On Sunday morning we played a game in our all age Mothering Sunday service. It is a relatively simple game that makes the participants look a bit silly (see the picture). The idea is that you put the basket arrangement on your head and attempt to fling the balls into it. On Sunday morning we did a mother vs child version.

Other than to have a bit of fun point of the game was that whilst we all aim to do the best we can we don’t always manage to ‘hit the target’. That is true of parents as much as anyone else and the wonderful thing is that God’s grace and forgiveness are available for us all, and he gives us his Spirit to help us to hit the target more frequently.

(We reflected on the supermum in Proverbs 31 and how none of us could ever live up to that. In addition to sometimes missing the target we also should rejoice and celebrate when we hit it. Rather than seeing the biblical standards of perfection as being something unattainable we can see them as God’s ambition for us: asking for his help to try and be more like the people he has created us to be, asking for and receiving a fresh start when we fail, and rejoicing when God helps us to succeed.)

When the mother and son were playing the game on Sunday the congregation cheered when they managed to get a ball into the basket and there were groans and ‘ooohs’ when they missed. Often as Christians we are better at the groans and ‘ooohs’ then we are at the cheers. We weep with those who weep and neglect to rejoice with those who rejoice.

As well as personally rejoicing when we manage to live in the way that pleases God we can also encourage one another. Perhaps it is our natural humility that makes us not want to tell other people when we have done well but if we can see something to encourage in somebody else, let’s not hesitate to do so.

Be blessed, be a blessing

Game related joke:

Two friends went out to play golf and were about to tee off, when one fellow noticed that his partner had but one golf ball.

“Don’t you have at least one other golf ball?”, he asked. The other guy replied that no, he only needed the one.

“Are you sure?”, the friend persisted. “What happens if you lose that ball?”

The other guy replied, “This is a very special golf ball. I won’t lose it so I don’t need another one.”

Well,” the friend asked, “what happens if you miss your shot and the ball goes in the lake?”

“That’s okay,” he replied, “this special golf ball floats. I’ll be able to retrieve it.”

“Well what happens if you hit it into the trees and it gets lost among the bushes and shrubs?”

The other guy replied, “That’s okay too. You see, this special golf ball has a homing beacon. I’ll be able to get it back — no problem.”

Exasperated, the friend asks, “Okay. Let’s say our game goes late, the sun goes down, and you hit your ball into a sand trap. What are you going to do then?”

“No problem,” says the other guy, “you see, this ball is florescent. I’ll be able to see it in the dark.”

Finally satisfied that he needs only the one golf ball, the friend asks, “Hey, where did you get a golf ball like that anyway?”

The other guy replies, “I found it.”

my sporting prowess

Space InvadersI had a very active weekend. I went boxing and ten pin bowling, played baseball and golf (not simultaneously). For those who are impressed I should confess that this was all on our Nintendo Wii. It was the first games console in which the game interprets the players’ movements with their controllers into movement on the screen. Gone are the days when button presses had to represent movement – do any of you remember ‘Decathlon’ where we used to pound the buttons mercilessly in order to make Daley Thompson run faster, jump further and higher, throw further? It was a leap forward (literally) from Space Invaders.

Today my arm is aching from over-exuberant jabs and hooks, attempts at scoring strikes, pitches and home run hits, and swings. Yes, it serves me right. Yes, I am over competitive. Yes, it was good fun.

Computer games are getting more and more realistic. So much so that it is possible to immerse yourself in virtual reality and possibly lose yourself there.

Is it possible that we are doing a similar thing in our churches? Are we simulating the real world with Christian music, Christian computer games, Christian dating, and yes, even Christian socks (seriously!!??). And by immersing ourselves in this virtual world are we in danger of losing ourselves there and forgetting the calling of Jesus to be salt and light in the ‘real’ world?

Be blessed, be a blessing.


unwelcome guests

We have recently had a lodger with us. They have not been paying anything for the privilege, and indeed made a bit of a mess. So we had to evict them. That was easier said than done.

The lodger was a mouse. Most of the time the only evidence of his/her stay with us was the nibbling that we found. When that nibbling appeared in our daughter’s bedroom Sally decided to investigate and discovered the lodger in her wardrobe. We bought a humane trap with the aim of getting rid of the mouse away from our house, but the mouse decided it did not want to go into the trap (have they been taking lessons in trap avoidance?).

So Sally gently took out most of the contents of the bottom of the wardrobe and the mouse hid itself under the remaining box. At this point I was drafted in to help and we barricaded the mouse in with a large picture frame that we could reach over. We left the trap in there in case the mouse decided that this was the best place to go and, plastic pots in hand, removed the box to reveal the mouse.

There followed a relatively frantic game of Mousie Mousie that the mouse was winning for a while, but eventually I caught it under my pot. The problem was that we had not thought about what to do when we caught the mouse. It was clear he/she was not going to sit quietly in the pot if we turned it the right way up, and there was no way I was going to put my hand in there. Eventually we found a plastic clip board and I gently slid that under the pot and the mouse and, clamping it firmly, got into the car.

Sally drove the three of us to a nearby nature reserve where I carried out a mini re-enactment of the scene at the end of Born Free where Elsa the Lion is released into the wildlife park. There was no touching moment when the mouse looked back at us, it simply fled as fast as its little legs could carry it. I hope it takes the hint and does not try to come back.

So, I hear you think (yes, I know what you are thinking, bwah hah hah haaah), what is the lesson we are supposed to learn from this episode?

Good question. If I am totally honest, right now as I type I am not sure.


Lesson the first – if there is something in our life that shouldn’t be there we should do all we can to get rid of it. Pray, act, change behaviour, ask for help, don’t give up.

Lesson the second – in a grace-rich environment (see yesterday’s bloggage) compassion should extend even to those who cause us harm.

Lesson the third – sometimes people aren’t aware that you are trying to help them and may do all they can to avoid the help. But that does not mean we should not persevere.

Lesson the fourth – you never know when the skills you learn in playing children’s games will come in handy.

Be blessed, be a blessing.