Missionaries have tour dates, too

At the end of next week I’ll be setting off for the Highlands, all being well.

I’ll be catching up with family and friends, as well as taking meetings in churches. I’ve added the dates to the Events so, if you live up there, check to see if I’ll be anywhere near you.

By the way, if you are the minister of one of these churches and there is something wrong with the information, do please let me know.

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Overheard in a cafe

Person 1: A lovely day, isn’t it.

Person 2: It’s gorgeous.

Person 1: We’ve had such a wonderful summer.

Person 2: Yes. But you know the berries are very thick on the trees

and they say that means a harsh winter.

Person 1: The berries were heavy last year but the winter wasn’t too bad.

Person 2: Anyway, we just have to deal with whatever weather we get.

Person 1: Yes, that’s true.

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My church

It was great to be in my church in Edinburgh yesterday. Thank you to everybody who made me feel so welcome.

I noticed the congregation’s capacity for profound stillness, and the singing was back in my register (Colombian churches tend to sing lower).

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What can you see?

Where are you reading this?

Outside? Near a window? In a public place?

On public transport? In a shopping mall?

At an airport?

Look around. What can you see?

A policeman? A security guard? A soldier?

What about weapons?

A handgun? A semi-automatic? A taser? A truncheon?


This has struck me again, very forcibly.

Security in Scotland, in everyday life, is incredibly low-key.

No security guards checking your receipt as you leave the supermarket; the army away on foreign wars;

the police, unarmed and scarcely to be seen.

It’s not like this in Colombia.

Oh that one day it would be!

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It’s so quiet

Have you ever noticed that when you cross the Meadows in Edinburgh, and you are about half way across, you can hardly hear the traffic.

In fact, if you listen very carefully, all you can hear is the pad, pad, pad of hundreds of pairs of shoes.

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Is this good news?

According to the BBC news website, Peru has taken over from Colombia as the world’s top coca leaf grower.

Meanwhile, cocaine use is actually falling in the United States, but growing in Brazil and in the emerging Asian economies.

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My Ode to Autumn

O people of the further north,

I wonder if you know the worth

of autumn? The fields gold-shorn,

the bramble hedge, the harvest moon,

the final burst of summer flowers,

and trees of green and red and brown.

Go out, take breaths,

deep breaths of cool, sweet air,

and think of those, far off,

where days plod on, each one the some,

whose only change is hot to wet.

Be glad you live with seasons.

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Seven random thoughts on being back in Scotland

1. Is there a more beautiful city than Edinburgh?

2. We Scots really lack clearly defined rituals of greeting and farewell.

3. People here stand to let you out of the inside seat on the bus,

they don’t just swivel their knees round like they do in Colombia.

4. Lots of tourists go to Edinburgh. I suppose I knew this.

5. Where is everybody? Apart from Princes Street (in Edinburgh)

on a Saturday morning, the streets are amazingly free of pedestrians.

6. Scottish people are nice: they smile back and they hold the door open for you.

7. The driver of the bus I got today called everybody buddy.

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