Enquiring Youth

After today’s wedding three young people were standing peering through the glass door, uncertain if they were allowed in. Reassuring voices told them it was okay, and they toddled into church.

The custodian showed them a few of the interesting bits and pieces around the place. While doing this one of the youngsters described to another what it was they were seeing. And so it transpired that one was blind, and the others had brought them out for the day to explore some buildings.

The organist was also practising and shuffling up he made room on his stool for three young people. Then he sat and explained how the instrument worked and allowed them to touch the keys.

If they have never been inside a church before, I hope they left knowing that they were welcome. For they most definitely were, as two people were in their element talking about what they do.

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Goosey, goosey, gander

Goosey goosey gander,
Whither shall I wander?
Upstairs and downstairs
And in my lady’s chamber.
There I met an old man
Who wouldn’t say his prayers,
So I took him by his left leg
And threw him down the stairs.

It’s this nursery rhyme that is stuck in my head as I try to turn off from a busy day that should have been a day off. Instead of time in a pair of jeans spent with the younger household residents, we hurtled around the city buying some essentials with one of us attired in a suit and heels so that we could add a meeting and a hospital visit to the mix. Changing priorities for the next few weeks mean that some rules will have to be broken.

The nursery rhyme for me today had that sense of the wild goose of the Holy Spirit at play. In recent weeks a big project had come to an end and I’ve been contemplating the possibility of some part time study in the near future. The Holy Spirit seemed to aid those thoughts as I’ve an invitation to look at a possible course, although I would really like to look at a different option.

So that goosey has been wandering in and out of my thoughts for a wee while now.

With one phone call, it seems like the thought has been thrown down the stairs for the time being. Instead there’s another project hurtling from the horizon to view, and a whole new set of skills to pick up. Thank goodness for other people’s companionship, help and graceful forebearance.

I’m fairly sure I’ll enjoy this project, and those I get to share it with are full of fun. There’s lots of prep to be done in the lead up, and then a fairly hectic schedule for a week. For me a first full week away from the young people since their births. Post the week, there is at least one trip away and perhaps another.

So has the thought of study entirely gone? I’m still to work out if I can make the meeting, but would like to.

Of course the preparation for everything will be more easily arranged if I also clear my desk of rubbish!

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Lenten Mood

With Palm and Passion Sunday peering over the horizon, this morning it struck me what a “happy” Lent this has been. And while in some way that pleases me, I found myself wondering as the offering was happening if that should have been the case. So lost in the thought was I that I forgot to stand up for the beginning of the doxology.

In past year’s I have spent time picking dour hymns that try to catch some of the anguish that we may feel bereft of God. Prayers have focused on dependence on God, and the searching we make in our wilderness moments.

Some of those themes have been present in the prayers and the themes, but for some reason the spirit of worship has seemed up beat and of swift tempo. And I wonder why?

Looking again at the passages from Matthew and John we’ve read through encountering the Lectionary, this year has not seemed as dour as in the past. Even this morning’s reading from Ezekiel, and the lack of hope without God, brought humour and wonder at the potential of God within.

But perhaps it is not just the readings and the hymns that have set the mood.

A few weeks ago the congregation had their first experience of a Stewardship event. There was some fear and trepidation about what it would mean and what would happen, and yet people came and had a good night. Old friends shared news, new friendships were made, some of the congregation showed themselves in a new light. Since the event, opening the vestry door to listen to the noise of the congregation before worship has been full of the sound of news being exchanged and cares being shared.

The following week there was a Presbytery event that brought together people from across the area. Members of congregations got to know each others’ stories and hopefully found new respect for some of the things that happen in other congregations in the name of our church. It was a lively, fun filled day of walking, procession and ceremony, worship and story, and people threw themselves into all that was happening. There were stories of people meeting who had not seen each other since school, and who knows we’ve maybe managed to convince a couple of congregations that they too should be at Heart and Soul in May.

However is the mood of Lent also set for each of us by where we are in our lives?

I have always loved my role as a parish minister. The variety of each day appeals as it moves from time to study, to conversation, to practical encounters. In every place I have been I could say I was happy.

But am I happier now? Is there something different about this place and this time?

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