A particular family was driving home from church one Sunday.
Their two year-old son in the back seat of the car was baptised that morning. Suddenly, midway home, he bursts into tears.
When his parents ask what on earth is wrong, he sniffles out the answer:
“The minister who baptized me said I would be brought up in a Christian home.”
“Yes, and?” said his parents.
“Well I want to stay with you guys!”
from the Archives
It was a Sunday morning – a couple of days before Christmas- and, as usual, I had a half hour Service to conduct in the Infirmary (part of my role as Healthcare Chaplain).
These (poorly attended) times of Worship for patients were held in the day room in Ward 18; a ward for elderly patients, but open to all who were hospitalised throughout the building.
It wasn’t a cheerful time that year. Helen had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, had undergone a double mastectomy, and was being treated with sessions of chemotherapy.
I was feeling less than festive, and when I opened the door to the day room, it hadn’t been prepared for the Service. Chairs were randomly placed in the room, an empty coffee cup lay on the table where the Bible was usually placed.
Being just before Christmas, as many as possible able patients had been discharged; fewer nursing staff were on duty, and were struggling to cope. And our pianist had phoned in sick with flu.
Depressing and disheartening – yep.
After ten minutes of waiting, not a single patient had turned up.
I was just about to leave, when there was a knock on the door, and this wee ordinary looking wummin came in.
“I hope I’m not too late – I was told that it was a 10.30 Service, but it’s 10.00 isn’t it? I’m so sorry. Do you want me to go back to my ward?”
“No, no! Please stay. It’s only going to be thee and me, I’m afraid. And the pianist can’t make it today. We’ll have a bash at a couple of carols, but it’ll have to be unaccompanied- oh, and I can’t hold a tune. But, listen, let me read the Christmas Scripture first, then we’ll have a wee prayer”
“OK – that sounds good.”
So we did that. Then I asked her to tell me about herself, and we had a cosy chat.
“Thank you so much”, she said, getting up to leave.
“Do you want to try ‘Away in a Manger’ before you go?”
“Oh, please”, she replied. Then added “I can play the piano a wee bit”
“Oh, that’s great; there’s a music edition of CH3 (third edition of the C of S hymn book) in this cupboard”
So she started to play this old out of tune joanna – magnificently, delicately, sensitively, with the touch of a professional……. which, it turned out, she had been, having studied music at Drama and Music College many years before.
Hymn followed hymn. Music drifted down the ward; nurses joined us – some for a few minutes only because of busyness.
We stayed for an hour! All the traditional favourites. Played beautifully.
And that old untidy Day Room was transformed into what our Celtic forebears call “a thin place”
It was a magical, mystical, merry time of joy and celebration.
Oh, although I can’t recall the lady’s name………….
……….I found out later that she was Jewish!!!!!!!!!!!
“God works in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform”
About 9,000 square-meters beneath the Old City houses lies a most remarkable cave, both in size and beauty. This legendary cave, known as Zedekiah’s Cave, one of the most spectacular sites in Jerusalem, served in antiquity as a quarry for the massive stones that built the Temple and its mount under King Solomon.
On the first day, God created the dog and said, “Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years.”
The dog said, “That’s a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I’ll give you back the other ten?”
And God saw it was good.
On the second day, God created the monkey and said, “Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I’ll give you a twenty-year life span.”
The monkey said, “Monkey tricks for twenty years? That’s a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the dog did?”
And God, again saw it was good.
On the third day, God created the cow and said, “You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer’s family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years.”
The cow said, “That’s kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I’ll give back the other forty?”
And God agreed it was good.
On the fourth day, God created humans and said, “Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I’ll give you twenty years.”
But the human said, “Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back,
the ten the monkey gave back,
and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?”
“Okay,” said God, “You asked for it.”
So that is why for our first twenty years, we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves.
For the next forty years, we slave in the sun to support our family.
For the next ten years, we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren.
And for the last ten years, we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.
Life has now been explained to you.
There is no need to thank me for this valuable information.
I’m doing it as a public service.
If you are looking for me I will be on the front porch.