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983Belfast blog for Saturday - Haggis and Burns

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  • Jon Kennedy
    Jan 25, 2014
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      Please click here to read online with embedded video and graphics.

      Below is the text only for today's blog.
      JONAL ENTRY 1391 | SATURDAY, JANUARY 25 2014

      Today's Scripture: I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.
      — From the Gospel of John, chapter 10,
      from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
      See the homiletical thought below.

      Today's diary
      The morning today was wetter than yesterday, with sometimes hard rain and biting wind sweeping in and down. This afternoon we have had on-again off-again sunshine.
      Business today for the C.S. Lewis group, uploading the video from last night and experimenting to get the most efficient way to use it has caused this to be late, but better late than never, I've been known to say. «

      Attired in plaids befitting a night of Scottish dining and entertainment, are the Rev. Stephen Thompson, center, pastor of Joanmount Methodist Church in Old Park, flanked by an unidentified sister of the Catholic parish, left, and Fr. Martin Magill, pastor of the hosting church, Sacred Heart.

      Haggis and Burns
      Last night's Robbie Burns dinner at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Oldpark, Belfast, turned out to be a highlight of the 4 Corners Festival, which is ongoing (its launch was reported here last week). Sacred Heart pastor Fr. Martin Magill thanked the overflow crowd which included representatives of a wide range of Christian denominations and communions from, as he noted, all four corners of Belfast, celebrities of the city and the province including Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, and many from the nearby neighborhoods.
      Historian-author Philip Orr and singer-guitarist Mike Gaston delivered Robert Burns poems and songs in words spoken and sung, along with stories of Burns's reputation and worldwide fame. The assembly frequently joined in the singing. A highlight was Gaston's delivery of Auld Lang Syne in the original (not the familiar) melody.
      As advertised, the assembly was treated with a supper of taties, neeps and haggis, traditional food at Burns dinners. Some sausages were available for those opting out of the haggis, but most people seemed to go with some of each. Shown in the photo at right, tatties are potatoes (mashed, not served with gravy), neeps are mashed turnips with carrot, and haggis is pork meats often referred to as byproducts (especially pork organ meats), mixed with steel-cut oats and stuffed into a hog's stomach for cooking. The video clip below is of the formal presentation of the haggis, a traditional ceremony accompanied by bagpipes at Burns dinners. Rosemary, a lay member of Sacred Heart Church who did most of the food preparation, carries the haggis and presents it for the toast.
      So, how did it taste? Not bad. It reminded me a little of scrapple (a reference that probably only my Pennsylvania readers will get). Certainly better than the "blood sausage" patty that appears on most B&B breakfasts in the U.K. After all, most sausages and even weiners also contain organ meats, though most people may seldom think about them when eating sausage and eggs or hotdogs.
      Today's Inspiration
      One of the most widely posted signs on display at Wednesday's March for Life in Washington was this, which many considered clever for recycling what is usually considered a left-wing meme. This brings coexistence to a highly elevated and more meaningful realm.

      Today's quotes
      Self-love is displeasing to God, and He rejects empty haughtiness and a proud look, puffed up often on account of that which is by no means excellent.
      —St. Cyril of Alexandria «
      Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one.
      If we refuse to comply [with Obamacare's "contraceptive mandate"], we could face $1.3 million PER DAY in government fines. Our government threatens to fine job creators in a bad economy. Our government threatens to fine a company that’s raised wages four years running. Our government threatens to fine a family for running its business according to its beliefs. It’s not right.
      I know people will say we ought to follow the rules; that it’s the same for everybody. But that’s not true. The government has exempted thousands of companies from this mandate, for reasons of convenience or cost. But it won’t exempt them for reasons of religious belief.
      — David Green, founder, Hobby Lobby «
      Homiletical thought: Jesus is emphasizing the singularity of the ways to salvation: there will be one flock, one shepherd. He is the singular door into the sheepfold. Anyone who proposes an alternative way in is a thief, trying to deprive Him of members of His flock. The thief is a wolf and the wolf snatches unthinking innocent lambs. Jesus alone is the Good Shepherd. He alone loves His sheep and protects them from all harms. There are other sheep—that is, others who are not part of sheepfold of the Israel of New Testament times, the first community to hear the Gospel and from which the original disciples were called. That is why He emphasized to Peter his role of feeding His other sheep, the future members of the church. «

      §     §     §
      Jon R. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis Writer in Residence