Back in September I moved flats for the first time in 5 years. The flats a dive but the flatmates are epic. Here’s a photo from my bedroom. South-facing = a lot of sunshine. Winner. John Denver sang, sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. So true.
I skipped church last Sunday morning and went for a wander instead.
I read more of a book i’ve been reading, I thought and prayed, for a good while I simply sat there, not thinking, not waiting for anything particular, simply being, and losing track of time.
I believe prayer is everything, I need no convincing, but its tragic how easily I can get develop a bored and lazy attitude towards it, being subtly persuaded to believe that for the most part we can get by alright without it. Foolishness. A few paragraphs I read that morning (p71) brought back some perspective:
The feature that is supposed to distinguish Christian churches, Christian people, and Christian gatherings is the aroma of prayer. It doesn’t matter what your tradition or my tradition is. The house is not ours anyway; it is the Father’s.
Does the Bible ever say anywhere from Genesis to Revelation, “My house shall be a house of preaching”?
Does it ever say, “My house shall be called a house of music”?
Of course not.
The Bible does say, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Preaching, music, the reading of the Word – these things are fine; I believe and practice all of them. But they must never override prayer as the defining mark of God’s dwelling. The honest truth is that I have seen God do more in people’s lives during ten minutes of real prayer than on ten of my sermons.
Faithful Father, forgive me for my pride and the foolishness of my self-sufficient and independent spirit. Cure my blindness, open my eyes, convict me of my sin and of my need for you. I’m sorry I forget so easily Lord, teach me to fear you.
My career has taken off. I papped a premiership footballer in Manchester Airport last Sunday as he watched the Wimbledon final in Terminal 3. Seizing the opportunity I whipped out the trusty but seriously crud 1.3 megapixel camera embedded within my phone and took these beauts. I don’t think anyone actually reads this thing but in the off-chance you do and want to have a stab at who it is i’ll give you a bit of time to have some guesses. Some larger images:
Just back from a civilised stag weekend. We stayed in Rockliffe nearish Dumfries. Highlights included Holland destroying France (particularly the goals from Robben and Sneijder), a walk which included cheese sandwiches on the top of a very big hill, beautiful surroundings, silly cricket and a seriously awesome pub eating and drinking session by the sea as the sun disappeared on the Saturday night. The weather was gorgeous.
It was brilliant, there was no humiliation, just a uber relaxing but fun weekend in good company. Call me old and dull, but given the choice, were I ever have to my own such “celebration” i’d definitely go for something similar… it was just so good, but knowing my wonderful friends as I do, I think it unlikely that i’d get away with it. Silly traditions. Civilized, chilled, pleasant… underrated.
Here’s where we were (Rockliffe nearish Dumfries)
Grandpa has gone. On up ahead and claimed his crown of righteousness. The service at the crematorium was beautiful, grandma read Psalm 16 and I got through Psalm 23. There were tears as we remembered someone we were very fond of, but for me an overriding sense of joy, knowing grace had carried him home and the faithfulness of a God in whose arms he now rests, alive and at peace.
I’m reminded of one of my favorite passages, from Psalm 103 verses 13-18. I love being reminded of our being mortal, our finiteness, our being dust. It somehow just seems right and makes God all the greater.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children-
with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
At the moment i’ve all four of my grandparents still living. Very soon there’ll be one less. Grandpa is dying. He was diagnosed with cancer about 6 weeks ago and given 4-6 weeks. I’ve been back quite a few times over the last month or so to say goodbye, but this time was almost certainly the last.
Even sitting is now weary and a quarter cup of tea has become too heavy to hold, his weariness is acute. Inspite of the separation which we will grieve, it is beautiful, Grandpa is dying well. God has been so merciful and gentle. He is at peace and in very little pain. Death holds no fear leaving him and Grandma are able to enjoy his final days.
He will soon be free, free from physical blindness, free from his mind which has become increasingly prone to forgetfulness, free from the weariness. With heaven awaiting this is not a moment to despair nor dread. After 27 years in the dark, what a moment it will be, when his gaze meets his Maker’s beaming smile as he’s welcomed by name into the eternal Kingdom.
I am the fruit of his faithfulness to the Lord and I thank God for Him. He has run his race boldy and is finishing well. His life is worthy of celebrating. My earnest prayer is that God provide me the grace to do the same.
I know death seems to carry a striking poignancy regardless of how prepared one is. I wonder how i’ll feel afterwards.
A few months ago:
With Zander, while he could still walk:
The last day that I saw him:
I wander up blackford hill fairly regularly sort of, just to get away and have some time to myself.
Last Sunday it was a bit grey:
Last June it was less so:
(they’re my knees by the way, it was warmer back then)
Took this last Sunday night. The utility bills testify to rising fuel prices, and sure we’ve opted for a jumper approach but the flats not been that cold. I think the fact that its Dave’s hat might have something to do with it…
… but a “beverage bay”.