Friday 16 October 2015


I had a day yesterday which involved me with two lone parents, whose benefits had been sanctioned, and I was able to help them and feed their children at least. That was all they asked of me.

I ended up, last night, feeling very frustrated by this, and posted something on Facebook, pleading with The Church to at least be the voice of children in poverty. Who cares, really, when there are cuddly cats and dogs to be "liked", and the enormous amount of attention seeking, and massive amounts of low self-esteem to be pandered to.

I got a helpful reply from a priest in Brechin Diocese who is doing her bit, and I know that many individual churches are trying their best to feed the children of the poorest and most marginalised in our communities.

In St Mungo's there is an independent Foodbank operating every Tuesday, although The Rectory is open 24/7 for emergencies. In St Augustine's there is an amazing Food for Thought project that runs 24/7 which not only feeds, but follows up with practical care and support for individuals. New tenancies? No problem. Once we help families to become independent, they often come back to volunteer.

My gripe is with Bishops in the House of Lords and others, even in Scotland who are not prepared to make a stand against the reality that the folk on the margins are having to deal with. Let the voice of the poor be heard. Put it on the front page of newspapers.

Meanwhile, wee parishes, like mine, try to do our best. However something has to change.

If the Church can get real, and stop worrying about who goes to bed with whom and what they do in it, it would be a step forward. Those with power and money can debate the intricacies at their leisure. 

Meanwhile, a generation of children need to be fed and looked after.

I can honestly say that I am ashamed to live in a country where this is happening. 

Sunday 6 September 2015

Sermon on Trinity 14 2015

Sermon                     St Aug’s                          6th Sept 2015

I suppose that the whole thing that kicked it all off was one picture, the photo of three-year-old Aylan, or Alan, washed up on a beach in Turkey after drowning, with his brother and mother in the Mediterranean. Some having been talking about this for months!
Suddenly, the world has wakened up to the fact that we have a massive refugee crisis, as big, if not bigger than that at the end of World War 11.

You will note that I use the word “refugee”, and not migrant or scum or freeloader or swarm, but refugee, in the same way as Joseph, Mary and the Baby Jesus were when they fled to Egypt from King Herod.
I have come across a number of things written this week, some of which has angered me, some of which has caused me to shed tears, but one poem, written by a Somali refugee, a young woman, moved me to tears. Syrians don’t have time to write poetry at the moment, and I decided to use this instead today and share it with you.

"Home" Somali poet Warsan Shire
no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well
your neighbours running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won't let you stay.
no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it's not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn't be going back.
you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough
go home blacks
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off
or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
be hunger
forget pride
your survival is more important
no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
i dont know what i've become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here.

To give balance, a “friend” of mine and some of you know who, wrote this in social media:

I think that all of us ex-servicemen should collect our little pensions together and buy up the old HMS Hermes. Put our families aboard and sail her over to Syria, where there is a hell of a lot more room and no immigrants to bother us. Use that land to build a new England because it seems that this so-called government wants to give all our hard-earned money and health organisation away to everyone except our own people. Want to join me?

I felt tempted to offer him his fare.

Firstly, it’s not an “either or”. The poor and marginalised already in this great country of ours need to be looked after and austerity is not working and is making them poorer by the day.
Then we come to the stranger, the refugee!
The Old Testament is full of the importance of welcoming the stranger. The Hebrew Bible remembers well the exodus of a whole nation fleeing Egypt on a journey to a Promised Land. The Lord told the people of Israel that they were never to forget that they were once in the same predicament. Read again the first reading today from Proverbs. It talks of sharing our bread with the poor, and the stranger at the gate.
In the Epistle today, James has some straight talking.. about loving your neighbour and tending to their needs. We need to print that out and put it on our noticeboard!
The Gospels are full of the same sort of material. We know all about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and all the rest, because Matthew 25 tells us to. What would Jesus do? What would Jesus say? What is Jesus saying? The Syrophonician woman today, treated as scum, is granted the crumbs from the table, and more than crumbs! The disciples in Acts sold their possessions to have a common fund to help the poor and share with those in need.
And yet in today’s papers (Telegraph) I caught a glimpse of governments intention to take 15.000, and start bombing Syria in four weeks time. Not in my name!!
There is only one Christian response to this refugee crisis, and that is to take as many as possible. Anyone who thinks differently should go back home and read their Bible.
Before the General Election, our Prime Minister told us that we were a Christian nation. I wondered.

However, if we do not meet our obligations, and refuse to take our fair share of human beings, yes, human beings, then I’m afraid that we can no longer pretend to be a Christian country, but one of greed and self-interest.

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?

Thursday 30 July 2015

They are Coming For You Next........

Our Food for Thought Programme volunteers at St Augustine's, Dumbarton went into fits of laughter after reading one of the stories carried today in The National. It was either laughter or tears of frustration. We chose to laugh!

The story is basically about our Government, and Ian Duncan Smith in particular, looking for new targets in an effort to lower the cost of our benefits system. It seems that those struggling with alcohol and drug problems as well as others who are obese face having their benefits stopped under draconian new welfare plans being considered by Iain Duncan Smith.

Part of our work is giving food to the hungry, those who have been sanctioned, and others who are not entitled to a penny from the Government. (Yes, there are people living in our community who get absolutely nothing). We now face the problem of obese people coming to our Foodshare looking for food because their benefits have been stopped! 

How will we respond to this? One way is to size them up and judge them with the unspoken thought, "Aye, well you could do with losing a few pounds right enough", or we can treat them in the same way as anyone else is referred, and that is, "How would Jesus respond?"

Is this a valid way of addressing the health or addiction issues of a minority of people on benefits? People need to be supported back into the workforce, and not supported by the welfare non-system into poverty.

As my Associate Priest often says, "You gotta laugh", but today I've stopped laughing. We are now going after the obese! Who will be next? (Remember you are only allowed two children these days).

I'm predicting it's going to be pensioners. I may be wrong, but we may soon come to the point that those of a certain age will be means tested before receiving the State Pension they have paid for, supposedly, all through their working life. I only hope I'm wrong, but, hey, who would have thought that the obese would be a target group?

