How tidy is your house?

If you were to come into my house at the moment you would truly wonder at the people who live in it.  It is clean and looked after yet it is in such a guddle.  Lego bricks are strewn from one end of the living room to the other, there are dirty dishes at the sink, the beds are made (thank goodness for duvets), the dishwasher is waiting to be emptied, papers lie in random piles on the study floor next to a clothes horse of dry towels which were in the dining room until decanted last night to allow a church meeting to progress (without me – the Minister!).  Scaffolding lies outside waiting for the workmen to return, put it up and fix the external walls.  At the moment the state of my house represents my life – all around me different priorities are clamouring for my attention.  For instance I could tidy up the lego and with a few moments of work I could have a tidy enough living room.  I could put the towels away.  I could go and make coffee and leave this blog to write itself.  The question for me though is what are distractions and what are priorities?  My wonderful children will simply tip the lego out again in a few hours.  Having a tidy floor will make me feel better for a wee while but you won’t have had the fantastic experience of reading this blog.  😉Many of us spend a long time wondering how we are going to make it through the day.  We multi-task, we think about how to do the next task whilst still on the first task, we panic, we make coffee, we procrastinate, we work so hard we forget to eat.  I even bought a white board to write up my task list on – I always run out of space but it helps me focus a little especially when I can tick them off.  And when we get to the end of the day we often regret what we haven’t achieved rather than thank God for what we have done. 

If your life is anything like mine there is no end to task list.  The housework, the family, the church, the job, even “me-time” are always clamouring for attention.  And then there is the guilt trip – where is God in the day?  Did I remember to pray today?  Did I have some quiet time with God?  Or did I fall out of bed, yell at the children, trip over the cat, spill the cornflakes and rush out the door into a day that continued to rush by me before returning to lego bricks, dinner, bed time tantrums, some television viewing and off to bed?   And oops still not emptied the dishwasher… There is a prayer I found somewhere that I use sometimes at funerals but I wanted to share it with you today –

We bless you, Lord,

that Jesus came into a home like ours, and knew the loyalties and tensions of family living;that he worked as a carpenter, and knew the frustrations and fulfilment of a daily task; that he offered friendship, and knew how it might be a source of healing and courage at a time like this; that he went about doing good, even at the risk of being misunderstood; that he brought glory to ordinary tasks and relationships, and dignity to every human being.

God knows us.  God knows the burdens we so readily carry instead of sharing them.  God knows that we are human.  It doesn’t bother Him whether the lego is boxed or on the floor, whether the dishwasher is empty or not, or whether I will ever truly clean off my whiteboard from one week to the next.  What matters to Him is that we live and love knowing that we are his children.  Even when my children are separated from me they know that I love them.  And when we are united again there are hugs and kisses and everyone asks or talks about their day.  That is how we should be with God.  He is our parent – one who loves us very much.  And even when we are so busy and suddenly think I haven’t spoken to God today, we can remember that God is always there with us.  We know his love and He is always happy to talk with us. 

Take some time to think about how you interact with God.  Do you feel that God is only paying attention to you when you are in a ‘quiet space’?  Or do you think He joins you at the sink with the dishes, on the floor playing with the children, in the workplace or on the sofa as you drink your coffee and mull over the next task?  Having quiet time for prayer and bible reading is certainly important but remember that God knows all about living life as a human being in a busy busy world.  Share with Him for He is with you now while you read this. 

Final word of advice though – if you don’t like mess – don’t visit me today (tomorrow might be tidier but no promises)

Til the next installment – God bless you and may you find peace in his presence whatever you may be doing in the coming days. Love Sarah

Same-Sex Relationships and the Ministry

The Church of Scotland are seeking out the opinions of Elders and Ministers about Same-Sex relationships within the Church.  Our Kirk Session will be holding their discussions on Wednesday 21st April and Lanark Presbytery in May.  This topic is fraught with pastoral concerns and theological understandings that threaten to divide as well as empower. 

 “Our Church (the Church of Scotland as a whole) has debated issues relating to homosexuality since the 1960s.  Views on those issues have moved over time but the Church remains deeply divided on its approach to homosexual practice, civil partnerships, and on whether a practising homosexual should be ordained as a minister.” 

The main concern of the discussions is whether practising homsexuals can hold a leadership position in the Church.   (If one is celibate there is no problem.)  For some this concern makes no sense because for them there is no issue about sexuality.  We are as God made us.  For others the Bible says it is wrong and therefore completely unacceptable for leaders within the Church to be practising homosexuals.  For most people though they have not really come to any decision because they have had no need to, and genuinely don’t know where they stand. 

In Church today we were reminded that none of us are worthy of God.  He chooses to have a relationship with us.  We all sin – whether we like it or not – none of us are perfect.  So we enter these discussions humble and conscious that all of us fall short of the glory of God.  You are welcome to post comments but the usual rules apply – this is a Christian discussion not a catfight nor a soapbox.  We genuinely want to hear what people think even if is to say I don’t know what I think…  Please feel free to speak to me any time about this topic. 

If you want to read the Discussion paper from the General Assembly then please visit

http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/extranet/xga/xgaspecialministry.htm#consultation