The Big Queensland Road-trip.1

Dale and I have done our fair share of travel over the past 40+ years … we’ve just set up a feature wall (aka brag wall) at our new home with canvases of just some of our travels. We have been blessed.

However, we haven’t done that many long distance road trips … other than transporting a young family some years ago back and forward from Rockhampton or Cairns.

This time, our first real travel time since my 28 February retirement, we decided to visit Joel (& partner Upasana) for three days in Emerald, Central Queensland before heading five hours north to Charters Towers, North Qld for 6 nights with friends Barb & Pat. Then onto Cairns, FNQ – six nights at Palm Cove (ridiculously wonderful accommodation/meal deal) and then three with friends Glenn and Jan. We’ve travelled the better part of 2000 km so far in our Hyundai i30.

Let me work backwards. Yes, Palm Cove is touristy and ritzy, but it’s Palm Cove’s natural beauty that is so captivating. The long beach, the palm trees, the cloud over the nearby mountain, the afternoon breezes. The long walk along Williams Esplanade is such a plus! And hey … it’s much warmer up here!

While Dale and do enjoy the touristy, sightseeing side of things, we just as much enjoy kicking back and taking it easy. Nice breakfast, good morning walk, coffee, swim, read, conversation, nap 💤… Palm Cove has offered all of that and more. We’re lapping it up.

On Friday we look forward to heading north into the Daintree via a tour on a 4WD bus.

We arrived here after about 7 hours driving (with breaks) from Charters Towers, via Townsville … driving through so much sugar cane country and places which are among the wettest in Australia… Tully, Innisfail …

Our stay with longtime friends Barb and Pat was a superb break. We basically had a little cottage to ourselves for 6 days. Highlights included:

  • great conversations with Barb, Pat and son, Matt
  • visiting Towers Hill – site of numerous defunct goldmining shafts and chimneys, as well as WW2 bunkers
  • Appreciating the history of CT and surrounds
  • Enjoying a cream bun “to die for” (sure hope not) at CT bakery
  • Driving around property on their Polaris Ranger vehicles … not made for long-legged types!
  • (Low point) suffering through the Queensland Maroons’ flogging by the NSW Blues in State of Origin 1.
  • Especially, sitting around the campfire for hours most nights, with the sun setting, the fire warming, the guitars strumming plenty of old John Denver, Tom Paxton and Peter, Paul & Mary folk songs with Matt & me playing, sipping anything from coffee, Diet Coke or port. Just beautiful.
fearless me on Towers Hill CT,
next to a song about possible unexploded munitions
Pre State of Origin enthusiasm, then …

Before Charters Towers we really enjoyed our three nights with Joel and Upasana in Emerald. Both are doing well and enjoyed cooking for us barbecued ribs on the Weber and Nepalese dumplings. Yum!

Just a really relaxing time of catching up, including watching Modern Family for the first time … then the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth 😀

We left Spring Mountain , Ipswich on a Thursday morning with Mika left in capable, caring hands. We overnighted it in Roma before heading to Emerald five hours drive north … with a detour to the beautiful, stunning Carnarvon Gorge National Park. First time there for Dale. I was last there when 18!

Of course, we just had to stop … fuel and lunch at Belyando Crossing … roughly half way between Clermont and Emerald and only place for either. I’d heard about their dim sims but deferred to a hamburger!

Until next time, cheers.

Shalom, DAVID

By Day, By Night … new vocal/instrumental

Hi. Dale’s just recorded her vocal for my recently-composed setting of Psalm 42:8

By day, the Lord commands his love
By day, the Lord commands his love
By day, the Lord commands his love
By night … his song … is with me

She’s done a great job! And me? I’m really happy with the arrangement, including the ‘tinkly’ piano bits. I can see this being a really helpful piece for contemplative prayer. See what you think!


score

the psalms … God’s prayer book

Hi. Long time between posts😀. As with Dale I start settling into this thing called retirement, and yet to get into clear rhythm … and at peace with that … I’m loving the time and opportunity to delve into many things.

One of them is the Book of Psalms, “God’s prayer book”, as many have described it. An apt description, because across the 150 psalm-poems, all manner of responses to God are there, as are all manner of naming the human condition. They are so real!