Wednesday 29 July 2015

New Partick Thistle Mascot - Kingsley!

As Time goes By

I've just noticed that it's been almost twelve months since I blogged anything. Not that I blog much of significance anyway, but with a new football season coming up, and my growing anger on poverty issues in the UK at the moment, now may be a good time to start again.

I guess I was seduced away by Facebook, as have so many, and now the only real Bloggers that remain are darned good ones who tend to specialise on one subject or another! On the contrary, I'm all over the place. Always have been!

One of the reasons I'm back today, I guess, is that there have been hints of my lack of communication. I run two websites, am constantly on Facebook, sometimes use Twitter, and publish weekly pew sheets for two congregations and a colourful, newsy Parish Magazine. I actually thought that I was communicating quite well. Perhaps not, however, when I look at large chunks of the folk I really want to communicate with.

I read an excellent piece about a fortnight ago, titled, "An iPhone Priest in a Typewriter Congregation". It certainly brought me up short, for very few in my congregations use Facebook, Twitter or look at websites, however important these things may be in modern communication and basic IT.

Pew sheets are easily discarded without being properly read, and folk skim through magazines and miss a lot. That's modern world trends, where we don't sit down to read properly.

This leaves the spoken word, and that doesn't reach many. Through Chinese Whispers, that, too, can be distorted. In saying that, texts and Facebook posts along with Tweets can always be perceived in a different manner in which you wrote them, and a smiley face doesn't stop anyone believing your 'joke' was anything other than a barbed comment!

We live in difficult days, yet in days when communication can be instant and information at our fingertips. Some of my typewriter friends long for the day when an angry letter could be written in the evening, but in the morning, we decide it's not really something we should put in the hands of a postman!

Thursday 14 August 2014


I know it's one of the things that Facebook users hate, but I was recently challenged to post three positive things in my day, every day for five days. We are now on Day 4!

Being a fundamentally negative person who always dwells on what has gone wrong, or what I could do better, it's been a really good exercise for me, and I'm finding at the end of the day that I'm spoilt for choice!

So many positive things are happening in our lives, but we depressives will always dwell on the negatives. So, although I'm not going to post beyond five days, I'm determined to sit down with a pad every night and continue the exercise!

Monday 11 August 2014

Looking Again for a Priest

With the unexpected resignation of our Associate Priest, Revd Alison Jones, our two parishes, once again, are looking for a priest to join us.

Alison was kind enough to emphasise the tremendous welcome and love she received here, and the fact that  she felt very supported by me and enjoyed working with me, but had to leave because of vocational and personal reasons. We will miss her.

However, it's not a very comfortable feeling being left on your own to support two parishes when the initial plan was to have three priests here, one being non-stipendiary. Many sermons yesterday probably honed into Simon Peter trying to walk on water, and talked about not waving but drowning. I refuse to drown, so unless I tell you otherwise, I'm still waving!

And, yes, I have faith that God will sort it, and St Augustine's and St Mungo's will carry on and go from strength to strength despite this setback. There must be clergy out there who would love to minister on the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond!

I know I can count on the Blogging community for their prayers in the coming months, and any offers of support will be generously received!

Thursday 24 July 2014

My City

Yes, we're back from the incredible sunshine in Greece to the incredible sunshine of West Dunbartonshire, and although the workload is as big as ever, and the future seems to indicate that my job may become totally unmanagable without extra help, we are basking in weather which I could really get used too. Of course, our friends from the Commonwealth, it's always like this in Glasgow during the Fair Fortnight!

Being in Glasgow yesterday, my home city, it was wonderfully vibrant as the opening ceremony og the Commonwealth Games was due to take place in the evening at Celtic Park! The place was awash with colour and excitement, and folk from all over the world admiring its beauty, and accepting its hospitality! "Mon, an huv a swallow wi' us, pal!"

The ceremony itself, I thought was just wonderful, and the only people moaning about it seems to be some grumpy locals who for some reason didn't see the humour in it and the way Glaswegians, and Scots in general, are always ready to have a laugh at themselves.

So, there were giant Tunnock's Teacakes, and Irn Bru girders holding up the Forth Rail Bridge, and Andy Stewart from bygone days, but the sentiment, and the tone was just right. What about these Scottie Dugs that led each team in? Wonderful! Even Her Maj had a laugh when the Baton wouldn't open! It was probably rusty with all the sweaty hands that have touched it over the last few months!

Yes, yesterday, I was proud to say, "I belong to Glasgow"!

Monday 16 June 2014


On one of the most glorious of mornings in West Dunbartonshire, here I am getting ready for the Annual Trip to Kefalonia. Captain Correlli's Island.  Imagine leaving this sunshine and wonderful scenery for the sun!

For those thinking about it..... there's still a big dug at The Rectory with a houseminder! Not that my Blog Friends would think of looting, but, hey, there are some half-decent sermons lying around.

It's great to get one real holiday a year, and this is it! See you all sooner than I might wish!

Saturday 14 June 2014

Honours Galore!

It's hell having to keep a secret, but today the Honours List was published, and Georgie, my Sacristan, has been awarded the BEM. Georgie's commitment to CHAS, her community, the elderly and her church has at last been rewarded with official recognition. I am so happy for her!

That's two BEMs in a year as Barbara Barnes, one of my Trustees was given her gong this time last year!

What a wonderful congregation we have!

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Getting There!

Good Morning! It's nice to see you again. Out of the foggy mists of depression and turmoil, I'm back, happy, positive, and raring to go again. It helps, too, to know that my holidays begin a week today, and sun awaits!

Seriously, I've been through the worst two months of my life, and without the gentle support of a small handful of folk, I doubt that I would ever have emerged from the darkest of tunnels. Thanks! You know who you are.

Having lost interest in everything that I am normally passionate about, not being able to get up in the morning, wanting to dive back under the duvet perpetually, unable to even speak to real friends, afraid to answer the phone, panic attacks, and the list goes on; I had ceased to function as a normal, living human being.

