Getting Creative

Two posts in one day! Goodness me – am I feeling okay?

I wanted to show a card that I’ve just made for Isabelle (where we stayed the night we went to the David Gilmour concert)

I used a tutorial on this splendid blog – The Postman’s Knock.

Lindsey is a talented calligrapher, but much more than that too. I have started using her tutorials more and more, as they are so detailed, and produce some beautiful results. If you are interested in calligraphy, card making or creating art then this is a great place to go!

Here is my card:



I know my photography isn’t up to much, but I hope you can see how it has been made. If not, Lindsey’s tutorial will explain all. I hope that Isabelle likes it.

David Gilmour in Nimes…and other doings

Okay, so this is where my attempt to split my blogs more cleanly falls apart!!

View from the Teapot = “life in France”

Fat Dormouse Getting Thinner (or not!) = “food related”

But our few days away falls into both camps! I suppose I could write two posts, each concentrating on one aspect, but that seems a bit of a waste of time. So instead I’ll just to a blatent cut-and-paste job. So if you’ve already been at Fat Dormouse, you’ll have already read this post. But you could go there for today’s post – which is about food!

So, here it is: Our Days out in Nimes & Aix-en-Provence, courtesy of Fat Dormouse

THURSDAY – we travelled to Nimes, not using the motorway very much, but pootling through the countryside. We stopped for lunch at one of our favourite spots (Aix & Terra) where I had Terrine Black-and-white (goats’ cheese and marscapône with a fig chutney) followed by an enormous salade Niçoise, full of olivey, anchovy-y goodness. In fact it was so big I couldn’t finish it! But, of course, I have a “pudding stomach” and managed to fit a tasty little Café Gourmande in – a coffee with a few tasting size desserts. There was a pannacotta, some tiny madeleines and a palmier biscuit smothered in Speculoos/chocolate spread. Miam-miam.

We reached Isabelle’s where we were staying overnight, and hazd a dip in her swimming pool. Then we went into Nimes for our concert. We weren’t sure where to park, and of course there was a lot of traffic, so we decided to park about 2 km from the centre (free parking!) and walk in. it only took about 20 minutes so it seemed like a good idea. We bought a sandwich for our tea and then went into the Arena. It was amazing!

Here is the arena as it was filling up with people

And here it is during the finale of “Comfortably Numb”

After the recent events in Nice I felt a little insecure, but really it isn’t possible to think like that. There were plenty of police and security in attendance, so I had to trust to that, and remember that, in fact, Europe is a safer place to be now, in regard to terrorist action, than in the 80s.  It was a superb evening, and quite honestly I was so involved in the music that I forgot my misgivings.

I think our car parking idea paid dividends now, as the Arena seats upward of 16,000 people. Now I know that about a third of the Arena was taken up with stage, but that still leaves about 10,000  people all leaving (and probably trying to leave the car park) at the same time. We scooted out as soon as David Gilmour had finished his encore, so we were already ahead of the crowds, (I’m glad about that as I’m not too stable on badly lit, uneven stone steps, and I think I might have caused a bottle-neck with my slow, cautious descent!) and I think that by parking out of the centre we probably got away before many of those who had parked closer – even after our walk back to the car!

FRIDAY: The plan was to go for a walk and then have another dip in the pool before leaving, but it poured with rain. Instead we sat and chatted with Danièle (Isabelle’s mum, who is a good friend of ours) and then went and bought some wine.

As you can see, it’s not quite swimming weather!


