I've heard people saying, 'I'm scared' and that started me thinking about the difference between being scared and afraid - was there a difference, and how to offer some words that might be of comfort.
I’m scared too - but deep down I’m not afraid. How does that work - is that faith, dear God, I hope so!!!
All around are people who are scared. All around are reactions to this crisis. World-wide, governments are reacting and putting into place measures to take the pressure of health care services.
I’m not afraid because people and governments will eventually be able to plan for the future.
I’m not afraid because around us within communities people are supporting and helping each other in ways not seen since the blitz (so I’m told).
I’m not afraid because in that support and help are seen the attitudes and responses of a loving and caring God that works alongside people each and every day of our lives.
I’m not afraid because when the very scared disciples had shut themselves into a room (self-isolating or social-distance, you chose!), Jesus appeared to them and said, 'Do not be afraid'. Perhaps he was quoting from an early prophet Isaiah, 'Do not be afraid for I am with you'
I’m not afraid because in the Bible, nearly 70 times, we are reassured by various people in various contexts giving and receiving a message from God that we should not be afraid!
I’m not afraid because I know that, somehow, long-term, we’ll get though this, because God is with us.
Yesterday was the start of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. At Acharacle Community Centre, there was a service to mark this; attending were people there from most of the local denominations (Christian faith groups). Bits and pieces of prep and admin.
Today a meeting at Kilchoan, a couple fo visits, an afternoon at a local social group and now back to the desk.
I go away in a couple of weeks and it's always busy preparing for the usual events that will happen before I go, preparing for the events immediately on return ( so that I am not swamped with prep as soon as I return! ), thinking about what might happen while I'm away and putting in place plans for those happenings, making sure the pastoral care support is there, pulpit supply is ok and ... I'm sure I've missed something!
Ma heid's spinning! (Yes, more than usual!)
Late afternoon zzzzz......
I should have finished the sermon / talk my now but it's not quite coming together yet ... don't panic! No, just write up the Minister's Log and maybe it'll all come together after that.
I last posted on Tuesday, I think. Since then, the rest of the week has included a two hour committee meeting by video link, a bundle of other meetings and a funeral. Quite varied, but then this vocation is always varied.
I can't quite concentrate on this post just now and I'm taking that as a sign that the sermon is pulling together. More another day soon.
Saturday was a desk day with lots of prep and planning.
During Sunday worship we thought about how Jesus is revealed through his baptism and how we relate to that. Of how God was already well pleased with Jesus and how God loves us as we are - that doesn't mean we can't become more kind, gentle, loving etc but that we are loved now - how wonderful is that to know!
One other point to highlight is that however we understand the Spirit of God to have come to Jesus, at his baptism this was a visible sign to others what the Spirit was with Jesus. Baptism was a sign for others. What, for others, are the signs in our lives that God's Spirit is with those who trust and live with God in their lives?
Now It's Monday - and a storm is coming! I've made sure my phone and computer are all charged up. A storm can mean power cuts so it's best to be prepared (once a Girl Guide, always a GG!). Today has some interesting research in it - more later ....
Meanwhile - a picture, from the study window. of a storm brewing. (The blurry bits are bits of leaves blasted onto the window - I'm not going out if I don't have to!)
Picking up from yesterday's blog...
On Wednesday I went to Fort William.
There were more donations to be left at the Foodbank. For a small population, just over 800 people, there are a lot of donations - what a generous and giving community! At the end of March (I think), Alex will write with the total amount that has been donated over the last year - now, that'll be interesting.
For most of us, a trip to FW means going here, there and everywhere. So, a trip to the tip with the Christmas tree and a few bits and pieces, charity shop with some things to pass on, the chemist for supplies for the up-coming trip to Peru with the Vine Trust, and ... so on it went.
Back to the manse via a few stops to drop off bits and pieces to go to other people instead of being stored on the floor of the study. If you would like to come for a chat about anything, as there is actually room for you to sit down, now is the time!
Yesterday, I was at Kilchoan for the Lunch Group Christmas Lunch. Very delicious it was too - thank you to the Community Centre ladies! Craft group was fun, lots of activity and chat. Dropped into one of the local businesses to wish them Happy New Year and then back to the manse. There are other businesses to be visited next time.
Today, we've had breakfast while, from the kitchen window, watching a white tailed sea eagle swooping and diving onto prey - stunning.
Desk now to prepare Sunday worship and for a couple of meetings soon. Below is one of the photos I took on the way back yesterday. It's a slightly different one to that on my own page. Ben Resipole on the right and Ben Nevis in the centre. Moon reflection on the bottom edge. Full moon, wolf moon.
Sunday's worship was interesting - at one service the reading was not the one expected. I spent the time of the reading frantically tweeking what I was about to say! It all worked in the end - it's amazing how that happens! Praise God!!
On Monday, there was 'Church Lunches' at Acharacle. There was a good crowd there and lots of laughter and chat. Hospitality is such a gift and the team love to share their gifting with all who come along. I missed lunches as I was out and about doing other things.
The next morning, Tuesday, there was a Messy Church planning meeting at the manse. We now know what we'll be doing for the next few months and that's following some of the parables (stories) that Jesus told. So many themes to explore and fun to be had. Messy Church is usually on the last Monday of the month at Shielbridge Hall from 3.30pm unto 5.30pm. Why not come along and have some fun.
That's all for today. Over then next couple of days, I'll get up to date with this.
After the busyness of December, the first week of January usually quiet - thankfully!!
This week has been a chance to catch breath, clear up the study, sort out some paperwork and admin (there's always more of that than expected), a couple of pastoral visits, take the manse mutt for extra long walks and to do some reading. It's been nice, and it's reminded me of the importance of actively taking a Sabbath, a rest time from busyness, to let the voice of the soul fight back, elbow it's way back, into balance with everything else. It's almost like re-seeing the wood for the trees. Taking a step back allows a regaining of a sense of perspective, or balance and, hopefully, seeing what is important and what's not.
New Year is a marker in time that allows us all to step back and to try to work out what's important and to regain perspective. May your soul elbow hard and make itself heard loud and strong. That's your connection with the divine that is in us all. May you hear that voice and remember that for a healthy, happy and fulfilling life (not just 2020) we all need to take care of ourselves, body, mind ... and soul!
Every blessing for 2020,