Thoughts on a walk

On Saturday the 17th June, I joined twenty-eight of my work mates for a walk. The event was a company sponsored one, in aid of the St James Society - a homeless charity that the company I work for, Benefex, are supporting this year. We started Friday afternoon, loading a coach with supplies: tents, sleeping bags, cool-boxes, food stuffs, camping stoves, pillows, barbecues, camp chairs and backpacks in all manner of shapes and sizes. Finally, we were loaded on ourselves too - headed to Crickhowell, where a campsite would be our home for the next two nights. Work mates are funny things. I ...
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Traditional or modern?

Sister Act
I'm not often one for the theatre. It's never been a first choice for me where an evening entertainment is concerned: perhaps it's a sign of modern times, but I'd consider the cinema before a play. Or perhaps I'm just uncultured. However, everything I've seen at the theatre I've enjoyed. A ballet, based on the story of Dracula. War Horse - which I won't deny left a tear in my eye. There's a certain skill involved in telling a story when the only space you have to tell it is on a stage; where you've only one take to get it right; where set design, props and lighting are as much a part...
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Dr Livingstone, I presume?

David Livingstone
Fascinated by the person of Dr. David Livingstone, the missionary/explorer. I read and reread the accounts of his explorations, his amazing expeditions (he was the first European to cross the African continent from west to east on foot) his visits back to England, and finally his lonely death in a remote area of East Africa, where he had been searching for the source of the Nile. But although I had read a good deal about Livingstone, I couldn’t say I really knew him. I knew he had a wayward son who caused him a great deal of heartache; I knew he and wife endured long periods of separation...
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Food, glorious food…?

Food - glutony
It's the same old question, when you go out for a meal isn't it. Should you have a starter with the meal - or just the main meal with pudding? Well, I didn't have a big lunch - perhaps I'll have both. Or, at work. Those biscuits look nice: I'll just have a couple. Oh, somebody brought sweets in! Well, a couple of those too could be tasty. What do you mean it's only 9:30am? And don't get me started on serving sizes. “Family” trifle? Serves six? That's a joke: indeed, I take that as a challenge! The thing with weight is that it's easier to watch it when there's more of it, am I righ...
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Small or mighty?

When I was born, I was the first out of twins. I do feel sorry for my mum; apparently, my brother and I made her belly so large that by the due date, her belly would go out past her knees! They say childbirth is a miracle but frankly, I'm glad I don't have to experience it. Nine months getting steadily fatter and heavier with nausea, aches and pains throughout - culminating in pain as you bring a new life out into the world. Maybe our chorister Sophie, nearing the end of her training to be a midwife, has shared too many grisly stories with me - but being male, I'm glad childbirth can not...
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The good shepherd

one of the most familiar themes to us is of Jesus as a shepherd. Indeed, in John chapter 10, verse 11, it reads "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." It is a recurring parallel throughout the Bible that we encounter many times... In the Old Testament  Isaiah chapter 40 is about the Lord God comforting his people "He will feed his flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs in his arms and carry them in his bosom and gently lead the mother sheep". Ezekiel 34 is all about false shepherds and God the true shepherd. The final verse of that chapter ...
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Wartime Miracles and a National Scandal

The World War II testimonies of six of the most senior figures including Eisenhower, Churchill and leading military officers, reveal God’s protection of the Nation in response to prayer and faithfulness. If they could see the state of the Nation today, what might they wish us to know? There is an old story of two spiders, one the mother and the other her son. The story goes that mother spider made a lovely home in her web and she suspended this web from a single strand hanging from a tree branch far above. One day, her son paid a visit. As he surveyed her home he noticed this single strand ...
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Sheep

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. Isaiah 53:6‭-‬7 You know, I take issue with Isaiah. Yes, the book is prophetic and above many other prophets gives perhaps the clearest indication of Jesus manner of arrival, mission and death. But, really: why liken me to a sheep? Sheep aren't exactly the smartest...
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Overflow?

Water
I recently recounted how, on Maundy Thursday, the culmination of the service left me with a sense of loss. How, witnessing in silence the clearing away of the trappings that represent Christ in our lives, I could imagine and mirror that emptiness in myself as well. That feeling of loss was due to an important reason. If Christ came to Earth as a doorway to God but the events of Maundy Thursday had been the end rather than a chapter in his story, I very well would have that loss within me forever. The author of Ecclesiastes knew well what accounts for that one feeling of loss, when he wro...
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Robbed?!

Stripped altar on Maundy Thursday
You've come back from work, from a holiday away, from meeting with friends or family. However good it might be to get away, it's always good to be home again: to be surrounded by possessions that make us feel comfortable and at ease. Home tends to be where our most special memories are made, as it is our association with others over years in that place which change it from being a house into becoming a home. Have you ever come home to find the front door open or a window broken? To enter what should be your place of security - only to find things in disarray? Of course a robbery brings ...
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