It should’ve been you

I was having a quick sound bite of a conversation about the lectionary on Sunday. One person was looking at the three “lost” parables from a cynics point of view. I was thinking about the fruit of the Spirit and it got me thinking about what the prodigal would say to his older brother:
It should’ve been you

You stayed, you worked

Each day in every way

You were faithful and true

It should’ve been you.
It should’ve been you

Patient when dad got mad

Gentle with new born lambs

Kind to all the workers

It should’ve been you.
It should’ve been you

Not asking for more, nil greed

Singing the songs of old with joy

Resolving conflict all the day long

It should’ve been you.
When dad ran, against tradition

And threw his arms around me

It should’ve been you

The love he had for me, so apparent

The joy is each foot fall

It should’ve been you

But brother let me tell you

Really tell you as it is

That love is extended to both of us

Dad was over the moon to see me

But with joy he saw you each day.
Faithful son, full of fruit

To me, it made sense for it to be you

You alone deserved that love


And this changes everything

The party he threw for me

You got an invite too

We both are loved by…

A fantastic dad

A wonderful father 


Brother don’t stay bitter

Come let’s dance this night together 

Let’s celebrate with love

For we have THE BEST DAD EVER.


I have met so many people this week in odd situations and been really blessed by many conversations. I was sat on the train reading  John C. Holder’s Preaching Old Testament: Proclamation and Narrative in the Hebrew Bible and was beginning to sink into the chair with the satisfaction of having a four-seat table to myself (greed). In the last few seconds before departure an elderly couple, two grandchildren and a daughter in law got on. The man ended up sitting opposite me and began to chat. I wanted to read, but joined in the conversation and listened as he spoke about his son’s job and how delighted they were to see the American grandchild. Just general chit-chat on a train. We covered  politics,sport and family, the usual topics. It was all very nice and normal. But then there was a change, a turning point. He noticed my bookmark. “ISA?” he asked, “what’s that about?” It was an Open Doors leaflet that briefly said ISA was Jesus in Arabic. Then he wanted to know what I was reading and why. I explained I was doing an applied theology degree. We talked then about ecumenical ideals. He had completed his theology degree 13 years previously and was very involved with parish affairs.

During the course of the conversation, he spoke about many different ways in which his church was trying to engage with children and youth. We shared experiences and prayed together. No longer an average train journey conversation. He got off. No one got on, but I did not return to my reading, I pondered on the interaction. I prayed some more. At the next station, an American tourist got on and I helped her find suitable accommodation in Cork. I was intrigued at how someone could travel on their own with no clear idea of seeking accommodation and so we engaged in conversation once more.

Then I met Kirk, a northern guy with a Scottish name. He thought I wouldn’t know Kirk was church and a long conversation about family and sharing family names took place. Wouldn’t I be the lucky one to have Kirk as a middle name instead of the name given to me? I am reminded of the laughter from the passport office as they readily agreed to take it off my passport. And I think of Charlotte, only last year did I discover she had been lumbered with the same ridiculous name. I wonder will the name ever sit comfortably with me.

But I know my name, the important name… I am God’s child, his daughter, steadfast & true and I am loved. This week has seen more conversations as I shared little tidbits received from my boss. Loud words of Jesus… Shouting love to all who heard back then and continues to be heard today through our lives.


I met someone today who needed to talk. The loss of a loved one weighed heavy on her soul and she needed to unburden and release some of the loneliness within. I knew this, without her uttering a word. The sorrow and grief were palpable in the air conditioned atmosphere. She was engulfed by her grief. 

On the surface she appeared a well groomed and maintained lady. Coiffured and manicured, skin concealed within a mask of make-up. She was full of smiles and chatty. Nothing on the surface was equating to what had been placed on my heart:

This is a grieving woman. 

The clients I see have seven and a half minutes to have some measurements taken and a test performed. There isn’t time to sit and let someone unburden and yet my heart was saying:

Pray with this woman

There is nothing in my job description that I could put this under. It isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last. I asked her:

May I pray with you

She told me of losing her only child and husband. We prayed. 

I sometimes get overwhelmed by how intimately personal my relationship with God is. And how that is the same for all believers. And how He wants that for all people. He wanted to use me today to bless this woman, to let her know she wasn’t alone, to surround us both with his presence. What a God we serve!

What a honour it is to meet someone in their situation and be guided by the Holy Spirit in how to interact with them. What a privilege it is to hear the stories of situations. 

Life is not a bowl of cherries and everything we go through is not smelling of roses. Connecting with people allows the overflowing love of God pour out through us, and seeds planted. 

Song{singing} Life{living}

Sing new songs, sing old

Make up a ditty In your head

Learn scriptures

Memorise by heart

But always keep

Eyes fixed on Him
Expound the word

Be gentle or challenge

Give examples of living well

Care deeply for those around

Listen well with mouth shut

But always keep

Eyes fixed on Him
Work hard play well

Stop and smell the roses

Pray deep from the heart

Pray out loud when compelled

But always keep

Eyes fixed on Him
Live out your calling

In your everyday

Being Christian is not a job

That can be clocked in or out

Because our eyes are always

Riveted, fixed on Him alone

What is a treasure to be pondered?

