Showing posts from April, 2021

Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch newsletter, 2 May 2021

While you were enjoying John Short’s uplifting service last Sunday, Leisa and I were staying in a (pet-friendly  -  we took Yannie and the cockatiels) beach shack at Flying Fish Point outside Innisfail. It’s a lovely, very quiet indeed, little place, a hidden gem. But Innisfail is worth visiting for its own sake, instead of just whizzing along the outskirts on the Bruce en route to Cairns. The interesting town has art deco architecture (including a somewhat-OTT art deco water tower), a well-stocked (with fresh, locally-caught) seafood shop - trawlers pull up at the back - and is close to fun places like Murdering Point Winery and the El Arish Butcher. It’s the second time that we’ve stayed at Flying Fish Point, we love it, and the dog is getting used to it. The shack is smack bang on the beach, separated from the Coral Sea’s encroaching waves by just a berm of rocks and grassed earth. Twice a day, at high tide, anyone sitting outside on the deck would have a salty shower as spray leap

Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch newsletter 25 April 2021 (ANZAC Day)

 “Lest we forget” That phrase will be on the lips of Australians and New Zealanders all over the world today. In state capital cities, towns large and small, in High Commissions and embassies, at Gallipoli. It comes from Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “Recessional” (1897). In turn, Kipling’s poem was inspired by Deuteronomy 4, “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today? Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” Or as the AV of Kipling’s era has it, “lest you forget”. We do forget. Not only why we have come into the kitchen (“Now what am I doing here? I must have come into the kitchen for a reason”), but more c

Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch newsletter 18 April 2021

A couple of at-first-glance unconnected episodes in The Life of Lance have served to validate (at least anecdotally) my long-held theology of Grace, undeserved divine favour. Dog-carers among you will be familiar with the first. Leisa, our visiting niece and I went to Magnetic Island for the day on Friday last week. We promised Yannie as we left that we wouldn’t be very long. That was a well-meaning fib. Of course we were out all day, leaving her alone, and she’s not very well right now, an old dog who needs reassuring company. But when we came home, did she sulk and make us feel guilty for our day-long neglect? Not a bit of it, she cavorted all around the place, licking and loving any human in tongue-reach, saying with her body language, “Don’t worry about how I’ve been, I’m just happy to see you now, and I want to demonstrate unconditional, no mention of the past, love.” The second is more difficult to wrap our doctrinal minds around, but I think is related to the first. Someone on s

Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch newsletter 11 April 2021

You’ve probably read or seen news about a possible side effect of Astra Zeneca’s COVID vaccine. As is often the case, the benefits of the vaccine outweigh its risks. For example, like many of you, I take low dose aspirin daily. It can cause stomach bleeding, and without an offsetting Nexium each day, it would cause ulcers. Its proven efficacy in helping to prevent stroke and arteriosclerosis outweighs those risks. But aspirin is still probably implicated in my episodes of indigestion, or as it is sometimes called, “heartburn”. Funny word. It sort-of crops up in scripture, but not in the same context, in Luke’s (ch24) account of the encounter between a couple of disciples and the risen Jesus on the Emmaus Road. “Did not our hearts burn within us … ?” And all good Methodists will be familiar with John Wesley’s experience at Aldersgate Chapel as he listened to the preacher expounding Luther’s introduction to Romans:     “My heart was strangely warmed”. As to the first, what always strikes