Dad's death was the catalyst for my world collapsing, and all the stresses and strains of the past year suddenly ganged up on me and led me to places I didn't want to go. Not good!

I hesitated to write this prematurely, but now I have a week of normality back again, I'm confident that I will not be revisiting the black hole again soon.

So, finally, after the fifty days of unremitting joy of Easter, this is actually my Easter week beginning, and the darkness of Holy Saturday has gone. The only thing that would be a real bummer now would be England winning the World Cup! That's not going to happen though, and I'm glad I will be in Greece for most of it!

So, good morning world! It's nice to see you again, and a pleasure to be a part of life again!

Friday 30 May 2014

Getting There

It's been a long time since my dad's death now. He died in Tuesday of Holy Week and we are still within our fifty days of unremitting joy! After the Easter duties and another funeral, then the internment of ashes, I just kinda broke down.

It wasn't my dad's death, really, but that was the catalyst, and grieving over my mum too, who I'd never really grieved over properly, together with all the stresses and strains of the past few months, just made me explode and land like a heap of jelly.

The depression returned with a vengeance, almost to the point where I didn't even care about Partick Thistle. I was sorry for myself, yes. My job was too much, the bickering which goes on in Community Projects was unbearable, the tensions of moving house, changing job, and the expectations of myself and others went through the roof.

I didn't want to get out of bed, speak to anyone, care about anyone, not even a replacement new car, and the total inability to be executor and write to folk and phone folk was simply adding to the darkness. I was angry. Very angry. Mostly with myself. I still am, really.

I crept into churches and led services although I had been signed off sick, and still am. I preached angry sermons which I shudder about now, but they were part of a process. My GP has been terrific and is looking after me. She cares. She understands. 

I compiled a new Joint Parish Magazine which looks ok, and did pewsheets and became active in social media and responded to hundreds of emails. My GP says, "but I signed you off". How do you sign off a priest? It's maybe easier if you are a part of a big clergy team, but I'm not! The Diocese is short of priests and getting cover is hard and expensive for your parish!

But, let's get back to the depression, for the cloud is still there. I have to say that the Parish support, and the Diocesan support has been terrific, and I'm glad to have a Bishop who is understanding. Mental health is not often dealt with very well in the Church, but I am lucky! You can't get in unless you're a bit crazy at St Aug's and I'm finding out that it's much the same at St Mungo's!

There is nothing worse than the paralyses that comes over you when real depression strikes. It is the bottomless pit of anger, anguish and despair, and, you know, you can look physically great at the same time. I've smiled from my throat up, rather from my heart for four weeks now! There is no light at the end of the tunnell. There is only despair, agony, self doubt, self-loathing, and the sure and certain truth that things will not get any better. You deny your partner's love and care, because it is impossible to do anything but detest someone like you.

And sleep is the relief. The time you can break free from it all, yet you wake up and the pit of the stomach churns!

But how can this be? How can a man of faith who believes in the power of God say these things? I think I would respond to terminal cancer in a more positive way. Does that answer your question?

I blog this today for two reasons.

One is that I see a light, maybe just a glimmer, at the end of this dark tunnel and am beginning to function slowly again. And, two, for those still in the darkness, for I sensed the crucified Jesus somewhere in there. Despite the Alleluias, I was still in Holy Saturday.

Maybe this will help someone. I hope so!

Saturday 26 April 2014


It's new to me, this grieving, and I'm surprised. The emptiness, the desolation, loss, and cold comfort.

Of course, I thought I knew all about it, for hadn't I grieved and cried over many parishioners in the past that I loved dearly? And my mum had died 15 years ago, and I grieved. Well I thought I did! Then there were all the beloved dogs. Part of the family they were!

But this is different. It's my last parent, and I'm grieving both mum and dad in a way, and in a depth, I never thought possible. June will see me ordained 36 years, and I thought I understood the deepest of depths, but I was wrong. All the Alleluias in the world don't help, although they certainly got me through the process and through the Requiem.

The thing is that I don't want anyone or their kind words or hugs. I want to be on my own and remember both of them, and laugh and cry and sleep if I can.

The world goes on and we are in the Season of unremitting Joy! Sod that for a game of soldiers, but I know there will be an Easter morning for me. Sooner, rather than later, Lord!!!

Friday 25 April 2014

Dad's Eulogy from my brother Graham

Dad was born John Wyllie Macaulay on the 25th May 1925 and would have been 89 next month. Everyone knew Dad as Jack or Jackie.

Dad will always be remembered for two things; his pipe and a glass of whisky or as he termed it his "wee dram"

Dad grew up in Maryhill and may explain his love for Partick Thistle which he managed to pass on to us. Dad would be taken to Firhill and then lifted over the turnstile and this was subsequently done with Kenneth and I when we were young we would be taken to the games and lifted over the turnstile.

By following Partick Thistle Dad taught us a very valuable lesson in that it wasn't always black or white or even green or blue, it could be red and yellow. Dad taught us that it was perfectly acceptable not to be "one of the crowd" that we could in this case follow a football team that wasn't the popular one and to stand up for what we believed in.

In the past few days we have been going through a lot of the documents that he had kept and came across a school report card from North Kelvinside  which he attended. In first year after his first set of exams Dad was ranked 2nd in the class of 33. This was amazing to read because Dad had always told us he didn't do well at school and encouraged the 4 of us to work hard at school which we did and we all went on to third level education. 

Dad joined the Navy in 1943 at the age of 18 and served on many different aircraft carriers. Dad was discharged from the Navy in 1946 and then took up an apprenticeship to become a grate builder. While working on a fireplace in a house Knightswood he met the love of his life Myra McRobbie.

Myra and Jack were married on 28th February 1949 and in December of the same year the first little Mac appeared, Jacqueline who was then followed by Kenneth, Gale and myself.
Dad then switched his craft from grate building to become a tiler, this was because he would tell everyone he had a "flair" for it after laying the last kitchen or bathroom floor tile.

