A Three Legged Race

A Three Legged Race


When God  tied our ankles together to run the three legged race,

He gave us our number and He blessed us on our way,

Kissed our heads and said “Ready,steady,GO!”

And we set off with our arms around each other

Not caring where we were going.

Along the way we got tired and thought about our selves

Our legs wouldn’t move in time and we murmured and moaned to God.

We said,  Are you sure that you have this right Lord?

Surely you meant us to run this race in separate categories.

We thought that we were faster than one another,fitter, more qualified to run.

But God said ,You must keep in the right lane and try harder

Move your feet together and the tie will not chafe your skin

Stop straining and pulling against one another and the pain will cease.

Put my healing balm on your wounds

Get up and keep running.

As you promised me that you would compete together in my name.

I promise you that I will be your trainer forever.

I will encourage you on and wave flags, I will shout your names like a proud Father at sports day

watching his children try so hard.

Tie the knot tighter……..Ready,Steady , GO!


There we were underground, in a maze of dingy corridors. The temperature was tropical,there were no windows and it was extremely stuffy. We sat on plastic chairs and grew hotter, dozens of us packed in together.
The Rev. and I had got up at 5.30 am, to walk dogs, clean out chickens,grab a quick shower and wake up teenagers, who had to get themselves to school. We left the house at 7.30 and the bus at 8. We then traveled nearly 100 miles, just for the privilege of sitting for nearly an hour in these conditions.

We were in the Out Patients department at one of the City Hospitals. The Nurses looked grubby , had their baggy uniform tops ever seen an iron?, and they were munching on food out of their pockets while they propped up the waiting room wall. Can you tell what kind of Ward Sister I was?.. Four receptionists. planned their Christmas shopping whilst hardly looking at patients who queued to be sent to seats.

I was second to last in the queue, I think because I phoned yesterday to say that there was a landslide and flooding at the mountain pass and I’d be late. A young woman came and collected me, and sat me down.She introduced herself as the consultant cardiologist. Surely not I thought, she was no older than my eldest daughter!Here I was about to trust her with my life and I’d started nursing before she was born!
It amazing isn’t it, we plead with God for healing and when he says I’m not actually going to heal you right now, but I know a man who can, (or woman in my case), we say , no we don’t want that, we don’t want to be healed by anything that might cause us pain, or discomfort. We don’t want to be patient and brave. We want God to reach out like it’s recorded in the Gospels and heal us right now.

But, coming to terms with God’s way of doing things is very beneficial,:
1. We learn to trust him.
2. Our faith grows.
3. Our character is strengthened.
4. We can testify to others that God is in control, and doesn’t make mistakes.

I’m sure that their are many other benefits, not just our healing.

As this young lady described step by step , the procedure of getting inside my heart and freezing bits of it, I would like to have crawled under her desk and rocked silently!
She then said but it’s up to you,whether you have it done, but it won’t get better on it’s own. Some choice, so I smiled weakly and signed up. It won’t be before Christmas, she informed me, phew I thought, couldn’t cope with that anyway.
Next I was sent for a heart trace, and and even grubbier young “boy” stuck the 12 leads on me, his Glaswegian accent was so strong I just about understood him, but he didn’t understand a word I said, even though I tried my best BBC English. So we did it in silence and smiled at each other. He then ripped of all the stickers with such rapidity, that I thought he had missed his vocation in life and should be doing the waxing at a beauty salon.
Now I was free to go, I passed someone in full theatre garb, hat, gown the lot ,wandering about in the crowds in reception, and they worry about where cross infection comes from!

Even the city air seemed fresh as we surfaced.We cheered ourselves up with an Indian Meal, then went and met my son,wife and grandaughter, who ate carrot puffs and played throw the dolly on the floor and see how many times Grandma will pick it up. The Rev. took over teaching her “Heads ,Shoulders, Knees and toes”, which encouraged her to sit with her hands on her head for a while, before we went o see the “lights” and some shops. The Rev keeping the small person quiet by changing the words of that terrible No. 1 song which I don’t understand, but has the lyrics “Ganlam style” or similar, which he changed to “Grandad style”.
The late bus got us in at 9 pm, absolutely shattered.

Well, my prayer for healing is going to be answered, sometime in the New Year, it isn’t going to be pleasant, but I will pray that they all develope their skills in the meantime and at least they will all be a little older!

