Monday, 23 May 2016

Contacts, information, church notices...

The minister will be on leave from: Mon 23 May - Wed 1 June. 

Pulpit and funeral cover: 

Sunday 29 May: we welcome back the Rev. Sandy Strachan - formerly NHS Chaplain in Dumfries.

Funeral cover: will be provided by the Rev Rachel Dobie, who can be contacted on 01899 229244.
For any ongoing parish queries, please contact our Session Clerk Moira White on 01659 74261

News, events, and general notices:

Thurs 2 June, 7.30pm: 'Junction 13' tea, cake, and a blether: For anyone who has been a part of the community choir at any point, and for those who'd like to jump on board: an opportunity for a wee get-together to reflect on what we've been doing, how you think it's gone, and to see where we might go from here. Meet up in the Church Hall, Abington. See you there!

Sunday 5 June, 9.45: Singing group meets at church before worship - all are welcome to come along and have a wee practice of an easy to learn song for worship.

Thurs 9 June, 9-3: Guild outing to Moniave.
at 7pm, Writing Group: our first meeting of this new group will gather at the Colebrooke Arms Hotel, Crawfordjohn. All welcome.

Kirk Crafters’ group: all are welcome to come along to stitch, sew, cut, glue, get creative, and have a good blether. We next meet on Tues 7 June, from 7-9pm. Our current 'big project' in process is the creation of some long banners for the season of Advent. Our other wee project is to knit woolly hats for sailors - which are much appreciated! These will be given to Tim Bell, Port Chaplain at Leith, for distribution.

Church notices - volunteers: the minister is looking for volunteers who would read out the church notices before worship on Sunday mornings. Ideally, it would be great to have a team of 4-5 people, working on a rotational basis. Please let the Nikki know if you’d be willing to do this - and thanks for those who have already offered.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Sermon 22 May: Trinity Sunday

READINGS: Ps 8; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15 

SERMON Let’s pray:
May the words of my mouth and the meditations 
of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, 
O Lord, our strength and our Redeemer.  Amen.

It was a mystery.
And he had been puzzling over it for near on 30 years.
He had written thousands upon thousands of words 
and yet, none of them felt adequate.
All of them fell short of the mark.
How do you describe the indescribable? 
How do you try to comprehend the incomprehensible?
It was a daunting task;
It was madness:
a work that could never be completed in a single lifetime.
It was a mystery, a puzzle, an enigma.

One day, as he walked on the beach, 
his mind overwhelmed by the immensity of the task, 
he saw a young child playing.
As he watched, the child dug a small hole, 
then ran to the water’s edge with a shell in hand.
Gently, carefully, the child filled the shell with water 
and tiptoed back across the sand.
The shell was upturned, and water trickled into the hole;
the child then went back to the water’s edge.
The great thinker watched, as again, and again, 
the child with the tiny shell  
moved between the water’s edge and the hole, 
collecting, carrying, pouring.
Walking up to the child, he smiled.
‘What are you doing, little one?’ he asked.
The child looked up at him with a solemn face and replied:
‘I'm trying to pour the ocean into this hole.’
The great thinker considered the child’s answer for a moment and responded gently:
‘But the ocean is vast. What makes you think that you can empty
 the immense ocean into this tiny hole, with just a small shell?’
The child continued to look solemnly at the great thinker and then,
in a strange and otherworldly voice said:
‘And what makes you think that you can comprehend 
the immensity of God with your tiny human mind.’
And with that, the child vanished leaving the great thinker alone 
on that empty beach, looking at a tiny hole in which sea water 
seeped into damp sand...

Today we celebrate, and reflect upon, mystery:
a mystery that the Church has puzzled over for near on 2 000 years.
There have been thousands of words written - 
including the thousands written by the great thinker we heard about in the story - 
the 5th century African theologian Augustine - 
and while the story of Augustine’s strange beach encounter may be mere legend....
in this second decade of the 21st century
we are still none the wiser about the mystery he was pondering.
Words are not enough;
all of them fall far short of the mark
as we try to describe the indescribable,
and comprehend the incomprehensible:
the mystery and immensity of God,
and Holy Spirit - 
one God
in three persons...
...blessed Trinity.

