good friday baby

In the year 2000, Good Friday fell on 21st April. I know that because I had a baby that day. I was booked in to be induced at 37 weeks because I had suffered a still birth the year before, the baby’s heartbeat unaccountably ceasing at 33 weeks. Pregnancy was now very stressful. Fearing the worst…

and let us not think of chocolate

‘…and let us not think of chocolate…’ So ended a short heartfelt prayer read by a small boy, in a recent primary school service I attended as schools broke up this week for Easter. Obviously well trained in the ‘Easter is not about chocolate’ school of prayer, his words expressed the kind of religious schizophrenia that…

unloading the rucksack of emotional baggage

If you’ve ever returned from the shops with a rucksack on your back, full of food and other purchases, you’ll know how heavy it can feel, chafing on your shoulders and neck, and how glad you are to empty it out onto the kitchen work top on arriving home. It normally takes wisdom in middle…

mothering sunday creed

I believe in mothers. I believe in mothers who watched the appearance of the thin blue line with longing. I believe in mothers who watched for it with dread. I believe in mothers whose hair became thick and sumptuous. I believe in mothers whose hair fell out. I believe in mothers who wore jeans till…

the diary game

We all play the diary game, and none more so than the clergy. Wouldn’t it be lovely to respond to people without poring over the diary – to be able to meet up with parishioners on the spur of the moment – yes I’d love to come round and discuss x with you – let’s just…

on fasting, attention and desire

A week into Lent and I’m finding an interesting link between fasting, attention and desire. A Christian fast is mainly abstinence from food but in true postmodern 21st century style, we now apparently need social media fasts. I’m on one this Lent; limiting my time on social media to one short pre-supper slot, with nothing again…

Ash Wednesday

Penitential purple colour of kings, a seamless robe and Lenten altars hung heavy with the weight of watching. * Forty days to face facts, nights of unease or surprise like the first splash of violets in dead leaves. * Dust we are, to dust we shall return, by ashen cross and fast we learn that…

finding wisdom for your secret heart

An interesting little phrase in the psalm for this coming Ash Wednesday – something to ponder as we begin Lent, the traditional season for spiritual self examination. ‘My secret heart’ is how King David puts it, after he has fallen from grace and been brought up short for his adultery, by the prophet Nathan. ‘You…