Showing posts from October, 2016

Throwback Thursday: 8 years, 100 years, forever

100 years ago today Dorothy Dellow (later Mitchell), my Nanna, was born. Eight years ago, in September, she died.

opening lines from the poem I wrote after Nanna died. 

It feels like forever; it feels like yesterday. I wish I could tell her all the things I appreciated about her,  especially that she is the first to come to mind when I am asked to think of a person who has influenced me, taught me, shown me how to be human. She wasn't overly sentimental, so I suppose she would have waved her hands at me as if I was speaking nonsense, or the unnecessary.

It's been a while since I said it, though, to anyone. So today, on what would have been her 100th birthday, when my parents and sisters and niece are having lunch at the pub down the hill from her old house, across the road from 'her' beach in Adelaide, I will tell you.

When I watch tennis, especially the Australian Open (flicking between that and the cricket on lazy summer days in January), I think of her. The lounge an…

On Riches: Seeking Wisdom. Midweek Musing

in which Zaccheus meets Jesus (Luke 18:9–14)
an original story by Sarah Agnew 

Jesus enters Jericho and is passing through the town. He is not alone. His followers are with him – the twelve, the women, the followers travelling for various reasons and lengths of time. And the crowd. There is always a crowd.

As followers move on, or the support team of women go ahead to find food and lodging for the intimate group, words gets out. The word is out; wild, untamable, contagious and gathering mass and momentum.

The word is out! He heals! I am well again! She can see again! They – they ­– were made welcome! The word is out: the word is, he is, here! And the people spill out from their homes and farms, from the market places, shops and gardens. He is here, and all desire an encounter, to be closer, to see!

Zaccheus is in Jericho, a senior tax collector there, and very rich. Zaccheus wants to see who this Jesus is, who could be gathering such crowds, who is liked and loved by all; who is so …

Throwback Thursday repeats: turning

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Midweek Musing: Intercessions

For worship at Bainsford church in Falkirk a couple of weeks ago, I composed these words for our prayers for others and the world.

Intercessions We pray for the city in which we live,
the neighbourhoods, streets and homes.

May all who dwell here with us flourish,
may we live our lives with wisdom, courage and compassion.

We pray for the land in which we live,
for Scotland, for the United Kingdom;

may all who dwell here with us flourish,
may those who lead our communities do so with wisdom, courage and compassion.

We pray for the places from which we have come;
the places we were children, the different places we have called home, the lands of our ancestors.

May all who dwell in those places flourish;
may we remember our stories with wisdom, courage and compassion.

We pray for places we have not known to be home –
where we have been stranger or been rejected, where we have not ventured at all;

may all who dwell in these places flourish, and greet strangers with wisdom, courage and compass…

Autumn throwback to gold, to home

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Midweek Musing: going nowhere, going home

On Sunday, I was back at Bainsford Church in Falkirk, leading their gathered worship again. Always a delight, this congregation welcomed me warmly among them for another visit, and promised to have me back for the ladies' group in the new year! Here is the reflection I offered, on Jeremiah 29:1, 4–7 and Luke 17:11–19.
going home, right where we are  We have heard two stories about finding wellbeing, thriving, where you find yourself to be.

Exiles from Jerusalem find themselves in Babylon.

God says stay, live, grow, flourish. Build houses and live in them. Make yourselves at home. Plant gardens and eat what you grow – invest time and energy in cultivating the land. Be present where you are. Take wives, have children, encourage them to do the same. You will be here for a while, a generation or maybe more. Have compassion on yourselves and each other, continue to love, to care, to hope.

There is wisdom in not struggling against circumstances you cannot change. There is wisdom in p…

naming the dark: World Mental Health Day

Counting the dark hours: Throwback Thursday

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Midweek Musing: looking forward, one year to go

Last week I looked back at the past two years in Scotland. Now, to look forward to one more year of hopes and opportunities.

Places I will go 
I know I have return visits to Bainsford and Upper Clyde Parish churches, two congregations who collectively have become friends these past two years. Once more for each on the calendar for 2016, but 2017 is a bit unknown, as I plan to reduce the number of pulpits I fill and stories I perform for a season of tighter focus for my creative output.

I plan to be in Washington D.C. again in August for the Network of Biblical Storytellers' seminar and gathering, so important has that week been these past two years. I may get to Ireland for the British New Testament Conference, would like to visit friends in Cardiff, and will most certainly be in Tuscany in late September (hopefully having handed in the thesis) for a certain friend's certain special birthday.

Other than that, I have hopes for more castles, lochs and churches around Scotland, a…