2.1.03

Unfortunately, this isn't a joke
Cyclone Zoe struck the Solomon Island outposts of Tikopia, Anuta and Fatutaka last Saturday with winds reaching 350 mph. No one knew what had happened becasue the islands have been out of radio contact for several months. The Solomon Island government is basically bankrupt and has been unable to afford to repair a radio transmitter.

Eventually, Australia was asked to fly a RAAF aircraft over the islands to see what had happened. Total devastation and evidence of destruction comparable to the damage caused by the tsunami on Papua New Gunea's north west coast some years ago was reported. Only a few people came out to wave to the pilot who swept very low over the islands for 40 minutes.

Now that is bad enough. A resue ship will take three or four days to reach the islands with medical relief and there is no provision to land aircraft. Back in Honiara, the Solomon Government was trying to do something to help. However, it could not load a boat with relief supplies. Why? It was a public holiday and everything was shut. They could get nothing they wanted. Another boat was supposed to leave from a nearer island on Sunday but didn't. They had no fuel and there were arguments about crew wages. The island high Commissioner to Australia said that resue operations were very expensive.

Now running to island time is something most of us here know about and understand to a certain point. This is ridiculous.

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I hope this is a joke
It is reported in this morning's Sydney Herald that Hooters has bought an ailing US airline, Pace Air. They plan to cater in their typical manner for golf charter groups.

There was a Hooters establishment near my house a few years ago. It went broke after only a couple of months, so perhaps Australian taste is not as bad as often portrayed.

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These words have been in my mind since we sang them at church last Sunday morning. One of my favourite hymns.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.

Holy, holy, holy! though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!


Words by Reginald Heber,1826. Written for Trinity Sunday.
Music by John Dykes,1861



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1.1.03

I really enjoyed the prayer prompts today at Sacred Space - the prayer site run by the Irish Jesuits.I have not been at this site for quite a while and started to revisit a few days ago. Now none of what I was reading, thinking, praying is anything new, It was all stuff I needed to be reminded of.

"in the fragments of my yearned-for wholeness..." One of the reasons for calling my blog and the preceding journal, Shalom, is this yearning for wholeness, completeness, maturity in Christ. The word means much more than peace, the absence of strife. It carries connotations of wholeness, healing, peace, completion. As I prayed, I was reminded that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing, (Ephesians1). I am justified in his sight in Christ. Too often, I do not live in the truth of these verses.

"God is not foreign to my freedom." Rather, it is in him that I find true freedom, although I often forget this and try to do my own thing.

There was a prompt about seeing Christ's presence in the highs, the lows and the level patches of the day before. Sometimes, I look back on my day and can see where Christ has been with me. These are usually isolated instances. Then it hit me like a sledge hammer, a truth I would happily avow to others in difficulties, but one which had somehow escaped my consciousness for a while. (As I said, there is nothing new in what I was thinking, just a fresh discovery on my part.) Jesus was with me, whether I "felt' him or not. Present with me at all times. Perhaps I was conscious of his presence in particular moments, but that does not negate the rest of the time.

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Writing as a house guest at connexions: weblog of theConnexion.net, Bene Diction speaks of being overwhelmed by God and asks if others have been terrified by him. I think that if we are honest, most of us would admit to something like this. Too often we portray God's love as something warm and fuzzy, a bit like our feelings for a tiny baby or a new puppy. God's love is part of his holiness, an area we fall far short in.

Some years ago I was with a group of students from college. We had been singing Let the cloud of your glory fill this house, O Lord, as part of our practice for a choral presentation. Purely rehearsal type situation. No hype. no emotion, just practice. As we sat down and the choir director began to speak, there was an overwhelming sense of the power and glory of God. People burst into tears, some ran from the room. It was as if there was an enormous weight pressing down on us. I could feel the heaviness. Later I remebered that the Hebrew word for glory is "kabod" meaning weight /heaviness, and the scriptures speak of "the exceeding weight of your glory."

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6:30 am on New Year's Day. Happy New Year! I pray that each of us will grow in the knowledge and understanding of the love and grace of God through the year.

Now to him who by the power that is at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20,21)

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31.12.02

Multicultural Australia seen today. I passed a small terrace house in the inner city. Strung across the front verandah was a row of tattered, Tibetan, buddhist prayer flags. It was an end terrace so I could see the side street window as well. There was a large Christmas silver foil star occupying most of the window. On either side of the star was a plastic face of Santa Claus. Hedging all bets perhaps?

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And another one. You can control the camera for one minute. However the queues are sometimes long and you need to have your times right. Don't forget the east coast of Austrralia, with the exception of Queensland has added an hour for Eastern Summer Time, daylight saving. G'day Sydney - Tourist attractions, webcams and sights to see in Sydney, Australia.

