Saturday, 6 September 2008

20th year

Oh Newcastle.... Our Kevin's gone then. Shame.

Yesterday Jane reminded me that nineteen years ago to the day I was inducted as vicar here. (Actually she wasn't sure whether it was 'inducted' (vicars) or 'induced' (babies) - not much difference in my case! I WAS pretty green.) I'm living proof that the superstition that the number of times the new vicar rings the bell is nonsense. I managed a feeble two and a half dings. Well, no one had told me to give it a tweak rather than a simple pull. Anyway, here I am starting my twentieth year....
What a lot has happened since then! I could write a book....

About twenty years ago, I gather, work began on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN near Geneva. If you want to have an entertaining introduction to what it's about, I recommend the LHC rap on You may not be much the wiser and you MAY get the impression that the scientists and engineers working on it are bonkers, but all I can say is that Laurie who's been involved in it isn't. I haven't actually asked him whether when it's switched on on Wednesday morning we'll all get sucked down an ever-growing black hole or be transmogrified into gooey strange matter, but I'm inclined to believe the scientists' reassurances. And even if they were wrong, I guess it would solve the credit crunch. And more excitingly open the door to Heaven - Bring it on!

It's quite a thought, come to think of it, that life might end on Wednesday. I heard someone say, 'Go and run up all the debts you want. You'll never have to pay them back!' But what if there were life after this, and what if we were held accountable for our actions now? What if we were to stand before a judge with the full database of all our actions playing out on a screen? What if what we did really mattered? Which, of course, it does. We would have to pay back our debts. It might be more sensible to pay off all our debts, and I don't really mean monetary ones.

Meanwhile today, while we were having our lunch, I switched on the opening ceremony for the Paralympics in Beijing. I'm not a great one for ceremonies normally, but I have to confess I found it quietly moving - apart from when Jane read out a newspaper report about a labrador in Fife whose stomach was making an odd noise, and when the vet opened him up he found 13 golf balls. 'He finds them like other dogs find truffles.' However, there were these disabled people from all round the world doing something really positive with their lives. They were cheerful, enjoying the moment, all together. It reminded me that no country on earth is immune from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. It also reminded me of an account that Joni Eareckson Tada gives in one of her books of disabled people in Ghana, without even wheelchairs, praising God with wild abandon. It's possible!

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