Saturday, 13 December 2008


The X Factor final has just reached its conclusion for another year, and a star is born... Well done Alexandra!

But the star over the next week will be the single that Simon Cowell wants you to buy to make it number one - Hallelujah, originally by Jeff Buckley [note: oops, just discovered it's a Leonard Cohen song]. It's a song I've heard many times before, I suppose popularised through (of all things) an animated movie about an ogre.

But tonight I had a moment of grace. JLS and Alexandra sang the words,

"But love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah"

The words spoke to me of the weak Christ on the cross - God's rescue mission to the World, doing something entirely unpredictable and stunning, winning and wooing us. Jesus didn't summon an army and beat us into submission; he lived and died a life of love to call us voluntarily into relationship with him.

And then comes,

"But remember when I moved in you
and the Holy Dove was moving too
and every breath we drew was hallelujah"

Tomorrow I'll be preaching on Psalm 126, which sings of the great things God has done in the past, but today being in a place of tears. A place where we remember the closest of relationships - humans and the Creator of the Universe walking together; but today feeling cold and dry.

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.


Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Slip of the Tongue

Gordon Brown made a mistake during Prime Minister's Questions today. And David Cameron made as much out of it as possible. See what I'm talking about here.

It caught my attention to the point where I sent an e-mail to David Cameron. Here it is:
Dear Mr. Cameron,

While the Prime Minister today made a slip of the tongue with regard to saving the banking system in the UK, your witty response had, to my mind, a little too much sarcasm contained within.

You said, "He is so busy talking about saving the world, he has forgotten about the businesses of this country."

I would contend that one of your main roles, should you become Prime Minister, will be to play our part in saving the World. Certainly our country has many problems and will face a very tough period shortly, but it is nothing in comparison to the trials currently being faced by the people of Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Israel, Malawi, Argentina and many other nations.

Mr. Brown's remarks were indeed an amusing gaffe today, and I appreciated the banter between members of the House. But please, in looking out for the disadvantaged in the United Kingdom, remember the poorest of the poor around the World.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Ross Harte.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Two-Year-Old Nativity

I was just driving Timothy home from the last night of our town-wide Alpha Course finale. He'd had a great time running around at the back of the room but was gradually becoming just a little tooo distracting :)

As we started to pull out of the car park he said (in his best almost-two vocabulary), "Church. Lord. Jesus. Born."

At least someone understands what this is all about.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Noticing the Grace

I've been inspired by these folks (via David's blog - see right) to be attentive to the notes of Grace displayed throughout Creation during this Advent season.

So let's begin - on my way home tonight I heard Coldplay's new single. The first verse is:
Just because I'm losing
Doesn't mean I'm lost;
Doesn't mean I'll stop;
Doesn't mean I will cross.
It prompted me to think of the people out there who have given up on Church - for one reason or another, valid or excuse, whatever it might be - who might think that they are losing their faith in Jesus. There is grace, there is hope, all is not lost, and God will not stop pursuing, wooing, calling.

I'd like our fellowships to be the sort of places where such people might feel able to come back and be embraced without judgment, to worship and pray warmly, from which to launch out in love.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008


A rather boring message, but I had gathered from a few friends that the feed for this blog wasn't working - they thought the last time I had posted was several months ago.

Turns out, I moved to 'Feedburner' but didn't type in the address correctly in Settings for anyone using the previous feed address. Amazing what a missing 's' can do!

And so to those of you - I think perhaps two? - who were subscribed to the non-Feedburner feed, welcome back to the fold of random mooness.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Reality of Psalm 100

This post comes with a warning - perhaps I'm being harsh! But in my continued thoughts on Psalm 100 last week a parody - or reality? - came into being...

“Mumble with a faint glow of smugness about the Lord, all you who could be bothered to attend tonight.
Give a little to God, grudgingly; sing half-heartedly.
Rehearse the same old, same old, then behave as if you’re on your own.
Come into his presence and expect congratulations for making the effort;
Take what you can and then get out.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations...”

Thursday, 16 October 2008

What Worship Could Be

I'm preparing a sermon on Psalm 100, and in so doing have been reminded of what worship could be (as opposed to what it so often is, as described recently by Mr. Campton!).

