Finding The Missing Peace

Monday, May 13, 2024

The Houses of Parliament

Pictures all courtesy of Unsplash

It is interesting to learn that the British House of Parliament, known as the Palace of Westminster, is in a dire state of repair. The mother of parliaments is in desperate need of renovation and restoration. The Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben, has been restored at great cost, and the possibility of doing the same with the rest is a necessity but would require a great deal of time and expense. 

The building obviously has historic and global importance and is vast as it covers an area of eight acres. It also has elaborate carvings, stained glass windows, and important decorations. It apparently costs in the region of 3 million pounds a week to maintain it, and yet it is a hazardous place with the possibility of a severe fire starting someday. There have been 25 fires in the building since 2016, all, admittedly, minor. The vaults below the main floors are full of wires and pipes, with puddles, tape, foil, warning signs and old tins to catch the drips. There is also asbestos in the building to which 117 people were accidentally exposed and who will require regular health checks for the next 40 years. 

The building was burnt to the ground in 1834 and was rebuilt in a Gothic/Elizabethan style. It took until 1876 for all the work to be completed. Prior to completion, the Lords were able to move into their chamber in 1847, and the MPs moved into the Commons in 1852. The Commons chamber has never been big enough to accommodate all MPs, and after being bombed in the Second World War, it was decided to keep it as it was before. Its smallness creates an intimacy but is not really suitable for genuine work to be accomplished; such work is done in the many rooms in the Palace.

Friday, May 10, 2024


All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

Books have been published and produced for hundreds of years. Some people predicted their demise with the advent of modern technology, such as Kindles and other electronic devices for reading. 

However, as a visit to a bookshop makes clear, books are still being produced in large quantities in hard copy, both hardback and paperback. There are still vast numbers of people who love to hold a book and turn the pages, and many also find looking at a screen a numbing and difficult experience.  

Reading is vital for education and the gaining of information. The Apostle Paul, right up to the end of his life, maintained his reading regime as he asked, in the last letter he wrote addressed to Timothy, that books be forwarded to him and also the parchments (2 Timothy 4.13). The Apostle John, in a statement of hyperbole or exaggeration to make a point, said, "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written everyone, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written." (John 21.25). He indicates that we only have a sample in the Gospel accounts of the wonders and miracles performed by Jesus.  

Monday, April 29, 2024

A perfect accounting system

All photos courtesy of Unsplash. 


Sometimes, we wonder about the things that go wrong in some of the institutions that we have trusted for a long time, writes Bert Cargill of St Monans Gospel Hall. A recent one, still in the news, is the so-called Horizon scandal in the Post Office accounting system.

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

This scandal has become horrifying as more and more comes to light. We learned that the computerised accounting system had real and potential faults, which were recognised early on. But they were ignored and covered up, so innocent sub-postmasters were accused of theft and embezzlement when their books didn’t balance. It is a disgrace how they were treated as criminals to their great harm and loss, physical, mental and financial. And now the compensation they are due is still delayed while an official Inquiry drags on. For some, that compensation comes too late.

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

It is almost beyond belief that such practices existed for years in what was traditionally a trustworthy establishment.

But I am reminded of a perfect accounting system that has no flaws, injustices, or cover-ups. It belongs to God, who is called the Judge of all the earth. And we are all to face this accounting, for the Bible tells us that “every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14.12).

None of us has a perfect account to present to God, far from it. But that old account can be cancelled, and a new and perfect one can be put in its place, given by Jesus Christ, who died for us to make this possible. If we trust Him, our guilt is removed, our sins are forgiven, and He gives us a perfect salvation. Is that not worth having?



Thursday, April 18, 2024

What if the world stopped spinning?


All photos courtesy of Unsplash

How would you feel if your bins were not emptied and rubbish was lying in the street? Not so long ago, in Warrington (near where I live), that’s the way it was. Some refuse workers and street cleaners were on strike, probably for good reasons. However, it did expose many people to potential health hazards. 


A couple of years ago, I was going to Ballymena in Northern Ireland for a week. My planned route of travel took me through Liverpool John Lennon Airport. A few days before my departure date, I read on the web that some baggage handlers were on strike. On arrival at the airport, expecting long delays, I was delighted (very selfishly) to find out that the strike did not affect my flight. It did, however, inconvenience many people and cost the travelling public money in the long run, as employees had to be shipped in from Dublin and other places to do the striker's jobs. 

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