The last word…

open door, rock chapel

Following on from my previous post, I have been thinking a lot about the grace of God recently. Hardly surprising, as I am frequently in need of huge doses of it, but also because I have been immersed in thoughts about our understandings of hell, redemption and atonement.

As part of this I re-read Brian McLaren’s book “The Last Word, and the Word After that” which adventures into this territory. I read the whole thing in one sleepless night, hungry as I was to try to come to some view of these things myself.

From this, I wrote this;

The last word


I was reading a story from the Gospel of Mark about

Jesus. It was one of the hard passages where he uses

words that bite – words that leave no space for

my failure.

Jesus told his disciples to stand up for him before men and

the angels will sing. However those who disown

him will be lost – sent out in



And then I remembered Peter.

Rock of the Church.

Three time sinner before the crow of the cock.


Then I remembered too the story of the Garden where

God tells Adam (and Eve) that if they eat the fruit of the tree they shall surely die.

Not in abstract; they had no concept of the legacy left by the origin of their sin.

Yet they do not die, and God

cares for them, clothes them, sends them out onto the human race

like an anxious parent.


There is God’s

last word –

and the





which is always



(with apologies to Brian Mclaren for pinching his book title.)

Brigid and Babette’s feasts…

I picked up a book that a colleague was throwing out today- entitled ‘The Celtic Year- a celebration of Celtic Christian saints, sites and festivals‘ by Shirley Toulson.

I had a flick through- and came across this

Brigid’s Feast.

I would like a great lake of the finest ale

For the King of Kings.

I would like a table of the choicest food

For the family of heaven.

Let the ale be made from the fruits of faith

And the food be forgiving love

I should welcome the poor to my feast

For they are God’s children

I should welcome the sick to my feast

For they are God’s joy

Let the poor sit with Jesus at the highest place

And the sick dance with the angels.

God bless the poor

God bless the sick

God bless our human race

God bless our food

God bless our drink

All homes, O God, embrace.

And this in turn reminded me of the film Babette’s Feast.

For those of you who have not seen this film, it tells the story of an extreme religious community on the wild Denmark coast, living a life of simplicity and austerity, clinging on to the teachings of their now dead leader. Then along comes a refugee from the wars in a troubled 19th Century Europe, and they take her in. For years she works as an unpaid servant, preparing the dreadful food- fish soup and gruel- that the community eat.

Then one day, after years of hard work, news reaches her that she has won a lottery- a small fortune. The community prepare themselves to say goodbye to their loyal servant, and reluctantly agree to allow her to cook for them- a feast.

A feast the like of which this community- with all its austerity, its petty squabbles and its suspicion of all things ‘of the world’- could not begin to imagine. The finest wines, turtle soup, amazing complicated dishes.

And Babette’s former life as a famous chef in Paris is revealed- as the members of the community are transformed by this encounter with the feast- as tongues are loosened, and rigidity eroded. Until they stand together and sing hymns under the stars.

And discover that Babette had spent every single penny of her new found wealth on this one meal…

It is a story of grace and redemption and religion gone wrong, only to find itself again.

Here are a couple of clips- you can watch the whole thing on You tube should you fancy it.