So picture this, worship in the style of Psalm 100:
I imagine a vibrant, warm, energetic crowd of people, tumbling into the sanctuary, delighted to be there. This is all about the LORD. There is a hush as together we recall that the one who created us also loves us and sustains us – resulting in a spontaneous eruption of thankful hearts expressing their praise and adoration. A final moment of stillness occurs as we contemplate God’s goodness, love and faithfulness - to us and to all who will come after us.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008


One of my Grannies died last month, and we miss her muchly. At her thanksgiving service - which was a beautifully powerful offering of worship - I said a few words, which I share now with you...

"Gran's been telling me I'd make a 'great little minister' for decades now. I'm not sure about 'great'... nor 'little'!... and my understanding of ministry tells me that she was as much a 'minister' as I ever will be. But I believe I have something to say that she would want me to say.

Gran's Bible is a heavily underlined document. It was given to her for Christmas in 1933 by her brother-in-law, Harold, around the time Gran made her decision to follow Jesus. One passage that was obviously well-read was from Revelation 21. One phrase that's highlighted is, "and there was no more sea" - a comfort to Granny as she nearly drowned on Arklow beach as a teenager!

There's no way of separating Gran from her faith, because it really would be like trying to separate two best friends. Jesus and Dorothy were like two crossed fingers. So in the last few weeks, more than ever, the promise of living with God in Heaven has been hugely important to her. She wholeheartedly trusted in God's promises, and it brought great reassurance to her to know that she was God's beloved, His joy and delight, one of His precious jewels. She looked forward with great anticipation to the day when the first course of Heaven, in which she presently lived, might become the full banquet of her reality -

"[God] will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."

Granny died with such peace, at home and surrounded by family. She smiled with her last breath - she knew where she was going. She is one of the 'victorious', one of the people who has persevered with Christ, she has run the race and completed it, who now hears the commendation of her Lord, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Now she receives her prize - God says,

"Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God, and they will be my children."

One final phrase that Gran had underlined from the passage in Revelation 21 is another promise, a promise that I know she would want you to hold on to. If Granny White's relationship with Jesus makes you long for something more, something deep, satisfying, meaningful, transformative, driven by love and a cause to live for, then hear this: God is real. He loves you, he died for you and was raised to life for you. He is alive and real now. And if you thirst for Him, today, tomorrow and for eternity, he says,

"To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life."

It would be the crowning glory of Gran's life if someone were to accept God's offer of eternal life at her funeral. She would want you to know and love her Jesus.

A few months after Gran received her Bible, she wrote some verses of a hymn inside the front cover:

Take my life, and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.

Take my love, my Lord I pour
at Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself and I will be
ever, only, all for Thee.

Let's commit together to give our absolute everything to God as a sacrifice of worship, in honour of Dorothy Edith Jane White and to the glory of Jesus Christ her - and our - saviour."

Tuesday, 26 August 2008


Weird, weird, weird.

Those of you who have been tracking my progress through Edgehill knew this moment had to come at some point (a little earlier than for Jools, who had to abandon his flipflops, poor thing)...

The time arrived in July when I put on the clerical shirt and collar in public for the first time. I found myself going through a whole range of thought-processes: For one, I believe that a clerical collar is regarded by many people within the church as some sort of mark of extra holiness - believe me, that isn't necessarily true! I do believe that leaders are called to model Christian discipleship and holiness, but I wonder if the collar puts a normal person onto some sort of super-human pedestal from which the only way is down. For the first weeks when I was on my way to the hospital or church I took out the white tab, I felt like everyone was watching how I drove, walked, waited...

For those outside of the church, the collar seems to bring either nervousness (I'm not aware of having the gift of words of knowledge, but a lot of people treat me as if I can see into their very soul) or a certain level of ignorance - there are a large number of people who seem to feel that they've 'got away' from religion and prefer to ignore any symbols of that religion at all costs.

But then there are the many people in the hospitals and homes that I visit, for whom the collar brings an element of assurance and comfort. In their moments of disturbance, pain and loneliness, the collar - and the one wearing it I hope - can bring a sign of God's peace into their situation.

