The Rector Reflects….

Thoughts, musings and ramblings from the Priest-in-Charge

InterBeing

Paths Crossed
Foot falls. A moment in life.

Encounters another’s journey. Crosses. Interweaves.

The mingling marked, a change to both.

The journey continues, each path resumes

distinct,

with the singular merge intact.

Do not we all, in our encounters fleeting,

leave entwined footfalls, however indistinct?

Should we not, then, tread softly on the way,

seeking not to erase The Other

in a contest of binaries,

but to create anew a more welcome trinity?

De Profundis

WebFull
So easily missed it was, the small delicate scaffold of silken web.

In the grass it rested, precarious, a gentle step from nothing.

If not missed, then imbued with insignificance

to the big, the tall, the wide.

Impermanent.

Transient.

Beautiful.

The Upper Room

Thomas is the name I took when I became a Benedictine oblate. For me Thomas has never meant doubt in the conventional sense of that word. Instead for me he is a searcher, discontent with second-hand religion that stays at the superficial level of ‘Believe A, B and C and you are a paid up, saved, member of God’s chosen’. He requires authentic connection with God and the Christ who shows us the shape of God. He wants it to make a difference. He longs, as the Benedictines might say, to experience ‘conversion of life’, growing into a way of life that has the Living Christ in its midst.

Baptisms of the Christs: blessing and blessed

I so love the works of the Irish Philosopher/Poet, John O’Donohue. Immersed in both a deep love of Irish Celtic Christianity and the tales and landscape of County Clare, his words are like balm, soothing and enlivening. John had the capacity to take you beyond life experienced as a tyranny of demands and expectations to one of a deep resting in the Divine. The Divine permeates all, if only we slow enough to look deeply. When we do look deeply, when we see not simply with our eyes but with our heart and soul, we often come away feeling overwhelmingly blessed.

Christmas Homily 2014 from Fr. Chris

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it

The words of the opening paragraphs of John’s Gospel still have the capacity to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. They were the first I learned in New Testament Greek. Even to this day, with most of my Greek long forgotten through disuse, they still come back to me without fail:

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος.
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.

Behold, the Lamb of God

The third Sunday in Advent allows for a brief engagement with the exotic and powerful figure of John the Baptist. This is something for which I am most grateful. I don’t think we pay enough attention to this man. The Gospel writers obviously saw him as having major significance. Indeed some biblical scholars suggest that Jesus’ own spiritual depths were at least given direction through discipleship within John’s own mission.

The Call

On the outskirts of Brora lies the ruin of Clynekirkton Parish Church. Long abandoned and fallen into ruin, what remains are the ghosts of former lives, celebrated in the monuments and headstones of its graveyard, and the shell of the church building. The roof is gone, its walls are crumbling and throughout Mother Nature is slowly and inexorably reclaiming the land she once loaned to the upright apes that walk upon her earth.

Walking into God

In the closing lines of George Bernanos’ ‘The Diary of a Country Priest’, the dying priest, perceived by himself and others as a failure in ‘worldly’ terms, ridiculed by his peers, but in reality a saint among his flock, is awaiting the comfort of the Rite of Anointing and the final reception of the Blessed Sacrament. His companion sadly laments the fact that at the last it seems he will be denied that comfort. The priest’s words have remained with me ever since I first read them:

“Does it matter? Grace is everywhere.”

After the day

I originally wrote the following on Facebook in response to what I saw happening in Glasgow and a couple of more minor observed incidents in one of my Charges yesterday afternoon.

Over the past day I’ve seen respectful behaviour from Yes voters. I’ve seen respectful behaviour from No voters.

I’ve also witnessed appalling militant behaviour from those who voted on either side.

These militants do not represent the vast majority of either side. They are simply people too full of themselves. They aren’t reasoned adherents to a point of view. They are small-minded, exhibiting the worst expressions of tribalism (note the ISM there).

The majority have acted with decency and, today,  grace.

Let’s not concentrate on the idiocy of a marginal few but instead on our own behaviour. To the ‘No’ camp I ask that you understand the deep hurt and disappointment (indeed potential disenfranchisement) of those of us who believed that an independent Scotland was the best future for our nation. To the ‘Yes’ camp I ask that you understand that most amongst us who voted ‘No’ did so because they also honestly believed it was the best future for our nation.

More than ever we need to listen. More than ever the people need to unite to keep a momentum going to ensure a true democracy for Scotland. Ultimately it isn’t politicians who change us. It is we ourselves who ensure change happens.

Our communities must now find ways to make our voices heard. For me personally I see my major role as a community priest now to be as someone helping others in my communities to find their voice in all this. I will be feeling my way on this for quite some time but it must be small villages,  towns and Hamlets that find a voice to hold our political elite to account and ensure true change at the grassroots. If I can be a part of that in a small way then thanks be to God.

Let the real winners be our communities, whatever the system of government is today and whatever it might yet become.

When I pray today I will pray for all the communities amongst whom I am privileged to serve in varying ways. I care for them as my sisters and brothers in humanity,  not as voters who put a cross in a particular box.

What’s the point of us?

I have a affinity with more radical theologians, most particularly those who ground our spiritual journey in the realities of life. In mediaeval times it seems too often that the way of the church was to offer the promise of escape from the horrors and fears of a harsh world – get your religion just right and you’ll get your reward in heaven.