Writing and transformation


Tomorrow, I’m preaching once again at St Mary’s, Newport-on-Tay so having had a full and busy week I’m sitting at my PC on Saturday morning/afternoon pouring over the gospel reading (John 4: 5-42) searching for inspiration.

I already have a sermon that I’ve preached on this Sunday in the lectionary (Year A, Lent 3) but I’m keen to write something else, something new. Despite feeling quite exhausted, dizzy and in need of a long and welcome sleep.

One of the threads that is woven throughout the opening chapters of the Gospel according to St John is that of transformation, starting with Jesus’s changing of water into wine. I could do with some transformation this afternoon, starting with the changing of my blank word processor document into a sermon!

Carol services

Vestments hanging in my office
My clerical shirt and vestments hanging in my office.

This evening I’m preaching at the Alumni Carol Service at St Salvator’s Chapel, University of St Andrews, starting at 18:30. So my clerical shirt and vestments are currently hanging up in the office.

I would have hung them all behind the door but unfortunately I’m too tall for the coat hook and my cassock was dragging on the floor. That’s what white boards are for, though, I guess.

This will be my second carol service this year. I conducted (most of) the carol service at St Mary’s, Newport-on-Tay on Sunday evening. I say “most of” because I had it in my diary as starting at 18:30, while the rest of the congregation had 18.00 in theirs. I missed only two carols and a couple of readings.

When I got home I checked my emails to see what time they’d given me. It turns out that was the problem: they hadn’t given me a time, just said “early evening” and I’d guessed 18:30 based on previous experience of early evening services.

This evening’s service is definitely starting at 18:30. Besides, it’s just across the quad from my office. Literally a hop, skip and a genuflect away.

Prayers please that my sermon goes well and that God speaks through me (but not in a weird, Hollywood style!).

Update: Oh for goodness sake! It turns out that the carol service begins at 19:00, not 18:30!! I was told 18:30 … can no one tell me the correct time that I’m supposed to turn up to these things?! 😉

World AIDS Day

AIDS ribbon

As a worshiping community, we have been challenged by such a moment as this!

A moment when we know we are living with AIDS and that we are loved and affirmed.

A moment in which we can offer compassion to those with AIDS and HIV.

A moment where we can sit and comfort those who suffer illness or grieve loss.

A moment when we stand in solidarity with the care partners, health care workers, and researchers as they continue their diligent labour.

A moment and an opportunity to be with all those who are ill with any disease. Those worried, fearful or weary. Those carrying others in prayer.

In this moment: We all stand in need of God’s healing.

From Worship Resources for HIV & AIDS Ministries by Patricia D. Brown and Adele K. Wilcox, p. 8, copyright © Health and Welfare Ministries, General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, Room 330, 475 Riverside Drive. http://gbgm-umc.org/cam/

Queen “Say it’s not true” — free download

Queen + Paul Rodgers’ brand new recording for free download especially for Nelson Mandela’s 46664 on World AIDS Day available for free download on QueenOnline.

Under fire

Photo by Aleksandr Greckas, courtesy of stock.xchng

I’m preaching this coming weekend at Newport-on-Tay (Fr David‘s old stomping ground).

Preparation has started already … I don’t have the luxury of being able to write sermons during the day any more, sadly. And I’m supposed to be in Selkirk on Saturday helping Mum, so even my ‘safety day’ has gone.

I can’t even “recycle” an old sermon for that Sunday as I’ve never preached on that Sunday before (Pentecost 12) — I know: I’ve checked. And my word! it’s not as if it’s an easy passage to preach about either. Have a read:

The Gospel according to St Luke 12: 49-56

  1. “I’ve come to start a fire on this earth–how I wish it were blazing right now!
  2. I’ve come to change everything, turn everything rightside up–how I long for it to be finished!
  3. Do you think I came to smooth things over and make everything nice? Not so. I’ve come to disrupt and confront!
  4. From now on, when you find five in a house, it will be– Three against two, and two against three;
  5. Father against son, and son against father; Mother against daughter, and daughter against mother; Mother-in-law against bride, and bride against mother-in-law.”
  6. Then he turned to the crowd: “When you see clouds coming in from the west, you say, ‘Storm’s coming’–and you’re right.
  7. And when the wind comes out of the south, you say, ‘This’ll be a hot one’–and you’re right.
  8. Frauds! You know how to tell a change in the weather, so don’t tell me you can’t tell a change in the season, the God-season we’re in right now.

Translation: The Message (also available free in electronic form as part of e-Sword.)

Prayers please

So your prayers please for me this week as I wrestle with the passage, and that I hear from God the right thing to say to the congregation in Newport. Pray that I may know how to interpret the present time!