Showing posts from June, 2014

Psalm for Another Dark Day

Thanks to everyone who offered words of encouragement and comfort regarding yesterday's funeral. It went as well as a funeral reasonably can do. Today I offer another reblogged responsive Psalm... This time Psalm 13... It is a classic lament, but I'm posting it, not because I'm down in the dumps (far from it), but because it is one of the Psalms set in the Revised Common Lectionary this weekend, and a couple of people recently bemoaned the fact that I hadn't been posting my Psalms for Sunday for some time. I'm not actually preaching this coming Sunday, but I posted this last year on "Health Care Sunday" and thought it was worth another outing:
How long, O Lord? How long? Have you forgotten me for ever? How long will you turn your face in another direction? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and fears through the night and each day walk around with sorrow lying like a lump of lead in my heart? How long will my enemies look down their noses at me? Look at me…

A Psalm for a Dark Day

Here's a version of Psalm 103 which I previously blogged under the title of "Sing When You're Winning (and at All Other Times Too)". Well today is one of those other times... I'm conducting the funeral service for one of my father's sisters, having done so for another aunt exactly 18 months ago... A slightly more traditional version of this Psalm will be read at today's service as it was at the previous one...

O my soul, praise the source of all good things; Praise his holy name from the centre of your being. O my soul, praise the source of all good things; And don’t forget a single solitary blessing. He erases all error and offense He heals all illness and infirmity, He raises you out of the grave And dresses you with love and compassion. He satisfies your hunger with the finest of fare So that your strength is restored and you can soar like the eagle. The Lord works makes all things right and just He upholds the oppressed. He revealed his ways to Moses, He showed hi…

Changing Scenes but the Same Mission

The A4 magazine format of this history of BCM belies its depth and importance. Unlike Eric Gallagher's centennial history, 'At Points of Need' which took a traditional chronological approach, this one takes a more thematic approach, perhaps allowing the reader a greater sense of the breadth of the mission's work over the years. An advantage that this history has over Eric Gallagher's is that it can more fully reflect the importance of Eric Gallagher's own role as Superintendent of the mission an...moreWe have recently established a "Good Book Group" in Belfast South Methodist, and for our third book we wanted to slip in something easy to read before the summer. As it  happens Belfast Central Mission recently distributed copies of an A4 publication tentitled "Through Changing Scenes" to both mark the 125th anniversary of the Mission and highlight a proposed new development - Copelands Dementia and Nursing Care on the site of its former Child …

Peace-Lovers are Irrelevant...

A few days ago a facebook friend posted a video of Brigitte Gabriel of "ACT! for America" verbally eviscerating a young Muslim woman who asked a question of her and other panellists at Heritage Foundation event. I won't post the video myself as I won't give either organisation easy hits as they are both highly media-savvy right wing institutions that, like our own insidious Britain First, frequently use hit counts as a measure of their reach... If you are interested you can do a bit of googling... The video produced the usual range of people praising her forthrightness and dismissal of political correctness... And it chimed well with some of the negative things that were said here recently about Islam... But there was little in it that I hadn't heard before... Dressing up general prejudice in righteous indignation. And to be fair, if Ms. Gabriel's life story as a Lebanese Maronite Christian is to be believed, she has good reason to be, at very least, wary o…

The $64,000 Question

Friday was a busy and diverse day... A morning spent hearing about and discussing the work of the Irish Churches Peace Project, an afternoon plotting and planning for the next 4 Corners Festival, then an evening at a fundraising Quiz for my son's gap year project... with a pastoral visit and some sermon preparation squeezed into the gaps... I enjoy quizzes... I enjoy the challenge of fishing around in the murky swamp that I call my memory to see if I can fish out the right answers to obscure questions... And so long as the subjects have nothing to do with modern culture (eg. soaps/celebrities/boy bands etc) I am usually OK... But on Friday night I wasn't trying to answer the questions... I was merely the beauteous assistant to our question master, having contributed a few of the questions to the pot from which he drew... And that is a useful metaphor for what I am increasingly trying to do these days... ask questions rather than necessarily provide answers... Earlier in the d…

Happiness is...

Well, this morning we showed SlingshotCreations' "Happy Methodists" video from Conference at our morning service, subverting the fine work I have done for years in describing my attendance at Annual Conference as a trial akin to a millennium in purgatory (if we believed in such a thing)... I may not have looked it in the video, but I genuinely was happy at the overall direction of conference this year... certainly more so than for most of my ministry and more so than last year where I felt somewhat out of joint with everything for various reasons. This year was not perfect by any means, but this is not the forum to discuss what I perceive as it's shortcomings... and I have already discussed them with those who can actually make a difference. But throughout and after conference I have had a number of experiences that have made me genuinely happy... not just the somewhat superficial happiness induced by this video (though there is nothing wrong with that)... Happiness…

What's the Right Time?

There’s an opportune time to do things,
a right time for everything on the earth: A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 We'll it's almost a month on from my last blog post... and a number of people recently have asked why I have stopped posting so regularly? Frankly it has been a question of time... I haven't had enough of it to do all that I have needed to do... …