Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch newsletter 21 March 2021

 I’m settling some old business with Her Britannic Majesty’s government across the seas (ie I’m trying to get some of my own money out of them). Incredibly, well into the 21st Century, the correspondence has to take place by snail mail. They needed a signature. I signed. Some weeks later, one has to allow for unfavourable winds along the mailboat’s passage, one of Sir Humphrey’s minions advised that the signature didn’t match that in their records. I pointed out that the recorded signature was signed more than 50 years ago, and that everyone’s signature, certainly mine, changes over time. Further, nobody requires an analogue signature from me nowadays, they want a PIN or a digital signature. I’ll keep you posted on this engrossing matter.

It isn’t only an analogue signature that I don’t scribble any longer, I rarely write anything with a pen or pencil, everything is typed on some i-device or other. But when I did write “the old-fashioned way”, my preferred tool was a fountain pen. Even though my fingers, my briefcase, my shirt pocket, were regularly stained by a leaking pen or ink cartridge. At school, when I had to write an essay on, for example, William Blake, the finished article would be more blot than Blake. Percy Blackmore MA (Cantab) would scrawl in the margin, “This is illegible, Lance, re-submit it with fewer blots and more clarity.”

Unlike Mr Blackmore, the psalmist (Ps 51) welcomes blots.

“Have mercy on me, O God,

according to your unfailing love;

according to your great compassion

blot out my transgressions.

Wash away all my iniquity

and cleanse me from my sin.”

We may have remorse for actions in our past. That’s healthy, it’s a discipline to help us not repeat foolish and unkind behaviour. But we don’t need to retain crippling guilt. You might expect me to sign off with an old hymn, and I wouldn’t want to disappoint you 😊

I’m happy, glad and free

since the Lord has pardoned me,

and by his blood has washed my sins away.

I now can sing and shout,

my sins are blotted out

O happy day that fixed my choice in Jesus!


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