Tuesday, 31 August 2010

angry with God

When I was called to be the minister at the local chapel it was on a part-time basis and as I had heard of some horror stories of ministers who were paid on a part-time basis but expected to preach every Sunday, I agreed to preach on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Sunday of every month. Which means that just a few times a year I take the services on two consecutive Sundays.
So having preached last Sunday, it's head down in my books preparing for next week.
I have been enjoying looking for 'hidden gems' in the Minor Prophets over the summer weeks - Habakkuk this week - which Paul quoted from at the beginning of his letter to the Romans.
Gosh - Habakkuk was so angry with God and had some real ding-dong arguments with him! It's good to know that we too can be angry with God and He still loves us and wants the best for us.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

within a few hours

On Friday evening a young man died in a car accident on the main road running through our village. And the same evening the new wife of a friend who I have known for over thirty years died of a massive brain haemorrhage. A few hours later, in the ambulance outside my son's house my new grandson came into the world - as yet with no name.
And life goes on .......

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

a very strange thing

We have just returned from a few days away, during which we visited Brighton beach. While standing at the sea shore, breathing in the seaweed smell and moisture coming off the sea, we watched a young man (he was young compared to us!) remove his jeans and top, put on an all in one suit (would it be a wet or dry suit?) matching booties and put his clothes into a see-through duffle bag. This bag had a long piece of string attached - he sealed the bag and tied it around his waist and walked into the sea - the waves were about four feet high so it was not easy for him - and then he started swimming out to sea with the bag floating behind him. He left no sign that he had ever been on the beach!
We left the beach with our heads full of questions... where was he swimming to? it's a long way to France from Brighton! and Why?!!! was he a real James Bond or Spook?

Monday, 16 August 2010

my first

Yesterday I took my first dedication service or rather it was a blessing as his Mum used to come to our Sunday School but has since moved away and only occasionally goes to church.
I was warned in advance by Grandma that this was not a small baby and I knew he was six months old. So I was rather wary as I knew that when my sons were that age they became very particular over who held them.
Being an older baby and noticing what was around him, Dad quickly undid my radio mike and then baby was far too interested in my chain on which I wear a cross to be aware of anything else that was happening.
I know that in the Baptist Union's suggested service it states that the minister carries the baby through to the back of the church but as we have a small chapel so everyone could see him, I declined and quickly gave him back to his Dad!

Last Sunday we were very thin on the ground due to holidays but this week not only did we have the family and friends of the baby, we also had several folk visiting who were here on holiday.
Judging what to preach on, especially as I knew that there would be rare church-goers, caused a bit of a big think and prayer. But as I have been looking at well known verses from the minor prophets during the summer - we looked at Jonah; a character that the rare church-goers know of but the full story that not many church goers have heard. How good to read that Jonah was so angry with God - somehow it means that we can be angry as well and yet God still loves and cares for us.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

I'm bored

well, not me today! but it was a cry I would make to my Mum way back then when I was on my school holidays.
I was thinking about this only yesterday, was I really bored? or was I tired, as I was a bit of a weak child and sometimes didn't have the energy to do anything? And then this morning they were talking on radio 4's 'Today' about children being bored during the holidays.
I cannot remember my children ever telling me they were bored - lego kept them happy from their pre-school days till their teenage days - even on our camping holidays! Go anywhere near water and they would be singing the bucket of water song - and emptying the buckets over themselves - bring back Tiswas!
So why are some of the children of today bored on their holidays? Is it because they spend so much time playing on computers that they don't know what to do when they are without them when they go away on holiday?
And maybe when my best friend from childhood moved away I too felt lost and didn't know what to do with myself. I'm no longer bored, especially as I'm now married to my childhood friend.

Friday, 6 August 2010

and there is more!

Giles Fraser's 'Thought for the day' on weddings has been picked up by the Daily Express and on their website there are also comments on the article.
Some have written about why brides wear white - and yes it is nothing to do with purity and whether one is still a virgin when walking down the aisle.
And yes, it is partly to do with wealth. In the days before washing machines and easily washable fabrics, it was only the wealthy who would wear white as they were not the ones doing all the hard dirty work including the washing.
But the other reason was that brides would wear their new best dress for their wedding and the wealthy would wear the dress which they wore when being presented to the king or queen - the debutants! The dress would have a train usually attached at the shoulders which was known as a 'court train'.
And that is why many, many years later, brides still wear white and the dress will often have a train!
And why bridesmaids...? Get ready all you Christians....
the bridesmaids wear similar dresses to the bride to confuse the evil spirits so that they do not know which is the bride!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

more weddings

Yesterday morning on radio 4's Thought for the day, Giles Fraser spoke about the amount of preparation and money spent on the wedding day.
A woman was on Today this morning to defend weddings, saying that she had ten years experience in the wedding 'industry' (I'm sure it was that word)!
As someone who has had forty-three years experience, I feel I may have slightly more experience!
I'm not sure that weddings have changed much in the last ten years, but they certainly have in the last forty years.
Then, there were no wedding magazines, wedding dresses were often a simple long white version of what was worn everyday. The reception was usually for around 50 guests and there were no favours (small gifts for the guests).
Now, brides can spend thousands of pounds on a dress to be worn for just one day. Receptions are often for 100 plus with another party in the evening for more guests.
So much preparation, time and money is put into weddings, that many couples delay until they can afford to pay for their dream wedding.
Some of the best weddings I have been to are where friends and relations help to prepare for the day; making dresses, baking cakes, driving cars with the reception being held in a church hall or back garden.
It has been since the introduction of many of the wedding magazines, helping you to prepare for the 'big' day, that weddings have gone crazy! Let's keep it simple!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

The hidden Church

On Sunday I was invited to preach at a little Chapel that I had heard about, but hadn't been to before. I was given directions and had found it on my map. Most of the journey was on twisting, single track lanes with very high bushes on either sides. And then the lanes didn't seem to agree with my map and the Chapel was no-where to be seen.
I stopped the car outside a cottage and asked the way and was told to go down the unmade track with the no-through road sign!
I guess the members of the Chapel did not want visitors or new members! But the five members of the congregation plus organist were very friendly and the singing was excellent - hymns I remember from my childhood!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Weddings; Golden, White, Red & Green

Last Friday, we felt very honoured to be invited to help celebrate the golden wedding anniversary of the couple who took me under their wings in my student pastorate, sixteen years ago.
And on Saturday I took my first marriage at the Chapel. Many people were invited and had to squash up on the pews, with others standing outside, and so the outside speakers were put on so that everybody could hear the service.
Fortunately this is an English speaking part of Wales but the whole service was very Welsh!
The bride was in white with a large red dragon embroidered on the train of her dress, with one bridesmaid in red and the other in green. The flowers were red and white with green foliage, the groom with a red cravat and the ushers with green.
All the orders of service were tied together with white, red and green ribbons. We sang 'Cwm Rhonda', 'Jerusalem' (the valleys also have their satanic mills!) and 'We'll keep a welcome in the hillsides'.
The Welsh theme was continued to the reception; each place setting had a large welsh-cake in the shape of a dragon.
Two days of celebrations with two very large meals, means I shall take things easy this week - especially at meal-times!