Special Guests – Dr. Hud & Nancy McWilliams

This week we have Dr. Hud & Nancy McWilliams staying with us. Today he is leading a seminar on grace filled relationships for the church, then speaking at our church gathering. There will be many quotes I will find worthy of posting; some his, some others. Here is one from the seminar that I think is worth posting.

“Grace is control of inward attitudes and outward actions by means of love without any penalty.”

I will ruminate on this for awhile…

Home Again

Carol has returned home after visiting her father for his 80th birthday. I’m not one to get homesick as I am a fairly independent person and a phone call can pacify me. However, I missed her alot and the past month I have really been homesick for my family in the USA. It doesn’t help that I have a 20th high school reunion, family reunion, family home being sold, and I listened to John Denver and James Taylor for the past few weeks. Memories of my past kept flooding my mind and also regrets I have or regrets I will have if I don’t say some goodbyes and make some effort to reconnect. In 6 years I have been to the USA 4 times now so Ireally shouldn’t be that homesick (IMO). But I cannot deny it so I’ve booked tickets to visit family and friends from June 19-24th!

Like A Sad Song (by John Denver)

Usually in the morning I’m filled with sweet belonging and everything is beautiful to see.
Even when it’s raining, the sound of heaven singing is simply joyful music to me.
But sometimes I feel like a sad song, like I’m all alone without you.

So many different places, a million smiling faces, life is so incredible to me.
Especially to be near you and how it is to touch you, oh, paradise was made for you and me.
Sometimes I feel like a sad song, like I’m all alone without you.

I know that life goes on just perfectly and everything is just the way that it should be.
Still there are times when my heart feels like breaking and anywhere is where I’d rather be.
Oh, and in the nighttime, I know that it’s the right time to hold you close and say I love you so.
To have someone to share with and someone I can care with
and that is why I wanted you to know.
Sometimes I feel like a sad song, like I’m all alone without you, without you.

International Christmas

I’m posting early as it is going to get busy. I almost finished our shopping, our tree is decorated, Sophie has her party today (she is Mary in the play), and the kids get out at 230pm and then have off for 2 weeks.

Our Christmas meal is shaping up to be an ‘international’ feast. Along with Carol’s sister’s family, we have a Pakistani family, a Congolese/French family, a Nepali friend, and possibly a Danish friend. This means we cannot have ham (Muslim culture) nor beef (Nepali/Hindu culture). We wouldn’t do beef anyway so we will be having turkey, chicken, and I’d like to try a salmon filet. There will be international people so I’m hopeful we will also have international foods ūüôā

The next day we head over to our English neighbours for Boxing Day – the term originates in Victorian era Britain, for the day after Christmas, when the rich would box up gifts and bring them to the poor, and also to their own servants. It will be a full few days in addition to our¬†Mosaic gathering on the 23rd and the one we host at our flat on the 30th. I’m glad the kids are off, we have a roof over our heads, and that God is blessing us with these wonderful friends.

If you remember please pray for Ruth a community member and Sheila, the mother of Peter another community member.

Have a Happy Christmas and great Hogmanay!

Mike for the family

tn-img_7290.jpg

Goodbye

Yesterday at our Mosaic gathering we said goodbye to a family we have known for a little over 2 years. The Crockett Family is from Australia and today they board a plane to head back to their homeland. For the past 2 years we have taken turns walking the kids too and from school. This year I collected their 2 kids and Margaret walked ours to school. It is through this link that we became friends and journeyed in life together. Saying goodbye is one of the hardest things about living here; many people come from all over the world to work here and are here only for a short while. We have been blessed to get to know them and we will miss their friendship. Here is a photo of Lily & their youngest daughter Megan Рit says it all.

thumb-image_043.jpg

Arrived safely

I’m back from the USA, a little jet-lagged, but grateful to have had the opportunity to visit Norwalk. The people were generous, friendly, and for¬†small town America much more familiar with life outside the States than our media would portray. A number of people had been to the UK/Europe and even an 8th grade class was familiar with some of the news/life in the UK. We will debrief and plan our next steps but our ultimate aim is to have cultural exchange and to develop a experiencial worldview between Glasgow & Norwalk.

In the next few days I’m helping with our Mosaic gathering, we have a number of parties for the kids, and planning for our Mosaic ‘community conversation’ (a time to listen and share¬†a bit of our vision).

Busy days

Yesterday a couple in Mosaic – Dave & Elaine – got married. It was a beautiful ceremony and we were privileged to be there. I loved dancing the traditional ceilidh dances. We were seated with the other ‘ministers’ and I sat next to the officiator of the wedding. Interestingly, we know his brother and sister in law as we have stayed at their cottage on Islay. At the wedding, I also recognized someone (Bill) from the Partick Housing Association (PHA) that I have had a few dealings with. Bill is an American that has lived here for over 25 years and through his role with PHA is helping redevelop a local park near where we meet as a church.