It is a mystery,
this business of the Trinity
yet, every year, for near-on 2 000 years, 
church communities have listened as preachers have used 
a variety of examples to try and come close to explaining the inexplicable:
God, like a shamrock - three leaves but one stem
God, like water in 3 forms: water, steam, ice...but still water
God, like an egg: shell, yolk, white...
All of these okay, but yet, not quite right.
It’s a tough job... 
so perhaps we should just stick to the words of the Athenasian Creed - 
you can almost hear the writers sighing and shrugging as they wrote:
God the Father: incomprehensible
God the Son: incomprehensible
God the Holy Spirit: incomprehensible.

But is mystery necessarily a bad thing?
And will we cope if we haven’t got the answer 
to every single question this side of heaven?  
I suspect... yes.
And I also suspect, from scripture, that we don’t get to know the whole shebang 
this side of heaven anyway:
Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 13, notes 
‘for now we know in part: then we shall see, face to face.’
Personally, I kinda like the anticipation, and of knowing there’s a whole lot more to come.

So, if we don’t get to unravel the whole mystery 
of who God is and what this matter of the Trinity is about, 
where might we go from here?
If we explore God as Trinity within the context 
of love and belonging and relationship, 
- concepts that are a little more easy to get our heads around - 
how might that affect the way in which we live our lives?

In a small nod to ecumenism: the 1982 communion liturgy of the 
Scottish Episcopal Church, paraphrasing the 1st Letter of John, 
states that:
‘God is love and we are God’s children.
There is no room for fear in love.
We love, because God loved us first.’
For me, this gets to the heart of the matter:
relationships of love -
God    is    love...
and, our response to that love.

In the 16th century, the Russian artist Andrei Rublev 
tried to paint his understanding of the Trinity: 
Father, Son, and Spirit.
It’s the picture you have in front of you 
on your order of service, and also given out with your order, 
which I’d invite you to take out and have a look at now...  
Rublev was very much trying to demonstrate this sense of God 
living in harmonious and perfect community. 
This sense of unity within the relationship of each of the figures 
is indicated by the way their heads incline one to the other, 
almost making an outline of a circle. 
This shows how they're bound together as one 
by a common will and mutual love: love unites them.
...God as a Trinity of love.
God the Father: the one who loves
God the Son: the beloved
God the Holy Spirit: the love that flows so strongly between Father and Son, 
that it takes on shape and substance of its own.
And, mirroring this, for us who are created in God’s image, we might ask:
How do we love?
Who do we love?
What is the impact of that love on others?

It is a mystery, this business of the Trinity
and yet, the overarching theme appears to be community;
to be about relationship.
While our reading from the psalms reminded us of 
how majestic, how great, is our God – 
and that we are in a relationship of praise 
with the whole of creation as we worship God,
our other two readings both contained mentions of God 
within the context of relationship – 
within what we call the three persons of the Trinity...
God as Father
as Son
and as Holy Spirit.
In Romans we hear of God who poured out his love to us through the Spirit...
of God further demonstrating that love for us 
in the life and death of the Son – of Jesus...
God, who, in a community of relationship as Father, Son, and Spirit
creates a reconciling relationship with us –
and calls us into community.
God, as Trinity, modelling what perfect, loving community looks like:
always giving, always looking out for the other, 
and always done within the context of mutual love.
Elsewhere in scripture – the gospel of Matthew, 
when Jesus sends out the disciples to tell others the message of God’s love,
he calls them to go and make other disciples and to baptise them:
in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - 
again, the holy community that is God.
And the one who is baptised enters into the church - 
the community of God’s people.
As God is in the perfect community of the Trinity,
so those who believe are to live within the context of community:
we do so, because we are members of Christ’s body here on earth.

This sense of relationship - of belonging to God - 
and of being a part of God’s people – 
and of modelling lives lived in the fullness and richness of community,
is brought out in our gospel reading from John.
Jesus says: 
‘I tell you...anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.'
And then observes that the power to follow Jesus, 
to do what Jesus has done,
is only given within the context of 
the relationship between Father, Son, and Spirit –
As Jesus goes to the Father, 
and speaks for us, his brothers and sisters,
so the Spirit comes to us, enabling us to do great things...
enabling us to live lives in love,
this, because we are enfolded within the love of the community that is God –
and because we live within the community who are called together as God’s people.
Jesus, in effect, is reminding his disciples 
whose they are, 
and how they should live...
lives modelled on the holy and harmonious relationship 
of Father, Son, and Spirit:
lives lived in grace, love, and fellowship.

