Dust and Imago Dei

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant Hapus! (for tomorrow)

It is also the beginning of the great feast of Lent, as our sisters and brothers from the Orthodox Easter call it, as well as sometimes ‘the Lenten Spring’. For some of us in the Christian west, we get so plugged in to giving things up, particularly things that we like in a spirit of discipline and self-denial, that we miss out on the fact that Lent could be the beginning of new life or at least the opportunity to create space for new perspectives.


Like many others, I will mark people with the sign of the cross with the word: remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return: turn away from your sin, and be faithful to Christ.


Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return are words that embrace both our mortality as well as our connectedness with the created order. We are dusty people. The marking with the cross in ash confirms our frailty, and the fact that the ash is created from the palm crosses blessed in the midst of celebrating the euphoria of Jesus entering Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) points towards the closeness of dustiness and glory.


Ash is created by fire giving this year a link to the ddraig goch (red dragon) the symbol of Wales (I know tenuous, but probably not as tenuous as some of the links made in some of my sermons). St David called those who believed in Christ because of him to be faithful in the little things.


Lent is a good time to begin such faithfulness.


Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return. Turn away from your sin and be faithful to Christ.

For more: http://eccentricvicarandlurchers.blogspot.co.uk/

 

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An Evangelical Apology

I came across this again….. I did nothing with it… until now… and for that I am ashamed.

lurchersontheedge

I wrote this to an individual after an encounter. It is rough and ready; and offered in a spirit of grace.

To a sister on my journey (reflections used with permission)

I am basically an evo (an evangelical). I am though deeply ashamed at some of my evangelical brothers and sisters for the way they have pilloried the gay community, and gay christians in particular. There I have said it.

I treasure deeply the scriptures. I happen to believe that they are divinely inspired. I believe that when interepreted correctly they are authoritative for Christian belief and praxis. I also think it cannot be avoided the the scriptures say some things, often pointed, about sexual ethics. This is not surprising given that sexual relationships and sexuality are at the heart of what it means to be human.

I have, like many millions of others, studied what the scriptures say about…

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just a note

wrapping-paper

I will be posting here occasionally…. but I am also to be found here: http://eccentricvicarandlurchers.blogspot.co.uk/

I know it is a bit confusing and complex. Then that is quite like me….

I have just posted this in the other place

I love Advent. I like Christmas.

I love the rhythm of a season that embraces both the fast and a rich sense of feast. With its focus perhaps on patriarchs, prophets, the Baptist, Mary of Nazareth and of course Jesus it is a sort of engagement with our family tree. I have a bag by my bed of photos my mum had saved over the years. There are some of me that I would rather no one else saw. But there are others of family and friends that I might have long since forgotten.

Advent affords us the opportunity to celebrate our family, warts and all.

There is also the option of explore Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell, which usually are given a body swerve in favour of other themes.

They are topics that give us pause for thought… and before Christmas…. that might be a good thing.

That is why I will enjoy deeply wailing and singing longer songs with tunes that are a tad sober. They will help me enjoy December 25th when it comes.

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Remembrance Sunday 2016

Ailadrodd hanes. Mae’n rhaid iddo. Nid oes unrhyw un yn gwrando

Geiriau gan y bardd Saesneg Cristnogol, Steve Turner.

Dan ni’n byw yn y byd lle mae’n hawdd peidio â gwrando

Gwersi o hanes yn cael ei anghofio.

Today is Remembrance Sunday. It is a time for Remembering obviously. It is easy to think of who and what we remember.

Pwy ydyn ni’n ei gofio? –      a

elodau’r lluoedd arfog a chollwyd eu bywydau-

y rhai mewn profedigaeth-

aelodau’r lluoedd arfog a anafwyd, yn gorfforol, feddyliol neu yn ysbrydol-

dinasyddion, gan gynnwys plant wedi’u heffeithio gan rhyfel-

y rhai sydd yn gorfod ffoi heddiw-

teulouedd wedi’u rhwygo ymaith

y rhai a bywydau wedi eu dinistrio

 

  • Members of the armed services who lost their lives
  • Those who were bereaved
  • Members of the armed services who were wounded, physically, mentally or spiritually
  • Civilians, including children caught up in war. Those who are still forced to flee today
  • Families who were torn apart
  • Many whose lives were shattered

Beth ydym yn ei gofio? 

Rydym yn cofio sefyll I fynu yn erbyn draft arglwyddiaeth. –

Rydym yn cofio y gôst o hynnu. –

Rydym yn cofio y pris a talwyd gan llawer am ein heddiw, na fysa nhw ddim yn weld ei fory –

We remember standing up against tyranny?-

We remember the costs of doing so-

We remember the price paid by many that for our todays many would never see a tomorrow.