Dad was a very proud man and took great care in his work. He worked for amongst others Norman Campbell tiling company and whenever they took on jobs the request was usually we will give you the work as long as Jackie Macaulay is doing the job. The great legacy for the family is that Dad's work is still scattered around Glasgow, he worked on the swimming pool on the QE2, Queen Street Station, Drumchapel swimming pool to name but a very small examples. There was a time when if you drove through Bearsden and saw the front steps tiled with "Rustic Red" or "Autumn Gold" chances were that Jack had tiled them.

We always had a laugh when we were out for dinner, because whenever we went somewhere to eat in Glasgow, chances were that dad had tiled the bathrooms. However, on the few occasions he didn't do the work himself he would immediately excuse himself and go and inspect the work of someone else. Dad would then return with a whole list of why the tiling job was particularly bad.
Dad cared very much for the family and when working at a time when the building trade was required to work on Christmas day would wait until all the kids had gone to the living room to see what Santa had brought, Dad would then head off to work at the risk of getting the sack.
Dad worked at a time when the man earned the living and the woman stayed at home bringing up the kids. Jack and Myra always put the 4 of us first and knew that our education was so important to us all.

Dad worked very hard and took on additional jobs or "homers" as they were called to bring additional income. He would do evening jobs and also worked week-ends to provide for us.
Dad finally made the decision to become self employed, he was always afraid that he wouldn't have enough work. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Dad never advertised and always had work through recommendations, he was so busy he took on additional folk to cope with the work.

Everyone can remember showbiz double acts, Morecombe and Wise, The two Ronnies etc, but the tiling trade had its own celebrity couple, Jack and Jake. Jake was our Golden Cocker Spaniel who travelled with Dad on his jobs. Dad would get most of the tiles for his jobs at the CTD and between the smell of the pipe and the scent left by the cocking of his leg ( I am referring to the dog here and not Dad) everyone could tell that the tiles were delivered from the CTD with that unique aroma of pipe smoke and pee.

We had a unique alarm clock in our house, this involved being woken to the sound of scraping, and by that I mean the scraping of burnt toast over the kitchen sink. Cooking wasn't one of Dad's strong points, but he more than made up for it in being a truly wonderful Dad.
I couldn't talk about Dad without discussing his driving.

There are numerous stories to tell but I have picked out a couple which I think are worth telling.
Dad learned to drive at a relatively older age compared to most people. There was a time when he had his provisional licence and Kenneth and Dad were heading to Johnstone to do a job. Dad was on the motorway (which he shouldn't have been) and was driving in his Morris Minor. Kenneth was watching the speedometer reach 85mph and said to Dad that the speed limit was 70mph. Dad turned to Kenneth and said "Oh I thought that you had to be above 70mph"

Another time was when we headed off to Firhill to see Partick Thistle play. On this particular occasion he didn't have his usual parking spot and we were parking beside the canal. As we are looking for a place to park there are lots of folk getting out of their cars and walking to the ground. Dad then finds a parking space and then starts to reverse in. As he does the car goes over a little bump. There is a lot of shouting and as we look out, the little bump was someone's foot. The guy was very annoyed and approached the car. dad rolls down the window unaware of what he had done. Dad as always had his pipe in his mouth. As the guy approached Dad he just grabbed my Dad's pipe. The look on his face was priceless as he couldn't believe that someone had the audacity to take his pipe. Everything was calmed down and we went to the game staying several yards behind the guy limping to the ground.

Everyone has heard of Alton Towers and the scary rides that are in the theme park.
Well we had our own "White Knuckle Ride" and it usually took place every time we got into the car with Dad.

The White Knuckle Ride was as follows:
Driving as closely as possible to the curb without touching it, for the most part, it was only every touched when we turned left. As well as driving as close to the curb as possible, the car was about one foot away from the car in front. So you have the picture, now while all this is going on Dad would then decide to light his pipe. This then involved balancing the steering wheel between his knees while searching his pockets with both hands looking for his pipe followed by looking for his tobacco. Dad would then fill his pipe, remember we are about 1 mm from the curb and about a foot away from the car in front. Once the pipe is filled, the lighting of the pipe then followed. This meant that the car was filled with pipe smoke as all the windows were up, Dad didn't like the cold. The car would become so filled with pipe smoke it was impossible to see out the front window.
However, in saying all that, we were all brought and returned safe and sound but not without the odd scare.

Dad and Mum were great dancers, and whenever there was a party everyone would step back and give Myra and Jack the space to do their jiving. In his latter years when he went to Frank Downie House, he would love teaching everyone how to dance.

Dad had a brilliant sense of humour - when he was tiling he would always tell the lady of the house that there was a 50p piece under one of the tiles. When I was working with him the lady would pull me to the side and ask me which tile had the 50p piece under it. I would play along and say that it was back luck to reveal it.

When Dad moved down to Dumbarton he took great delight in telling everyone at St Augustine's he was Father's Father. He also took on the role as bouncer at the coffee mornings in the church. He took great joy in charging everyone their entrance money.

Before Dad went to Frank Downie he spent a short time in a home in Cardross. Dad had to go out to the back to have his smoke, while out he would then run to the front of the house and ring the front door bell and then dash back around to the back acting all innocent.

Dad was cared for very well in the Frank Downie House and to the staff and carers we are extremely grateful. Sandra, Caroline and Kate are here today who cared for Dad for a lot of the time he was at  Frank Downie House.

Dad was a very proud Pappa of his 6 grandchildren, Graham Barry, David, Matthew, Hannah & Eve. He was very proud of what they have all achieved in their lives and loved them dearly.

We have a new generation started now with Alana and Hailey and I am sure Graham and Matthew will have great stories to tell them about their Pappa as their children grow up.

I have tried to give you an insight into Jack Macaulay, our Dad, was he perfect, not at all, was he a good Dad, he was the best. A wonderful man who always put his family first.

Mum passed away 15 years ago on Holy Week and it is very symbolic that Dad passed away on Holy Week as well.

Dad would want us to be happy today and to celebrate his life.

Thursday 17 April 2014

Rest in Peace Pappa!

