Wednesday, 22 August 2012



"I was founded in Edinburgh
In 1612,
By the care of William Blackwood,
Bailie of Dunblane,
And stayed so in my exercise
Till 1657,
When I was broken by
The unskilful direction and handling
Of some men;
And by the care and expense
Of Henri Blackwood, son of William,
I am found again at Brimin,

(Inscription on a bell in Dunblane Cathedral.)

And for your thoughts and prayers - I set off today for a couple of weekend in India, to visit believers on the Lord Jesus there.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


The Lord is glad to see His people gather
Emerging from their homes to come within
His own guest chamber, showing they choose rather
The suffering pathway than the way of sin;
In their desire to please Him they are led
To pay allegiance to their absent Head.

And they, assembled, see in one another
The Spirit's work, which cannot be denied,
Esteeming well each sister and each brother
As one for whom their Lord and Saviour died;
While they appreciate that every one
Is given by the Father to the Son.

They own Christ's claim acknowledging that whether
In life or death they are the Lord's; for He
To whom they raise their heart and voice together
Has operated that they might be free;
Since His great love had bound Him to fulfil,
Despite the depths of sorrow, all God's will.

Monday, 20 August 2012


Seeing a man
Whose hearing and speech were bound
Jesus groaned.

Beside the grave of Lazarus,
Pained by the power of death on human lives,
He groaned in spirit.

Over Jerusalem,
His loved city, audibly,
He wept.

Upon the cross,
Before He died, He uttered
A loud cry.

Into His own,
A raised, risen Man,
He breathed.

We await
His coming, His triumphant

Sunday, 19 August 2012


He Who held all the waters in His hand
And meted out the heavens with His span
Came near in grace no man can understand
To touch the children and the leprous man.

He who the heaven of heavens cannot contain
Who said that He would dwell in hidden gloom
Came down in light and love, and being slain,
Was laid within the compass of a tomb.

He who in mercy took the sinner's place,
Descending to the greatest depths for me,
Has now ascended to the throne of grace
And at His Name all men shall bow the knee.

Saturday, 18 August 2012


He's a perfectionist, Uzziel:
Smooth stone clings to smooth stone,
Jointed together. He works slowly
Bringing to masonry
The goldsmith's carefulness.

You can smell it on his clothes,
He is not used to the dust of building,
Yet he works stolidly,
Hananiah the perfumer.
His muscles ache but grow firmer.

Strange to see Rephaiah,
Ruler of half Jerusalem,
Out of his council robes,
Grubbing among the rubble,
Hammer and chisel in hand.

With his house facing the danger
  Storms and stones and arrows 
Jedaiah (his wife and children
Cowering in the yard)
Has the greatest incentive to labour:
He builds for strength, not beauty.

I know little of Hattush.
He is a reticent man.
He structured this rampart alone.

Malchijah was not content
  His own patch established 
To lounge, watching his fellows
Still struggling at their tasks.
His energy and time
He spent on this wall and tower:
He had his friend Hasshub to help.

Look at those girls!
Shallum, the other ruler,
Having no son
Has his daughters labouring for him,
Measuring, chiselling, carrying:
They are forming a sturdy bulwark.

Nehemiah 3

Friday, 17 August 2012


Men climb and fall. Each in his day
Rises on mounting waves of fame
Till the waves break in froth and spray
But Jesus Christ remains the Same.

From riches which words cannot say,
Because of His great love He came
Into the deepest poverty,
Yet Jesus Christ remained the Same.

From past eternity's sublime
Relations to an infant's frame
Within the range of death and time
He moved, but always was the Same.

Jesus could utter words of grace
Or in His Father's house declaim
Against polluters of that place
And still in all things be the Same.

Seen on the mountain clothed in white
Or in the scarlet robe of shame
He caused His Father's heart delight
Since every scene proved Him the Same.

Though He heard Peter own Him Son
Or in the High Priest's house disclaim
All knowledge of Him He was one
In mercy and in love, the Same.

In love He reached the depths for men
And in His body bore the blame
For those who trust in Him   but then
In death or life He was the Same.

But His arising power displayed
The justness of His splendid claim
That altogether what He said
He was, He was indeed, the Same.

Peter and John, in faith, could call
Upon Him to restore the lame
Showing that though ascended all
His power and grace remained the Same.

Throughout the dispensation’s length,
Attacked by persecution's flame,
His own received the needed strength
In knowing Jesus Christ the Same.

They did not fear as dreadful power
Of those who merely kill or maim
But found the grace in every hour
That comes alone from Christ, the Same.