Most of the time, I don't wear the collar. Practically, shirts have to be ironed and we're not particularly into the practice of perfect laundering. As just one member of the Body of Christ there are plenty of other Methodist 'ministers' in these towns who show by their daily actions what it means to love and be loved by God. But at times as I encounter people, representing the whole Body, the collar is an appropriate expression of God at work.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008


Saturday 16 August saw the heaviest downpour of rain in the whole of Northern Ireland for quite a while. Newcastle was particularly badly hit, around eighty people had to be evacuated overnight as floodwaters rose and entered their homes. The road outside our development pretty much disappeared:

It is a surreal experience to see a lifeboat being driven around a town to be launched at various places to rescue people from a cul-de-sac.

The strange thing is, we were in the house all day, thinking, "That's a lot of rain". We went for a walk when it stopped, to take pictures of the river and sea only to discover the trauma that other people were going through. How often do we miss the pain of others because we're not looking in the right place, or we're not there at all?

And where is God in all of this? I believe he walks with us through our 'trials and tribulations'... At the end of the day he gave a sign to the town that the ordeal was over - red sky at night: shepherds' and all of our delight - no more rain for a while.

What incredible beauty in the midst of turmoil! God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Allow me to take a moment to thank the personnel of the Police, Fire, Mountain Rescue, Ambulance, Coastguard and Council services. They worked hard throughout the night to keep Newcastle safe. We went to bed secure in the knowledge that they were keeping an eye things.

Lift me up - Flood

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Master of De Universe

Or at least of De Vinity?

It's been a while since I last blogged, apologies for that, broadband took a while to get sorted once we moved. But now we have moved to the seaside, and very nice it is too. More on that another time, but I wanted to share about graduating at the start of July...

My first time round at Queen's had left a bitter taste in my mouth - I scraped a 2:2 in Law and Accounting and didn't get to graduate with my friends due a failed module in the last semester.

This time was much better!

If you'll allow me a moment of pride, it felt good to be at a graduation ceremony (which included this year's law students) where my name came near the start of the list instead of the end! The Masters of Divinity degree, which was the bane of my life at many points, was lots of hard work but well worth it. And look - I got to celebrate the completion of three years' of study with some lovely people :)

One of the main roles of a minister is to be one of a congregation's theologians - someone who attempts to think theologically and to help other people do the same. I've had a good grounding. So thank you, Edgehill, it's been a fun six years. The staff and students who have accompanied me on this journey have been wonderful. And thank you, lovely wifey and son - your support has been invaluable, and I love you.

And a new chapter begins...

Monday, 9 June 2008

I Guess I'm a Minister Now

Thirteen years ago I felt a call to be a Methodist minister (if you discount the many times before that when my grannies told me it was going to happen). Yesterday it actually happened! I have the bible to prove it :)

To those of you who are not ministers, it may disappoint you somewhat that I don't feel much different to Saturday. In my mind I'm still eighteen, loving God and doing my best to serve him by loving people. In reality I'm a husband, father and have read more books - but I'm still the same person. In three weeks' time my lovely wife, brilliant son and gently spine-broken books will travel with me to Newcastle, Co. Down, where together we shall serve the people of Dundrum, Newcastle and Downpatrick.

And I mean together. Kathryn and I think as one. The way we minister might be different to the way that has been modelled before. We want to live missionally, and encourage God's people to live missionally - see the red box below all the links on the right hand side of this blog for more. It's going to be a journey together, an adventure. Who knows what's to come?

The One who knows gives grace in abundance. We need it. Pray for us.

Friday, 23 May 2008


We're about half-way through the three weeks of 24-7prayer in Belfast City Centre, thought you might like to know about it if you hadn't heard of it yet!

You can drop in anytime from 9am to 10pm, the room is beside Eason's on Donegall Place.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008


"I want to see the sunshine after the rain
I want to see bluebirds flying over the mountains again
Oh, where is the silver lining shining at the rainbow's end?"
The words of this song were important to me over ten years ago, in a dance track (not the original) as I revised for a resit in Negligence Law. The words resurface occasionally in the soundtrack that plays in my head most of the time. They came back again recently:

The other morning I was sitting in the Edgehill Chapel with a couple of other people. We were sitting in silence, the sun was streaming through the windows, and the birds were singing in the trees outside. It was beautiful. It was peaceful.

