Showing posts from July, 2014


Recently I've been invited to attend a number of protests concerning the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict, asked to sign different petitions and encouraged to share different articles about the situation. I've done the latter a couple of times depending on the content of the article, but I have done neither of the former two, because I have not yet been entirely comfortable with the tone or origin of the protest or petition.  I don't know enough about the conflict to know how to effectively register my concerns, but I know enough to know which petitions I am not going to sign, and am reluctant to let my name on a petition or presence at a protest be held to indirectly add support to causes I would never support in a million years. I am not going to stand side by side with someone comparing the IDF to the Nazis, extolling the virtues of Hamas, or on the other hand sign a petition that equates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. As a result I have felt somewhat power…

I am STILL confident of this...

I first posted a version of this back in November 2010, when I was in a deep dark place. Thankfully I am in a much better place today. But part of that is because the God of whom this Psalm speaks is the same on dark and difficult days as well as the bright sun-shiny ones. This coming Sunday we will be using a shorter responsive version of this Psalm, but I thought this version was worth posting today...

The LORD is my light and my salvation:
What have I got to fear?
The LORD is the fortress for my life:
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When wicked men and women bear down on me like beasts
longing to eat me alive,
they fall flat on their faces;
My enemies stumble and tumble.
Though I am besieged on all sides,
My heart will not falter or fear.
Though world war three breaks out around me,
even then will I be cool, calm and collected.

One thing I ask from the LORD,
this is what I’m looking for:
that I may live in the presence of the LORD all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the glory of the LORD and to serv…

A Suitable Psalm for the Parading Season?

The following is a paraphrase of a extract from Psalm 118, more commonly associated with Palm Sunday but perhaps a suitable Psalm for the parading season? Not a parade remembering a king conquering his enemies on a white horse with a sword in his hand, but one of a king on a donkey, with palm branches rather than banners and flags...  We used this last night as part of our Service of Prayer for Parades and Peace...
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures for ever. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. Shouts of joy and victory resound from the homes of the righteous: "The Lord's right hand has done mighty things! The Lord's right hand is lifted high; the Lord's right hand has done mighty things!" Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
O Lord,…

Forgiveness Again...

This is another Jesus-Peter dialogue in the style of Bell and Maule, but prompted by the words of the Lord's Prayer and Jesus' story of the Unforgiving Servant in Matthew 18: 21-35. I wrote it years ago and was surprised I had never posted it before. It was originally slated for posting a fortnight ago, when we were scheduled to use it in the morning service... but things went on a bit, so I pulled it both from the service and from the blog... We should be using it in this morning's service at 11am in Belfast South, so long as thing don't go on too long again! But if they do I hope the congregation will forgive me...
Peter:        Eh... Jesus...? Jesus:       Yes, Peter? Peter:        How many times did you say I should forgive my brother? Jesus:       Have you and Andrew been fighting again, Peter? Peter:        Oh, you know what he’s like... I know you want us to forgive each other, but I really am ready to deck him... And I can’t remember, are we supposed to forgive othe…

I will exalt you (Again!)

Tomorrow's lectionary readings include a portion of Psalm 145. Here's a an amended reblog of a reblog of a responsive version I wrote a while back:

I will exalt you, my God and King:
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you
And extol your name for ever and ever
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no-one can fathom.
One generation will remind the next about your wonderful works;
they will share stories of your mighty acts.
They will sing of the glorious splendour of your majesty
And I will mediate on your miracles They will proclaim the power of your almighty arm
And I will tell one all about your great deeds.
They will celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your justice and mercy.

My mouth will shout out in praise of the Lord
Let every creature praise his holy Name
Psalm 145

The Return of the Prodigal and the Banishing of Pessimism

For those who haven't heard already via social media the prodigal cat has returned... at 3.30am on Thursday morning. Never has meowing outside our bedroom window at such an ungodly hour been greeted with such joy... The fatted calf wasn't killed, but the feline equivalent was served up as Claudia ate her bodyweight in Whiskas and Iams (other catfood products are available), suggesting that she had been stuck somewhere without food for 3 days...
Anyway, my worst fears expressed on Wednesday evening had not come to pass... The question is whether my worst fears of Thursday evening will do so?  On Thursday afternoon the Democratic and Ulster Unionist parties involved in Haass-lite talks at Stormont pulled out because it had just been announced that the Ligoniel Oranges lodges have been refused permission to return from the field on the 12th via the Ardoyne shops by the Parades Commission determination... I have already expressed on facebook that, from my outside perspective the …

Just a Cat...

There was me posting two Psalms for dark days last week little knowing that this week I would have need of them myself... because a deep dark cloud has descended on Virtual Methodist Manor.  Our cat, Claudia, has disappeared... On afternoon Sunday we were telling visiting friends how big a part of the family she was... and Sunday night was the last time we saw her. She headed out on her routine summer nocturnal prowl and hasn't been seen since... by anyone... the neighbourhood has been leafleted but no-one has seen her.
She has gone missing for 24 hours before, but it's now approaching 72 hours and there is no sign of her... Those who are long time readers of this blog will remember that 4 summers ago we lost another cat, Mitten... To paraphrase Oscar Fingal O'Flaherty Wills Wilde, to lose one cat may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness. But Mitten's loss was due to a combination of old age, ill health and the thoughtlessness of a new neighb…