I love the verses in the Bible that talk about a person like Mary, who collected good times and conversations to be pondered over later… Maybe in a time of distress. 

 Luke 2:19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

But I am not like Mary, I collect conversations without filter and when I am at a low ebb I dissect the negative comments that only allows further descent into the abyss. 

Well I used to be like that, but I serve an amazing Master, I became part of His family and He is teaching me to discern what is a valuable thing to keep and what can be cast out of the boat never to be retrieved. 

This morning I was singing a song of worship and praise, just a few phrases that popped in my head as I was reading scripture, I moved between prayer and song. And then I stopped, remembering something, someone once said. 

“There’s more to being a Christian than making up songs” 

When that was said to me, over five years ago. I stopped. I stopped singing songs of praise from words that popped in my head and reverted to singing already written songs by proper songwriters with copyright. And that was okay, in corporate worship I always sing those songs. I don’t sit out a song I don’t theologically agree with because I figure God knows my heart and I sing them all. Although it is not difficult to spot the ones that speak directly to my relationship with God as I cry or smile, thinking of the treasures I have stored in my heart. 

The mind can often play tricks and twist what is actually an encouragement into something dark. For example in October last year someone said to me: 

“I love listening to you hum and sing to yourself and …”

At that time it made me stop once more, I was receiving criticism locally for the way I did certain things and this, instead of encouraging pointed out how different I was. 

God made us all unique, but some of us – me, seem to be too unique for others to sometimes handle. Three years ago an accusation was hurled across my bow that made me question where I stood with God or was I intentionally seeking self gratification through ministry. It made me stop volunteering in my role for a short season as I grappled with who was being glorified in my life. 

Today as I reflected on these “treasures” I cast out the negative barb from long ago, I reassigned the other comment into the encouragement folder of my mind. And I was left with how wonderful it is to have my perspective changed by God. 

Returning to the praise and worship phrases, I began to sing my song once more. A heartsong: from my heart to His, unashamedly singing to my Father and reflecting on the real treasures he has placed in my heart. 

Psalm 33

Praise God Who Creates and Saves
33 Sing to the Lord, you who do what is right;

    honest people should praise him.

2 Praise the Lord on the harp;

    make music for him on a ten-stringed lyre.

3 Sing a new song to him;

    play well and joyfully.

4 God’s word is true,

    and everything he does is right.

5 He loves what is right and fair;

    the Lord’s love fills the earth.

6 The sky was made at the Lord’s command.

    By the breath from his mouth, he made all the stars.

7 He gathered the water of the sea into a heap.

    He made the great ocean stay in its place.

8 All the earth should worship the Lord;

    the whole world should fear him.

9 He spoke, and it happened.

    He commanded, and it appeared.

10 The Lord upsets the plans of nations;

    he ruins all their plans.

11 But the Lord’s plans will stand forever;

    his ideas will last from now on.

12 Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord,

    the people he chose for his very own.

13 The Lord looks down from heaven

    and sees every person.

14 From his throne he watches

    all who live on earth.

15 He made their hearts

    and understands everything they do.

16 No king is saved by his great army.

    No warrior escapes by his great strength.

17 Horses can’t bring victory;

    they can’t save by their strength.

18 But the Lord looks after those who fear him,

    those who put their hope in his love.

19 He saves them from death

    and spares their lives in times of hunger.

20 So our hope is in the Lord.

    He is our help, our shield to protect us.

21 We rejoice in him,

    because we trust his holy name.

22 Lord, show your love to us

    as we put our hope in you.



The plastered smile grins

Phoney, dancing & prancing

Up and down on a pole

Happy battle waltzes tinge the air

As tourists strolls along the prom


The painted faces on the horses never change

Forever caught in mid neigh delight

I don’t know what’s real anymore

The duality of seaside living

Stops the truth from grasping hold.


Were you cheating or is that a dream?

Held in falsetto choir ringing in my ears

The gulls take their strategic places

Atop signage and the quaint street lamps

Ready to swoop and steal pastries

From unsuspecting folk below.


Remember when you said you loved me

That we would never part

Remember all those promises

We made so long ago.


I sit watching the children on the carousel

And wonder is that where I’m at.

Living in a goldfish bowl

Each hint, lie trick

As if it was the first –

Never experienced before.


Seeing the doctor didn’t help

Him being your mate, I s’pose

The tablets zonked me out

Forgetting even my name


I should be able to stand tall

Married to the town mayor and all

And yet I feel equine sympathy

For the plaster caricatures

With my face plastered in pancake

I vacuously grin

With all the other wives

Each time we banquet together.


At least the horses have a plan

To go up and down

And round and round

I have no blueprint for my life

Your epitaph should read:

Paul Mason, duplicitous mayor,

Lying husband, philanderer, cheat

Mine will read – FOOL.