And there’s an openness to love.
Our painting by Rublev has an open space at the front:
it’s as if we’re being invited in to sit at the table...
God looks outwards, not inwards - 
looking out in love towards us, 
towards the world.
In turn, we are to look outwards not inwards - 
look in love at the wider world around us:
to welcome all people,
to demonstrate heavenly hospitality 
on earth as it is in heaven:
to build communities of love - 
as in the prayer of St Francis:
‘where there is hatred, sow love,
where there is injury, pardon; 
where there is doubt, faith; 
where there is despair, hope; 
where there is darkness, light; 
where there is sadness, joy.’
And, as we go out marching into the world and do so, 
we have the promise of Jesus, who says:
‘I will be with you always, to the end of the age.’
The life of faith is a life lived within the community of God, 
the community of God’s people – 
we’re not called to bear our burdens, or celebrate our joys alone –
we do this together – 
sharing and caring with and for each other,
just as God, as Father, Son, and Spirit
work in seamless harmony and love, and attend to one another.

The Trinity: 
it’s a mystery.
One that will continue to puzzle human beings until the end of time.
Thousands of words will be added to those already written;
all trying to comprehend the incomprehensible and never really succeeding.
But in the end, what matters is this:
the love of the God who dwells in perfect community;
the love of God whose love is limitless, immeasurable
and welcomes us in - 
the love that creates a place at the table for all...
And, as God loves,
so we are to reflect that love because:
'we believe in God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
the Three-in-One and One-in-Three,
God in three persons,
Blessed Trinity...'

Let’s pray:
three is the magic number
calling us out of individualism
insisting on relationship:
I, to you,
we, to another;
trinity – creating relationships
until all the cosmos joins in

one to create
one to save
one to sustain

one to author
one to fight
one to enliven

one to conceive
one to die
one to resurrect

one to plan
one to act
one to explain

one's sufficient
two's company:
three's community

God of trinity: 
expose our self-reliance,
break open our exclusivity,
continue your creative work
of building relationships
here, and now, among us,
your people... amen

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Reflection Zone: a mid-week blessing

[With thanks to Rev. Genevieve Turner Razim. Artwork by Rev. Jay Sidebotham.]

Discussion Group

UCPC Discussion Group meets this week

'Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things.' Chaim Potok 
We meet on Thursday, 7.30pm, in Leadhills Village Hall: a cosy chat around the kitchen table this month, as the hall itself is being used by the stained glass class. A cuppa, some cake, and good conversation - see you there!  

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Christian Aid Week update: 'Wonderful Worms'

It's Christian Aid Week. Here's some of what we've been doing so far:

On Sunday, during worship, 
we celebrated both Pentecost and Christian Aid Week - with plenty of red splashed about the worship space.
A small team had tiptoed in on Friday night, and blew up nearly 100 balloons, and hung up Christian Aid bunting. After all those balloons, we were getting a little light-headed!

In the weeks leading up to the service, the minister had asked people, if possible, to wear something red on the day - so along with our decorations, we also had Pentecost/ Christian Aid people. There was also a rather large birthday cake to celebrate the 'birthday' of the church - which we enjoyed at morning tea after the service. We have a special collection bucket at the door for both Sundays, and hopefully will raise some money to help folk living in difficult conditions in Bangladesh... including providing worms...

which we've been learning about in Leadhills and Lamingon Primary Schools.  We've been thinking about people who live on the river islands in Bangladesh, and a strange kind of 'buried treasure' - wonderful worms. The worms are part of a project by Christian Aid to help people living in the river islands enrich what is quite poor soil - the worms help to make good compost, and in turn, encourages good, healthy food to be grown. You can watch the video here:

Monday, 16 May 2016

Lunch Club, May 18th

Join us for our May Lunch Club...

NB CHANGE OF DATE from 25th to the 18th

                          ...before we break for the summer. Good food, good company. All welcome!

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Sermon, 8 May: Ascension

Today's readings:
Ps 47
Acts 1:1-11
Luke 24:44-53

Let’s pray:
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts, 
be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength and redeemer, Amen.

Begin in the brightly painted kitchens.
At the table set for supper and 
on the wide couches where we watch TV. 
Begin while we are sorting
the laundry, writing out the shopping list.
And in front of our bathroom mirrors.

Begin in the barns among the warmth of animals
and the smells of grain and manure.
Begin in the growing fields, and in the flooded
pastures, and where the rains have not come
and the soil is cracked    and hard.

Begin in the gleaming office towers, the shiny
shopping malls, the sweaty factory floors.
Begin on crumbling sidewalks and amid
the rumble of subways. 
At machines, 
at our desks,
by the coffee makers and computers.