The Lord knows those who own His sway
And every one who names His Name
Departing from iniquity
Proves succour since He is the Same.

Soon we will greet the glorious day
To which our longing spirits aim
When He will come to catch away
His own to find Him still the Same.

Then in the time of setting right
His power will make the nations tame
Till all will find in Him their light
And own that Christ remains the Same.

Throughout eternity His own
For whom he suffered will proclaim
No man but Jesus Christ alone
Is, was, and is to come, the Same.

This was written shortly after the Lord took my father in late 1980; his last words were, "Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, and today, and to the ages to come".

Thursday, 16 August 2012


I thought I deserved
Few; God showed that I deserved
None:   but gave me all.

The best of this earth
I would have chosen: God gave
No less than heaven.

"Blessed" would have sufficed:
But God was not satisfied
Without " Christ".

Wednesday, 15 August 2012


Blessed God we thank Thee, for what Thou hast made us:
Sons and priests before Thee now to magnify Thy Name.
Jesus is the Centre; now, with Him, we enter  
He once, to bring us here endured the shame.

Though complete in power, strength and might and glory
Thou dost now delight to have an answer to Thy love;
Blessing overflowing to Thy saints is showing
Grace to Thine own till called with Christ above.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012


She, in her own flesh,
Enfolded "the holy thing"
Awaiting its birth.

Motherly, she swathed
The Child, lovely to God,
In the warm swaddling bands.

More treasured that gold
She wrapped in her mind
Words, prophecies, actions.

Though she was not among those,
Brother and sister and mother,
Embracing Him in their circuit,

His time come
She stood beside the cross,
The sword entering her soul.

She saw the dank tomb
Enclosing in harsh rock
The linen  swaddled body.

Proof of His glorified life
Soon she forever enshrines
The Holy Spirit of God.

Monday, 13 August 2012


(Remembering Andrea)

Alive in every natural relation,
Alive in all the joy of life,
And, through God's operations in salvation
Amid a world of death and strife
She was alive to God.

But suddenly God took her from the duty
And joy of earth's relationships
One said she lay there "in her usual beauty"
As blood and flesh relaxed their grips
Alive to none but God.

And now the earthen vessel has been broken
With all the claims of earth;
For no one may refute what God has spoken.
Yet while we smart at death and dearth
She is alive to God.

She, with his saints, awaits the resurrection;
She, with his saints, awaits Christ's call:
She will arise, clothed in a fresh perfection,
Assembling with His saints who all
Will be alive to God.

Sunday, 12 August 2012


Physicists say the atom
Comprises a nucleus
Surrounded by electrons
Perpetually gyrating,
Minus attracted by plus.

And biologists aver
A nucleus is the germ
Of even the smallest cell  
Each part derives from its genes
In structure, function and health.

Astronomers have revealed
A system thirled to the sun
Where planets and comets wheel,
Faster as they are nearer,
As attracted by its bulk.

I also need a centre
To attract my wandering,
Concentrate my endeavour,
Structure me, forge me newly
And, warming me, make me live.

What ideology can
Pivot my life? What weltgeist
Can guide me? None. But one Man
Is able and willing. I
Cling to my Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, 11 August 2012


Oh what can we say of Thee, Father?
Thy greatness exceedeth our praise:
Yet Thou in Thy grace
Hast found us a place
Through Thine own ineffable ways.

We think of the glory of purpose
Before all creation began
That Thou shouldst acquire
What thou didst desire  
Thy sons brought to Thee in one Man.

We wonder at what it has cost Thee
For Thou didst not spare Thine own Son;
Thy love is displayed
In what Thou hast paid:
We praise thee for all Christ has done.

And Thou art the Father of glory
Whom Jesus rejoiced to proclaim
But we are drawn near
Where love casts out fear
To praise thy most glorious Name.

Thy power and Thy glory excelleth,
Thy wisdom comes down from above;
Yet wisdom and might
Secured Thy delight
Since both were subservient to love.

Friday, 10 August 2012


"Practice, yes   but practice only
May be repetition of error; understanding
Is required; hand, elbow and shoulder
Must be and must remain in line.
If the hand wavers the surface cut
May be straight but the done work
Will reveal the wavering line. And the mind
Must exclude all else, concentrate
On its one objective, its single achievement."

Thursday, 9 August 2012


Abundant mercy from on high
Has answered all my need:
In me there is no reason why
A righteous God should justify,
No other cause to plead.
Before the throne of God I fall
And for abundant mercy call!

Abundant grace of Christ on high
Has answered my desire;
The grace that made my Saviour die
Has lifted me and brought me nigh
With Christ as my attire;
Within this elevated place
I glory in abundant grace.