Dad died on Tuesday morning at 2.15am. It's been a pretty fraught Holy Week, but we are getting there. On the Altar of Repose tonight I could almost see him dancing between the candles! What a soppy guy I am!

Rest well Jack. You gave so many people so much! Read your love letters to mum last night. What a romantic. Probably where I get my soppiness from.

His funeral is in St Augustine's at 1pm on Tuesday, with his remains coming in on Easter Monday at 4.30pm.

Saturday 12 April 2014


It's been a little while since I've posted. Well, things have been so busy with the linkage of charges and two parishes rather than one. 

And I have ignored the blogging, even though it gives me time to reflect.

Today, I maybe need to reflect. It looks like dad is dying, and my visit today was to a bed in his care home which has brilliantly transformed into hospice mode. They are fantastic and I made the decision to keep him there rather than being transferred to a hospital.

My mum died on Holy Tuesday.

Jack is strong, though, and he may last for weeks and months yet, but today it didn't look like that.

I remember the strong man who worked on the tools, provided for his family, and loved my mum and each of his children equally. He is still strong, although lying in a bed with no recognition, and morphine to take away some pain.

He may well recover, our Jack, for he has had more comebacks than Lazarus, but I fear this may be the beginning of the end.

Say a wee prayer for him, and for Jacqueline, Gale, Graham and me.

Monday 11 November 2013

Moving On

It is with dread that I look at the week ahead! Apart from three funerals and a Remembrance Service for those who have died in our community as a result of addiction, a Vestry Meeting and a short listing meeting to choose who we will interview for the post of Associate Priest here, there is the Moving House Day on November 19th.

As I speak, I am surrounded by boxes, some empty bookcases and bare walls. I'm dreading, yet getting really excited, at the prospect of moving on. However, this is not really to a new parish, but to another Rectory in the forthcoming linkage of St Augustine's with St Mungo's Alexandria. Richard Holloway may have recently published his book Leaving Alexandria, and here I am Going to Alexandria!

Moving on has always been a big part of my life, and in many ways it reflects Christian Pilgrimage. We are called constantly to move on, to grow, to change, to be better and to move eventually to the heavenly home! I hope that's a move I'm not asked to make in the next wee while, though, for there is much to do and much to accomplish.

I'm not really leaving Dumbarton, though, it's just that my boundaries have become broader. My office will still be in Dumbarton, and probably most of my time will be spent in Dumbarton too. Just a physical move of goods and shackles. A new house with lots of big rooms which is going to be hell to heat and a garden which fills me with terror, but at least the dogs will be happy!

And both congregations will have to move on; move on to a new place where they will be ministered to by a team rather than an individual. Exciting times...... But I wish we could afford Pickfords who come, do the packing, and let you sit back and watch!

Now, there's another thought! How many of us, in our spiritual journey, take the Pickfords option and let other folks just get on with it as we sit and watch?

Monday 4 November 2013

God's Revelation - Our Core Beliefs

Yikes! It's been a while since I've had so many positive comments on what was preached on a Sunday. Maybe I'd been getting a bit stale! I'd have liked it to have been recorded, in retrospect, and I cannot reproduce what I said, for it was "off-the-cuff" stuff, but much was based on what I had experienced last week on retreat.

Basically it was centred around what God thinks of us, and what God says to all of us. Let's call them God's revelation, or our Core Beliefs!

  • ·         I have been made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1)
  • ·         I have sinned but have been redeemed (Gen 3 and 2Cor 5:17)
  • ·         I am precious in God’s sight (Isaiah 43:4)
  • ·         I have been made little less than a god and crowned with glory and beauty. (Psalm 8:6)
  • ·         I am reborn of water and the Holy Spirit  (John 3:6)
  • ·         My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor 6:19)
  • ·         I am God’s work of art (Ephesians 2:10)
  • ·         I am part of the Body of Christ  (1Cor 12:27)
     This is what Scripture tells us, and to protest that we are "only human" does God a great disservice. It may even amount to heresy! Our humanity is precious and loved, a work of art, in the image of God indeed, and we have been made little less than a god and crowned with glory and beauty. How wonderful is that? 
      Yet, we are plagued by the Inner Critic. Our lives are full of dialogue, with all sorts of people who will use negative words to tell us how they perceive us, but the rest of the time we have an inner dialogue, and that is when the Inner Critic comes to life. It will tell us that bits of our body, or our whole body is ugly, or that we are useless, that we should have done better, that we are no good and bound to fail, that we are forever falling short. Ad infinitum it goes on and on, whispering lies to us, and the Core Beliefs are shoved to the side as we listen to the Inner Critic which magnifies all our shortcomings, especially if someone else has sown the seed in us! 

      In truth, we need to banish the Inner Critic and see ourselves as God sees us, worthy, loved precious, a work of art, etc etc, which are all part of God's revelation to us. The Inner Critic will destroy us if we let it. 

      We are children of God, and we need to drag that truth from the bottom of our souls and keep it at the top of our inner being, where it belongs, and refuse to let the Inner Critic bury it again!


Saturday 2 November 2013

New Soul for All Souls

Coming off a few days at St Mary's Monastery at Kinnoull in Perth, and a wonderfully led mini-retreat by Fr Jim McManus, a priest I have greatly admired for years. These past few months my soul has been greatly troubled by a number of things, and as a result, I have been unwell at times when I'm normally quite a bouncy person. The things which troubled me are still around, OK, but I've managed this last week to put them where they belong, and they will overburden me no longer!

In fact, I'm looking forward to the days ahead, merging two congregations into a Linked Charge, which means I'll be moving house to Alexandria on the 19th November. However, even the thought of the turmoil of moving house is not flustering me in the slightest, although it may do a bit more before we get to the 19th!

On this All Souls Day, I feel as if my own soul has been renewed and revitalised, and that's going to be so important to me as I face the days ahead. There is a morbidness, along with a feeling of gratitude in my heart on every All Souls Day celebration. I grieve for many on the lists I read out, but I'm grateful for all they gave me in their lives. Some names bring a tear, and others a smile.