Begin with the rich, the comfortable.
Begin with the poor, the desperate.
Among the successful, the self-assured.
Among the failed and the floundering.
In the glitter of the halls of power,
and in the cold and shadowed corners
of tragedy and defeat.

Begin on a day when the sun is brilliant;
on a day when the sky is gray.
In a time when economies are favorable;
in a time when all is rust;
at the moment when leaders are caring;
or amid indifference, hostility, despair.

Let us begin beginning again. And whether
we have begun and triumphed, or begun
and struggled and faltered, 
we will continue
our beginning, 
as we have from our beginning,
at Jerusalem,
which is wherever
and whoever we are ...

Endings and beginnings.
They are often tricky things to get right.
And if you get them wrong, 
you can be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
We’ve been, in these last several weeks, on an Easter journey:
a journey that began with a man,
on a donkey,
riding into the city of Jerusalem;
a man, 
cheered at,
waved at,
carrying the weight of so many 
expectations on his back –
expectations of what a messiah 
should look like,
should be,
should do.
Expectations that, for the most part, were based upon 
definitions bound by a very human understanding of what success - 
of what deliverance -
should look like,
should be,
and of how it should be done...
but not necessarily definitions based upon God’s understanding of messiahship 
and of power
and of how to overturn principalities and powers:
not by might.
Not by force.
But by humility -
by self-giving love.
We know the story of how that man’s journey 
into Jerusalem seemed to end:
and death.
But then, a beginning:
a few days later, 
the very definition of death was overturned –
an empty tomb,
folded grave-clothes,
a cry of ‘I have seen the Lord!’
Shock, pain, and fear...turned to joy.
A new beginning.
Meeting with friends and explaining again
the parts of the story that they’d not understood
the first time around.
The Teacher, teaching them once more.
Forty days of seeing him, until, 
another ending at Bethany.
Precious, last words:
urgent reminders.
If they remembered nothing else 
of his mission,
of his message,
of the meaning of his life...
these last words were a litany,
a list:
‘this is why I came;
this is what you saw;
this is what you do next:
Wait in Jerusalem.
Wait for my Spirit to fill you with courage,
to fill you with strength – 
to go tell my story to everyone.’
And then, mid-blessing,
lifting up his hands,
he was lifted up,
away from sight...
It was nothing, if not dramatic.
But instead of the fear and desolation they’d
experienced on that previous ending on a Friday,
this ending filled them with hope;
filled them with joy.
This was an end.
But it was also a beginning.
And if they were in any doubt,
white-robed men dispelled it –
told them to get on with it:
‘don’t just stand there, looking up, do something!’
And so they did.
They remembered his ‘to do’ list 
and went up to Jerusalem.
Knowing that, in this new beginning, 
they need not fear:
instead, they were filled with joy...
and, as they waited, 
in the beginning part of this new beginning,
they worshipped –
blessing God.
Beginning that transformation of what it was –
what it is
to be Christ’s body here on earth.
to be his eyes and ears,
arms and legs...
diverse and gifted and called to share his story:
a story of love,
of beginnings and endings 
and beginning again;
a story of presence,
of being with and alongside one another
in joy and sorrow and laughter and pain;
a story meant for everyone to hear –
whether friends, or neighbours, 
or those who we think of as enemies:
our version of Samaritans – 
and not the good variety.
A story to take, and to share, and to rejoice in –
wherever our own starting point, 
our own Jerusalem, may be.

In his ascension –
in that ending,
there was a beginning:
where followers began to take up the responsibility of what it meant 
to be Christ’s own for the world –
to go,
to be with those that he would seek out:
the vulnerable,
the least, the outcast, the poor, 
the hungry – in body and in soul.
In his ascension was a mandate:
to go and do as he did,
to actively be him,
to continue his work –
to continue his story...
a story that could only continue
in his ending
and our beginning –
a beginning marked by openness to change –
of new things;
a beginning marked by waiting 
for God’s Spirit to move; 
a beginning not undertaken alone – 
but within community, 
as his body – supporting and tending 
and caring for one another;
learning together of God’s love,
and being God’s love in the world...

