Birthday, Bali And Collins Street

March 8, my Birthday Eve: Thomas, Brent and I visit lions, bears and giraffes at Melbourne Zoo. In the evening I recount my family history to Belinda and Brent at a nice end-of-pier Geelong restaurant. I thank, here on this blog, all of you who sent birthday greetings

March 9: A group of families meet for a lectio divina walk through the woods. On their return they de-brief or go surfing. Brent drives me to Avalon airport for a six hour flight to Bali. This is required in order that my visa again becomes operative for three months from the day I enter Australia from another land. Oh what a sacrifice! I briefly think I am a millionaire as I look at the one million rupiahs of notes in my hands. They are worth a mere £100, but everything is cheap for a Brit. I lack the energy to wander far from my air-conditioned room, hotel swimpool and Kuta's famous miles of hot, beautiful beaches and sunsets. In Hindu style, everyone greets me with 'How are you?' and proceeds to offer a beach chair, food, drink, a massage ... for a price. I flee and they offer a newspaper, taxi, menu or tour guide. My room is set far enough back to avoid the noise pollution.

I decide I will do nothing with my brain except read Geoffrey Archer's novel 'The Prodigal Daughter'. Until I see an email from an Anglican magazine on the 12th which asks me for an article by the 13th, and realise that I have to prepare a sermon for Collins Street Baptist Church upon my return.

Collins Street is Melbourne's equivalent to London's Oxford Street. Its Baptist Church is well known both for its preaching and its justice work. An email informs me that a friend is flying in from North America to be there. No pressure! I think of John Wesley's book of sermons entitled 'If I had only one sermon to preach'. I decide that is the key. May God have mercy and may you please pray.

Posted at 16:38pm on 12th March 2015
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