Archive for May, 2011

The Mantle Of Tom

My friend, Tom Glossop, recently retired after a long, distinguished career as member of Brigg Town Council. For 32 years he served tirelessly and devotedly (3 times as Town Mayor) in addition to chairing the various committees.  His contribution will be greatly missed, though he will continue, no doubt, to be involved in other ways within the community which he loves.

I wrote this, partly with Tom in mind, for the Annual Meeting of Brigg Town Council, on 23rd May 2011, in an effort to encourage greater interest in the Brigg Community-led Plan, which is a vital work in progress.

The future of Brigg concerns everyone

met in this chamber today.

The Council determined – Community Plan,

formed by town-folk – that’s the way


So, funding received, a committee conceived

and working group put into place

The ship duly launched, soon hit stormy seas

was well-nigh lost without trace


Waves of nonsense, indifference, petulance too

made progress exceedingly slow.

Some crew stayed on board, guiding her toward

the destination ’twas deemed she should go


So here I now stand, making this heart-felt plea

Whatever the party you’re from

Arise from your rear, come on volunteer

And forgive me for sounding like Tom !!


Eros And Agape

Higher than erotic love –  unconditional ‘agape’ love

Erotic desire,

stimulant of narcotic age,

tirelessly nourished by

multi-billion dollar industry,

devoted to exploitation,

greed and sensuality…

Yet how temporal in

it’s powers of gratification –

as such insatiable.


More excellent way

of unconditional love,

Divine in its origin,

seeking but the best

for its beloved.

Selflessly expressing,

sacrificially giving,

endlessly serving –

as such invincible

Demonic Nightmare

Recollections of terror in the night, thankfully not in recent times.

Visions in the dark of night

Hands that held my throat so tight

iron-like grip – terrible sight

Panic seized my heart


Demonic voices played in head

“Isn’t it time that you were dead ?”

Filled with such an awesome dread

Pierced by fiery dart


No relief could there be found

Nightly heard that awful sound

choking, in the dark surround

Waking with a start


Pounding heart, sweaty brow

Quaking body – feel it now

Playing mind games and somehow

Refusing to depart


Recurring nightmare didn’t cease

‘Til in prayer – I begged release

Turning to the Prince of Peace –

calm He did impart

Hellish Onslaught

On the reality & power of spiritual conflict.

Demonic fury unleashed

fierce enemy assails,

severely provoked by

our confession of faith


Geneva convention

applies not in this fight.

Foe’s avowed intent:

secure our death


Mind oppressed, body weak,

spirit under siege.

Nagging doubts then arise

crushing fears press in.


Yet fortified, quietly assured by

Presence of the Greater One

alive within our heart.

In knowing this, we win.

Potter and Clay

At the age of twelve I quickly figured out that pottery was not my ‘thing’. A pottery class at Holgate Grammar School in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, convinced me that I didn’t have the patience, the inclination, or the skill to develop into the best potter the planet has ever seen. My mother’s feigned admiration for the ugly piece of earthenware handed to her, followed by its surreptitious disappearance from the family home, were further evidences, if needed, that this boy didn’t have a long-term future in that field of fine art !

In my late teens, and as a result of regular Bible reading, I was fascinated how the art of pottery became a visual aid of God’s dealings with us.  For example, Jeremiah, one of Israel’s major prophets, was one day directed to visit a potter’s house & to watch the ‘artist’ at  work … as he follows this through, God speaks to him about national issues: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”

Another major prophet, Isaiah, similarly used the pottery image, complaining, “You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, “He did not make me”? Can the pot say of the potter, “He knows nothing”?

A popular Christian song in the 1960s, recorded by Jim Reeves before his tragic death, and entitled “Have Thine Own Way, Lord”, has the pottery theme in the lyrics of its first verse. It goes:

Have thine own way, Lord, have thine own way

Thou art the potter, I am the clay

Mold me and make me after Thy will

While I am waiting, yielded and still

Now, I must confess that I’ve never arrived at that place of yieldedness without some degree of internal conflict.  Indeed, it still remains one of my greatest challenges to this day. I have, it is very clear, an inbuilt propensity to enjoy doing my own thing, in my own way, more than anything else – and along with it a firm reluctance to acknowledge that there may be a better way !

Call this ‘male-ness’ or ‘Yorkshire-ness’, or both, when combined with the fallen, sinful nature –  it produces the same result – obstinacy – and has caused innumerable difficulties for those around me, especially when I repeatedly fail to recognise the error of my ways, and adjust to the ways of the One who knows best.

That said, here are some lines written for this monthly musing, an understanding of which may help the ‘yielding process’  along. I hope they carry significance for you, wherever you find yourself on your journey:


As wheel of destiny turns,

creative genius flows through

firm, purposeful hands:

watering and softening,

kneading and throwing,

tirelessly shaping,

patiently molding

despite imperfection,

’til mental blueprint

surely turns to reality

and unwieldy clay

slowly becomes

a vessel of honour.


Finally … an appropriate image, I reckon, to which I’ve added a few words.