At the Requiem this morning, I read out a blog post which had popped into my inbox earlier, and all seemed to appreciate the words I read to them. They had moved me deeply. Written by Beth, a young medic, who happens to be a server at the Cathedral, they had me in tears, tears of empathy and understanding and I think joy, yes joy too. There is indeed a fine line between the living and the dead! Read Beth's words here.

Monday 30 September 2013

Pat's first Celebration of the Eucharist

And then on Sunday we capped it all off!

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What a wonderful day we had on Saturday 28th September, as Revd Pat Smith was ordained priest in St Augustine's! A full church, two bishops, a music group in fine fettle, and lots of clergy from all over the Diocese. It will be long remembered!

Friday 20 September 2013

Pain in the Neck

It's been a strange week! On Saturday night I slipped on the top step in the house, trying to carry six things at once, and ended up tumbling down our stairway, bumping my back on each of the fourteen stairs. After a very painful night I struggled through the 9am service on Sunday.

However, the RW drew the line and I was carted off eventually to the RAH in Paisley for multiple x-rays. By this time I was in complete agony and it was feared at one point that I may have broken or chipped a bone in my neck. Thankfully, this proved not to be the case.

Having been told by the doctor the week before to take some rest, I found myself with another few days of having to stay in the house and swallow painkillers like they were going out of fashion.

It's been an enlightening fortnight! Being forced to take time out, good quality thinking time, has enabled me to think through a lot of issues and worries, and gain a bit more perspective. Things WILL get done on time, I CAN cope with my workload, and with my Higher Power partner, nothing is insurmountable.

For those who have supported and helped this past fortnight, 'thank you'! (You know who you are)

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Tuesday 3 September 2013

Food Bank

I really didn't want to have much to do with it, as our parish resources were stretched already, and I certainly wasn't going to have any truck with coupons or vouchers, but when West Dunbartonshire Foodshare was born, I was persuaded that St Aug's could be used to provide basic groceries to those whose benefit had been cut or stopped, and who found themselves hungry with hungry children.

At first it was hard going, trying to fix times and commitments, helping people feel safe, and managing to separate those who were really in need from those who were on the 'con', but things have settled down and we are running a worthy wee Food Bank which doesn't use vouchers or letters from your doctor/social worker or anyone else.

The fact that the Benefits Office are turning people away and then sending them to us speaks volumes. CAB and Social Work are constantly referring, and there's a lot of need and poverty outside our door. Benefits are being slashed and ordinary folk are finding themselves in untenable positions. The Bedroom Tax doesn't help, but folk are having to choose between food and electricity, between clothes and rent arrears, with threats of eviction and all the rest. I think we may have saved one or two lives in the process.

I'm appalled by the amount of poverty we are now unearthing in Dumbarton and the Vale, as more and more folk come in tears, with nothing and leave in tears of gratitude with a bagful of groceries sometimes costing less than a fiver. Single mums and dads with kids, and sometimes even wage earners, whose jobs pay less than what is acceptable, and have no way of topping that up.

I hear there was a big Political Forum in Dumbarton last night, talking about poverty and how we tackle the mess we are in. It was nice to hear St Augustine's being praised to the highest heavens for the little we do from MSPs and all in Authority, but why have we come to this, that a struggling wee church which can't afford to pay stipend is being asked to bridge the gap. Is this how the Big Society works out, that you leave the poor to feed the poor? That's what it looks like!

Saturday 31 August 2013

Partick Thistle Too

Just a wee ps. It was Thistle two today! Tonight we are third in the Premier League. I'm getting a nosebleed!

Blame the iPad

Two major things have been around since I last blogged. One was my falling out of love with my laptop and falling in love with my iPad. Using Blogger on my iPad has never worked for me, even with the "App", and I once wrote a long and deeply moving piece about the power depression can have over me only to see it disappear into the strata from my new lover, the iPad. Put me off a bit!

Apple are very cunning and extremely seductive, and as I hate my old laptop so much now, it's so slow and old and the battery needs replacing, I've been looking at MacBooks which come in over £800! Help ma boab, I'm on minimum stipend here! So, blogging means opening up the dreaded laptop and doing stuff from there, especially if I want to add pics. Meanwhile I'm dragging myself away from Apple stores, because I know that if I go in, the dreaded credit card would start whispering in my ear!

The other major thing is that I have had to stop calling my Football Club Partick Thistle Nil, after an inspiring First Division Championship win! So it's Thistle from now on and a season in the League of Greed is already underway. This has repercussions, with bigger crowds, all-ticket games and having to host Celtic supporters twice this season.

If I'd been blogging at the end of last season it would have been mostly about The Jags, so at least the world was spared that!

Blessings eh?

Friday 30 August 2013


What have I been doing since Lent 3? Well, the answer is that I've been very busy thank you! Blogging has become almost 'old hat' I guess, and I use Facebook for short stuff and to share things. Yet, I really miss my blogging although nobody else does! I need to write things down and keep a diary of feelings, if for nobody else but me.

I guess I felt it so much yesterday after a really fulfilling day with Christchurch Dalbeattie as we looked at the possibility of doing a Community Audit. I wanted to share the joy, and enthusiasm, but there was nowhere to share it, and my Facebook friends would just say "eh?",

So maybe a return to blogging, just for my own sake maybe. My stats show that nobody really kept up with me anyway!

Saturday 5 January 2013

Gambia Bound

This time tomorrow, I'll be getting ready to fly off to The Gambia for ten days. Most folk will think it's a wee holiday, and yes, there will be sunshine, a chance to slow down, and all the rest, but there is serious stuff to be done and dusted while I am there.

For those of you who don't know, we run a Nursery School in London Corner, the poorest part of the sprawling town of Serrekunda, which is comprised of crippling poverty, corrugate, and broken dreams. We educate 90 children and feed them daily due to the generosity of people from Dumbarton, Helensburgh and beyond.

January is the usual time to negotiate rents, pay rises, bonuses, and teaching materials/resources, and my ten days will be full of meetings, lots of head shaking, and a few pleas for a taxi for Christmas! This year, too, will begin a hunt for alternative accommodation, as the building we operate from is in a pretty critical condition.

