Author Archives: meenister

About meenister

An ordained Church of Scotland Minister since 1974. Started off in Doune which is near Stirling, before moving to Trinidad for four years; on my return to Scotland, I was a rural minister in Perthshire and then was asked to become Minister at St.Michael's Inveresk where I spent eleven happy years. A short ministry in Guernsey followed and since 1999, I was a full time healthcare Chaplain in the town of Dumfries in SW Scotland, retiring from that post in December 2012. I started this blog on 6 May 2012, soon after my wife, Helen, was diagnosed with secondary cancer - it was a sort of diversion and still is, following her death on 16 June. I hope it shows that there is a lighter side to religion, that it's not gloom and doom and that we can sometimes laugh at ourselves in a self-effacing way. Some posts are, however, I hope provoking and food for thought.

If anyone can show good reason…..

At a wedding ceremony, the minister asked if anyone had anything to say
concerning the union of the bride and groom. It was their time to
stand up and talk, or forever hold their peace.

The moment of utter silence was broken by a young beautiful woman carrying a child. She started walking toward the minister slowly.

Everything quickly turned to chaos. The bride slapped the groom. The
groom’s mother fainted. The groomsmen started giving each other looks and wondering how best to help save the situation.

The pastor asked the woman, “Can you tell us why you came forward?
What do you have to say?”
The woman replied, “We can’t hear in the back.”


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At her wedding the bride tripped and fell into the arms of the Minister.

‘That’s the first time I’ve held a fallen woman,’ he quipped.

To which she retorted: ‘It’s the first time I’ve been picked up by a Minister!’

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Magic Water (via Jonathan Fleming)

There’s the story of one Minister who did a pre-Baptism Children’s Talk… They invited the Children to gather around the font before explaining that it contained ‘Magic Water’…
‘Do you know what’s magic about it, boys & girls?’
With eyes as wide as saucers, they shook their heads.
‘Well, boys and girls, the second this water touches a baby’s head, the family disappear and you never see them or their friends again!’

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A Man and his Dog

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.

He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble… At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.

When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.
When he was close enough, he called out, ‘Excuse me, where are we?’

‘This is Heaven, sir,’ the man answered.. ‘Wow! Would you happen to have some water?’ the man asked.

Of course, sir. Come right in, and I’ll have some ice water brought right up. ‘The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

‘Can my friend,’ gesturing toward his dog, ‘come in, too?’ the traveler asked.

‘I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t accept pets.’

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

‘Excuse me!’ he called to the man. ‘Do you have any water?’

‘Yeah, sure, there’s a pump over there, come on in.’

‘How about my friend here?’ the traveler gestured to the dog.

‘There should be a bowl by the pump.’

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.

The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.

When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree..

‘What do you call this place?’ the traveler asked.

‘This is Heaven,’ he answered.

‘Well, that’s confusing,’ the traveler said. ‘The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.’

‘Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That’s hell.’

‘Doesn’t it make you mad for them to use your name like that?’

‘No, we’re just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.

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Pentecost reimagined

So there they were – a load o’ fowk fae aw o’er, staunin’ aboot.

Suddenly – and a kid yous not – wheech! A hoolie swep in and they were bamboozled.

Then there wus somethin like tungs o’ fire that nipped them.

“Wtf!” they said. “We’re fae Govan, Carantyne, Easterhoose, Drumchapel, Brig’toon, and everywhere north, sooth, west, east – some fae oot o’ toon a the gither…… an’ jeez….. we can a un’erstaund whit these f***ers are sayin.”

Some said – och, come on, they’ve been on the bevvy!

Then big Pete says tae them, “Haud yer wheesh! Ma pals arenae pished. Come on! It’s only 9 in the morn!”

(voice from the crowd: “Av bin neckin’ Bucky since a got up at 6!”)

So Rocky gies him the eye. “Shut the f up! Am gonnie tell yous about a different kinda bevvy – this wan is cried the Spirit whit was prophesied by that auld guy, Joel…. ken? No, Billy Joel, mind.”

And he starts to explain.

(Interrupted by someone in the crowd: “spirits?! Wha can afford them wi’ the new unit prices? Hell, White Lighnins gone up fae 4 quid tae 10! Ffs!”)

But big Pete carries oan- and yous no whit the rest of the story is……….


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Night and Day – He’s the one


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May 8, 2018 · 11:09

Behold, I come quickly!

A particular hellfire minister was once preaching on Revelation 22:12A.

“Behold, I come quickly!”, he announced. Then, for emphasis, bellowed out the text very loudly, while thumping the pulpit lectern.

At this point, the rather small flimsy Pulpit collapsed, and he ended up in the lap of a choir member.

A fellow chorister was heard to remark, “Well, at least he warned us!”