Afterwards, someone commented on the birdsong. It brought to my mind a conversation many moons ago when a friend described their conversion. She said from that point she could hear the birds sing. She hadn't been deaf before she met Jesus, it's just that knowing him made birdsong sound different, better, in some way.

At the time I recall thinking, "I don't ever remember a time when I couldn't hear birds singing, when they didn't minister to my soul in some way." Of course, my friend's experience is not going to be the case for every person, but I believe Christianity should in some way make you feel more alive. The Way can stand its ground through logical reasoning, but the element of 'faith' brings an experiential side that we often miss, and can be the difference between guilt and delight in our attitude to mission.

Most mornings I am woken by my phone at some horrendous time by a noise that does not overly impress my beloved. The words are as follows:
Everyday is a new day
I'm thankful for
Every breath I take
I won't take you for granted (I won't take you for granted)
So I learn from my mistakes
It's beyond my control
Sometimes it's best to let go
Whatever happens
In this lifetime
So I trust in love (so I trust in love)
You have given me
Peace of mind

I feel so alive For the very first time I can't deny you I feel so alive I feel so alive For the very first time And I think I can fly (fly)

Sunshine upon my face (sunshine upon my face)
A new song for me to sing
Tell the world
How I feel inside (Tell the world how I feel inside)
Even though it might
Cost me everything
Now that I know this
So beyond, I can't hold this
I can never
Turn my back away
Now that I've seen you (Now that I've seen you)
I can never look away.
Music: New Atlantic feat Berri - The Sunshine After The Rain (original Elkie Brooks); P.O.D. - Alive

Monday, 21 April 2008

The Hunger Site

Just in case you haven't encountered it before, I thought I'd mention the Hunger Site. Visit the website, click on the 'click here to give' button, and you've donated food to hungry people! No purchase necessary, it's all funded by the advertisers on the following page.

You can click the button once a day (successive clicks don't count). If you want to visit every day but keep forgetting, there's a Facebook app that helps remind you - click to give.

The site has other tabs that raise money for other causes - breast cancer, childrens' health, literacy, rainforest and animal rescue.

And a similar idea has been employed at the Bible Site - Open Doors providing bibles to persecuted Christians.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Somebody loves you

I was just reading about the tragic death of Mark Speight. And simply wanted to say that if your world is falling apart or you feel like a part of you has died, please know that somebody loves you. Somebody cares for you and wants you to live.

There's a wee song by Ian White that's playing in my head:
Somebody loves you, somebody loves you,
Somebody loves you, so don't be afraid.
Somebody loves you,
And He's watching above you,
Somebody loves you,
And He loves the way you're made.

And He'll never criticise the way some do,
And sure He sees deep inside and knows what's true,
But don't you know that in His eyes,
You're an absolute sweetheart.

Somebody loves you!

Friday, 11 April 2008


Often we receive things as gifts and we say thank you immediately. But it is only with use or enjoyment of that gift that true thankfulness arises.

1 Thess 5:18 instructs us to give thanks in all circumstances...

So I'm starting a new label on this blog, to record my thanks for things given (including time, energy and encouragement).

Tuesday, 8 April 2008


Every day my iGoogle page gives me a quote of the day. Today's quote struck me, and I'm trying to work out why...
I like an escalator because an escalator can never break, it can only become stairs. There would never be an escalator temporarily out of order sign, only an escalator temporarily stairs. Sorry for the convenience.
Mitch Hedberg, Comedy Central Presents
American comedian (1968 - 2005)
On a basic level, it amuses me - these sort of observations on objects and people make me smile. But I'm thinking there must be a deeper level to it, it's resonating with me for some reason. Is it to say that people who feel like they have broken down are still worthwhile members of society? Or from a Christian perspective, those who feel dry and weary can still bless God and his world?

What do you think?

Thursday, 3 April 2008

How reformed?

According to a facebook quiz, this is how reformed I am:

Truly Reformed
You truly are a throwback to the 1640s. You affirm all five solas of the reformation, emphasizing the gospel as of first importance. You zealously oppose Rome and labor to see the true church reformed according to Scripture alone in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government. Go out there and make a difference!

Um... Yeah. No.