Today we have our Acts 2 gathering (worship, teaching, fellowship, food, & communion) and I will be teaching the primary aged kids –¬†I leave in 10 minutes to go set up! Monday we have a visit to a museum and¬†friends over for lunch. Tuesday we go on¬†a hill walk and Wednesday I pack because I’ll be in the USA fromthe 18-24th as part of a team networking with Norwalk, Ohio as part of a trip sponsored by the GeoTrac Foundation.

Please keep us in your prayers as the kids are also off school this week – that helps and adds to Carol’s week while I’m away. It is busy but good as in all we do we are building relationships and practicing the presence of God!

Good times

We’ve enjoyed a number of family meals this week where the conversation has been so rich that it is hard to put into words. Meal times can be hectic for families with small kids. You make a special meal, set the table with your ‘finest’ and then sit down to a candle lit… fight as the kids argue, say things like ‘I hate that disgusting stuff’ and you wish you had sent them to bed early so the adults could eat in peace! However, this week we have started to eat earlier due to the nights closing and have asked the kids to be more part of the preparation. Sometimes they help cook, other times they set the table, and usually they want to create a special atmosphere at the table. Our meals have turned from a chaotic dash to a leisurely meal and conversation. We’ve had discussions about loving people (how to love friends who are not included¬†at playtime), told stories about our childhood, and laughed at¬†precious family moments. The good times theme for our meals I think is a product of us yearning to be together, being disciplined with our time so we have space to relate, and having all of us participate. I pray this will last and our teenaged kids will want to be around the table with us – that they would long to be there with their friends even.

Satiated from the feast!

thumb-img_7848.JPG 

Yesterday we had our Interactive Feast. It was superb! We had more than enough food, people poured their hearts into making various dishes, there was generosity, there was fellowship, we read scripture, we glorified God in our love for one another, and I think we recovered a bit of the sacramental nature of eating. Here is the narrative we read to help us all participate in the feast and draw our attention to scripture:

Continue reading

Interactive Feast

This Sunday we are having an Interactive Feast for our Mosaic gathering. Since the day I was born I have enjoyed eating (haha!) and more recently have been reading a paper titled¬†Eating as a Central Act of Christian Community. This and some¬†scripture readings have inspired me to try something creative. Since it is a 5th Sunday of the month it is a bit of an oddity in our Sunday gathering rhythm. Sometimes we use this oddity for prayer, other times we use it for more social activities as a way to make community practical, pursue friendships for eternity, even to worship 24/7 (a few of Mosaic’s life practices). So this Sunday I have written a short¬†story that ties in the scripture¬†from Genesis to Revelation and I’ll read this to draw our attention to the feast. To try to remove some of the convenience that clouds our eating habits and put back in more of the sacramental and symbolic. We’ll have a central feast table and¬†individual eating tables around the outer area of the room. We’ll have various verses related to food spread about. The theme is Mediterranean so we’ll have food¬†~ lamb, couscous, roasted vegetables ~ and music wafting through the air.¬†We have asked people to bring various dishes and also to try not to do this alone. They could select a recipe together, perhaps buy the ingredients together, even¬†cook together as a way to build a bit of smaller community and gain an appreciation for what goes into the preparation. My hope is that we can recover what has been lost through our take away/convenience food society and tie that into a sacramental meal. I hope further that people will find joy as they have poured in their creativity, practiced the presence of God in their labour, and experienced a sacramental communal expression in the¬†making and feasting of the food.

I’m looking forward to¬†the making (we are making leg of lamb & a pork dish), the feasting and experiencing of¬†this feast as a Christian community.

Utopian Dreams

A few of us gathered together to interact with Tobias Jones (‘Mosaic’ knows his brother) about his book¬†Utopian Dreams. It is a story of his pilgrimage through different communities,¬†the search for what makes them unique and to learn from¬†what makes them viable. As a Christian community and someone who lives to create opportunities for people to be in community, this was like water to a thirsty soul. Toby had wit, honesty, humility, and a seekers heart. I haven’t read the book but am going out immediately to get it and devour it. At the end of his travels, Toby was particularly interested in being part of a residential rural & green community – he wasn’t an abstract observer but actually living with the various groups he wrote about and then looking to act upon his learnings.¬†I found our discussion about virtue, what makes communities viable, and¬†what centres or grounds those communities encouraging and inspiring. I encourage you to check his book out.