At last! Freenetname have relinquished control of our gareth-and-jane-saunders.co.uk domain and I am in the process of transferring it to my account at www.123.reg.co.uk. It soon will point to this website. Other ways to get here include www.pottingshed.org.uk, by bike and by bus.
Today we remembered those who gave their lives for our country in the two world wars and other conflicts since. In my sermon I spoke about my experience of the wars from the perspective of the families left at home, and reflected on my visit to Poperinge and Ieper in 1998 with Toc-H. It was a moving service.
I am saddened by the conflict in the Anglican Communion at the moment focussing on the issue of the consecration to Bishop of the Revd Gene Robison, an openly gay priest in the Episcopal Church of the USA (ECUSA). I pray for God’s love to be shown to all his people. I do not understand why men and women should be excluded from God’s kingdom on account of their sexual orientation.
I was challenged at a meeting a couple of months ago that heterosexual Christians need to ‘come out’ in their support for an inclusive church that allows all people to discover their full potential in relationship with God.
Changing Attitude Scotland is campaigning for this within the Scottish Episcopal Church, and contains up-to-the-minute articles on the issue.
Inclusive Church.net is seeking to do the same within the Anglican Communion.
On the other side of the argument TransformSEC is praying and campaigning for “the biblical and spiritual transformation of the Scottish Episcopal Church in accordance with Romans 12:2”. (This is a Yahoo Group.)
I am still slowly plodding through The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien for the second time. Frodo and Sam’s journey took them about a year from the Shire and back again. It took me about a year the first time I read it in St Andrews, this time it’s taking about twice as long. But I’m still enjoying it: Frodo and Sam have just reached the Black Gates.
The SECC is easier to get to than I feared, despite the freezing fog, my blocked windscreen washer jets and as a result a dangerously dirty windscreen. I arrived just in time for the support, Funeral For A Friend, to ring out their few final chords, thank the crowd and exit stage left. Half-an-hour later Maiden stormed the stage, which looked something like a castle, guarded left and right by Grim Reaper-like figures. The Dance of Death entourage was in town.
Maiden played an amazing set that lasted two hours, covering tracks from most, if not all, of the their 13 studio albums. Highlights for me included Paschendale (when the speakers blew and we were plunged into silence, apart from the enormous cheer from the crowd!), Can I Play With Madness, Dance of Death, Journeyman (an acoustic encore), and of course Iron Maiden and Run To The Hills.
Surprisingly, when I emerged into the chilly Glasgow evening outside my ears weren’t ringing as much as I had expected. (I didn’t wear ear plugs to this gig as they muffled the sound far more than in a smaller venue.) Enormous thanks for an incredible evening to Messrs Harris, Murray, Smith, Dickenson, McBrain and Gers.
That’s another legendary band I’ve wanted to see live under the belt. Who’ll be next? Voivod? Celtic Frost? Prong?