Normal Service with Holy Gift Bags…

Back to normality this week – or as normal as life in ministry can get.  After a few days away in Edinburgh last week attending our General Synod, it is time to get back to the holy grindstone and sharpen up for our service to God. 

Last week’s Synod wasn’t one that will go down in memory as one of the greats, I have to admit.  Yes, I got to stand up and speak (for only the second time in four years in front of the great and the good representatives of our wee church), but I was left with feeling a bit out of sorts – not least because of a dose of food poisoning on Saturday morning.  Travelling home with a dodgy stomach by train was a delight I thought I had given up with my twenties.

Synod is an ideal opportunity for a wide range of people to gather from across the Province to discuss matters and policy pertaining to our Church’s structure, polity and belief.  And yet I came away last week feeling as if we had forgotten what we are actually there to do.  Two and a half days were spent in worshiping together, debating together and discussing together the issues that are important to the world and to our church.  And discuss them we did, but as ever, there was not enough time or space to really get into any depth those areas which we are called to work within.  Frustrating.

One part of Synod which is always a joy is the fellowship though.  Getting together with friends and colleagues who you only see once a year is a blessing.  I cherish the laughter, the friendship and the graciousness of Synod every time I attend.  It was a privilege to be there and one not to be taken for granted.

So now it is back to reality for me.  Sunday was spent celebrating Pentecost in all it red-ness and cakey-ness as well as taking the message of the Birthday of our Church out to the local Sheltered Housing complex for a service in the afternoon. And yes the red shoes came out to play, as did the red nails, the red lippy, the red bag…

At our little service, I shared with them what was in my ‘Holy Gift Bag from God’ because all birthday parties end up with a Gift bag.  My lovely old peeps seemed to be quite disappointed when there was no bottle of Gin in my bag.  However, there was plenty of chocolate (naturally), the odd pillow(representing my bed), bottle of water (for the sea), my bible (spiritual leatherman tool) and my Ipod(prayer support).  How that all links in to the gifts of the spirit – well you will just have to come along and hear me preach it another day…

All went home happily afterwards with a large slab of beautiful birthday fruit cake baked for us by my Ecumenical Partner in Crime – St Mary’s Church of Scotland – and I went home via the hospital for a visit to a sick member of our church. Ministry can be like that sometimes – from cake to care in a matter of moments.

So life is back to normal, as normal as it can be.  We wait for the phone to ring, the letters to drop through the mail, the emails to be deleted or dealt with and visits to be done.  Off now to share the wisdom of being married for nearly 18 years to a lovely young couple who will join me in the delights of married life next month when I marry them. 

How do you prepare a couple for a life together?  Easy. Tell them to say that they love each other every day, make sure they forgive each other before bedtime and always, always hide the bank statements…


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