The test results directly contradict some of the answers that I gave - for one thing, I don't zealously oppose anything or anyone; I'm a Methodist! But I do long for the Church to be restored to its Biblical roots, whatever denomination that may be. And seeing as the Church is people, I'm longing for me to be restored first.

Anyone up for a little reformation journey of our own?

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

St. Pixels

I just had my first ever virtual worship experience, and it was good!

St. Pixels is an online church that has LIVE worship at various times every day. I attended today's 2.30pm worship and I have to say it's an interesting and helpful change to listening to podcasts or even viewing videos of worship. I remember someone emphasising that when in worship, we should 'participate, not anticipate'. Here I had an opportunity to participate in worship, offer prayers and thanksgiving, even sing along with music.

Kathryn has been enjoying using Scripture Union's WordLive recently, but I find it difficult to set aside the time to focus when on my own (though I still highly recommend it - the first good attempt at using the capabilities of broadband internet for daily devotions).

An interesting thing about St. Pixels is that it's a real community - which is the only thing that might put me off in a strange way... I'm not sure whether I'm ready for building new friendships with people I may never meet. But the model could prove very suitable for churches that want to encourage people who are stuck at home but still want to worship with other people.

Give it a go and let me know how you get on!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Prayer Room open again

The Aldersgate Prayer Room will be open again from tomorrow for a week, leading up to Good Friday. Take some time out and nip down for an hour or two!

Monday, 10 March 2008


Sometimes Entertainment 'News' is interesting - I like to hear about the making of new movies, for instance. But it's definitely plumbing the depths when a story like this is highlighted as one of the top five headlines of the day. To save you from reading it, I've summarised the story as follows:

"Star falls over and almost gets wet"

I like trivia, and I know that's exactly what it is - trivial facts that mean practically nothing in the big picture. It brings a little light relief to the mundane and often dark world we live in. But this is ridiculous!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008


How does this bloke know me so well?!
With thanks to soapbox for bringing this to my attention :) Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008


Brian Heasley has found an interesting poem on the call of leadership, the call of being Church.

You can read it here.

It adds to something I read yesterday from UCB's Word for Today - which can go for months without inspiring me and then there seem to be weeks where every day is appropriate, such is the way of things:
Dreams appear crazy (humanly speaking, they are crazy!). Placed alongside the triangle of logic, cost and timing, such dreams usually seem beyond our reach. They won't fly when you test them against the gravity of reality. And the strangest part is the more they are told 'can't' the more they pulsate 'can' and 'will' and 'must.'

Are we being called in these days to be reckless for Jesus? To dream of an impact far beyond our locality and human reach? An impact not of our making, but of God's - a holy people made so not through our own efforts but through God's grace - a world transformed through the renewing of our minds into the likeness of Christ, the ultimate risk-taker for the Kingdom of God.

This is a challenge for those of us whose natural personality veers more towards accounting standards of prudence!

Monday, 3 March 2008

What is a Church Council?

One of the biggest changes in the way Methodist congregations (or in Church-speak, "societies") work has been taking place in the last few years. Gone are 'Leaders' Meetings', here now are 'Church Councils'.

Except that in many places, the name has changed but the thinking has not.

Methodist Church Councils in Ireland are not (maybe that should read, 'should not be'?) dictatorships, where the minister tells everyone else what's going to happen.
Nor, perhaps surprisingly to those of us who belong to countries currently trying to impose it on others, are Church Councils democracies.

Instead, the whole church family together discerns what part of God's Mission God has for them to accomplish. Then the Council prays and works to make sure it happens, to keep things on track, to deal with distractions and prioritise the use of resources.

The Church Council is NOT a parliament, with a person representing each organisation or viewpoint. It is a TEAM to effect the mission of the church.

Friday, 29 February 2008

Denying myself

Ah, the joys of Lent! If you're anything like me, the willpower is starting to wane, and the things I'm fasting are proving very attractive!

I read this in UCB's Word for Today the other day:
If you're serious about building strong character, set higher standards for yourself and refuse to lower them. Need a role model? You won't find a better one than Jesus. He said, 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself' (Matthew 16:24 NIV). Each day look for an opportunity to say 'no' to yourself in some small area. Try it; you'll be surprised how hard it is. But the payoff will come when you need to say no to yourself in some big area of life. Like saving for a rainy day, you'll have spiritual strength to draw on when you need it.