Danièle prepared a lovely meal, of tomato and mozzarella salad, daube with red rice from the Camargue, and then peach sorbet. Very enjoyable.
We drove down to just outside Aix to the B&B that we had booked. I’d been a bit dubious,as the website wasn’t very informative, but in fact it was very comfortable (except for the fact the toilet was in a tiny room that neither of us could stand upright in, and it didn’t have a door. There was only a curtain separating it from the bedroom. Not very comfortable.)
We only wanted a snack for dinner, but actually ended up with something a bit bigger…
Very yummy though!
It was at a little shack-like snackbar called Le Boomerang.
 But it was very clean (the toilets were immaculate!) and served good beer
Here’s me!
(looking like I’ve had one too many beers!!)
We went for a walk in the forest around the B&B – it wasn’t a great walk, being a bit same-y, but it was good to get a bit of exercise…
 Mr FD looks very severe in this photo!
The highest village in Bouches-du-Rhone: Mimet
Get a move on, woman!
After the walk we drove to Aix, and bought a sandwich for lunch. The plan had been to walk round the town, admiring fountains (there are over 100 in the town) but it started to rain again…
I liked the wine cooler strategically placed to get the benefit of the cold water!
Finally it got so wet we decided to go to the cinema!! We saw “Florence Foster Jenkins” which was very good.
 After the film we went for a stroll, trying to be upbeat about the weather, but we gave in finally, stopped for a coffee, and then decided to go back to Mimet to book into the restaurant there for dinner. Though we did pause to take a photo of this street sign
I’d quite like to live on Rue Rifle-Rafle!
However, continuing our luck, the restaurant was fully booked for a wedding party, and we couldn’t find anywhere else in the vicinity (bizarrely!) However, after driving around fairly aimlessly for about half an hour, we finally stumbled on a reasonably pleasant looking restaurant, where I had…
Baked camembert with honey and walnuts.
plumet de cochon – not sure what cut of pork this is, but it was certainly good!
then Carpaccio of pineapple with a mango ice cream.
SUNDAY: We had an enjoyable breakfast, sitting in the sunshine, and chatting with the owner. Then we said Goodbye to the blind dog
(who didn’t seem too bothered!)
And we drove home. We bought some picnic food on the way back;, which we ate in a motorway service area, but we were home by about 4.00. It had been a lovely break.

Herding Cats

I could have done with these boys earlier today…

It is time for Millie and Bib to go to the vets for their booster jabs. I armed myself with two of our three cat baskets and went to find them (giving myself half-an-hour to do the job!). Bib was snoozing, so I picked her up, popped her in the basket and closed it. She settled down quietly. One down, one to go.

But Millie saw the basket. That was a mistake on my part. I lured her into the kitchen with bits of chicken, but she Knew. Every time I went near her she scarpered (taking the chicken with her, of course!) and I couldn’t pick her up. Finally, as I was having a shouted conversation with someone out of the window she came to see what was going on (curiosity is usually fatal for cats; this time it just meant she was captured!) I grabbed her scruff of the neck, and, cradling her in my arms (but still holding her scruff so she went limp) I took her downstairs and dropped her into the basket. Slamming the cage door shut, I dislodged the hinges, so Millie was able to slither out. Happily for me, I’d closed the doors, so the poor Kitty was reduced to racing from one door to the next meeowling loudly but with nowhere to go. I fixed the door, picked her up by the scruff and put her back in the basket. Phew. Finally.

There was much noise and fury going on in the basket, so I was a tad worried that it might burst open on the street while I was going to the car. I was just looking for some string to tie it up with when my prediction came true – a faulty hinge gave way and a ball of spitting, cursing fur shot out and disappeared upstairs. There was no way I was going to catch her now, so I admitted defeat, phoned the vet and rearranged the appointment for this afternoon. I’m hoping that she may just have forgotten by then.

Feeling rather puffed out by the whole experience I made a cup of coffee and sat down to read some blogs. Half-an-hour later I remembered that Bib was still waiting in her basket. I went down to find her sitting patiently, not stressed but watching what was going on. I opened the basket door – and she continued to sit there! I left her to it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she was still in there when we’re ready to go later on!

Let’s hope Millie is as amenable. Yeah, right!