'Because Jesus ascended 
and sits at the right hand of God,
a new world has broken into ours—
a world in which justice does come for the poor,
freedom comes for the prisoners,
and healing for the sick.
Because Jesus ascended 
and sits at the right hand of God,
a new community has been formed—
a community that loves 
and cares for all members,
a family that welcomes all 
who are abandoned and rejected,
a place where all find a place of belonging.
Because Jesus ascended 
and sits at the right hand of God,
a new creation has begun— 
all that was distorted is being restored,
all that is corrupted is being renewed,
all that was broken is being made whole.
...Because Jesus ascended 
and sits at the right hand of God,
God’s new world has begun...'  [2]

Is this the time
that we expected, as we lived,
ejected from home and country,
objected to by powers that see
not the humans here before
their violent arrival?

It is not for you to know, 
but yet to hope, sing on although
the songs stick in your throat, to
dream on, envisioning a shape
for the shadow dancing on the wall,
showing you the light.

Why stand you there, looking heavenward? 
In a cloud he left you, in a cloud
he comes again: the cloud is you.
'You will be my witnesses,' you heard
him say – crowd in around the story,
shout loud the invitation from the hills,
the time is now and always, see heaven
here, be heaven here on earth.  [3] 


1/ poem by Andrew King
2/ Christine Sine

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Countdown to the Fiddlers' Rally

The week has finally arrived, and we're very much looking forward
to what promises to be a great evening of toe-tapping entertainment.
If you've not yet got your ticket - get in touch with Janet!
See you there -

Upper Clyde  Parish Church present a fiddlers' rally with:

The Caledonian Fiddle Orchestra

We're delighted to welcome back the CFO, who'll be performing in:

Crawfordjohn Hall on Friday 6th May at 7.30pm  

Tickets £10 each. Contact Janet 01864 504265

A light supper is included in the cost of the ticket.
There'll also be a bar on the night.

For more information on the Orchestra please see

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Sermon, 1 May: Seeing God in all things

READINGS: Revelation 21:10, 22 - 22:5; 
John 14:23-29 

Let’s pray:
May the words of my mouth 
and the meditations of all our hearts, 
be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, 
our strength and our redeemer, Amen.

His name was Nicholas, 
a Frenchman born to peasant parents.
He was a humble man:
humble both in position in life, and in character.
He knew what it was to be poor:
so poor, that he joined the army 
in order to be guaranteed regular meals 
and a small stipend in order to live.
He had a great and deep spiritual awakening:
while serving, he saw, in the depths of winter, 
a barren tree, stripped of leaves and fruit – 
seemingly dead, yet waiting patiently
for the sure hope of spring 
and of summer abundance.
He grasped, in that moment, 
a sense of God’s extravagant grace...
understanding that, like the tree, 
he, too, was seemingly dead,
but that God had life waiting for him, 
and that the turning of the seasons 
of his own life would bring fullness.

He also saw war, and was injured in battle.
He was forced to retire from the army and eventually joined 
a religious order in Paris – the Carmelites –
where he spent most of his remaining life quietly, and cheerfully, 
working in the monastery kitchen scrubbing pots, peeling veg, 
running errands for his superiors.
There, in the kitchen, cooking and cleaning, 
he developed a simple way of life and work for God, observing that:
People ‘invent means and methods of coming at God’s love,
they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love,
and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the 
consciousness of God’s presence. 
Yet it might be so simple. 
Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business 
wholly for the love of him?’

He was a man of grace, of patience, of love...
but it was his reputation as a man of deep and profound peace, 
and his simple and cheerful spirituality based upon the peace he’d found,
that drew people to him despite his lowly status.
He was sought out, in his kitchen,
by many who were hungry for a way to experience the peace that he had found.
He was courted by ordinary folk, 
and by those deemed ‘the great and the good’,
for the desire for peace is a powerful thing.
He shared with them his understanding of living life 
through the medium of God’s love.
In all things, love.
He particularly celebrated the little things, saying:
‘we can do little things for God;
I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for the love of him,
and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, 
I prostrate myself in worship before him,
who has given me grace to work;
afterwards, I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to 
pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God.’
He found, in that love of God, companionship:
he didn’t wash the dishes alone, nor scrub the pots...
God was there with him.
He said of this companionship:
‘I have abandoned all particular forms of devotion, 
all prayer techniques. My only prayer practice is attention. 
I carry on a habitual, silent, and secret conversation with God 
that fills me with overwhelming joy.’

This humble man could have died in complete obscurity
and would not have been disappointed if he had.
However, the profound peace of God that he experienced
guaranteed that even now, 402 years after his birth,
that his name is still known, particularly through a small book –
his religious name was Brother Lawrence,
and he wrote what became a spiritual classic 
treasured by both Catholic and Protestant alike:
‘The Practice of the Presence of God’
Some of you may have heard of it.
It’s a book that I stumbled upon very early in my Christian life –
I was about 19 when I first met Brother Lawrence, and discovered 
his kindly, gentle ways, 
his deep and profound peace, 
and, his great, shining love for God.
His book, his words, have been such a help to me in my own walk with God –
and I thoroughly recommend reading it, if you get the chance!

