Tag Archives: Sunday

Dance, dance, wherever you may be…


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February 22, 2019 · 14:41

The Vet

One Sunday, while counting the money in the weekly offering, the Pastor of a small church found a pink envelope containing $1,000. That was quite a windfall for this particular small church, and the Pastor was amazed when it happened again the next week!

On the following Sunday, he watched as the offering was collected and saw an elderly woman put the distinctive pink envelope on the plate. This went on for weeks until the pastor, overcome by curiosity, approached her.

”Ma’am, I couldn’t help but notice that you put $1,000 a week in the collection plate,” he stated.

“Why yes,” she replied, “every week my son sends me money and I give some of it to the church.”

The pastor replied, “That’s wonderful. But $1000 is a lot, are you sure you can afford this? How much does he send you?”

The elderly woman answered, “$10,000 a week.”

The pastor was amazed. “Your son is very successful; what does he do for a living?”

“He is a veterinarian,” she answered.

“That’s an honorable profession, but I had no idea they made that much money,” the pastor said. “Where does he practice?”

The woman answered proudly, “In Nevada .. He has two cat houses, one in Las Vegas , and one in Reno

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A mother woke her son up on Sunday morning and told him he needed to get ready to go to church. The son replied to his mother that he didn’t want to go to church this morning. She told him nonsense he should get up and go to church.

“But” he replied, “Everybody hates me, the sermons are boring and none of my friends ever come.”

His mother replied, “Now, son…! First, everybody doesn’t hate you, only a couple of bullies and you just have to stand up to them. Second, the sermons mean a lot to many people. If you listened to them, you’d be surprised at how good they are in helping people. Third, you have lots of friends at church. They are always having you over to their house. And finally, you have to go, you’re the minister!!”

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Crichton Memorial Church Services

from Charlie Chaplain’s Tales


Towards the end of its days as a mental health care hospital, there were perhaps only a couple of hundred patients on site at the Crichton Royal Hospital where I delivered spiritual care as chaplain – as well as conducting Sunday Worship for users and staff at the magnificent Crichton Memorial Church.

One particular Sunday, one the patients arrived late and sat right at the front (immediately below the lectern where I kept my notes)

He’d missed the Gospel Reading around which I was about to deliver a short homily.

Just into my address, I used the word “love”, at which he interrupted me by saying in a loud voice “Would that be Philia?”

“Eh, no – it’s ‘Agape‘” I replied…. and attempted to carry on.

“What’s the difference, then?” he interjected.

So – brief explanation from me

“How about loving my girlfriend?”

(I was tempted to say, “would like to be loving your girl friend, but I’m happily married!”) but answered, “that would be ‘Eros‘”

At this point, I literally tore up my notes and a dialogue about “Christian love” as found in the NT followed

It was a splendid service and I thoroughly enjoyed my intelligent and articulate friend’s intervention.

(a description of “Love” is at the bottom of this post)


Intervention 2

Just outside the Church were beautiful lawns on which (in those days) the helicopter pad was situated.  Helicopters are used to transfer seriously ill or injured (e.g. through a RTA incident) patients to or from the adjacent Infirmary.

One Sunday morning – during the Service – there could be heard the sound of helicopter blades whirling furiously above…..  and it was discovered that just as furiously below it was one of our clients armed with an umbrella trying to  “shoo” it away from landing (shouting loudly “B*gger Off!  B*gger Off!”


The two amigos were inseparable and came to the Church virtually every Sunday – and always late.

Usually I’d be in the middle of an extemporized prayer when the side door of the Church would be thrown open – loudly – and in they would come.

S. , the more vocal of the two would stand in front of the congregation, wave to them, and say “Hello” – to which everybody, myself included, responded in like manner.  They then would take their seats.  I would try to pick up the thread of the ad libbed  prayer, would follow this with a Scripture Reading then announce the next hymn (which would be followed by the Homily).

As I began to deliver this Address, after the singing, the two guys would get up and leave – before the aforementioned S. said “Goodbye” to the congregation, waved and with his pal made a noisy exit.

(maybe they had heard me preach before?!)

