Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 25 June 2023.
(I wonder if they've missed me? 😊)
Well, we’ve lived in our little cottage for six months now. We love it, it’s comfortable and homely, and very “us” - you know what I mean by that. Maudie the German Shepherd loves it, she can cavort around the yard all day long, fetching balls which Leisa throws morning and evening, and making me chase her for those same balls during the day while Leisa is at work to pay the mortgage. I think that the cockatiels love it. It’s difficult to tell. Holly, the hen bird, would never let on, and Glimfeather, the cock bird, would chirp happily in a Force 4 cyclone. I’m sitting on the front deck as I tap this, looking up at Castle Hill right behind us.
It’s not perfect, of course. The irrigation points leak, and the system is counter-intuitive in the extreme to programme. The bathroom slopes alarmingly to one end. It’s on one of the busiest roads in Townsville. That’s not such a problem for me until I put my hearing aids in.
Maudie loves it most of all when we’re both home, weekday evenings and all weekend. In fact, I think that she would be happy if we lived under a railway bridge so long as we were together. Which points to why I love it. Because Leisa lives here.
The psalmist (Ps 26) says “LORD, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.” And in Ps 122 he expands on that to include other believers - “the tribes” - and his family and friends, that’s what makes Jerusalem in general and God’s house in particular so precious. The days of a brick and mortar (or tin and timber) church building may well be numbered. We shall have to get used to new ways of gathering, “Fresh Expressions” of church. A physical building, located in space and time, holds dear memories of holy moments, of happy (and sad) rites of Christian passage. It stands (literally) concrete witness to the Gospel. But God’s glory, and our love for each other, and proclamation of the Good News of salvation, isn’t confined to four walls, however hallowed. The old chorus has it, “Where Jesus is, ’tis Heaven there.”
Our new pad has an electrically operated gate for our cars to come in and out (to our electrically operated garage, which is being used for storing assorted unopened and part-opened boxes for the time being.) The pedestrian gate opener is obstructed (on purpose, for security reasons) by a padlock. So how do parcel deliverers, meter readers and bearers of mulled wine (thankyou Robin 😊 ) gain ingress? Well, they press the groovy wi-fi connected camera doorbell which rings my and Leisa’s iPhone, wherever we might be in the world, displays their pic and allows one or both of us to tell them that we’ll be right down (if the dog is safely in) or ignore them if we’re in Woop Woop so that they can leave goodies at North Ward or JCU PO. Except it’s not connected yet. Give me a day or two to understand the accompanying installation instructions. Two well-known instances in scripture of Jesus, as it were, pressing the doorbell, are in Revelation 3: “Behold I stand at the door and knock.” And
While there’s still time to dash out and buy a card, let me remind you that it’s Valentine’s Day on Tuesday. It’s also Gail Mumme’s and Shirley Nuss’ birthdays, so you can buy them a card for each occasion. Just remember that it’s traditional that a Valentine card should be from an anonymous admirer. On the first Valentine after we started going out, I composed a poem and faxed it to Leisa, or rather I faxed it to the firm of structural engineers for whom she worked. It was entitled, “The Poet’s Plea to a Civil Engineer”, and dealt with the pain of separation. I lived in West Sussex, while Leisa lived and worked Mon – Fri in London. The poignant last two lines are: If things don’t get better, I’ll jump in the sea, Sir, So build me a tunnel from Sussex to Leisa. A few weeks later, she flew to Egypt on holiday, and I composed another poem on the inauspicious topic of a Romanian Airways Tupolev. Since then, the Muse has largely left me. Poetry makes up a large part of the Bible. In
Well, the gate doorbell camera has already proved its worth. My Apple Watch vibrates on my wrist, alerting me that there is a pretty pic on my phone of someone standing at the gate. Or even that their vehicle has just pulled in to the layby. (Handy on bin day, to know that the garbo truck has emptied our bins). One pretty pic was of the real estate agent who sold the house to us, another was of a couple of our members. What they had in common, was that they each bore gifts. Virgil has the Trojan priest, Laocoön, exclaiming (Helen Beck has taught this to generations of South Australians) “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes”, “I fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts.” Nothing to fear here, those goodies both included champagne. We are quite fond of sparkling wine in general, champagne in particular. Friday night is bubbles (and fush n’chups) night chez nous. Usually a cheap-ish prosecco or Australian sparkling. A mortgage and rising interest rates will put paid to that tradition. An en