Christmas Cards

As usual the Manse is covered in cards from old and new friends. I’m sure that we will find a use for them at Messy Church. Some snazzy bought ones and some lovely homemade ones.

One stands out in particular, arriving after Christmas, it said ” To Rev. and Mrs A. Sorry it’s late, I was drunk. ”
Inside was a little money and the comment ” The rich buy forgiveness and the poor buy food.” The most profound message we have been sent this year, by a colourful character of whom we are fond…..

Flu’ aaarrrrgh!

I woke up at 4am, and staggered to the mirror, one eye was stuck shut and my nose was bleeding slightly. Someone had stuck shards of glass into my throat while I slept.I looked like a pasty pirate after a fight. I have Flu’.

I went to the kitchen and bathed my eye open with some cold tea, yes it works if you have an eye infection, but omit the milk and sugar!

I made myself a cup,(with a new tea bag) and poured a couple of teaspoons of honey down my throat ,to lubricate it so that I could swallow and  to use it’s anti bacterial properties for the soreness. As I put out my arm to switch the kettle of I misjudged it and burnt my arm on the spout adding insult to injury.

I went back to bed wishing I had taken more care of the Rev. and son when they had it, they are so prone to “man-flu” that I thought they were exaggerating a bit. They weren’t!

The Rev. asked me if I was all right and when he was sure it didn’t require one of my early morning trips to A&E, went back to sleep. So I read my book “Je t’aime La Folie”. I borrowed “C’est La Folie” from the library before Christmas and was hooked. This guy, who writes a column for The Telegraph, had bought a dilapitated small holdling in rural France and was learning to run it. My dream!

I used to live on the South Coast where on a clear day you could see it,my Father worked there often and wanted to retire there, but circumstances and an untimely death prevented it. I long to see the places he told me about.

As I shivered an wobbled about in the garden sorting out my girls who have brand new plumage after their moult, Murphy, the lightest coloured hen looks as if she is wearing a beautiful pair of white frilly knickers. I asked them if they would like to live in the South of France. Now these are Scots lassies hatched and bred, Mrs Fergueson the big black and gold one, eyed me and  I thought I heard her say, “Awa with yer the noo, all thaat sun , nae good for us , ya ken”….

She is quite wrong of course.

Visitors

It’s other people that make Christmas special, not the lights, presents or food. It’s spending time with those you see most every week, sharing the same faith , worshiping together and helping each other on our heavenward journey . It’s special because it confirms the important truth which bonds us as a community, God gave us the ultimate gift, his Son.
Few of “the regulars ” were there at the services this year, but those of us who were, shared our wonderment of this amazing gift with packed churches. They only came for the day, and we probably won’t see them until next year, but we prayed that they heard and held the message in their hearts, and just maybe they will return another Sunday.

Strictly Come Sermon

I’ve finished! I have spoken in front of congregations before but nothing is as nerve wracking as presenting a sermon in front of other course members. Thankfully though we all felt the same and encouraged each other as much as possible. I had someone elses teeth in and got my reading a bit mixed up, but only my friend from the our church noticed me pray for people at Christmas, when I was supposed to be in the 4th Sunday in lent! I had cribbed my intercessory prayers from the ones I’d used at last weeks service! I must have bored the others listening.

Our illustrious tutor had to listen to 8 sermons on the trot, he was looking a bit jaded by the time we’d finished.We may have passed because he couldn’t stand anymore!

But I have passed and the Rev. is allowed to present me with a certificate. I’m not at all sure he is convinced about my competence but one day he might just need me to stand in.
I shall miss my Saturdays out, .

The Silly Season

The Silly season has begun, and every year I think that I will cut down on what I do.
Our two choral/musical presentations went well, except that my heart decided to dance about, half way through the second evening and very aware that we were being videoed, I tried not to panic but tell the friend next to me that I felt unwell, unfortunately she is a bit deaf and couldn’t understand what I was saying. Thankfully while a solo was going on we got to sit down, I asked her to check my pulse, she’s an ex nurse too, and as she touched my arm, it stopped, amazing, think what you will.
The second week of my Lay Leaders course arrived, and my prayers were assessed. I’m glad that God doesn’t do that, or none would get answered, just think if an angel sat there and said to God, there’s not much content to this and I don’t like the language she’s used, we won’t bother with this one. Thankfully we have the Holy Spirit to plead for us and he knows our hearts!
Next week our voices are to be assessed, I’ve been using mine in various churches for decades, so it will be interesting to know what our “tutor” makes of it, and the sermon /service I’ve prepared.

I am the angel Gabriel on Sunday at the Family Service, and doing the prayers for the Rev. at the old folks home in the afternoon, cos he has to go to an Episcopal carol service on the dark side.I may get to see our children after Christmas at this rate!
Next week it’s lunches and school shows and Christingle, and carols on the green, and I still have three books of stuff to write for my daughters presents. An idea given to me by a Retired Minister I sat near at the Iona Community Christmas Lunch. His grandchildren had given him a Journal to fill in with 58 questions about his life. So I shouldn’t be writing this…..

The tree is up and the lovely Nativity Set my son made is on a log in front of it, when I was  cleaning before the Ladies Group arrived I could smell something unpleasant, our Terrier thought that I had made him an indoor toilet and he had peed on on the crib scene!  He is not popular!

The Oxen

I love this poem, written around the end of the first world war. It is often brought out at Christmas but I love the atmosphere it creates.The speaker remembers simpler times when faith was not so hard to maintain. As harsh things happen in life he seeks to find again that child like faith, and believe that the oxen could kneel.

The Oxen

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel

“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.
Thomas Hardy

I’ve started …so I’ll finish

Saturday saw the commencement of the “Lay Worship Leaders Course”. We were greeted with a cup of tea and some very nice people are taking part. They all come from the same Parish,and knew each other well, my only comrade from the Rev’s Parishes was away this weekend , so I was on my tod. It was of no consequence because everyone was friendly.

I hadn’t expected rocket science, but perhaps my expectations were a bit high. We spent the morning learning how to look up the correct text for the week in the Lectionary, and the afternoon choosing five hymns to go with it. I have to remember that other folk may not have done this, but I do this most weeks, sometimes out of interest, sometimes to save the Rev. a bit of time.

Next week it’s reading prayers from the Book of Common Order. I find the language of some of these a bit archaic, but others love them. So as I have been told to keep my head down and my mouth shut , my husbands advice, as he knows that I am a motor mouth, and just aim for the certificate at the end. I shall
try to do just that.
Now I must go and do my homework…choose a lectionary reading and find five hymns to go with it, and the reason why they do. More next week…..