Sunday, 28 October 2012

Little book of calm

I bought a little book some years ago from Welsey Owen/Dove Books when it was still open. I never really look at it, it sits in the back of my rucksack and acompanies me back and forth to work.

I picked it up today and opened it up on this page:

It is not work that wears people out, but sadness, anxiety and worry. To God all your griefs are worthy of consideration.

Philipian 4: 6 - 7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 5: 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you

Something to think about this week...

sometimes we pray

Last Sunday I went to Holy Trinity Brompton for the seven o’clock service. The service was good – the worship was excellent. I found myself crying through the song “Guardian” by Ben Cantelon.

The service was by David Ingall and based around Isaiah 43: 1 – 7 .

But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cushand Seba in your stead.
4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.
6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
7 everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”
Although the main body of the sermon was a  hard message at times to swallow – I somehow found incredibly refreshing and encouraging. I think I have just honed in on those words that I have highlighted such, ”you are mine”, “I love you”, ”do not be afraid I am with you”.

Sometimes I wonder if perhaps I am weak and not strong – if I am relying on 2000 year old words of scripture to keep my spirits up. I simply do not know. I have not quite managed to read any more of Isaiah but perhaps I should do – instead of falling alseep on the Tube! I get the tingling feeling that there is a message of hope to be found within those pages.

At the end of the service I went for prayer. Although I had many worries, I could not think of any one thing that I wanted prayer for so I asked the lady to just pray as she felt led. Now I cannot really remember what she said but I do remember her saying that God understands why I am doing what I am doing. God says that it is not my fault. God will be with me always. A little confusing and I am not sure that I really understood all of it but it somehow made me feel like at least the week could be started afresh.

I was reminded of the fact that I used to go for prayer on a 'regular basis'. I am not sure why that stopped.  I even used to keep a record of this in my e-mail account. I opened one of these e-mails last week - written in 2011.  This is what it said:

"Remember you went to HTB on 24th August and somebody prayed for you
Said that God was singing over you and delighted in you"

Not sure what to make about it now a year on and life very different.


Tuesday, 16 October 2012


This is not how I expected it to be.

This is everything I expected it to be.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


Creature of habit.

I will always sit in the seat at the front of the 1st carriage.

There is a small internal whoop of joy when there are no changes (I am easily pleased) and I do not have to emerge sleepy-eyed 3 stations from the final destination.

From my little corner on the carriage I can observe - the little dramas that fill the sixty minutes it takes to get from West to East.

Today I am amused.

Today I watch as irritation meets hunger.

I can smell the fried food before the owner reaches my end of the carriage. I must admit, even my stomach is rumbling.  The carrier of the chips and burger sits down next to me and munches away. I am just about to settle in an iPod haze, the 'I've Got To Tell You What A State I'm In' playlist is loaded and ready to go, just about to hit the shuffle button for that extra element of 'surprise', when the woman opposite  us clear her throat.

We both look up - and the woman makes the noise again and says "You're not serious?"

The eater of chips carries on eating. I carry on...,well - sitting.

The woman speaks again "You can't eat on the Tube, it smells!"

The eater of chips, stops for a moment, takes a bite from her burger, chews, swallows and continues to stare at the woman opposite her. The eater of chips takes another chip from the paper bag and replies "I'm hungry, I'm tired, I've had a long day".

The woman opposite - somehow had left her empathy at the ticket office, says, "I don't care about that. I'm tired too. I should be able to get on the Tube and not have to smell that food"

The chip eater continues with the mission, never wavering - "Sorry, I can't help you there. You're free to move"

The woman opposite is clearly not grateful for this  piece of advice - it is the first time I have seen an outraged splutter - and it is truly amusing...

Monday, 8 October 2012

In Between Days


A year is a long time in between days...

7th October 2011

This was the word in earnest, in faith

That I love deeply and am loved
That I give and am given too
That I am forgiven and forgive
That I am fruitful and bless the Earth
That I be joyful in your name always
Time travel has not been invented yet

Throwing the baby out with the bath water...?

Just ploughing through the 1st chapter of the  Religion For Atheists by Alain de Botton (Wisedom without doctrine) and picking out the interesting bits.


"One can be left cold by the doctrines of the Christian Trinity and the Buddhist Eightfold Path and yet at the same time be interested in the ways in which religion deliver sermons, promote morality, engender a spirit of community, make use  or art and architecture, inspire travels, train minds and encourage gratitude a the beauty of spring"

"We invented religions to serve two central needs which continue to this day and which secular society has not been able to solve with any particular skill:

1. the need to live together in communities in harmony, despite our deeply rooted selfish and violent impulses.

2. second, the need to cope with terrifying degrees of pain which arise from our vulnerability to professional failure, to troubled relationships, to the death of loved ones and to our decay and demise"

"Religions merit our attention for their sheer conceptual ambition; for changing the the world in a way that few secular institutions ever have.  They have managed to combine theories about ethics and metaphysics with a practical involvement in education, fashion, politics, travel, hostelry, initiation ceremonies, publishing, art and architecture..."

Over the past year I have become more interested in why people follow religions/come to faith.Sometimes I wonder if it is just an accident of birth that we end up following one religion or another - or at least until we are old enough to make our own decisions. Sometimes, in fact many times, I have doubts about the whole thing. Why do I have doubts - the 64 million dollar questions? Many reasons - many of which are personal but I can see the 'benefits' of some aspects of religion which is why I am reluctant to throw the baby out with the bath water...

Tuesday, 2 October 2012


I am waiting patiently. The hospital radio plays on in the background (who choses the playlist? 'Wind beneath my wings' and 'You are my one temptation' are to name but a few). The waiting room is slowly filling up, as is my bladder as I sip my prerequisite amount of water and try to ignore the encroaching discomfort. A husband and wife team enter, both clutching their one litre bottles of Highland spring water. I am not sure who is having the scan but they both earnestly sip away. It's sweet. Opposite me is a mother-son duo. The son in his work suit staring straight ahead - preoccupied while his mother mutters away to herself while rummaging through her handbag. Eventually she finds what she is searching for - her mobile phone. She pulls it out in triumph, flips open the cover and then looks at it with a puzzled expression on her face. She takes off her glasses, peers closer at the tiny screen and passes the phone to her son. At that moment he is called by the ultrasongrapher and hastily hands the phone back to his mother. It is then that I ponder on why I assumed it was the mother and not the son who had come for the scan; it is then that I  ponder on what his story might be and while I am pondering my name is called.  It is time.