Friday, 28 August 2015

Service of Remembrance

I am sitting here, 24 hours after our Service of Remembrance for the 600+ children who were slain one year ago during what has become known as the 51 Day War. Innocents, all of them. The Service was not pro Hammas or anti Israeli. It was the remembrance of little children, now very dead as a result of that onslaught.

The adrenalin has gone, the service went seamlessly, and it had the desired effect. Actually, tonight I can reflect on the children. Tears are springing from my eyes.

Church politics and Parish politics matter not one jot. It is the children who are in my mind. The children who died and the children who throw stones at Israeli tanks today, for that is all they have. No proper homes, but just rubble, twelve months on. And memories. Memories that no child should have. I pray for them and for peace and justice.

My thoughts wander to our own children, whose parents have had their benefits sanctioned, or who are children of low income "hardworking" families. Their parents come to us because they want food for their children. Not for themselves. They get it, and all the support we can give. This is called ministry. St Augustine's in Dumbarton is a very special place.

The Jesus who weeps is among us, but sends his Holy Spirit to help us laugh, and rejoice in our little victories.

I return to the children. The ones who died and the survivors, in both Palestine and Scotland. I pray that they can lay aside bitterness and create a world which is better than the on we have left them with.

I weep tonight for the children of Palestine and the little ones of Scotland whose bellies are empty.

Monday, 3 August 2015

It's the Cough that will Carry me Off

One of the benefits to smokers like me during the summer, when travelling to a country in the EU, is cheap cigarettes! Yes, I always bring a bundle home with me at less than four euros a packet. I suppose it makes up for being a social leper for the rest of the year, and being spoken to like scum by some rather unpleasant people who for whatever reason cannot stand the smell of cigarette smoke even outside in the rain!

However, the swollen supply of my drug of choice can tempt me to smoke a little more than usual, and within weeks, I'm back to smoking packets costing upwards of £10 for twenty! Eek! How many of our customers at our Food for Thought Programme would be appreciative of that? This is not to mention general poverty in Africa,starving babies, hospitals in Gaza, and all the other things my spare cash could be going to.

I've just had a month of smoking cut-price cigarettes, and I've been amazed at the difference it has made to the amount of cash in my pocket. It all disappears eventually, but at least it's not all in the Chancellor's pocket! I wouldn't trust Mr Osbourne to do anything constructive with my pennies, whether politically or as an  individual.

As the supply runs out, the question arises again. Is it not time you beat this habit, Kenny? Is it not time to call it a day? I've tried all sorts of things in the past, including the e-cigarettes that are rather fashionable at the moment, but nothing has worked before.

My own take on that is that, deep down, I don't really want to give up. However, I think I'm coming to a point where, financially, it really has to go. (I've enjoyed having extra cash in my pocket last month). Health wise, the doc says I'm fine, and I'm really under no pressure from anyone in my personal life to quit, but I'm coming to the point where I might just want to chuck it for my own sake.

I know, from my experiences in addiction that nobody will give up their drug of choice unless they are personally committed to doing it for themselves. Maybe there's hope for me yet?