Dormouse Doings 2

The first Dormouse Doings was published over at Fat Dormouse but I thought I could write one over here instead. I think I’m going to try to classify my two blogs better – this one more for “Life in a small village in France” and Fat Dormouse for more food. The two have got a little mixed up, so there’s hardly a difference between the two.

So here we are, on a sleepy Sunday morning, in a small village in France…Qu’est-ce qui arrive ?


OUTSIDE MY WINDOW... The sun is shining, and it is a nice warm day. Not too hot! I’ve sat outside in the courtyard for a while, trying to brown my lily-white legs a little, and I may go out for another 20 minute session this afternoon. If I lean back in my chair and look out of the window I can see a cloudless blue sky, and the luscious green of the trees on the hillside above the cemetary.

HEARING…Mr FD pottering in the kitchen, and the faint murmur of the TV. He has just arrived back from cycling (65 km) so he is making himself a cup of tea, and settling down to watch some rubbish on television. He’ll be watching the Tour de France this afternoon, no doubt!

PONDERING… What shall I do for my next Zentangle…how safe we will be on our trip to Nimes/Provence (statistically safer from terrorist attack than a car accident)…what shall I have for lunch…


a recent Zentangle

PRAYING…I’m not really. But the relatives and friends of those killed and injured in Nice on Thursday night are on my heart. Life nowadays seems so much more precarious. I’m not sure that statistics bear that out, but it’s my perception.(which is almost word-for-word what I wrote last time, but then it was about the Egyptian air crash)

THANKFUL...that I didn’t kill (or even touch) the deer that stepped out into our path yesterday night…that I controlled the car so we didn’t end up in a ditch (or worse)…that Friend Cathy and I enjoyed an evening listening to a very good Sting tribute band…

WEARING…knee length shorts, a turquoise T-shirt bearing the words “Le monde est rempli de femmes merveilleuses. Mais des comme moi il n’y a pas deux” (Rough translation: The world is full of marvellous women, but there’s only one of me). And fluffy slippers. I’m a fashion icon, me.

GOING...nowhere. Except to Nimes on Thursday for a David Gilmour concert in the ancient arena

and then to a B&B near Aix-en-Provence for a couple of nights.

READING… something on my Kindle. (I have wandered downstairs to get it) called “The Redbreast” a Harry Hole thriller by Jo Nesbo. It’s not bad. I downloaded three more books yesterday (Usually I don’t pay more than 99p or so for Kindle books, but I paid a bit more for these!) which should keep me going for a bit.

LOOKING FORWARD TO…our little break next week. Also my trip to the UK in August, for my niece’s very quiet wedding. I hope to get to see some friends while I’m there too.


HOPING… that the world will sort itself out…that Brexit won’t come to pass…that if it does, we will be able to stay here without too many problems… that there may be a tiny chance that Mr FD’s temporary job will somehow become permanent as he enjoys working there…

IN THE KITCHEN…Nothing much at the moment, but later on today we’ll be having cottage pie. Which seems a bit “hot” for today. I will consult Mr FD, but I may make burgers instead, which we can have with salad.

WHAT’LL I BE TEACHING.. Next week I’ve got one lesson on Monday, with two young women. They’re not really on the same level, so it is a bit difficult, especially as the younger (less good) one is less motivated than the other. Still only 4 hours left with them. I’m not sure what I’m teaching, as I plan my lesson tomorrow morning. This is because I go down to Clermont with Mr FD (car sharing, as it’s a 70 km trip, with motorway tolls) and I have to fill my time before my lesson. So that’s when I do the week’s planning. I will be planning for my lessons on Tuesday too – 4 one-to-one lessons, with some really lovely, motivated, chatty students. Not all of a high level, but that doesn’t matter.

