Pandas are the Answer

I’ve been sitting pondering the ‘Christmas Message from the Primus’ challenge – 150 words to say something fresh about Christmas. As happens, one begins to think laterally under the pressure of the challenge. Was there space for Giant Pandas in the manger scene at Bethlehem – after all there were Wise Men from the East so why not Pandas as well? They certainly seemed to be everywhere in Edinburgh this weekend on their arrival in Edinburgh Zoo. The Zoo hopes for a 70% increase in visitor numbers – maybe that’s the answer to our mission challenges as well. 70% increase in churchgoing – we wouldn’t know how to cope. Bring on the pandas, I say.

But of course the church isn’t like that – we don’t have a single ‘Bring on the Pandas’ answer. Indeed the church is usually at its worst when it thinks it has found one. We are about faithfulness, truth and consistency … learning to love that which is not obviously lovable … struggling to find meaning and hope in suffering .

So I’m carrying on ‘doing what I do’. Here is a Thought for the Day from last Friday on the spiritual possibilities in retirement. And I spent yesterday with our faithful congregations in Elie and Pittenweem – if you haven’t been to the East Neuk of Fife you should go. Those who write sermons will understand what happened. I wrote out every word of yesterday’s sermon. But it was only when I preached it for the second time that I began to find out what it was about. Such is the nature of Advent.


  1. Retirement has been the best part of my life – so far. Eventually I was able to do something I hadn’t realised I was called to do – and voluntarily – no pay involved so that the pressures of employment lifted. I was admitted as a Reader and have worked at that for about 15 yrs – rewarding years serving other people as well as feeling fulfilled myself. A great undeserved and unexpected blessing D.G.

  2. Should I reach the grand old age of 60, I will take some solace in knowing that for 20 of those years I managed to do the right thing with my life – sleep.
    If you also consider you don’t become an adult ’til 18, at 60 you are actually 22.

  3. Alban Institute is on this same track today – Episcopal Café has the item.
    Re: retirement — I have never been so busy and had less time to contemplate my “life”

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