Church on the Crichton Campus, Dumfries, Scotland

Church on the Crichton Campus, Dumfries, Scotland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

              The Greek word for sensual love is   Eros 
            Greek word for family love is not specifically found in Scripture, examples of it are seen throughout the Bible.
             the type of love in the Bible that most Christians practice toward each other
             Agape is the highest of the four types of love in the Bible. Jesus Christ showed this kind of divine love to his Father and to all humanity.

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July 11, 2013 · 14:23

When jokes fall flat

A particular Minister friend has a wonderful dry wit but, sadly, his congregation usually don’t “get it”; often he has to explain one of his funnies made from the pulpit. His wife gets more and more embarrassed, she says, as his explanation of the humorous remark gets more complicated and convoluted – and, as a result, the whole flow of his Address is lost.


Some folk “don’t get it”

Once when visiting parishioners in the old RIE (Edinburgh Royal Infirmary) I went into the WVS canteen and asked for “a pint and a packet of cheese and onion crisps, please”  The reply I received from the lovely but humourless lady behind the counter was “I’m sorry, Reverend (I was wearing my dog-collar) but we don’t sell alcohol”


On a couple of occasions, I announced from the pulpit “The Rev X will be taking the service next Sunday…. I will be at St Giles Cathedral preaching as sole nominee”   Silence and one or two intakes of breath.


Another announcement:  “I need strippers and scrubbers”  (gasp)  – pause – ” to help get the old paint off the church hall and to scrub down the walls in order to redecorate”


Pre wedding ceremony –  in vestry with best man and groom (looking nervous). To the latter  “Did you remember to memorise the words of your vows?”  I thought one bridegroom was going to throw up – he looked so terrified


Following a children’s story, we once sang the hymn “Far off I see the goal” which I dedicated to Hearts miserable game the day before.  One could almost sense a lot of adults in the congregation saying “Eh?”


Visiting a large hospital, stopped a nurse in a corridor and asked “how far is it from here to maternity?”  Nice lassie that was, gave me detailed instructions, without smiling.


I once preached for the fist five or six minutes on the teleological argument for the existence of God**, using Paley’s illustration of the watch and watchmaker and then ended up by saying “but you can shoot holes in that logic, so let’s move onto something else” (without explaining what the “holes” were)

** In the Middle Ages, the Islamic philosopher Averroes introduced a teleological argument. Later, a teleological argument is the fifth of Saint Thomas Aquinas’ Five Ways, his rational proofs for the existence of God. The teleological argument was continued by empiricists in the 17th and 18th centuries, who believed that the order in the world suggested the existence of God. William Paley developed these ideas with his version of the watch maker analogy. He argued that in the same way a watch’s complexity implies the existence of its maker, so too, one may infer the Creator of the universe exists, given the evident complexity of Nature. This argument resonates with a notion of the fine-tuned Universe, understood as an alternative to the anthropic principle.

There have been numerous criticisms of the different versions of the teleological argument. Commonly, critics argue that any implied designer need not have the qualities commonly attributed to the God of classical theism. Moreover, there is a great diversity of spiritual and religious beliefs concerning the identity and attributes of such a Creator, which change from one society to another and from one period of human history to another.


see too this post from 6 May 2012:

The Meenister’s Log

in the 1980s I was the minister in a beautiful part of Perthshire – one Sunday, for the children’s story in Church, I decided to “use” our twelve week-old puppy, Jamie, as a sort of visual aid. Helen and I decided that they should hide in the vestry until the kids’ slot, so we arrived quite early at the kirk. Unfortunately, a faithful old member got there before us. She looked quizzically at me, at H, and with the pup in her arms – and was obviously puzzled; Helen looked at her & – deadpan – said “we’ve brought him to be baptised” – to which the dear old lady replied “oh, that’s awffy nice”

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Church without God

The Sunday Assembly is a godless congregation that meets on the first Sunday of every month to hear great talks, sing songs and generally celebrate the wonder of life. It’s a service for anyone who wants to live better, help often and wonder more.

Come on down to hear inspirational speakers and to enjoy a morning that is part-foot stomping show, part-atheist church.

It turns out lots of people like the sound of that so, due to popular demand, we have created Sunday Assembly Everywhere – a way for anyone to start their own Sunday Assembly.