AROUND THE HOUSE…The washing machine is just finishing (Mr FD’s cycling gear) and we tidied up a bit on Thursday, but we’re not really houseproud. I am deliberating whether (IF he should get a permanent job) asking Mr FD if we can swap studies. He has the lovely attic room and I have a smaller bedroom on the floor below as my study. We can’t share as he likes music when he works and I don’t. If he gets a permanent job then he won’t be working at home, so won’t need a lovely big room; I take phone lessons and do craft work. I need a big room where I can spread out. Honest I do.


What can we say?

Another attack on innocent people – men, women, children, Christian, Muslim, atheist, – the world pours out its sympathy, with messages of support all over Facebook, news reports unpicking every detail and examining all the facts.

Yes, it is terrible. And it is, it appears, the world we live in now.

But I honestly can’t help thinking, where were the minute-by-minute updates on the recent bomb attacks in Baghdad, for example?  Is it because this occurred in Europe? Because it brings it one step closer to home? I don’t know. But maybe now is not the time to ask the questions.

It is the time to pray for this world, for those who want to bring discord, hatred, suspicion, death and destruction. And to pray for those who want to counter that with love. Pray for Love.


Over on Kezzie’s blog she passed on the
The Sisterhood of the World Awards Tag to anyone with an A in their name!

That’s me (either in Fat Dormouse, or in my RL name) so I thought I would play along.

The questions to answer were quite tricky, but also rather interesting…

1. What is your favourite gemstone?
Actually, having said they were tricky questions, this one is easy! It is the opal.  Some people believe it is an unlucky stone, unless it is your birth stone – the month of October. I was born on 24th October, so it’s not unlucky for me! It has been in 2 of my three engagement rings (all to the same man. I’ll tell you that story another time!) and if I was choosing jewellery with a stone – which rarely happens! – I would choose opals. Or amber.
2. If you had to spend the day as any historical figure, who would it be and why?
That is a much harder question! Maybe I’d choose Mary Magdalene, or Mary, the sister of Martha (It certainly wouldn’t be Martha who was obsessed by housework!) It would be fascinating to meet Jesus, and to have the chance to listen to him talking and explaining. And to see the real human Jesus, instead of seeing him through the spectacdles of time, and deity.
3. Do you have a favourite genre of film, and if so, why?
I do like a nice romantic comedy…I have enjoyed all the Richard Curtis films I have seen. Just because I like the thought of being romanced. Mr FD isn’t romantic; practical, loving, but not really romantic. Just once I’d like to be swept off my feet. But in a humourous way!
4. What was your favourite toy as a child?
I didn’t have one favourite toy, but a collection of “Bears” – Jeremy the Panda, Barrington Bear, Fluffy the bear, Pooh-Bear, Monty & Marty the mice, Angus the dog. Et al. Monty, Marty and Angus were small, so they were allowed to be taken on holiday with us. I remember Aunty Cyn making them dance for me, while singing in a high pitched squeak “Hello, hello, who’s your lady friend?”

(Chorus at about 43 seconds in)

5. What was the last book you read that you’d recommend to everyone?
Again, difficult to say – people like different books. But I really enjoyed “The Last Runaway” by Tracy Chevalier (although it’s not the last book I read that I’d recommend…!) or “The Girl You Left Behind” by Jojo Moyles.
6. What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given
Absolutely no idea!
7. Who would be your dream dinner guests and why?
My dad. I’d love to see him again – he died, too young, in 1990 and I can’t remember that much about him now. From time to time I dream about him, but it’s usually only fleeting. TBH, if I could have him back for a dinner, then that’s all the people I’d want.  But maybe I’d have Mum too!!!
8. Do you prefer day or night?
Day.  I’ve never been a night owl.
9. If space travel became a possibility overnight, where would you go?
I’m not sure I’d want to go anywhere really. Maybe the moon, to see Earth from a different perspective, but I’ve never been very adventurous, so I would probably just stay here on earth.
10. And because I’m always interested to know this, if time travel were real, what time would you go to? I’m not really sure – possibly back to Jesus’ time, for the reasons stated above. But when I think about this question, I can’t really imagine a time I’d like to experience. Everything was more dangerous in the past – plague, war, heresy – and women didn’t get a very good deal out of things. And who knows what’s in the futrure – I don’t think I’d like to find out, really! I think I’ll stay where I am, thank you!