In our gospel passage today, 
we get a sense of practising the presence of God:
we’ve stepped back chronologically to just before Jesus’ arrest and execution.
It’s just after the Last Supper and of washing the disciples’ feet in an upper room.
These few chapters in John are known as ‘the farewell discourses’ –
basically, conversations had with his disciples before he was taken from them.
Immediately prior to this particular passage, Jesus talks of his leaving them,
but tells them that they will not be alone –
‘I will ask the Father, 
and he will give you another Counsellor 
to be with you for ever – the Spirit of truth....
I will not leave you as orphans’

In response to a question by Judas, Jesus talks of those who love him:
and here we get a sense of what our friend, Brother Lawrence, had understood...
for Jesus talks of companionship –
‘My Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him’
God making a home with the one who loves and is loved in return:
God, in vision to John on the isle of Patmos, sharing the outcome of all things;
God, in a monastery kitchen in Paris, 
side by side with Lawrence, talking companionably over the dishes...
and God, in the Abington Store, with us as we get our messages,
or with us as we call on a friend for a cuppa.
Down through the ages, and through to the end of all time...
God with us through the promised Spirit.
Companion, friend, and Creator of the universe.
God with us 
in the flesh and blood and bone of incarnation,
a lived life among his friends with many conversations 
along the stony roads of the Holy Land,
and in death and resurrection –
God with us, teaching us that he is near us,
or, as Brother Lawrence once said:
‘you need not cry out very loud; he is nearer to us than we think’

And, as God is with us, so Jesus talks of peace:
a peace given to those who follow him,
those who love God –
a peace unlike the world gives...
for there are always negotiations and conditions surrounding such peace,
and the fear that such hard-won peace may disappear, 
for the peace of the world is a fragile thing,
unlike the peace of God which survives even death itself.
The peace that Jesus talks of leaving 
is given by the one we know as Prince of Peace –
the peace given that will ultimately heal the nations, 
as described in our reading from Revelation. 
This is a peace that is both for now, and which lasts for all eternity.
A peace – a ‘shalom’ – which is all-encompassing,
a peace that is about the well-being of the whole person,
of communities,
of countries,
of the whole world.
A peace founded upon not being 
‘weary of doing little things for the love of God,
who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.’

Peace, however, doesn’t come easily:
it comes at the cost of the Cross and rises up in the joy of the Resurrection.
Peace is an attitude of heart and mind – a way of choosing how to live our lives.
Brother Lawrence talks of prayer as being
‘the pure loving gaze that finds God everywhere’.
In that sense, learning to see God in all things,
learning to practice the presence of God in our daily living 
as we work at daily loving God both in busyness and quiet,
with company, or in the companionship of God.
It is as we stop, occasionally, to look at the way the light is playing on the hills,
or in the interactions of the smaller members of our communities,
that we try to focus on God –
first, giving thanks,
but also, just seeing God in the everyday:
there’s a sacredness to soapsuds, Brother Lawrence might say.
Peace is found, as we are attentive to what is happening around us
as we pause to look for what God is doing in our world, 
reminding us that we are his, but that he is ours:
he has made his home among us.

There’s a saying:
‘Dance like nobody’s watching,
love like you've never been hurt,
sing like nobody’s listening,
live like it’s heaven on earth’
I did see a more cynical alternative the other day: 
‘dance like nobody’s watching – 
because they aren't
they’re all on their mobile phones’ 
But I wonder, if there might be another way of viewing the saying, 
of re-jigging it the Brother Lawrence, peace-filled way.
How about:
‘Dance like God is watching,
love like God has loved,
sing as if God is listening,
live like it’s heaven on earth’

Where do we find God?
Actually, right with us.
Where do we find peace?
As we practice the presence of God...
for he is our peace, that lasts forever.
How might we change the way we see this week,
so that we look for God
so that we see God in all things,
so that we live into the peace that he gives?
...  ...  ...
Let’s pray:
Dear God
enlighten what’s dark in us,
strengthen what’s weak in us,
mend what’s broken in us,
bind what’s bruised in us,
heal what’s sick in us,
and revive whatever peace and love has died in us, 
we pray, in Jesus’ name, amen.