Ain't spiritual discipline grand? Tough at the time, but worth it in the end!

Friday, 22 February 2008

The Peace of God

I was reminded of the verses from Philippians 4 again this morning - Rejoice in the Lord (which was pretty much my life motto when I was in school) and a few verses later, the promise of the Peace of God that passes all understanding.

Seems to me like we all need a bit of peace. And God's peace is real peace. There don't seem to any pre-conditions attached to receiving it, but I think the preceding verses say something about a life-attitude that aids and abets a peace-full life:

Rejoice in the Lord
Be gentle (how many 'gentlemen' do you know?)
Pray about stuff (rather than dwell on it and not let God in on the problem)
Be thankful (there's always something to be thankful for)

These are life choices - either I decide to live this rejoicing, gentle, prayerful, thankful life, or I don't.

Something I read today (from
In choosing joy, I make a conscious effort to think of all that I am thankful for
and I am reminded of how blessed I am. In choosing to worship, in choosing joy I
find the darkness of the day lifted and I am reminded that I am not alone. During
this season of Lent, may we purposefully choose joy and experience worship.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Dishwasher Day

One of the hardest days of the Carbon Fast is upon us - Don't Use the Dishwasher Day!

The purchase of our dishwasher was one of the best decisions we ever made for our sanity, work-life balance, back aches and general peace in the house.
But it is indeed a huge user of electricity: combined with the tumble dryer, we'd use a lot less carbon if we permanently fasted from these utilities.
So if you see me, make sure you ask whether or not I washed a load by hand rather than pushing the button.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Happy Slapper?

I just read about a 15-year-old girl who's going to go to jail for recording an attack on a man on her mobile phone. The man later died from his injuries.
"The message is this: if you stand by and watch your friends committing brutal crimes and video their acts for yours or for others' amusement your actions will not be ignored by the law enforcement agencies and prosecution may follow."

Seems clear enough to me. Standing idly by, holding a phone, and pressing one key, is enough to get you convicted of aiding and abetting. It certainly adds a bit of weight to 'Do unto others as you would have them do to you'.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008


Good evening and welcome to Pancake Tuesday! Or Shrove Tuesday. Or, if you're in America, Super-Duper Tuesday.

Mardi Gras is the day before Ash Wednesday, when the Church enters a period of self-discipline called Lent. A time for prayer and fasting, for solemn reflection on the state of our community and soul.

This year, in addition to the annual sacrifice of foregoing Audrey's scones (which is a HUGE sacrifice, let me tell you!) Kathryn and I are going to give Tear Fund's Carbon Fast a go. Wash the dishes one day instead of using the dishwasher. Don't use the car one day. Take out a lightbulb tomorrow and replace it on Easter Sunday. These are good ideas! And we need to do something to put a stop in our addiction to consuming fossil fuels...

Why not give it a go?

Thursday, 3 January 2008

The Lost Return

Having been prodded by Tina to blog more, I thought I'd share another two movies with you that I've seen in the last couple of weeks...

First, Enchanted - the return of the traditional Disney family film, I thought it was brilliant! Done really well as it moves from old-style cartoon to real-life New York but with continuing fairytale characters, Enchanted spoke on a range of levels. Perhaps a random thing to do on New Year's Eve, but it was fun to be at a late showing in a cinema with a few kids around who genuinely enjoyed it - big innocent laughs do your heart good. On a more adult level there were themes of faithfulness and especially joy in the small things.

The other movie was Peter Pan - this was originally released a week after Return of the King so most people (including me) didn't go to see it in the cinema. But one of the digital channels has been playing it a few times over the holidays and I happened to catch it one of those times. Perhaps I'm a big wuss, and a big child, but it grabbed me! Spoiler ahead (for both August Rush and Peter Pan)...

Yes, I wept. Again. Perhaps for a similar reason to August Rush, as the story drew to a close I was incredibly moved by the depiction of lost children being found. When Wendy and her brothers returned to their home, along with the 'Lost Boys' I felt God was saying something about children of Christian parents who wander from faith (what Rob Parsons calls 'prodigals') - that they would return, and bring others who had no (Christian) parents. As ever, it's hard to describe, but it spoke to my heart and maybe to yours.