Faith, Films and Fishing
The Rector’s Blog
Malcolm Round is our Senior Leader. Malcolm has led St Mungo’s for many years but still never ceases to amaze, amuse and challenge us. His blogs are certain to do likewise.
I’m happy to report that my prayer life has improved remarkably since getting a new dog, as I wrote in my last blog I need the “forced” discipline of having to go out to walk the dog two or three times a day to act as the trigger to help me pray more. And already my prayer life has improved, although that’s not hard considering how lax it had become!
After writing this weekly blog or nearly five years I think it might be time to finish! The original idea for a blog linked to the St Mungos website, was to have something new and fresh each week to get people back onto the homepage, but I think with the new website in place it’s no longer necessary.
Depending what you think a ‘vestry’ is, that statement will sound unusual, unexpected if not impossible. Some people will never have heard of that word, others will assume it’s actually a storage room attached to a church, but in the Scottish Episcopal Church it is the name of a committee.
I still get amazed that I can actually write that ‘I love prayer’, and ‘I love praying with other people’, because it might come as a shock for you to hear a church minister say it, but I find personal prayer difficult and I used to find praying with other people dull and boring.
Last Sunday in St Mungo’s church we gave out wrist bands. This was part of our Vision Sunday talk, which was called I love my church. The purple wrist bands, with the words ‘I love my church’, and the Mungos logo recessed into them were supposed to be a memory aid to help us think about what it means to say “I love my church”.
Since I mentioned having a new dog (in the first blog of this series) as the best thing that happened to my prayer life, everybody has been asking me how is my dog – which is odd because I thought they should be asking me how my prayer life is, rather more important for the church minister!
When I get completely stuck in my prayer life, which is quite often, I have found it very helpful to read Bible prayers! Sometimes they can inspire me to pray better, sometimes they actually have words that express how I feel, and sometimes I can just read them out as I know that they are prayers that have power and authority.
I haven’t often had the opportunity to visit Murrayfield the home of Scottish rugby though I did have the privilege of watching Scotland beat England a few years back! But two weeks ago I went to Murrayfield, not to watch rugby but to use their conference facilities for a cascade conversation! A “cascade conversation” is a process used in the business and social sector -and now in the church -to try and help groups face and deal with very difficult, very divisive situations, perhaps to bring reconciliation, perhaps to bring clarity.
As I often say, if you want to embarrass a church minister, ask them about their prayer life. The problem is recently someone did ask me directly, worse still it was my Bishop!
This picture was taken last week and shows me alongside the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and the Archbishop of Canterbury (on the left). It just asks for a caption competition – hence my title; Three wise men or ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’? Or possibly the competition should be ‘what is the Primus saying to me?’, or even what is the Archbishop, (ABC) Justin Welby daydreaming about?
Ironically change is one of the permanent features of today’s world! On every level change is occurring around as and to us – personal, biological, technological, sociological and of course political!! Recently we have been studying the life of Joseph, but one of the areas I didn’t have time to teach on was how Joseph had survived and then thrived during change.
In this third blog on my visit to Toronto I want to talk about receiving prayer for Scotland. My week consisted of two conferences back to back – I wrote in the first blog about the smaller conference for leaders, called Partners in Harvest PIH) but the second was their much larger annual signature conference Catch the Fire.
This week I had to go to a physiotherapist, for a damaged Achilles tendon. And it was all rather embarrassing! – You see he asked how did I do it? And it is rather hard to explain to a non Christian that I had been rather exuberantly dancing at a Christian conference during a worship session!
If I have done my maths right this is the 21st trip I made to Toronto! Ever since I first visit in 1994 when I experienced for myself the life changing revival and renewal power being poured out in a small church near the Airport, I have returned year in, year out for more of God’s blessing, for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit and a fresh anointing.
Okay, I confess I’ve probably just ripped that saying totally out of context. But in the aftermath of the referendum it’s rather hard to know what to say to Christians in my church who had been so deeply divided over this issue.