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Bolts of grace

A storm was brewing, and a dazzling lightening show lit the skyline. In fact, a frightening lightning show that would have converted a dozen Martin Luthers. (The aforesaid Reformer, according to biographers, resolved to join the ministry when caught in the midst of a deadly lightning storm.) A crane on the adjoining building site displayed…

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Immuno-uncompromised

The concept of building immunity has been a fascinating science ever since Edward Jenner heard of a dairymaid speak of her confidence against contracting smallpox, because she’d already had cowpox. Jenner called his process vaccination, from the Latin words for cow vacca and cowpox vaccinia, and an immunity for life against smallpox was secured. As…

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Gotham City Presbyterian

Sharing my suburb with myriad bats makes me sometimes feel that I’m living in Gotham City. It would be impossible to count them, but the colony must number in the high thousands. Each night on dusk, these black-winged creatures fly over my neighbourhood on their way to wherever it is that they will roost for…

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One one

Today’s date (01/01/22) reminds me of an old rhyme about racehorses that I learned when I was growing up: “One-one was a racehorse. Two-two was one too. One-one won one race. And two-two won one too.” Perhaps it might be possible to enroll a few more horses, named four (for) and eight (ate), and create…

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Auld Lang Syne

‘Auld lang syne’ literally means ‘old long since’, and for ‘old time’s sake’ is about the closest translation of Burn’s Scottish into modern English, that I can think of. And so the invitation beckons again this New Year’s Eve to raise a cup of kindness with new friends, for old acquaintances. Which is not an…

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O Christmas Tree

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree How sweet your gospel glances: O Eden’s tree, O Eden’s tree How lovely are your branches! So full of hope, when light He spoke And made your boughs enchanted. Why did we ever look away? And turn our back on purest day O Eden’s tree, O Eden’s tree How…

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Omicron the little

The Greek alphabet has two letters for the ‘o’ sound – omicron and omega. It’s not hard to remember the difference between the size of their sounds, for they both contain great hints in their names. The first is pronounced as in the word omnibus, and the second, as in the phrase ‘O dear!’. English…

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Shameless asking

Some hatchlings in Spring, are now ‘hoplings’ in Summer, and are now hopping about the branches outside my study window. Some of them are Butcher birds, and some Noisy Miners – who certainly live up to their name. They are relentless in their chirping, and shameless in their constant requests for food. My heart goes…

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He is not far

In a delightful Russian tale, an aristocratic Count is expending his years under house-arrest in a once luxurious city hotel, when he is suddenly put in charge of looking after a six-year-old girl. A game of ‘hide the thimble’ is proposed. The Count goes first, and plays the game as you and I would, and…

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War and Peace

There is a time to hold one’s ground, and to be inflexible and dogmatic, and especially concerning those things that are central to the Christian Faith. But there is a time to give way, and to give ground concerning those things that more occupy the circumference. Perhaps Solomon had in mind this constant fight for…

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