So there you go. I won’t tag you, but let me know if you answer the questions…I’d like to read your answers (and probably say “Oh, yes! That’s what I should have said!!”)

Preaching again!

I’m leading the service next Sunday, and as today is a day with no lessons planned, I wanted to get ahead and plan the service… Of course, if something horrendous happens between today and Sunday things may change dramatically!

I am using a sermon I’ve preached before, but I have changed it a little, to link with the readings, and to be relevant to our church. I thought you might like to read it…


Readings: Amos 7:7-17; Psalm 82; Colossians 1:1-14; Luke 10:25-37

There is the test that psychiatrists are supposed to carry out in order to understand some deep aspect of the psyche, when they say a word and the patient has to say the first thing that comes into their head, thus giving away their very secret thoughts. Of course, with us, the image that would pop into our heads would perfectly normal – because we are all normal people…  So, if I say the word “prophet” I wonder what you think of?

Now, I don’t know about you, but if anyone said the word “prophet” to me, my first thought is someone rather grubby, dressed in a hairy garment of some description, wandering in the desert, and declaiming gloomy predictions of doom and despair. No offence meant, but I certainly wouldn’t think of someone like Father Rob or Laurie. But I would be wrong. You see, “prophet” means “one who speaks God’s word”: that’s all. It doesn’t mean prediction of the future – although that is often part of a prophecy – it doesn’t mean someone who wears hairy clothes. It simply means someone who speaks God’s word. And that is anyone of us here today.

I think that most people would think of the prophets of the Old Testament if that word was said to them, possibly assuming with me that they were all the grubby, hairy creatures of my imaginings. But of course, they were as many and varied as we are today. There was not a blue-print, a template labelled “Prophet” from which all of them were cut. They were different. There was Amos, from whom we heard this morning, who was originally a shepherd and a dresser of trees, before he was called to be a prophet, while Zephaniah was a person of considerable social standing, possibly related to the royal line. There was Elisha, who appeared to be a farmer of some type, as Elijah first came across him ploughing. Ezekiel was a Jew in exile, married and living in his own home in Babylon. And the list could go on for some time longer, for there were many prophets.

All very different people, with different backgrounds, and different ways of delivering their message.

But however different the Old Testament prophets were, they had two things in common.

First, they all had a living relationship with God. This relationship was not bounded by conformity with the world around them, and did not follow the rules that bounded the religion of the time. It was real, it was dynamic and it fuelled their whole lives.

We see this in the passion that Elijah had for God, and the understanding of the great holiness of their Lord that shines through the visions of Isaiah and Ezekiel.  All the prophets stress the need to follow the laws of God, but not the legalistic nightmare of prohibitions and demands that the Jewish religion seemed to be becoming, but rather as a way of understanding God’s will, and thus finding the way to true holiness of life.

The second thing that was held in common was that the prophets all had a firm grasp of the situation and the needs of the people around them. They rebuked the religious people for their compromise and insistence on the minutiae of the Torah, while ignoring the needs of the poor and vulnerable. The prophets had a passion for justice, angered by the oppression that they saw going on around them and they spoke up, condemning the complacency that they saw everywhere they looked.