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Here's something for those of you beset by snow and ice now. ViewSydney - Live Streaming Webcams on Sydney Harbour

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Sad events in the blogging world lately. I've seen this sort of thing happen several times among different groups, Christian and other. I think that because there is no body language to be seen, or tone of voice to be heard, that it is easy to misinterpret the written word. It's also easy to write a reply which says things which are unlikely to be said face to face. Whatever the cause, it is sad, particularly when it is christians that are concerned. Yet, what is so different to life anywhere else? We fight over the silliest causes and too often ignore what we have in common while maximising our differences. I include myself here, I'm no different to others whom I would condemn.

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I had a lovely day at the beach yesterday. A small fairly private beach which I've been part of since my childhood. It was originally a very private community but has since been "discovered." Quite a few media people have houses there and prices are now sky high. As we sat on the beach a cruiser pulled into the bay. It absolutely reeked of money. It was either new or very well maintained and would have cost several million dollars. A section covering part of the stern rolled back like a rolltop desk and a rubber ducky inflatable craft with outboard motor hit the water. Then a smaller blow up boat was attached to the larger. It was towed all around the bay full of small children, disturbing those on the beach with its noisy engine and apparent disregard for the safety of those who were swimming. A diving board also appeared off the stern although no one dived. It was used as a towel rack or a spot for sunbaking. The cruiser was joined later by another, slightly smaller, also new, not quite so well apppointed.

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Bene Diction Blogs On Good to see you here.

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I just heard what was an unintentionally amusing item on the ABC news. There was a robbery at Sydney International Airport last night and a large sum of money was stolen. The thieves made a getaway in a BMW! (So who needs more money or do they want the latest model?) They were reported as being of South Pacific Island appearance. This in itself raises an interesting picture to my mind. It was then reported that they all wore Sportscraft clothes. Really? Did they check the labels? And certainly Sportscraft clothes go as well as Beamers in my mind with the supposed ethnic group of robbers.

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New Year's Eve
A beautiful day here in Sydney and about a million people are expected around the harbour tonight for the traditional celebration. Fireworks at 9:00pm and again at midnight. A news item just said that the music to accompany the fireworks tells a story. 1812 overture, Beethoven's 9th symphony...just possibly the Ode to Joy? I can see the story from here. Now all we need is Dvorak's New World and we will be set for the coming year. What a pity it is not as easy as that. Security has been upgraded in the face of "credible "terrorism threats to "a target in Australia" over the Christmas/New Year period. I was under the harbour bridge in early december at a park. Very strong police presence quite obvious.

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29.12.02

Probably no blogging tomorrrow, (Monday). I'm taking a trip back in time to the beach where we spent most of January for many years. Nostalgia unlimited. Looks like a good beach day. Not too hot, about 27 degrees celsius.

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Post-lunch Sunday... After my little moan this morning what happens? We sang Holy,holy holy, Lord God almighty... this morning. Made the rest of the music almost worthwhile. There were people there who didn't know it.

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Sunday morning again and I prepare for church. Even after a year, I am not really settled where we go. There are many memories of this place from some years ago. I still find it difficult to allow myself to participate in the activities. I was very active there once, and on the leadership team. Led groups, wrote for groups, spoke regulalry in church. Then came the upheaval. To think about it still upsets me. The pastor had an affair with a student from the college where he was a lecturer, something abhorrent even in secular academic circles. He managed to convince many from the church that he was actually justified in this! I stayed as long as possible but felt that I had to leave. I basically was homeless as far as church goes for several years. There was a great deal of hurt which even now occasionally raises its head. A year ago, I felt that I was to go back to settle a few things. The people there are lovely, very few of the original group. However, I don't really fit in. I'm not partial to labels, but I am not a Pentecostal. I believe in the gifts and power of the Spirit, but have problems coping with what passes for theology there. The pastor is a journalist by training. He is a great communicator, but I feel as if I need a good feed. I have heard about one expository, exegetical sermon in the 14 months since I have been back. The music used to be good, but has degenerated lately into much self-centred rubbish.

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I had forgotten how much I appreciate Sacred Space - the prayer site run by the Irish Jesuits. I am not a Roman Catholic but find this site a real blessing to use. Somehow I had got out of the habit of visiting daily. From the comments left, I am not the only one to appreciate it. It's quiet and peaceful but also challenging to me.

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Fourth cricket test has actually gone into a fourth day! England still need to make a big score to even have Australia bat again. Can't see it happening, really.

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I have just finished an extremely messy, stinky job. I cleaned out our fishpond, a job which hasn't been done for quite a few years. There was such an accumulation of decaying matter in the bottom, that the few fish which had survived the raids of the neighbourhood cats, were having difficulty in getting enough oxygen. The largest had died. Put fish in a drum with the pump, syphoned off a lot of the water and then bucketed out the rest. The thick rubbish in the bottom stank, and I can still smell it on my hands, despite many washes and creams. I should do this more regularly, I suppose. A bit like life in many ways. Things accumulate which I should deal with promptly, but I usually procrastinate, till the effects of them become obvious.

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