Perhaps the bigger question is why are we remembering? This firstly seems a strange question, perhaps a little off-beam. Surely we are remembering all because of who and what. That is true.

But we stand here in the place of Remembrance.

remembranceMae Eglwys Sant Cybi yn lle i gofio

Mae eglwys yn yr gaer wedi gweld gwrthdaro

Here in this place: we gather week by week to remember Jesus Christ. The priest lifts the bread and wine and each time she or he says… do this in remembrance of me.

Nid ymarfer academaidd yw atgofio

Remembrance is not an academic exercise.

Indeed if Christian people gather and share in the bread and wine offered by Jesus and do not embrace the call to follow him, we are misremembering all that he stood for.

Similarly, if we gather here today, lay our wreaths, keep silence whilst stiffly stood, plant our crosses without a commitment to working to ensure that inhumanity towards each other is eradicated, we misremember those who have gone before us.

Dyma’r pam mae gweithred ymrwymiad mor bwysig.

This is why the Act of Commitment is so important

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount points us to this. The famous phrase, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’ echoes down the centuries, although it has been occasionally misheard, not least by the scriptwriters of Monty Python for we forget that Jesus added for they ‘will be called children of God’. The purpose of his sermon was to build a radical community, wrought through with rainbowed colours of grace, inclusion and humility

To remember without embracing this is no remembrance at all.

To remember without the act of commitment risks today becoming nothing more than a pious feeling.

Mae Caergybi yn dre sydd yn balch o’i hanes.

Dre sydd gyda traddodiad cyfaethog morwrol.

Mae o yn derbyn y gwrthdaro sydd yn digwydd.

Mae o yn dallt fod angen I cofio.

Mae o yn dallt y lles o gofleidio Pawb sydd wedi dod o fewn y waliau. Hir fydd y parhaed

Holyhead is a town with a proud history

A town with a rich maritime tradition

It understands that conflict happens

It understands the need to remember

It knows the benefits of all who come within its walls. Long may this continue.

 

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A poem for Adoption Sunday

Not flesh of my flesh
Not bone of my bone
But still miraculous,
My own

Never forget
For a single minute
That you not being from my loins
Has made me into a different kind of man
And a changed human being

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Ground control to planet teenager

So, well I occasionally get to visit planet teenager. I am on planet adult or as inhabitants of planet teenager might call it planet different. It is sometimes known as planet retro for those fleeting moments that it becomes cool.

I am not cool in any way shape or form. My Dad dancing makes Ed Balls look like one of Strictly’s professionals. My taste in music does not envelope rap, and I still fondly remember the game Space Invaders which we played as a treat in the arcade and found that pretty exciting. I acknowledge that it is beyond boring when compared to some of the games played on the boy’s PS4 games console. The only similarity between those games and my schools days, is that like in the ‘A’ Team (compulsive on a Saturday evening with Mr T) no one ever dies.

When I was at school when the dinosaurs were still wandering past the cave (I think that is easier for my son to believe than a childhood with no mobile phones, no internet, queuing to use the public phone on Christmas Day, just 3 TV channels and a toilet in the porch) we could leave things by and large at school. The octopus like tentacles of social media had not yet evolved, although a number on our estate kept pigeons so messages were not altogether impossible, although slightly messier than messenger.

Yet just occasionally, slightly more frequently than a solar eclipse, our worlds do interact.

Both of us are appalled by the relentless bombing of Syria and our own abandonment of that land, with its most ancient of civilisations. Why? He asked. I did not have an answer that made sense.

And as quickly as we coalesce, we separate into our different worlds, being made slightly more whole by our coming together.wp_20160722_15_23_40_pro

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The Planet Teenager

I am a parent of a teenager.

I am currently on a course for parents of teenagers. Let me be clear my teenager and I love each other in a dad/lad sort of way. You might be forgiven for thinking that this is not true, especially at the interchange that takes place virtually every school day concerning the need to get out the bed to actually get to school.

I am though clearly from a different planet to my teenager. We sometimes look at each other like Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor first looked at Rose, which a sense of humour, bemusement and then lets give it a whirl

Sometimes, I appear like I know things. I knew what it was like to split up with a girlfriend, which surprised him… and I knew what it meant to be feel the pain of a friend moving away.

But I do not know what it is like to be a teenager today. I have no idea of the pressures. I could of course attempt to get a visa and some currency to go there, but I would still be out of place.

…. and what I have learnt over the past two weeks…. is that it does not matter that I don’t get it… that I am out of place…. as long as I make time to listen. Listening on the planet teenager is not the same as listening on the planet adult.

Intentionally listening and being on the planet teenager might be my biggest bilingual challengewp_20160722_15_23_37_pro

 

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