These past couple of weeks I’ve found myself setting three psalms (or portions of them) to song. I’m quite amazed by this, yet songwriting and the spiritual and musical reflection caught up in that has long been an Avenue for me in connecting with Christian spirituality. That continues to be the case with me.

Psalm 46 is a wonderful psalm. So full of memorable verses. Perhaps best known is 46:10 Be still and know that I am God. I’ll come to that one again later. Not sure how I was prompted to reflect on Psalm 46 but I do recall perhaps 30 years ago, while in ministry in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia; listening to a “podcast” (the term had yet to be invented) from The St Louis Jesuits, a collective of Roman Catholic songwriters and singers sharing with the Catholic Church what was then this new mode of worship song. Iconic songs like Here I Am, Lord and Be Not Afraid come from their crafting. Another came from Psalm 46:2

And so, we won’t be afraid!
Let the earth tremble
and the mountains tumble
into the deepest sea.


This is how it sounded:

Many years later, I’ve written my ‘take”: Your Mercy Conquers All.

And then within days of this, amid a range of posts on a national Uniting Church Facebook page seeking eco-hymns and inviting contributions, I realised I had little to offer in this area. I commend those who do. However, I was prompted by the recall of that classic hymn based on portions of Psalm 146: All Creatures of Our God and King, based in turn on classic 13th century words by St Francis of Assisi. Creation, Sing Out! was born. A backing track w. melody for the moment.

And then … a few nights back I’m engaging an evening devotion. The focus passage is a short one – Psalm 42:8
That verse goes like this:

By day, the Lord commands his love
By night … his is song is with me

That verse stayed with me. Seemed a great verse for a repetitive chant … over and over, or perhaps a sung response amid shared congregational prayer. So: By Day, By Night was born. A backing track w. melody for the moment.

I could go on, but that will do for now :-). I’m thankful to God for the inspiration to write a range of other psalm settings over the years. Titles like these:

  • Your mercy conquers all
  • Creation, sing out!
  • By day, by night
  • Make it joyful (Ps. 100)
  • Create in me a clean heart (Ps. 51)
  • Because the Lord’s my shepherd (Ps 23)
  • Be still (Ps 46:10)

Cheers,
David

Community in Christ … Come What May

Tomorrow is a milestone day for Dale and me.

At 8.30 am at my home Uniting Church in Tarragindi, Brisbane, Australia I lead (and preach at) my final worship service before retiring on 28 February – my 66th birthday- from full time paid ministry. I’m sure ministry will continue in some repurposed way. Of course, we move house in 6 days! Yet this is a line in the sand event. The service is being live-streamed at this link … and available for several days afterwards.

I’ll be preaching of course on Valentine’s Day❤️. I’m using Acts 2:42-47 as my scriptural basis with the theme of Community in Christ. I thought I’d share my sermon … and a song Come What May written for the occasion.

It’s been quite a ride these past 34 years of ministry. Dale always there for the ride too. Humanly-speaking I couldn’t have done any of this without her. Joel, Jeremy and Nathan along the way, as far north as Cairns. 8 ministry placements. Challenges – yes! Yet ultimately grace upon grace, blessing upon blessing. Thanks God and thanks for the so many people who’ve shaped that blessing. Here’s the song.

On Thursday coming, Dale and I move house to our retirement abode … our little cottage on the hill at Spring Mountain, near Springfield Lakes, Ipswich, Australia. We so look forward to the new season. In time we’ll both be open to God’s new season of ministry and life surprises. Under a different title: Monday.Musing, I’ll be continuing my weekly time of worship and contemplation, with music included. Yes, some of mine. https://www.facebook.com/Monday.Musing Please journey with us and keep in touch.

Shalom,
David (& Dale)
MacGregor

calm

Hi. Dale and I and special friends Jan & Glenn have been at Hervey Bay … three hours north of Brisbane for 5 nights now. It’s been a wonderful time so far – just what we needed after weeks of ministry realities and especially culling and sorting ahead of my retirement in just a few weeks and our BIG move to that retirement house of ours at Spring Mountain near Springfield Lakes, Ipswich.

Great water, great swimming and relaxation conditions, book reading, card games, beach walks, coffees and lovely sea breezes. Calming is the word! So, courtesy of some nice sounds and options on my amazing GarageBand for iPad app, here’s an instrumental piece: CALM.

Shalom, David


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