Each service has a theme  – with stories, readings and a final address on that topic.

No matter what the subject the goal of The Sunday Assembly is to solace worries, provoke kindness and inject a bit more whizziness into the everyday.

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June 28, 2013 · 19:19

The General Strike

English: The Subsidised Mineowner - Poor Begga...

English: The Subsidised Mineowner – Poor Beggar!. It is referring to the UK General Strike of 1926 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Trade unions opposed to public sector pension changes are threatening the biggest campaign of industrial action since the General Strike. But what happened during this benchmark strike in the 1920s, and just how big was it?

The strike was called by the TUC for one minute to midnight on 3 May, 1926.

For the previous two days, some one million coal miners had been locked out of their mines after a dispute with the owners who wanted them to work longer hours for less money.

In solidarity, huge numbers from other industries stayed off work, including bus, rail and dock workers, as well as people with printing, gas, electricity, building, iron, steel and chemical jobs.

The aim was to force the government to act to prevent mine owners reducing miners’ wages by 13% and increasing their shifts from seven to eight hours.

The industrial action came against a backdrop of tough economic times following the First World War and a growing fear of communism.

On the first full day of action, on 4 May, there were estimated to be between 1.5 and 1.75 million people out on strike.

 The transport network was crippled without its bus and train drivers, and roads became choked with cars.

The printing presses ground to a virtual halt and food deliveries were held up.


During all this turmoil and discontent, one Sunday, in his sermon, a minister asked a question from the pulpit.


Decrying the General Strike, he boomed, “the miners are on strike, the tram drivers are on strike ,the train drivers and dock workers are on strike, the gas and electricity workers are on strike, the butchers and bakers and candlestick makers too…..”

….. BUT the Ministers are not on strike! And do you know why????

answer from a pew near the back:

Because if you were, nobody would miss you!”



Some years ago, in an old-fashioned railway carriage, a mother and daughter were sitting opposite a “dandy” who seemed to be preoccupied with preening himself and looking at his reflection in the window.

The little girl turned to her mum and asked “Mummy, what’s that man FOR?”


What is a minister FOR?

The Ideal Minister

He loves the older folks of the church, visiting them regularly. Besides this, he spends all of his time with the young people. The glow on his face reveals his secret. He’s spent many hours on his knees before God. However, he’s always available to anyone who drops by for a friendly chat. What’s a half-hour out of his schedule since he only works on Sunday anyway.

He loves to disciple new converts and gives full-time attention to calling on the elderly, ill, and shut-in. He has a model family, is always in the church office when you call and is busy at the hospital, just looking for a soul to comfort. He would never miss a church function. In addition, he meets all his neighbours and civic leaders within the community and wins their hearts too.

The ideal minister is only 29 and has been preaching 30 years. He preaches sermons that win the hearts of the lost and inspire the minds of the mature. Teenagers take notes on his sermons.

The ideal minister comprehends the complexity of church finances, has mastery of the church budget, and never talks about money. He is a strong believer in holiness and church discipline and never speaks a stern word to anyone.

The ideal minister is tall, short, lean, and husky, with brown hair and blond hair. He has a deep, resonant voice which, because it is quietly loud, pleases everyone and is audible to the hard of hearing. He can sing, lead music, and delegates authority to everyone. Besides this, he helps each layman and does all the things other people are too busy to do. In short, he keeps the entire church and each family running smoothly.

(Modified  from Steve Merrill’s piece in The Evangelical Beacon, magazine of the Evangelical Free Church of America, copyright 1984)

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The Sabbath 4 – Pope Francis 1

The Sabbath 4 - Pope Francis 1

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April 30, 2013 · 11:44

The Sabbath – 3: Eric Liddell


In an earlier scene in the movie “Chariots of Fire”, Eric Liddell and his sister Janet come across some boys playing football outside the church one Sunday.

Eric invites them to come back on the Monday morning, saying that he will join them in a game before he catches his train for London.

When Janet complains that he has enough to do, he tells her that he does not want the boys to grow up thinking that God is a spoilsport.

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April 28, 2013 · 11:16