I will try to blog a diary when I'm there, depending on whether I get electricity or a WiFi connection that works properly!

It's with some sadness that I go. One of St Augustine's greatest stalwarts, May Thomson, died yesterday, and I will miss doing her funeral. Indeed, May, in her early eighties came with us to The Gambia to see the school, and managed to do a spot of unintended topless sunbathing! They still ask about the "Lady with the Laugh!"

Next Sunday, I'll be worshipping in St Andrew's Lamin, which is a three hour marathon, but worth every minute!

Saturday 29 December 2012

A Parish Christmas

We probably had enough drama in the parish over Christmas to keep the Denny Theatre going for the next six months, but such is life in a busy place where needs are being met, folk are struggling to put food on their table, and the consequences of living out an Incarnational Theology come home to roost.

Somehow, despite exhaustion and emotional overload, it all happened and the sermons were preached and the Good News was told to all. We even sent out a wee missionary band to Drumchapel to provide them with a Christmas Eve Eucharist with carolling and much joy.

The wonderful thing was the Christmas lunch which was put on for the folk in the town who would otherwise have been on their own. The community were fantastic with lots of donations, and our helpers put on a Christmas Dinner which was probably much better than the local hoteliers put on. And everyone got a doggy bag to take home. St Augustine's was the place to be!

We have still got some stuff left over which will help the needy until all the Benefits Offices kick in again in January.

Thank you to all who made this possible. In the midst of chaos, Our Lord was born. In the midst of chaos in St Augustine's 2012, he was born again. Emmanuel!

Friday 28 December 2012

Christmas Midnight

It is one of the spin offs of becoming a grandparent that you take again an interest in children’s books and Christmas stories. I was browsing lately and came across that wonderful story of the young girl who was turned into a frog.

Eventually, as you know, the handsome prince came along and kissed the frog, and the rest, as they say, is history!
And I was thinking about that story when I was thinking about what to say tonight….

God, the Prince of Peace leans down to kiss his creation and turns into a frog himself.

It’s one way to think about the meaning of Christmas, I suppose!

But, let me begin tonight with a beautiful old Christmas legend... the ancient legend tells of how God called the angels of heaven together one day for a special choir rehearsal. He told them that he had a special song that he wanted them to learn... a song that they would sing at a very significant occasion.

The angels went to work on it. They rehearsed long and hard... with great focus and intensity. In fact, some of the angels grumbled a bit... but God insisted on a very high standard for his choir. 

As time passed, the choir improved in tone, in rhythm, and in quality. Finally God announced that they were ready... but then, he shocked them a bit. He told them that they would sing the song only once... and only on one night.

There would be just one performance of this great song they had worked on so diligently. Again, some of the angels grumbled. The song was so extraordinarily beautiful and they had it down pat now... surely, they could sing it many, many times. God only smiled and told them that when the time came, they would understand. 

Then one night, God called them together. He gathered them above a field just outside of Bethlehem. "It's time," God said to them... and the angels sang their song. And, boy, did they sing it!
 "Glory to God in the highest... and on earth peace and good will toward all..." And as the angels sang, they knew there would never be another night like this one, and that there would never be another birth like this birth in Bethlehem. 

When the angels returned to heaven, God reminded them that they would not formally sing that song again as an angelic choir, but if they wanted to, they could hum the song occasionally as individuals. One angel was bold enough to step forward and ask God why. Why could they not sing that majestic anthem again? They did it so well. It felt so right.

Why couldn't they sing that great song anymore? "Because," God explained, "my son has been born... and now earth must do the singing!"

My son has now been born and my world must now do the singing! 

Once each year, Christmas comes around again to remind us of that... God's Son has come to earth... and now we must do the singing!

And to do that we need to be right with God... (If we want to find the peace that Christmas promises.) 

That's the starting place because that is indeed what Christmas is all about. Jesus Christ came into this world to set us right with God. Jesus Christ came into the world to bring us back to God.

I remember the old story about the elderly couple driving down the street one day. They were listening to the radio as the man drove the car through the busy Christmas streets. As they listened to the beautiful music of Christmas, the wife became nostalgic and she said, "George, do you remember how when we were younger we used to sit so close together as we drove along? It was so wonderful back then. What happened?" "I don't know about that," said George, "All I know is that I haven't moved." 

Well, Christmas comes each year to remind us that God is not the one who has moved away from us. No! We are the ones who move. We are the ones who drift away from Him.

Christ has come down to this earth to help us get back together with God who made us... and who loves us. That's what that word Emmanuel means in our text. God with us! God comes in the Christ Child to seek and save the lost.

That's what Christmas is all about. This is the only way we can have the peace of Christmas. The only way is to let the Christ of Christmas bring us back to the Father who loves us and set us right with the One who made us. 

The first step toward the peace of Christmas is to be set right with God. 

In an old Peanuts comic strip, that popular misfit Charlie Brown cracks open his piggy bank. He says, “Look, I’ve got $9.11 to spend on Christmas.”

Lucy is not impressed. “You can’t buy something for everyone with $9.11, Charlie Brown,” she responds.

Charlie Brown retorts, “Oh yeah? Well, I’m gonna try!”

“Then,” Lucy continues, “they’re sure gonna be cheap presents.”

“But,” Charlie Brown says with absolute conviction, “nothing is cheap if it costs all that you have.”

God has given us all he has, and we need to try to give something back to God!

God gave us Himself in the babe at Bethlehem! What a wonderful truth! It is our turn to sing!

So - Get yourself right with God, this Christmas! Sing his song, or croak it if you will, and help others sing it with you!

Sunday 23 December 2012


I want to make my annual public service announcement to the men in our congregation. Guys, it’s time to do your Christmas shopping. I know that maybe some of you have this problem already out of the way. But just in case, please heed my announcement. 

