Hardwick Pair

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Together the surveyed Hardwick’s glassy lake. Reflected in it, was their constellation far up in the starry sky. They had seen it often and as a couple, they would gaze at it again. For they together had weathered their own storms and days of darkness. And so, as one, they were forever bound.
But it was time to move on. Their young had grown, found wing and fled. The year too showed signs of turning and the earth tilting. At dawn, they made ready to leave for a warmer season elsewhere.
Out, out into the waters, they swam. Soundlessly, they wished each other well. They pushed through the leaden water, gained speed until they were free in the air. Flapping their long wings, the Hardwick pair stretched their necks towards the rising sun.
A bystander watched with breath held tight, thinking only of the elegance of paired swans in flight.

Deck Chair

fischer-719759_1280The woman sat on the deck chair looking out to sea and imagined a far-off ship going to the tropics. There it would find the warmth she had never experienced. She enjoyed a good life in a material sense at least. In personal relationships, she had been less fortunate. And so, she could buy a gift for anyone but had no one to give it.

 

A child run across the beach carrying an inflatable ball. Something attracted the youngster to the woman. So, she threw the ball towards her. Affronted by the girl’s forwardness, she was tempted to retreat into her book with a glower. Instead, the woman sent the ball through the air and into grateful hands. For a minute, they amused each other as they played out a game. Then the girl gave a shy smile and ran off to somewhere unknown.

Brightened, the woman looked around and saw couples, families and groups enjoying shared companionship. She should have felt excluded but somehow, she had reconnected with the human race. That was enough.

 

 The ship upon the grey ocean dropped below the horizon.

 

This came for a book of reflection that you can read free at Wattpad.

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The Tree

4m1W7GThe tree remembered being planted in the churchyard those many summers ago. For he saw the young daughter of the squire slipping in a copy of that new book on ‘Pride and Prejudice’ to wile away the long sermon. This blissful rural scene was oblivious to the battles being fought on land and sea to fence in the tyrant Napoleon.
The tree brought to mind the parishioners chattering excitedly having been told of a war far away over whether humans could own humans; trees never own each other more than they can own God’s sunlight.

He then lived many summers and slept for many winters before Johnny, the blacksmiths boy, proud in his khaki uniform marched off to France.  A few months later, his family came weeping to the yard even though Johnny had no grave there.

It seems hardly any summers at all after the Great War, that his branches were swept back by a gaudily painted plane sprouting smoke and crosses flew overhead with another firing in pursuit. Now he saw the night sky filled with new stars, all talking to each other as they silently rotated above.
More recently, he was overjoyed when a young family came to stay in the disused church which had been converted to a house.  They played in his shadow and touched his bark in games. And so, he felt the pain even more as the chainsaw cut into his flesh to make way for another room for washing, games and fitness machines. But through it all, he knew sorrow for humans who neither live for summer or sleep in winter but destroy or are destroyed in ever season.

Eulogies to Life

Today I heard another eulogy at a memorial service. With time you pick up certain patterns. Firstly there is a broad outline of the life celebrated. Then we hear  the funny stories – the little events that bring smiles of remembrance and love. But there is always mention of the trials and tribulations faced and usually conquered. The whole story of each life then is a mixture, an amalgam and a pastiche that is bitter sweet.

Well this afternoon’s service included the playing of the theme from Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse – a British detective series based around Oxford. And for the first time I noticed the depth of this music. It was a bitter-sweet tune which seemed to encapsulate not just the funny and the sad but the mystery, contradiction and enigma which is  life. I was going to comment of this fact. But left it, for the music had spoken the better for me.

A Marketing Strategy

Luke 10.1-9

Acts 3.1-10

Not so long ago Black & Decker were preparing for a large promotional campaign. And to get the angle just right for their advertising, they sent out market researchers to find what ‘Joe Soap’ actually wanted. They returned with the discouraging news that people didn’t want drills they wanted holes. In other words, they weren’t interested in power tools only what they can do for them.

Now that was not a surprising discovery really. Few of us get on a bus to have a ride in a Van Hool special – we get on to go somewhere. And here is an important point for the church. Because it is often said that those in church don’t want to evangelise others they just what full and vibrant services. On the other hand, those outside Christianity don’t want uninvited missionaries selling them religion on their door-steps. Where then is the answer?….

To read the full sermon, please click here.

Thumb on website anvil again

Today I added another rule to the horrors of web site smithing. And is this! If you happen to have two web sites, then if not carefully watched, the software will upload to the wrong one.

In a similar vein, the greater the amount of work you do hammering the pages into shape, the greater the chance it will not save (Serif X4).

Life in the Blue Ocean


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Yesterday an email flitted across my screen from ‘Tools for the Mind’. Now this is not a bargain outlet for brain-surgeons’ instruments, rather it is an emporium of management ideas. And one they were championing was the ‘blue ocean strategy’. Far from being some policy from the Cold War, this is a methodology to grow your business.

In essence, most organisations live in a crowded market where competition is rife. In fact, they are literally biting each other for custom. Therefore, this is – you’ve guessed it – the red ocean.

However, most successful companies discover brand new services and products clear of their competition. This is the open space of the blue ocean. And ‘blue sky’ thinking explains why CNN, Cirque de Soleil and Apple have found a very profitable life on the ocean blue.

So that set me thinking too. Where is the blue ocean for the Church? Since today so many of its traditional roles have been taken over by others – social services, pressure groups and schools to name but a few. Even the world’s spiritual arena is crowded with religions, philosophies and theologies.  But there is still one unique selling point of Jesus Christ’s business. and it is immortality.

Now there is an ocean of life on blue heaven.