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The Church

I love Jesus. And my love for Jesus is worked out in the church. But our relationship to the church isn’t always easy. Like all relationships worth having, life within the church requires work and commitment. Sometimes that is painful. But we persevere, trusting that in the end beauty and love will prevail.

I saw this poem a while back, and it’s been sitting with me ever since. This seems a good place to record it so I don’t lose it.

How baffling you are, oh Church,
and yet how I love you!
How you have made me suffer,
and yet how much I owe you!
I should like to see you destroyed,
and yet I need your presence.
You have given me so much scandal
and yet you have made me understand sanctity.
I have seen nothing in the world more
devoted to obscurity, more compromised,
more false, and I have found nothing more pure,
more generous, more beautiful.
How often have I wanted to shut the doors
of my soul in your face, and how often
I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms.
No, I cannot free myself from you, because
I am you, although not completely.
And where should I go?

– Carlo Carretto

New year, new story?

Sermon for Second Sunday of Christmas (Matthew 2.13-end)
Preached at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, St Andrews
1 January 2017

In Scotland, Hogmanay has traditionally been the bigger of the two December celebrations. No doubt some of us can remember the time when Christmas wasn’t even a public holiday this side of the border.

Well when I was wee, our house operated a mixed economy: my parents were English and so they’d grown up with Christmas as the main event; but we were in Scotland, where Hogmanay was a big deal, so we had major celebrations for both. Hogmanay meant a late night in someone’s house, lots of party food (vol-au-vents, sausages on sticks!) and free-flowing single malt. Then a long lie the next day, and the wait for someone to First Foot us with a lump of coal wrapped in newspaper. Read more

Eradicating Poverty

I was on Thought for The Day on BBC Radio Scotland this morning, reflecting on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This is what I said: Read more

Thought for the Day

A wee while ago I was approached by BBC Radio Scotland and invited to have a go at being a contributor to Thought for the Day. It’s been great experience for me to learn how it’s put together and work with some of the team, and after a couple of trial runs and lots of guidance, this morning I gave my first live “Thought”.

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Puppies and Heresy

Sermon for Trinity Sunday 2016
Proverbs 8:1-4,22-31; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15

I have to make a confession: I’ve fallen – head over heels.

We met through a friend. It was love at first sight, and it promised to be life-changing. He’s really handsome. He has dark brown hair and deep hazelnut eyes. He’s younger than me, playful, and yet he will happily cuddle up on the sofa. Sure, it’ll take time and effort, and no doubt well have our moments, but I’m confident it’ll be worth it. He’s moving in with me next week.

Before I take this too far, though, let me clarify… I’m getting a puppy. A sprocker spaniel called Oswald. You can check back in a few weeks time after I’ve been dealing with 4am wee stops as to whether my rose tinted glasses remain intact!

Now you’re probably wondering already what on earth that has to do with Trinity Sunday.

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