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Literalism – or what an ass!

“Moses Tied His ‘Ass’ to a Tree” – Jim Rigby

The people of a village once looked out to see one of their most pious neighbors tied to a tree. Rushing out to release him, they were stunned to discover that he had tied the knots himself. “Moses tied his ass to a tree,” the man said sternly, “and I’m going to follow the Moses!”

“But the word “ass” originally meant “donkey, not rear end,” someone replied. ”Moses wouldn’t want you to suffer like this.” The man shook his head, “God’s word is unchanging. If you want to pick and choose what you’re going to obey that’s fine, but I take it all literally.”

Eventually, there was just a skeleton tied to the tree. The people were so impressed by the faith of the man that they built an altar with a sign that read, “You can be like this man if you will take the Bible literally.”

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The Pastor’s Mother

An elderly woman walked into the local country church. The friendly usher greeted her at the door and helped her up the flight of steps. “Where would you like to sit?” he asked politely.

“The front row please.” she answered.

“You really don’t want to do that”, the usher said, “The pastor is really boring.”

“Do you happen to know who I am?” the woman inquired.

“No.” he said.

“I’m the pastor’s mother,” she replied indignantly.

“Do you know who I am?” he asked.

“No.” she said.

“Good,” he answered.

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Some thoughts for Mothering Sunday (Lent 4)

The Rose

Say it with flowers!” I’m sure florists all over the land have been inundated during the last few days with orders for bouquets, sprays, and posies.

Today, of course, is Mothering Sunday, and what symbolises the love we feel today, and the joy we feel today, than the beautiful gift of a flower….and particularly that of a rose…

“Enough the rose was heaven to smell” – that’s a fine line….

…yes, there is something special, beautiful, almost heavenly about a rose.

It is a thing of beauty; a thing of joy. Roses and rejoicing go well together.

The Prophet Isaiah when talking of the future glory of Zion writes:

The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose

He seems to link the rejoicing of the people with the blossoming of the rose.

The rose – it symbolises fertility, joy, success – it is something to be prized.

It’s not new, however, this giving of a rose to a worthy recipient at this time of year, you know

On the fourth Sunday in Lent, a Golden Rose, an ornament was given by the Roman Catholic Church to worthy women as well as men as a mark of special favour – rather like the Oscars of their day.

It’s said that the tradition dates back a long way to the time of the betrothal of Mary and Joseph, when, supposedly, a bud or flower sprouted on Joseph’s staff or rod – an indication that he was the man Mary should become engaged to & a fulfilment of the prophesy:

There shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him

Somewhere along the line, this tale got less concerned with the birth of the Saviour and more with his mother. Artists in the Middle Ages liked to depict the happy couple, Mary & Joseph, together at the scene of their betrothal – rod, bud, flower and all. And a caption was often to be found beneath the picture: “She is the flower, she is the rose” referring, of course, to Mary

The Rose….in her were the virtues of the rose – sensitivity, beauty, serenity.
Think of her life – a life of love, a life of piety

Think on these early years – told that she had been chosen to give birth to God’s own son;

then the journey to Bethlehem;

and the flight to Egypt –

– all done calmly, faithfully – for the love of God and of her child.

Then think of all the times when Jesus did or said things that she couldn’t comprehend – and on occasion said things that must have hurt her very much

But the love was still there in Mary’s heart

The whole Jesus-story must have seemed like a ghastly riddle to which there was no clue. But she accepted it all – in love, in faith.

A mother’s love never dies. It goes on even to the point of death, even when the crowds and the laughter and the support of the people are gone. There she stands at the foot of the Cross, love still blossoming in her heart.

We learn a lot about love from our mothers. Jesus would learn about love – not only through our Heavenly Father’s Spirit – but also at his mother’s knee From Mary the Rose – Jesus was much indebted…perhaps more than we would credit him for.

And his too was a love that never died just as Mary’s before him. Love does indeed conquer all. Love never gives up.

Let me finish with two different pieces of verse.

The first a stanza from a song which was in a movie called ‘The Rose’ It’s talking about love of a different kind, but we may use it for our own purposes here:

“When the night has been too lonely

And the road has been too long;

When you think that love is only

For the lucky and for the strong –

Just remember in the winter

Far beneath the bitter snows

Lies the seed that with the sun’s love

In the spring becomes the rose”


And this – a 16th Century carol:

Lo, how a rose e’er blooming

From tender stem hath sprung!

Of Jesus’ lineage coming

As men of old have sung.

It came a flower-et bright

Amid the cold of winter

When half spent was the night.


The Rose Love – It may seemed buried and dead But the seed is always there, ready to burst forth in blossom, in all its glory. And after every Good Friday comes Easter morn.


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