Every Old Testament prophet, whoever he was, spoke a message that was unwelcome to those who heard, but carried on regardless of what this would mean. Almost all the prophets in the Old Testament were either ignored, or positively persecuted because of what they were saying. Some, like Ezekiel did not meet opposition, but rather indifference. Those who listened to Ezekiel were condemned for having “eyes to see but do not see, and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people”. Ezekiel had to struggle to light a flame in the hearts of people who didn’t really care about what was going on around them, for they were too concerned about their own lives. We heard how unwelcome the message of Amos was, as he was accused of conspiring against the King with his message prophesying the end of Jeroboam’s reign. Other prophets were hounded near to death: there were death threats against Jeremiah, for criticising the King, and Elijah had to flee the wrath of Jezebel, only to discover the still, small voice of God, as he hid trembling and downhearted in a cave on Mount Horeb. A prophet’s lot was not a happy one, and the reason for this was their message. They pulled no punches, they didn’t dress up what they had to say in pretty pictures. No, they went in, straight for the jugular ~ and that made people very uncomfortable!

And the message that was so unwelcome? It was that failing to follow God’s way would lead to disaster. The prophets understood that actions have consequences and that humankind is responsible before God for the results of its actions and attitudes. It was this message that they were trying to get across to the people.

But to be honest, these prophets were fairly few and far between. These are particular men called by God to speak to one nation, to Israel, the Chosen People, and to say that God was displeased by the actions and attitudes that he saw, and that there would be judgement on the people for these. One such prophecy was that of Joel, who foretold a plague of locusts and a severe drought that would devastate Judah, and he saw this as judgement from God, a harbinger of the “great and dreadful day of the Lord. Confronted by this crisis. He calls on everyone to repent, describing the locusts as the Lord’s army, and as a reminder that the day of the Lord is near. He smashes the popular notion that the Day of the Lord will be a day of judgement on the other nations but a day of great blessing for Israel; rather he points out that in its complacency and its unfaithfulness to God, Israel too will be judged and found lacking. Restoration and blessing will come only after judgement and repentance.

But as well as this, Joel looks forward to a new time; a time when God will pour out his spirit on all people, when sons and daughters will prophesy, and all will see the wonders of God. He anticipates the time when everyone could enjoy the inspiration and vision of the Spirit when only a few had done so previously. This was a highly radical vision, with no distinction being made between old and young, or male and female. Equality at last!

This is the time that Moses too, had dreamt of, saying in Numbers 11, v 29 “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them”

And this OT hope was realised in the new covenant with Jesus. It is through his coming that we can all know God more clearly, and that we can learn what the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, can mean for us. It is no longer the men only situation of OT times; Joel’s prophecy has come to fruition, as we read in Galatians 3 “In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”

I find it fascinating that it is Joel’s prophecy of what will happen after the judgement and repentance of the people of Israel that is used by Peter at Pentecost in his speech to the people of Jerusalem.

It is as though Peter was saying that before the coming of the Messiah, only the chosen few could be the prophets, for it was only they who were authorised to speak the word of God. But now, the Messiah has come. In a way, the judgement of God has come, and the punishment has been meted out, as threatened in the prophecies of old. But the punishment was not borne by us, even though we deserved it. Somehow, in the great mystery of our faith, the punishment was meted out by God, but also borne by God; he condemned us for our sinful attitudes, but he took the consequences. With the repentance that comes after judgement, as Joel foretold, then God’s Spirit is poured out upon all God’s people, and all will become prophets.

It is no longer only certain men of God who are called to be prophets, but all those who have repented and received the Holy Spirit are the prophets of God.

So what does this mean for us, today, here in Christ Church, Clermont Ferrand, called to be prophets in our time, as Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel and Micah were called?

Well, if we go back to look at the very roots of the message that every prophet from the Old Testament gave, we find that it means the same for us as it did to them.

First, we can do nothing unless we have a living relationship with God, and that relationship begins with repenting of our past life and accepting that Christ carried our sins with him to the cross. With this true repentance comes the gift of the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit who filled the prophets of old and gave them the words to say and the strength to say them. But now, through Jesus the gift of the Spirit is now available to all instead of to the few prophets of OT times.