Abundant love of God on high
Exceeds desire or thought;
For God delights to dignify
And by His Spirit glorify
The sons whom Christ has brought;
I praise the God who will display
Abundant love eternally.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


Swaddling bands, lovingly wrapped,
Protected tiny feet
From the cold and from jagged straw.

Damp from Jordan's water
His feet carried Him to the wilderness,
To the brash abrasion of sand.

He who could move in an instant
From Judea to Galilee
Traversed Samaria on foot.

So the women, loving their Master,
Bathed His feet in these ointments  
Myrrh, nard and tears.

Why then did men drive nails
Into these holy feet?

Living again He could say,
As evidence of His life,
"Behold My hands and My feet".

He sits at God's right hand
Till His enemies shall be made
The footstool of His feet.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012


When I was bound by sin
And far, O Lord, from Thee
In love, alone, Thou didst atone
Thy blood has set me free.

Abiding in Thy word
Which comes in grace to me
And following on where Thou hast gone  
The truth has set me free.
Within the Father's house
Where I through Christ may be
I am at home and gladly roam
The Son has set me free.

Monday, 6 August 2012


Pungent curl of smoke,
His face glowing in the firelight,
A draught chilling his back  
"I do not know the Man".

Jostle of rough elbows,
Eldritch firelight on scarred faces,
Furrowed, interrogative brows  
"I do not know the Man".

Shriek of a frightened fowl,
Eerie twilight shining,
A sharp, accusatory maid  
"I do not know the Man".

A second cock crow.
A look. A sword to his heart. Again
Peter, stumbling from the murderous house,
Began to know the Man.

Sunday, 5 August 2012


He left this to no prentice hand  
The Master toiled, day upon day
Himself. Ages ago he planned
This vessel. See the splendid way

The light reflects   that's since the ore
Was purified by Him. He used
Purification none before
Could have applied to it. He mused

On how the metal worked and beat,
Harshly, we thought, the basic form;
We wondered, seeing it complete,
Already structured to conform

To what was in his mind. But next
He tapped a gentler quicker rate
Till no one else saw how his text
Varied from it. But, consummate

In craftsmanship, unsatisfied,
He saw an imperfection here
Or there and deftly reapplied
His hammer. He would persevere

For hours. Till after beating one
Last perfect stroke he gave a deep
Contented sigh   "The work is done:
This is a vessel I will keep."

Saturday, 4 August 2012


We straggle forward.
The line
Elongated as the weak
A wounded snake stretched from the fore horizon, to the rear horizon,
I am too fagged to look at.

What is that sound?
We have heard pursuers,
The gritted wind,

What is the sound?
Like an echo, but
Unlike an echo, since
It grows louder.

To our harsh desert
Where a thousand Greeks
Strew their bald corpses
This sound sings down the line.

Hearken, brothers, hearken:
Pass back the strong men's shout,
"The Sea, the Sea". 

Here's the story on another blog; but I think we can see a Christian 'parable' in it!

Friday, 3 August 2012


Since her frail coracle is set
Upon a swelling watercourse
When tumbling waves and tides have met
Guide her against their evil force!

Give strength and aid to us who try,
From our own fragile crafts, to keep
Her course from rugged rocks which lie
Threatening to hurl her in the deep.

And bring her safely home at last,
Secure eternally from harm,
Where no seas swell and no winds blast
Within the haven of Thine arm.

Thursday, 2 August 2012


Looking over the Sound of Sleat
to the Isle of Skye

White - puffs of cloud,
Sails, a gull's back, the bow-wave
Of the fishing-boat.

Blueness - the calm sky,
The distant Cuillins; rippling
Of the Sound of Sleat.

Greenness - the blown grass,
Shade on shade of leaves, mattness
Of the far mountains.

Yellow buttercups,
Purple foxgloves and clover -
Is that red fuchsia?
The Isle of Eigg
with the Sgurr to the left.
The Isle of Muck
from the Sound of Sleat

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


Father, Thy glory radiating out
Around the vast creation Thou hast planned
Bows us as in its splendid rays we stand;
Removes from us unfaithfulness and doubt.
Only through Jesus can we enter in:
But for His work we would be lost in night.
Now through His work we too are His delight;
The sinless One removed, for Thee, our sin.

In Thine own nature Thou art ever love;
Thou art revealed in Christ, Thy well‑loved Son.
Only as in the worth of that blest One
May we be brought before Thyself above.

To Thee belongs the worship of our heart
For the magnificence of all Thou dost;
Now, to Thy glory, sons, a loving host
Respond for all Thy works and all Thou art.