Showing posts from July, 2020

Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keep in Touch newsletter 2 August 2020

Most of you know that I’m waiting for an op date for a cochlear implant. Should be within the next couple of months. If you don’t know what a cochlear implant is, it’s an electronic device inserted inside my skull and then attached by a magnet to a receiver outside, which mimics what undamaged hearing nerves would do, first to actually “hear” sounds and then to interpret them as words (or music, or a door slamming, or whatever). Actually, it’s my brain which does the interpreting, and that needs retraining after 25 years of total deafness in my left ear. The receiver thingy outside looks like a beer-bottle cap, you might have seen people sporting them and wondered what they were. My audiologist said that he’d order a device to match my hair colour. “Silver-grey OK?” My meta-physical poet mate George Herbert (remember him from last week?) wrote:   The harbingers are come. See, see their mark: White is their colour, and behold my head. But must they have my brain? Must they dispark Those

Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keep in Touch Newsletter 26 July 2020

Two of my favourite poets are John Donne and George Herbert. They were contemporaries and have much in common, both of Welsh descent, both educated at Cambridge, both became (reluctant) Anglican priests (shades of another favourite, the Welsh poet/priest R S Thomas), both pioneer practitioners of the metaphysical school. Donne adopted as his ordination seal a design of Christ crucified on an anchor. Not long before he died, he had copies of the seal made and sent to the friends he valued most, Herbert among them. In gratitude, Herbert wrote a poem in Latin to Donne exploring the image. Another Herbert poem which includes reference to an anchor is ‘Hope’.   I gave to Hope a watch of mine; but he An anchor gave to me.   Here, Hope is a personification of Christ. Perhaps the most overlooked of the three “abiding”, that is eternal, virtues from 1 Corinthians 13. Herbert gives Hope a watch. Does he think mistakenly that hope is time-bound? A present stuck in the present while  hope looks pa

Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keep in Touch pew sheet, 19 July 2020

As I write this, it has been twelve years to the day since I became an Australian Citizen. I came here in 1995, but was travelling extensively internationally on business for the first few years, and just didn’t get round to applying for citizenship. One Permanent Resident Visa after another seemed enough, especially when they made my passport look mysterious by being issued in Washington and Pretoria. I think I’ve told you the story about the eventual application process, but here it is again anyway: Johny Howard instituted a test for applicants, with the questions slanted to what he imagined made for a good citizen, that is, that they were glued to Fox Sports. So I dutifully swotted, and turned up for my interview in Adelaide Street, Brisbane, armed with the knowledge that Don Bradman had poisoned Phar Lap and that Wally Lewis had invented pavlova (or was it Vegemite?) The queue outside the Dept of Immigration offices stretched back almost to Central Station, but a sharp-eyed securit

Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keep in Touch pew sheet 5 July 2020

Do you remember the Lone Ranger? His sidekick, Tonto? Horse, Silver? Tonto’s horse, Scout? Tonto’s name for the Lone Ranger, Kemosabe? The end of each programme, when someone would ask, “Who is that masked man?” Then Silver would rear up, the Lone Ranger exclaim “Hi-yo Silver!” and ride off into the sunset with Tonto and Scout.   The background story for Silver is that he was a wild stallion whom the Lone Ranger rescued from an enraged buffalo. Silver followed the Lone Ranger in gratitude, and became his horse without needing to be broken in. I’m put in mind of Romans 6 concerning our willing service to Christ who rescued us: ‘But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.’   However, in a later broadcast, the Lone Ranger thinks that perhaps he shouldn’t have accepted Silver’s offering. After all, he is a wild animal. So he sets him free, sends him off with a slap on his flank. But at the