ireland football shirts, singing "we hate Catholics" to the chorus of Tiffany's "I Think We're Alone Now". The IFA were encouragingly swift to speak out against this, saying that they condemn sectarianism of any kind, threatening to ban those involved. Meanwhile it seems that a number of England players were subjectto racist abuse during the previous night’s demolition of Montenegro, with Raheem Sterling tweeting that his g…

Happy?

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This morning's Thought  the Day on Good Morning Ulster... Well do you feel your sap rising, with today being the Spring equinox… the day in the northern hemisphere when there is as much light as dark… hopefully heralding marginally warmer weather in the weeks ahead?  Today is also the International Day of Happiness, established in 2011 as a United Nations Initiative devised by social entrepreneur and UN advisor Jayme Illien to inspire, mobilize, and advance the idea of happiness as a fundamental human right. And as pat of that , today as in previous years, the World Happiness Report comes out with a league table measuring the happiness of different countries via some arcane statistics. Despite the economic doldrums of the past decade and the political rancor of recent years, the UK has remained fairly steady at around 18th out of about 150 countries… With central African countries generally rating very low and Scandinavians topping the league every year… The USA has moved up and dow…

Storms

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Again, it's been a while again... and I didn't get a chance to post last week's Thought for the Day, but here is this morning's effort... you can get the audio version online later if you so desire...
In Greek mythology King Aeolus ruled an island kingdom and the gods granted him control of the winds. According to the poet Homer, Odysseus and his crew arrived on Aeolus’ island after nearly being eaten by a one-eyed giant. Aeolus by contrast allowed them to rest and relax for a month, and as they prepared to leave he provided Odysseus with the gift of a west wind to carry them home. But he also gave him a large sack, warning him to keep it stowed safely away until they got to their destination. Thanks to the favourable wind they were within sight of home after a few days, but when Odysseus fell asleep exhausted by the whole ordeal, his crew, curious to see what treasures Aeolus had given their captain, untied the sack. Unwittingly they unleashed all the other winds tha…

The Work of Christmas - Continued...

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I had never before come across a piece entitled "The Work of Christmas" or "When the Song of the angels is stilled" by African-American author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader, Howard Thurman, until a few days ago, when I chased up the origins of a facebook meme, which turned out to be a reworking of this poem by Michael Dougherty, co-chair of the Social Justice Committee at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Whitehorse, Yukon. The original has been used as the basis for a choral carol which seems to be popular in Amrica, but which, despite it's subject and sentiment, leaves me cold. But given that it has been reworked at least once and that I barely have an original thought in my head, I thought I would us both as the building blocks for a 2 verse poem of my own: 
When the angel choir has gone home to heaven When the last notes of their song has faded away When the shepherds are back to watching their sheep When Bethlehem is no longer so busy When…