Jesus has opened the way to a new relationship with God, bringing a clearer understanding of what it means. He said “On that day” that is, the day the Spirit comes,” you will understand that I am in the Father, and you in me, and I in you”. When we receive the gift of the Spirit of truth we come into a deeper relationship of understanding and truth with God. If we are Christians, then we too have been anointed as Jesus had. The Spirit of the Lord is upon us also, regardless of whether we have spoken in tongues, as the first disciples did. If we have accepted Jesus as our Lord, then we have also received the Holy Spirit. We are anointed as children of God, and we have been anointed to bring good news to the poor.

And then, together with the prophets of old, we need to see the world around us as it is, to have a grasp the situation and the needs of the people. Our challenge is the same challenge that those prophets had – to speak out to individuals, to the church and to society on the issues of the day, and to show that the status quo, the way it is done, is not the way that God wants to see life led. As Hosea speaks out about the cheating that he sees going on around him and the Israelite’s unfaithfulness to the God who saved them, as Isaiah condemns Israel for its treatment of the most vulnerable members of society, so we are called to challenge what we see in society as contrary to the will of God.

Each prophet had his own particular message for his particular time; each had their own way of presenting this message. As Jesus used parables to teach his message, using simple, everyday experiences to point out the truth of what he was saying, so too did the prophets. They told their message in such a way that people could understand, in such a way that people could not fail to see what God was telling them.

In this way, for example, Hosea was led to act out his prophecies in his own life. He told of God’s sorrow at the faithlessness of Israel by marrying a wife who took lovers; as Israel had turned her back on God, so Gomer, his wife, turned her back on Hosea. Israel had become as a harlot, immoral, uncaring and false. Jeremiah was told to announce the words of God through examples – he was at the potter’s house, and used the example of the potter breaking a clay pot to remake it as a better pot as an allegory for how God will punish Israel. Each prophet knew how to get through to the audience he was speaking to, and he only knew this because he had lived among them.

In the reading from Luke, we heard the lawyer asking Jesus a question to trick him into saying something that could be used against him. Jesus, like the Old Testament prophets before him, told a parable that spoke of the issues of the day. When asked “what does God require of us?” Jesus sketched out a story of a divided community, where it was the outsider who cared for the person in need. He spoke to the people around him with a message that went straight to their hearts and their understanding.

So it is with us. We are all different, and we will all have different ways of speaking out God’s word to the community in which we live. But speak it out we should. We should be telling people that the way life is lived in this world of ours is not God’s way, that the poor and vulnerable are oppressed, and that there is cheating and a lack of care for everything around us. As the prophets of old, we need to demonstrate that we will all be responsible before God for the results of our actions and attitudes.

Maybe your prophecy is action, feeling called to be involved in providing relief for the refugees who are still desperately searching for safety; maybe your way of speaking out against oppression is to join Amnesty International; maybe you are show God’s way by getting involved in the Fair Trade movement. Or maybe you are just called to speak God’s word by living as a Christian in your place of work, unafraid of standing up for your beliefs, challenging racist attitudes or standing up for the vulnerable when refugees and asylum seekers are slagged off as “spongers”. Whatever it is, we have been anointed by the Holy Spirit to do this task. As each of the Old Testament prophets had their call, when they accepted the mantle of prophethood, so we have had ours. As Christ declared himself to in the synagogue in Nazareth, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour”. When we became Christians we were anointed for that same task, and we should embrace it. In Colossians Paul prays that those to whom he writes “may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” and this is my prayer today – that all of us here might be filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit, calling us to stand up for the weak, the oppressed; to speak God’s word in a world that has eyes to see but does not see, ears to hear, but does not hear; calling us to love the Lord your God with all our heart, our soul, our strength, our mind; and calling us to love our neighbours in a way that reveals God’s love.

And so, the prophet of my imagination, of grubby hairiness, is not the prophet God has anointed us to be. He has anointed us as today’s prophets, to go out into the world, secure in our relationship with him, and determined to speak out against oppression and the injustices of this world we live in. He has called us, in the words of another prophet, Micah, “to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”