Just a plastic bag?

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Sadly, I no longer believe in “Magic and Sparkle”. Wowed by their luxurious and classy Christmas adverting – fantasies abounding after a fall through a manhole in search of a cute dog – my M&S purchases led to a plastic bag acquisition. Its size seemed ideal for carrying big £6 boxes of “Gourmet chocolates” back home, but the addition of two 2 litre Barrs juice proved too great a strain.
Magic and sparkle was ripped to shreds with my Asda shopping spilling out onto the pavement. Carrying various goodies back by hand was rather arduous and depressing, but then I thought about this amazing illustration, which never disappoints and is much better than any jumped-up ad campaign designed to make M&S big bucks…
The apostle Paul (in 2 Corinthians 4:7) compares us human beings to “jars of clay”, which were the 1st Century equivalent of plastic bags – good for carrying stuff around but of very little value in themselves and easily broken. So, he teaches us that though we might not seem impressive on the outside and our physical bodies can be ripped to shreds by circumstances, we have “this great treasure” – Christ Jesus – in our hearts and that makes all the difference in the world.
In fact, the miraculous becomes truly possible: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” (2 Cor. 4:8-10)
Do you see? Precisely when we feel overwhelmed and stretched beyond our meager resources is the moment in which Christ Jesus’ “all-surpassing power” is most graphically and triumphantly revealed. The only I could have pulled through depression, extreme anxiety, bouts of binge eating and sexual temptations is His help – God’s abundant grace and strength. May Christ’s Name be glorified forever.

Regenerating Elgin!

Old building in Cooper Park, which really needs to find a new use.  Apparently, the will states that it can only be used as a library, but surely someone can give this lodge a face-lift.

Old building in Cooper Park, which really needs to find a new use. Apparently, the will states that it can only be used as a library, but surely someone can give this lodge a face-lift.

How amazing it would be if – instead of cutting into more of our countryside and farmland in Moray with houses and business parks – we actually utilize the “redundant” space that has fallen into disuse and disrepair.

Around Elgin, there are a number of sites – like the third picture, beside Edgar roundabout, which used to be a cattle auction site and now is sometimes taken over as a “flea market” – which are begging to be redeveloped.  It’s so much better for the environment and the general appearance of our communities that buildings do not fall into disrepair and end up imprisoned behind metal barricades and ensnared in bureaucratic red tape.  Even converting abandoned, unwanted land into allotments, looked after by community volunteers who take pride in growing fruit and veg, as well as enjoying much exercise would be an excellent step. Or possibly there’s scope to knock it all down and develop some high rise flats, which are closer to the city center, reducing people’s dependence on cars and giving Elgin’s shops a much-needed boost.  Can you imagine how much better and brighter this site could be – with the right attitude…

Why does the national government and local authorities not provide significant financial incentives (i.e. tax breaks) which would incentives these “brown field” areas to be developed and regenerated over the more precious “green field” sites?  Even making this – or the area opposite and pictured second into a properly managed wildlife reserve with a path going round and some benches could provide a great breathing place for Elgin, making our community more attractive to investors and improving our general well-being.  Instead of waiting for more companies (like Sainsbury) to come to our rescue, maybe we need to take these spots into communal ownership first and make something of them.  How many years can we hold out for the big guns and why would we want another supermarket anyway when we already have all the others (except Morrisons) here and readily available?  

Just take time to look at these pictures and what improvements could be made.  People are ready to volunteer – they just need leadership from our local Council.  Let the wall be knocked down and the metal fence torn away to be replaced by something worth looking that doesn’t depress, but stimulates.Image  Image Image