Sunday, October 30, 2011

Soak yourself in Scripture

Soak yourself in Scripture - what a phrase - When I read these words in Martin Hogan's blog I found myself wondering at what it must be like to have never heard or read the scriptures.

The Bible is full of stories, histories, law, and letters - as well as prose and verse - each with their particular purpose for the life of the People of God. To focus on one small part and not to engage with others can leave gaping holes in understanding.

It was my privilege to be sent to a little school called Lyonsdown, rather longer ago than I would like to admit, in North London. Our headmistress was Mrs Sortain and Mrs Sortain was gifted with the ability to tell stories. Each morning, in assembly, we sang a hymn, said prayers AND listened to a story. Little people love a good story - and I remember vividly listening to the story of Esther, and eagerly wanting the next morning to come to hear what happened! Storytelling done by those who are especially gifted is a delight to the hearers. Whether it was Esther, or Daniel, or the story of Ruth or Jonah, or the birth of Jesus and his miracles - Mrs Sortain was able to bring them alive.

Today I meet people who have little or no idea of the treasure trove of story within the covers of the Bible - many will know the 'Thou shalt nots' of the commandments - many too will know the disagreements that come from different interpretations of one or two verses (usually in the letters to specific churches, we know as the Epistles).

Jumping into the Scriptures can be a joy, and will often be a challenge, and I am thankful as I remember that special lady who enabled me to delight in the word of God.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Audacitor - Madeira - Canaries

From early delight to Oceanmaster - time does fly - only seems yesterday he was on Castletown beach enjoying the ripples of the tide! Gordon is off to Madeira to help take Audacitor to the Canaries. Phil has had to return. Gareth and Dickon are shorthanded. Skype is set up so no expensive 'roaming' - phoning.

A prayer I have found, for all on Audacitor, in one of David Adam's books, thought to be from the Hebrides ~
Round our skiff
be God's aboutness
Ere she try
the depsth of sea
Sea-shell frail
for all her stoutness
Unless Thou
her helmsman be
During our various adventures of life, whether on the water or dry land, our companion, refuge and guide remains the same - the 'Thou' the Almighty - occasionally recognised.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bible Study

Opening up the Bible is part of the vocation as a Christian. Tuesday Bible study group are working their way through Paul's letter to the church in Philippi. Taking time, together, to read His Word offers much more than encouragement, it gives an opportunity to discover how God is working in others' lives - The same is true of taking time to pray and to listen, alone with Him -

We are living though turbulent times - so it is even more important to put time aside to attend to the purposes of God. As I began my conscious journey, all those years ago, when a part of Koinonia we were encouraged to have Quiet Times (QT) daily. As a priest there is the promise to attend to the Daily Office - following the Lectionary, that is the readings set for the day Morning and Evening Prayer. It is this rhythm that sustains and continues to surprise me in just how closely the Lectionary fits the moment.
Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
Psalm 119v105
As we see the markets tumble, unrest in places that were once settled, political turmoil across the world the words of verse 127 of the same seem to to be highlighted. - Truly I love your commandments more than gold, more than fine gold -

Saturday, October 22, 2011


To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life
Robert Louis Stevenson

Over the past 5 years I have been Chaplain to 2467 Squadron of the ATC - distance prevents frequent visits, but there is skype! Accompanying the young men and women through these formative years is a real privilege.

I have come to know many able young people, some of faith and all on the journey of discovery. You only get out of things what you are prepared to put in ... as the saying goes and ATC, SU, to name two, are great organisations for youth. (There are others, too).

As a teenager I was part of a large youth group, called Koinonia. This was a lively organisation - and one which gave a great foundation, not just for faith, but life itself. Within its structure there were people who undertook a chaplaincy role, though might not have used that term. These were trustworthy people who had the ability to encourage, as well as the patience to listen, and gently direct those in their care.

Indeed these gifts of encouragement and patience are essential for those who put time aside to walk with young and old alike.

Thank you to those I knew in my youth, and thank you, too, to the youth who encourage me today.