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Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 4 December 2022

  Our pup’s most treasured possession is a rubber ball, a bit bigger than a tennis ball. She carries it around in her mouth, plays with it in the garden, puts it carefully on her bed or in her crate. Often, she lets it roll somewhere inaccessible to her, like under our bed or a sideboard. Other times, she forgets where she’s left it. But when I get a text from Leisa saying that she’s on her way home from JCU, and I tell Maudie that “Grimble’s coming, find your ball!” she miraculously finds and retrieves it, and waits at the door, ball in mouth, to present as a gift to her human. OK, she’s a dog, she can’t slope off to Myer’s perfume counter and ask, “Wotcha recommend for the human who’s got everything?” But you get the idea. She offers what is most precious to her, to her precious human. Mark 12 and Luke 21 carry the story of the widow’s mite, a tiny sum, approximately six minutes worth of a daily wage at the time. But it was everything to her, it might have been all that kept her from

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 27 November 2022

  When I was a youth leader (he says, halfway through his 8 th   decade on earth), I was famed – or infamous – for bad jokes and bad French. What’s changed, you might ask? These two traits came together when a few of us took one of our young members to Jeunesse pour Christ, the French arm of Youth for Christ, near Mulhouse in the Rhône Valley. She volunteered there for a year. Over dinner in JpC’s lovely courtyard, I thought I’d have a stab at regaling our Gallic sisters and brothers with Doctor Doctor jokes. Another youth leader, in the bunch who drove Gail to JpC, reminded me of this when she noticed a bad Dad joke on my Facebook page a couple of days ago. Wow, fancy remembering that from 45 years or more ago. One of the jokes went like this: ‘Un homme est allé chez un médecin. Le médecin a dit: “Salut, je ne vous ai pas vu depuis longtemps.” L’homme a dit, “Non, j’ai été malade.”’ Which being interpreted, as the KJV has it, is ‘A man went to a doctor. The doctor said, “Hello, I have

Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 20 November 2022

  Now who would think that a slow cooker and an air fryer are, like the Mosaic Law, schoolteachers to bring us to God? OK, perhaps that’s a tad hyperbolic, but I have been reminded of a few spiritual lessons during the past couple of days while I’ve been planning this weekend’s menu. Leisa is a more efficient packer-upper than I am, so she’ll continue preparing our worldly possessions to move from Kirwan to West End, while I provide bodily sustenance in the form of slow cooker goat curry and air fryer roast emu. That’s two separate main meals, by the way, one for Saturday and one for Sunday, although I haven’t decided yet in which order. Although goats have a bad rap in parts of the New Testament, sheep and goats and all that, in scripture generally they’ve been regarded as jolly good things. The OT patriarchs and their families would have starved without them. Genesis 1 and 3 tell us that they are gifts from God. As God’s creations and gifts, they are to be treated humanely. But when

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 13 November 2022

  This week, I visited a cosmetic surgeon. Before anyone remarks, about time too, let me correct that to write that I went for my regular skin cancer check-up at a clinic which happens to also perform cosmetic surgery. You know, a range of stuff from getting rid of moles, touching up blemishes, Botox fillers, to chin tucks. I could do with a chin tuck or two, mind you, and a tummy tuck, but that’s not why I pop along every 6 months to have the doc hover his magic magnifying camera over sus spots. Leisa says that when she imagines me, it’s from more than 30 years ago by the ramparts of my namesake’s, Richard the Lionheart’s, castle in Normandy. Certainly when I call her to mind if she’s not physically present with me, it’s as a flower-crowned bride sauntering up the aisle of Geebung Uniting. We all do this, I think, remember people as they were, for good or ill. Today as I type this is Remembrance Day. “They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.” I love Song of Songs. Her fr

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 6 November 2022

  Leisa bought me a handsome RM Williams leather belt for my birthday (a few months ago now, don’t panic). My existing, or pre-existing, belts are fine for holding my trousers up, but look the worse for their many years of faithful trouser-suspending service. You wouldn’t know that, because I wear shirts outside shorts and trousers. Leisa could have sized the new belt by measuring one of the old ones, but that’s not good enough for RM Williams who have a convoluted method of specifying size, which resulted in a strap large enough to secure one of those enormous old tin travel trunks with which you see porters struggling up the gangway of 1920s transatlantic liners. Unless I wrapped it around myself twice, my shorts would fall down. This week, I took it to a lovely old-fashioned cobbler on Flinders St who worked his craft magic and now it fits perfectly. There are three well-known belt-wearers in the Bible. Two of them are prophets, Elijah and John the Baptiser. They each wore hairy coa

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch Pew Sheet 30 October 2022

  When I first camped in the Manse, the only desk among all the furniture which you lovely congregation supplied, was in the middle bedroom. If you’re familiar with the Manse layout, you’ll know that is right opposite my neighbour and our member, Helen Sugars. At the time, there was verdant foliage rambling (like this very article) around the fence separating us. And in this foliage, little birds swooped, nested and twittered all day long. The desk faced the wall, so my right ear, the one which sort-of functioned before my cochlear implant fixed the left side, was exposed to this avian symphony. It was so loud that even deaf me constantly heard it when I was at the desk, if I had my hearing aid in. I loved it. Sparrows made up the majority of those little birds. They were everywhere in UK when I was a boy, but it seems that they have disappeared or are disappearing from much of Europe. Here, they are healthy and omnipresent. Add nostalgia to the mix of sensations. As part of my chaplai

Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 23 October 2022

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  Many of you know that Leisa and I have been house hunting. However temporary – only 6 months! – I thought my Townsville sojourn would be when I first turned up in July 2018, we have grown to love the city (but most of all, you all of course!) to which events have brought and kept us. So, we have put down roots here. We’ve said that before, mind you, and somehow we get uprooted. Man proposes, God disposes, is the saying. “ Homo proponit, sed Deus disponit” as Helen Beck would have taught it. It looks now that those roots will find a home in a lovely cottagey Queenslander in West End. Perhaps the most well-known allusion in scripture to house-hunting and house-finding is John 14. “In my Father’s house”. Literally, the Greek is “In the household of my Father remain many dwellings” or many abidings. Realestate.com.au displays icons like 2 🛏 ️  2 🛁  2 🚘  to let you know how many rooms/bathrooms/car spaces a house has. And it tags on a Google map so that you can find the place.  The dis