Our Gospel from Luke takes place some months before the birth of Christ. In fact, Mary has only recently learned from the angel that she will bear a child, a child conceived of the Holy Spirit. Almost immediately, Mary decides to visit her older cousin Elizabeth. This meant she had to travel about 100 miles south to the hill country of Judah. This would be about a five day journey, an amazing trip for a young teenage pregnant girl.

And Mary breaks out in a song, a song we know as the Magnificat. We seem to be hearing it and singing it a lot today!

The Magnificat is radical and revolutionary. The humble and the hungry are lifted up but the wealthy are sent away empty. William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, warned his missionaries to India never to read the Magnificat in public. Christians were already suspect in that country and they were cautioned against reading verses so inflammatory. Don’t speak too loudly against the rich – they might throw you out! 

In our country, Mary would be accused of being politically na├»ve today.  It’s dangerous to talk about the greed of the wealthy and powerful and the oppression of the least and lowest. It causes fights at parties! 

We have to watch out for the hangers-on, and haven’t you read the Daily Mail lately?
Stupid woman! What does she know? We need the wealthy! They are our salvation!

After all, the Old Etonian’s tell us, “We’re all in it together”!
Aye! That will be right! I'm on £50 a week and you pay more for that for a bottle of champers!

And you will not find many MPs or MSPs living up closes in places like Bellsmyre. The Queen visited the cabinet last week and realised she was the poorest person round the cabinet table! Ho ho ho!

So, what is it that we need to take away from Mary’s song so close to Christmas?  First of all we need to see that Jesus came to turn the world right side up, or upside down! I prefer right side up. It makes more sense!

Jesus didn’t come to maintain the status quo. Jesus came to bring righteousness and justice. The message of God’s love for all people regardless of who they are or what they have is the most liberating message in the world. 

Remember that the very first message the adult Jesus preached was based on the words of the prophet Isaiah and went something like this: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour”. 

Jesus was not a revolutionary. He was sent to be the Saviour of the world. However, his message was revolutionary.

Once you accept that God is the Father of all people, once you accept the fact that Christ died for all people, once you accept the fact that everyone on earth is our brother and our sister, it becomes impossible to justify the oppression of one people by another.

It becomes impossible to justify that some would live in absolute luxury while others go to bed each night with hunger pangs gnawing at their insides or need food banks to feed their children. Jesus came to turn the world right side up, or upside down. We have still to hear the message it seems!

There will be food banks soon in Dumbarton, but I will have nothing to do with them. It's a return to the Poorhouse!

The Provost recently visited America and in a Q & A session was asked what was the most significant thing he had seen. He answered the poverty and homelessness in the streets. Every parish had a homelessness programme. Every parish fed the hungry! In one parish they boasted that they fed 30,000 people each week, and Kelvin said that if 30,000 people lined up in Great Western Road, he wouldn’t be feeding them. He’d be on to politicians to ask them why the poor were not being fed!

We are in the same position! Why our poor and those who have benefit cuts needing to be fed by churches? God help us all! Are you listening? We are not all in this together! 

I will not run a food bank but I will pester those in Scottish society who think that’s an acceptable state of affairs! You guys in parliament who tell us that you care for the poor and are trying to make things fair….  Show us your hand! You are hounding the least, last and lost.

Jesus also came to give dignity to those whom society does not value. Where is the dignity to queue up for food? The Christmas story shows those in government palaces in the worst possible light. Meanwhile members of society’s least prestigious vocation, shepherds, hear the message of “Peace on earth, good will toward humankind.” That is no accident. 

The Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, as I said, has just returned from America where he spent three months. He calls Washington the city where nothing matters except politics but I read a story of an Episcopalian Vestry member from there who wrote:  

I should have kept running, he says, but for some reason I stopped for just a moment. It was then that I noticed all of these teenagers, singing carols had some kind of developmental disability. One young lady with Down syndrome had the job of playing the triangle. Whenever the director pointed to her, her face would light up, she would smile from ear to ear, and give her triangle a whack.

He says he was riveted by her. He says she became his priest. As his eyes teared up something inside him leapt for joy. He noticed the stressed-out leaders of business and government around him who had also been captivated by this moment, dabbing their eyes. What was happening? He wondered. “Something deep inside,” he writes, “something planted by God, was touched as they sang, ‘the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.’ That holy thing God had started leaped up to our hearts and every one of us wanted to join that group of singers saying, ‘I have disabilities, too. My spirit and heart have been disabled by cynicism, hurt, and anger. I would love to have your innocence and purity leap out of me as it does from your little choir.’”  

It is only right that at Christmas we should be mindful of those for whom life is a struggle. It is only right at Christmas time that we should be reminded of our bounty and the world’s need. Sometimes it seems that Christmas is homage to Mammon and not to God. Whose birthday is it anyhow? Have we forgotten somebody? Someone?

And that is why I am so proud of all of you who in whatever way, will make Christmas Dinner happen for some really needy people on Tuesday. Even those who gave the widow’s mite or the generous cheque. Jesus is undoubtedly yours this season!

Because Jesus came to turn the world right side up. Jesus came to give dignity to those whom society does not value. 

Jesus came to give hope to the hopeless, peace to those who hearts are in turmoil, love to those who are broken. 

Among the things we will want to remember is the song the wee girl sang as she awaited the birth of her son, God’s son.

The song was about her son and his mission in the world. Jesus came to turn the world right side up. Jesus came to give dignity to those who society does not value. Jesus came to give hope to the hopeless, peace to those who hearts are in turmoil, love to those who are broken. Jesus came to give you the greatest gift of all.  Just love. 

Monday 17 December 2012


It's been a bad weekend newswise, with staff and children mowed down in an American School. I look around and see terminal illness, depression and sadness. I am entrusted with proclaiming Good News.

All I can say is "Emmanuel", God with us. God's middle name is 'with'.

God is with us whatever befalls, whatever we need to go through. God is there, comforting, healing, making all things new.

Today's readings were from Zephenia proclaiming hope in the ruins of Jerusalem, and from Paul on death row. Rejoice, they said. Emmanuel. God is with us.

God's middle name is 'with'. Maybe we can live with that. Rejoice then.

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