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Ramble for its own sake, but sort-of for the lectionary gospel 14th April 2024.

 So, the post-Easter morning lectionary ramble from the empty tomb, to the locked room where frightened disciples were hiding, via the Emmaus Road, zig zags back to the locked room (Luke 24 and John 20). Risen Jesus pops in, reminds the forgetful (and uncomprehending at the time) disciples what he had told them about his death and resurrection, and signs off “You *are* witnesses of these things”. Note: not, you *were* witnesses, as if mere observers, but reporters, evangelists, ongoing bearers of the good news for everyone which Christ’s death and resurrection brings. It is an awesome and fraught commission. Why fraught? Let me tell you a story. At a lovely (I have been blessed, all of my placements, parish or chaplaincy, have been with and among the most amazing colleagues, parishioners, patients, residents, call them what you will) country parish, my predecessor left me a couple of magnetic signs for my car, advertising the church, its activities and service times. As an aside: He s

Ramble, just for its own sake, I'm retired! Ps 133 if you insist on a topic.

  Now that I don’t need to ramble for a particular congregation’s  pew sheet, I can just ramble. Which is more rambleable anyway, than meeting a pew sheet deadline or even a topic. I’ll sort-of try to map to a lectionary reading for that week - or even readings - but who knows how the mystical muse will muse? However … I was put in mind by this Sunday’s Psalm of the hairy oily substances (as Peter Cook and Dudley Moore might have put it had they turned their attention to the oleaginous goo) of my teens. I post, of course, for contemporaries, of Brylcreem. Like Rudy Giuliani’s leaking hair dye, Brylcreem would ooze down your acne-scarred face onto the collar of the trendy shirt with which you hoped to impress your sweetheart-du-jour. On the other hand, you weren’t being anointed High Priest in a ritual millennia old. How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet Easter Day 2024

On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine — the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. (Isaiah 25:6-8a) My favourite Easter Day OT reading. Unfortunately it’s Year A, and my really really last service at KUC falls in Year B, so we’ll use the Acts 10 option. But I can use Isaiah 25 for Leisa’s cousin’s and my Best Man’s funeral on Maundy Thursday. In scripture, mountains have been the setting for cosmic battles between good and evil. Such a mountain figured large in Pete’s life. His namesake St Peter Brock, and Holdens, battled the evil forces of Ford on Mt Panorama. Pete, his dad, and father-in-law were all and always Holden. Pete’s daughters, like all sorrowing, like Mary Magdalene, want to know what’s happened to him. “They’ve taken away our Lord, and we don’t know where …” The

Penultimate Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 24 March 2024

 Among my favourite car bumper stickers are, “Do you believe in love at first sight, or shall I drive round again?” and “If you’re reading this, where the heck’s my caravan?” There is a variant of the latter, a motorbike jacket emblazoned “If you’re reading this, where the heck’s my girlfriend?” Another, on a less frivolous note, is “If you’re reading this, thank a teacher.” I am in awe of teachers. I couldn’t teach you how to fasten shoelaces. And since the action involves bending down, it’s getting harder to even show you nowadays. I certainly couldn’t teach you how to tie a tie. I’ve probably forgotten how to anyway, it’s been so long since I wore one. So I can’t claim some of this week’s OT passage as a personal testimony. The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Isaiah 50:4a. Many of you listening to Isaiah’s words on Sunday morning are teachers, but for those who, like me, might feel left out, the verse contin

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 17 March 2024.

 Only two of these to go, and then I will have really really really retired! Friday night is air fryer fush n’chups (as our mates across the Tasman put it) chez Lance. Very easy if you have an air fryer, preheat it to 180 for five mins, put in frozen chips - beer battered are my favourite - lightly spray with avocado or olive or a vegetable oil, lightly salt, air fry at 180 for five minutes. Shake the chips around, add frozen fish fillets. Lightly spray them with oil, too. Tonight it will be Birds Eye Deli NZ whiting. There are five fillets in a box. So already we’re diverging from the gospel accounts of the feeding of the five (or four) thousand, which feature only two fish. Air fry for eight minutes, still at 180. Take out the fish, shake the chips again and perhaps re-salt them but don’t overdo it, put the fish back in having turned them over. A final air fry at 180 for eight minutes. When there’s three and a bit minutes to go, dab a pat of (NZ, of course) butter onto half a small b

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 10 March 2024

 Maudie the wonder dog (Maudie the slumber dog, more like) has grown tired of Fetch and Catch. Now, if we chuck a ball or a rope toy, she might pick it up if she feels like it, but rather than drop it for it to be thrown again, she runs off with it expecting us to chase her. Chase is the game of the moment. A couple of nights ago, while pursuing the silly hound through our yard, Leisa spotted a snake. Not surprising, Castle Hill is our bush backdrop. Luckily, Maudie didn’t notice it: “Oh goody, a rope shaped playmate!” And then this morning, the answer to one of my word puzzle lines was snake. And now, glancing at this week’s lectionary readings so that I can gloat over what I don’t have to preach on, what features prominently? Yes, snakes. In the Bible and in iconography, the devil, Satan, is often represented as a snake. “Snakey substances” as Dudley Moore and Peter Cook of blessèd memory called them, in a side-splitting skit on the Garden of Eden. Not very fair on those beautiful a

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 3 March 2024

“Only two things in life are certain: Death and Taxes.” Attrib to Benjamin Franklin, who was quoting a writer from more than a century and half earlier, Christopher Bullock.  Almost two and a half centuries later, the Rambling Retiree adds a similar aphorism: Two things are expanding, my waistline and the Universe. Today’s Psalm is the familiar Ps 19 “The heavens are telling the glory of God.” Cue Haydn 🎼 Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes! More than five hundred years before Christ, a pastoral people unencumbered with intrusive ambient light would look up at the night sky in awe and intuit that such a wondrous sight must be switched on by a divine hand. Zoroastrian wise men in Christ’s time came to the same conclusion: “We have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.” We know better than those bumpkins, we’re too sophisticated for that, we know that there’s nothing up there that can’t be explained by modern astro-physics. Well no, we don’t know much at all, and wh