Half a Century

The Rev. turned a half century last Friday, unfortunately this still makes him eligible to be my toy boy, but at least we are in the same decade at last!
We were due at a “Ministers and wives” social in the afternoon and as this was well out of our Parish we thought we’d have lunch out . The last time we had a celebration, we ate locally ,but more than a dozen people joined us at the table at various times, it was lovely to see them but took the edge off the occasion slightly.
We went to the nearest hostellery a pub with great character,and “did” lunch, which was delicious, and feeling very full went off to the pre -Christmas get together. Now as I have only held the post of Minstersmrs for two years I had no idea what this could entail, the only experience I had to base it on was a funeral tea where a few clergy sat together including the Rev.,and swapped anecdotes, and I got to counting how many crumbs there were on the table and wondering when the hotel staff had last dusted the window sills
So I went with some reluctance. I need not have worried, our hosts were interesting and lively, the atmosphere in their Manse ( oh Lord forgive me for coveting their beautiful enormous Manse) was festive and lit with fairy lights, the food (oh how I wished I hadn’t pigged out at lunch time!) was wonderful. Ministers and partners from all over the area met together, relaxed for a few hours and went away refreshed, me with a “doggie bag” for the children, which turned out to be a mini banquet. Often Manse /Vicarage families don’t get to enjoy Christmas as things get SO hectic, school performances, not just our own children, extra services, other peoples services we want to support, and the list goes on and it takes away the joy of the season. So thank you , Rev.Dr and your lovely wife, we enjoyed it so much.

I’m not sure that I’ll get a Christmas present this year. There I was singing away in the second service of the morning, a couple of weeks ago, when the lens in my glasses fell out and shot under the pews. My 81 year old friend beside whom I was standing, hung upside down over the back of the seat to see if she could find it, she’s very fit!,  I crawled about underneath. Seeing the Rev. giving us stern looks, we decided to wait until later. I held the hymn book at arms length and peered at the words, thankfully he had chosen well known ones, so I knew most of the lyrics, and those I didn’t I made up. So, off I went to the Opticians, I apparently needed a new prescription anyway. But the cost…… oh my, I tried to break the news to the Rev. gently , he’s still recovering.

To cheer him up and take his mind of it, I made him a nice Birthday cake decorated as a runners race number ( as he is an amateur triathlete) with a large “50” and candles. We took it to church on Sunday to have with the coffee after the service. I was told by those who faithfully do the drinks each week ,  that there was no knife and was it really appropriate to light candles on Remembrance Sunday. I reminded them that the Rev. used to be an Army Chaplain, and everyone settled down. I found one of the childrens’ rulers in my handbag and cut the cake ,which was no mean feat ,as it had hard icing and was a fruit cake. A large cake disappeared in minutes. I apologised to the session clerk about the icing and fruit that folk had dropped on the floor but he didn’t mind a bit.
We got home mid afternoon, gave ” lunch” to the in -laws and after a good cup of coffee we noticed that the Birthday Boy was fast asleep on the sofa. Three days of celebrating was obviously too much…well he is 50!

Remember Them

Remember Them

For those who have given their lives, those injured, those living with the after effects of service, from recent wars or still struggling  after many years of anguish. Those serving now and their families who miss and wait for their safe return.
Those in training, and those who recently lost their jobs due to cuts.
We remember them all and hold them in our prayers.

God’s Spa

A friend ,kindly took me to an evening at the Episcopal Church in the town for an  “Evening of Quiet.” I am a bit of an ecumenical, having worshiped in what ever denomination was available at the place I was living in at the time. I love the Baptists best of all, my spiritual home, worked for the Methodists,  my great grandparents being staunch members, was sent out to Bible College by a loving Congregational Free Church and married into the Church of Scotland. So I’m a bit of a denominational mongrel.

The local “piskeys” have only 12 members, 6 of whom are actually active. Their Church must have been lovely at one time ,but now needs a lot of repair. It has an adjoining Rectory which is enormous and needs £70,000 of repairs before they can get a new Rector.

The evening programme was one of reflection on prayer and love, with an invited speaker who leads retreats and sometimes worships with us in the C of S.  Despite it being the coldest church I have ever been in,I thought my legs had gone numb, it was the most wonderful two hours I have spent in a long time. The smell of the candles was intoxicating, reminding me of the scripture verse Psalm 141:2   “Let my prayer be set forth before you as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice”   Beautiful choral music played during the prayer times and part of the silences, the speaker was gifted and inspiring, but also fairly intellectual, and if I found my self drifting ,I missed important points, but  the content of the “sermonettes” kept pinging on light bulbs of thought, eureka moments, when I wanted to shout , “At last, I get it!”, I found it hard to take in all the message. The whole thing climaxed in a short communion service, made special, I think by going forward to kneel at the altar something I seldom get the chance to do. It wasn’t just the evenings content that brought me alive, it left me in a quandary too. We spend so much time trying to make our services attractive to others, maybe it’s a bit more of the traditional and mystical we need, or am I just getting old? 

The Rev. and I work hard to serve our congregations, as we are called to do but, sometimes we both feel drained.  On this night I felt as though I had been immersed in God for the two hours that I was there. It felt indulgent and rather selfish to enjoy myself so much ,but I came away feeling as if I had attended some expensive spa. Relaxed and satisfied.

It just shows the venue, the decor, even the temperature of the room doesn’t matter but where a few are gathered expecting things of God, there He is..!  What luxury.