Category Archives: meditations

Thought provoking articles

Who is the greatest?

Some years ago St. Paul School of Theology was seeking a new president. Over one hundred candidates applied for the position. The search committee narrowed the list to five eminently qualified persons. Then somebody came up with a brilliant idea: let’s send a person to the institutions where each of the five finalists is currently employed, and let’s interview the janitor at each place, asking him what he thinks of the man seeking to be our president. Continue reading Who is the greatest?

That dog is Lucky

Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named “Lucky.” Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing.

Mary or Jim would go to Lucky’s toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky’s other favorite toys. Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.

It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer.

Continue reading That dog is Lucky

Cycling in Tandem

At first, I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong; so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was there sort of like a picture of a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn’t know Him.

Later on when I met Christ, it seemed as though life was like a bike ride, on a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal. I don’t recall when he suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since.

Continue reading Cycling in Tandem

Coming Near

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near;  repent, and believe in the good news.”  Mark 1:14-16 (NRSV)

 

NASA has mercifully informed us that the asteroid that is closing in on Earth, at this moment, will miss us! So it should be whizzing out into the darkness of space having ‘come near’ by next Sunday.

Continue reading Coming Near

Pleasing God – Bible Thought

 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved;[a] with you I am well pleased.”

Mark 1:9-11 (NRSV)

The famous Gold winning Olympic runner and Christian missionary, Eric Liddell says in the movie ‘Chariots of Fire’- ‘God made me to run fast. And when I run I feel his pleasure’

However, we tend to think that we can never please God. Moreover, it is somewhat wrong even to think we could feel his pleasure. But that is to cast God in the false image of a overbearing father who can never be satisfied by what we achieve or even aspire to.

Our reading today reminds us that God was pleased with Christ. And so, by implication, we too can give him pleasure when we use all that we are to be all we can be.  Since, after all, who does not delight in being a proud parent!

 

Let us pray

Lord, God

Help me be all that I can be

All that Christ wants me to be

and all that you made me

capable of being.

Indeed, let me feel  your smile.

 

Amen

 

The Circle

A 13th Century Pope wished to commission some works of art for St Peter’s in Rome. To decide who he would employ, he sent a messenger to the most famous Italian artists of the day asking for examples of their craft.

When the emissary reached Giotto in Florence, he received a shock. For on hearing the request, the great artist took a plain sheet of paper and, using his arm as a makeshift compass, drew a perfect circle in red ink. He then handed it over as his only submission. The messenger was indignant – ‘won’t you send in more pictures?’ ‘

No’ –  came the reply – ‘just tell your master how I did that’

Needless to say he got the job.

Today some of the most beautiful art in the world, still stands testimony to Giotto’s ability to give something simple.

 

Lord, let us not despise simple things.

Instead let us treasure them.

For often within the simple

is perfection itself. 

Amen 

 

 

 

The Bookshop

I climbed the stairs slowly to the secondhand book store. There sitting in piles of stock sat it’s owner reading behind a tatty desk. Above him was pinned a notice proclaiming – there is a book here for you! Somehow I doubted it. Yet I searched reasonably diligently in the novels, hobbies and history sections. Even the personal development and spirituality shelves held nothing to whet my appetite of imagination. So I couldn’t resist the temptation to return to the desk and remark – ‘ I can’t find my book.’ The old man smiled and said, ‘it’s there behind you!’ I turned and saw a volume bearing my name. On opening it, I read my early life, my youth and my recent stagnating years. I saw days of  success and failure, happiness and sadness, peace and struggle. Finally, I found a paragraph starting –  ‘I climbed the stairs slowly…..’ . The remaining pages were blank. In my surprise I turned to the shop owner . He was offering a pen and gesturing that I now write something afresh.

Lord, thanks for the blank pages
Of life yet to come
Many we write on them
Words that are worthy of ourselves
And you

Amen

Spitfire Man

That summers day, the old man looked over the sea but did not see. He noticed, of course, the contrails in the sky of airliners winging their way to Paris or Spain. But he remembered the contrails of older more evil aircraft. For in august 1940, he flew those self same skies in his Spitfire defending what was left of free Europe. The memories came quick and fast. Yellow nosed fighters spitting fire at him. The smell of cordite as he shredded the invading bombers. The claustrophobic cockpit as he fought to bail out over a grasping sea. He was breathless with the sharp clarity of the images. Still he got out. He got picked up. He survived. His friends, room and drinking mates did not. Why him? Had he lived a life that had  been worthy of their loss? Did he ever regain something from his lost youth in the misty years that followed?

A tap on the shoulder. It was Marjorie the carer. ‘Time to go home now George’. Time indeed.

Lord God
May we live in thanks giving
For all who sacrificed for us
May we never take for granted
The cost of being free.
May we never forget
Our lives have been purchased
At a price beyond our forgetful today.

Amen

The Painting

The artist opened her paint box, dampened her brush and started. Before her was a beautiful Tudor half timbered house complete with moat and gatehouse. She worked quickly on that hot summer’s day. The picture developed and showed no sign of the many visitors who trooped passed her on they way to tour the building. She disliked their intrusion with garish tops and shorts into this piece of history. Suddenly she sighted an old man in straw hat and linen jacket stop and gaze at the house. He was perfect for inclusion just at the bridge over the moat.
Soon the painting was finished as the shadows swiftly changed towards afternoon. So she collected her gear and stood up. There beside her was the gentleman she had portrayed. They talked and she asked if he knew the house well. ‘Yes’ he replied ‘many years ago I lived here’.
‘My uncle once owned it and I stayed here as a boy each summer’. ‘Do you miss it?’ asked the artist. ‘Of course but you can’t turn the clocks back. Now it is the property of the tourists who pay to keep it up’ . He went on ‘ now why don’t you paint it again but include the  visitors this time – that will picture the future?’ A few minutes late he left with the first picture and the painter started again remembering that time runs in only one direction.

Let us pray
Lord help us to value the present
Treasure the past
And use them
To found hope in the future.

Amen

The Tree

The tree remembered being planted in the churchyard those many summers ago. For he saw the young daughter of the squire slipping a copy of  that new book on Pride and Prejudice in to wile away the long sermon. This blissful rural scene was oblivious to the battles being fought on land and sea to fence in the tyrant Napoleon.
He brought to mind the parishioners chattering excitedly having been told of a war far away over whether humans could own humans; trees never own each other more than they can own  God’s sunlight.

Continue reading The Tree