Saturday, 17 April 2010


One of my hobbies is photography. What I like about it is that it gives me an end product to spending a day in the country. The other week I went to the London Harness Horse Parade. I have a great fondness for horses especially the humbler beasts of burden rather than the pampered race horses.

A rather posh horse carriage stopped and when we 'snappers' started photographing a man on the top of the carriage started berating one of our number in a rather self important, pompous manner. His gist was that he only wanted bona fide photographers snapping his rig so that it would be seen in a quality newspaper or magazine. If he was trying to be humorous he certainly did not pull it off. He seemed to be trying to humiliate the photographer.

I saw red and was all for pulling this man off the carriage and giving him a humbling experience at the end of my boot. Later I talked to the photographer that had been targeted and reminded him of the incident. He told me his name and it being double barreled I joked that he was probably posher than the carriage driver. He was in fact an old Harrovian. That evening I went to his website and I could see that he was a photographer of great talent having travelled the world capturing horses on film. His name is Rupert Sagar Musgrave. I had seen one of his photos in a quality daily paper. I personally would have created a scene but he showed composure and with this and his talent rose above the situation. I do not know the carriage driver’s name. I did not even keep the pictures of his carriage.

A friend knowing my rather mercurial nature lent me a book by Daniel O’Leary.

Even if it is only for a split second, you will discover that there is an instant when you have the chance to choose- between the immediate, negative, thoughtless reaction or the aware response that changes the personal, hurtful charge into a mutually life giving moment. This is the only loving and wise thing to do. from Travelling Light

My reading that night was.

Be friendly with everyone. don’t be proud and feel that you are cleverer than others, make friends with ordinary people. Romans 12.16

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Finishing The Race

I write this the day before Easter, the most joyous day of the year for Christians. Yet, a sad note I must introduce. Twice recently I have been amongst friends from churches I used to attend: one where I was baptised and one where I spent thirteen years. I asked after those I knew. ‘ O, he doesn’t come to church anymore.’ ‘O, I think he lost his faith.’ The fallout seemed highest amongst those who had married non believers.

There was a time when I was keen to see which celebrity had embraced the Christian faith. It was all about beginnings. I was not so much interested in the finishing tape. I came across a little booklet called ‘Finishing The Race’ by Peter Gillquist.

‘The heroes in modern evangelism are the living, contemporary Christians: the famous authors, evangelists, Bible teachers, born-again athletes or politicians, who are in the public limelight with their stirring testimonies of initial conversions. But in days gone by, it was those who had finished the course, those who- living still, to be sure- had gone home to glory, who were counted as heroes of the Faith.’

I would stress that I am not referring to people going through a challenging time, questioning what they believe, doubting or even backsliding. Competitors in a race go through all sorts of mental and physical trials. I am talking about folks quitting the race.

St Paul writes, ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith ( 2 Tim 4.7 )

I implore you, whatever the fatigue, whatever the cramp in the leg, whatever the temptation to stop, cross that line! Eternity is a long time to be a loser.

O Lord our God,

You reduced our human lifetime to a little while

because of our weak and defenceless nature;

but in return,

if we overcome the assaults of enemy,

you have promised us eternal joy

Eastern Orthodox Prayer