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The unhappiest birthday

Lewis Carroll, in his famous Alice in Wonderland story, Through the Looking Glass, gave us the delightful concept of the ‘un-birthday’, where any day is an excuse to enjoy the treats and gifts that are normally reserved for one’s actual birthday. It is introduced in an exchange between Humpty Dumpty and Alice; and I’d have…

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Reformation fires

That famous English preacher, Charles Spurgeon, was not afraid to take a bludgeon and blowtorch to books on theology that were long on bluster and short on substance. “BARKER, Frederick. Psalms. Families will best use these commentaries and prayers by lining their cake tins with them.” Ouch! “PYLE, Thomas. Genesis-Esther. A pile of paper, valuable…

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The weeping weeder

There grows between my pavers No peppermint nor thyme Nor sage, nor dill, nor parsley Things of the useful kind But wretched weeds and clover And stubborn dandelion That when I pull and bind them – A posy! Devil kind! What grows between my paver-years? I wish my vase would show Buds warm and sprigs…

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Home of the brave

One of my church ladies recently rescued her dog from the jaws of a monster. Her little mutt was being shaken to death by a huge dog, so she stepped in, forced open the ogre’s mouth, picked up her dog, tucked it close to her heart, and kept it safe until the canine-menace was called…

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Where your treasure is

There is a story in the Book of a woman who deposited two copper coins into the temple treasury, and was commended by Jesus, because she put in all that she had. At one level, I want to question her sanity; but at another, I know that anyone whom Jesus commends must be in full…

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Sideburn sorrows

The lockdown season has thrown up many stories of horrible haircuts that have been inflicted upon family members – some who have been willing participants, and others who have been summoned to the chair and subject to all manner of follicle abuse, from blunt scissors to silver bowls. To my very great surprise and relief,…

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The Ministry of Love

Just for the record, in the event that Big Brother is reading this, my worst fear is sitting by a cosy fire on a rainy day, with a good book, sipping on coffee and nibbling on liquorice. Such a chilling scenario would have to be my worst nightmare! Aaah! The very thought of it fills…

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That

Referring to another person in an impersonal way, is either a deliberate mark of disrespect, or a clever way of introducing a creature of horror. A Queen saying, “You will remove that ‘thing’ from my presence,” is an example of the first, and Stephen King’s child-frightening character ‘It’, is a classic example of the second….

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The Two Looks of Christ

Said Jesus on one occasion, “He who has been forgiven little, loves little”. I guess that’s why that old converted slave-trader, John Newton, loved so much, and why he had such insight into the deep things of grace. I saw One hanging on a tree, In agony and blood; Who fixed His languid eyes on…

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Saying Grace

“I would rather hear Dr Harrison say grace over an egg, than hear Bishops pray and preach!” said a certain Lord Thomand in appreciation of the sincerity and power of his Minister’s prayers. That of course, may say something about the state of preaching in some of the high churches in seventeenth century Ireland. Be…

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