“Every Day with William Barclay”   William Barclay – Reading for 12 April

Bloggers note: During this time of enforced separation and distancing, I have chosen to make a weekly call to a very special person in my life, and share a reading for the day. A lot of Churches have recently brought us an opportunity to celebrate the blessings and ceremonies of the Easter Season with on line, virtual streaming. For people of faith this is very important, but there are also plenty of other meaningful ways to come together with someone and share thoughts, words and wishes. 

“Every Day with William Barclay”   William Barclay – Reading for 12 April


To the Athenians, Solon was the supreme lawgiver.

He was to the Athenians what Moses was to the Jews.

He came to power when the state of Athens was steadily degenerating, and by drastic measures he reconstituted the city. The rich had become richer and more powerful, because by lending money they had succeeded in concentrating all wealth in the hands of the few, and had reduced the ordinary people to a state not far from serfdom.

Solon laid down three unique laws: 

When great issues were at stake, Solon regarded neutrality as a crime.

In any time of dispute within the nation, the man who takes neither side shall be disenfranchised and lose his rights as a citizen”.

He made a further declaration as one of the world’s great creative lawgivers.

“Men must speak no evil of the dead”.

He laid down a third law.

“If a father does not teach his son a trade, then that father has no right to claim support from his son in old age”.

Solon’s experience of life and his wisdom were crystallised in the wisest of sayings: Know thyself. 

To him, the most important thing of all was self-knowledge, and he was profoundly right.

“Nothing is more necessary than that a man should know himself”.

“The Little Brown Book”   Sue and Leo Kane – Reading for 6 April

Bloggers note: Mary McKillop was a remarkable woman and her recognition as a “saint” within the Catholic Church doesn’t distance her from us in any way.

“She walked our streets, visited places we know, endured the vagaries of our weather and suffered the discomforts of 19th century travel. Her spirit is still alive wherever she went, whether in Australia or New Zealand, and the pages in this little book gently help us find the courage to face each day as it comes.”   



Ever had to work with someone whose style differed from yours? Or perhaps had trouble balancing your dreams with your realities?

Mary McKillop was a very down to earth person who believed in getting things done. So often there were obstacles to deal with.

“Of all the slow workers I ever met, they beat them all. I should have been away from here a fortnight ago but had to remain and urge them on”. (1898)

Can we too find the graced moment in learning to wait upon the needs of others? Just as out in the Australian bush we learn to wait for the billy to boil, or the damper to rise, or, in the long term, for the drought to end. Can we sit around our imaginary campfire under the Southern Cross and silently ponder Mary McKillop’s wisdom?

“You must take your time … Be eager in your desires, but humbly patient in their accomplishment”. (1867)

“Every Day with William Barclay” – reading for 29 March

Blogger’s note: This wonderful book is over fifty years old and the passages should be read in that context. I have done minimal editing. Try reading it out loud, there is a message in his words.

Sunday 29 March

I once saw by the roadside an advertisement for a well-known and well-tried patent medicine. It ran like this:

“How you feel tomorrow depends a lot on today.”

That is one of the greatest practical rules of life with a threat and a challenge in it at one and the same time. Our tomorrows must of necessity depend a great deal on our todays.

“Our future depends on how we use our memories today.”

The psychologists tell us that the golden age of memory is from the years seven to eleven. Ignatius Loyola, well knew that when he uttered his famous dictum that if you gave him a child for seven years, he did not care who got him afterwards.

And those same psychologists tell us that it is nearly impossible to learn anything new  after forty, and while it may not be impossible, it is certainly difficult. We should therefore be storing our memories as early and as soon as we can, making sure we store them with the right things.

But on the other side, Hans Lilje tells how in the days of the War he was imprisoned in solitary confinement by the Hitler government. Everything was taken from him and in those days he found his strength and retained his sanity by going over and over psalms and hymns he had memorised when he was a boy.

At a time when it is considered unnecessary (in educational terms) to pursue the practice of memory work, storing our memories, in time, will ensure we have treasures to draw on when we need them most, and we shall have resilience to call on in the days of uncertainty and loneliness.

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