Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2014



 I don't make New Year's resolutions any more. This is because I think that the things we ought to do and which form the basis of most New Year's resolutions (eat healthily, exercise, don't smoke, invest in our relationships, seek job satisfaction, manage our money well) require us to resolve to do them on an almost daily basis rather than once a year, furthermore, and this will sound contradictory, radical changes such as getting up at 5.30 to go for a jog each morning are just so much more likely to fail when begun in the grim and arduous month of January. So, it being nearly January, as I always do during that month, I will aim to cherish myself a little more, take the opportunity for some extra hours in bed whenever I possibly can and not to worry about any extra pounds gained over Christmas as these can sort themselves out in the spring.

  But if I were to make a resolution, then it would be to try always to feel grateful for all the good things in my life and to savour them.  You can read here of gratitude currently in the news, and it maybe won't tell you anything you weren't aware of - but then remembering the vital lessons we've already learned is as important as learning new things.
I already know that 2014 is likely to bring fairly major changes in my circumstances. These changes may be daunting but they will also offer opportunities and it is vital that I hold on to the important things, the central things, those things that really matter, not money or status or even stability, but faith and love and hope and a sense of gratitude which goes beyond "counting your blessings" to something more profound (listen to video above.)
I wish you all a blessed start to 2014.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

The real meaning of Christmas



Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift. 2 Cor 9:15

Registering the birth

Love takes the risk of birth



This is no time for a child to be born,
With the Earth betrayed by war and hate,
And a nova lighting the sky to warn,
That time runs out and the sun burns late.

That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome,
Honour and truth  were trampled by scorn,
Yet here did the Saviour make his home.

When is the time for a child to be born?
The inn is full on the planet Earth,
And by  greed and pride the sky is torn,
Yet love still takes the risk of birth.

Madeleine L'Engle

Sunday, 15 December 2013

O Sapientia

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the 
Most High,
Reaching from one end to the other mightily,
And sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

Tomorrow marks the start of the Antiphons of Advent, the first is on the theme of wisdom. The process of waiting expectantly for something means that we yearn for and wonder about it. To ponder the nature of the God brings greater understanding and wisdom.
One of our wedding hymns was “Now thank we all our God”, and we chose it to represent our thankfulness on that day but also because it has a lot to say about the role of faith to guide us,

O may this bounteous God through all our lives be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us
And keep us in his grace, and guide us when perplexed
And free us from all ills in this world and the next.

Now some of the sentiments of that verse I cannot agree with- God never offers to free us from all ills, a very misguided idea indeed, but the upside is that He does guide us when perplexed if we turn to Him.  I have certainly had times in my life when I have been perplexed. I remember at one time I was facing a challenging situation and, the church I then attended had as part of the liturgy a phrase along the lines of,
“Be with us Lord when the situation is so difficult that nothing we do seems the right choice
Throughout that difficult time, this single line was something which helped and sustained me and I began to listen out for it each week and felt that I was understood and spoken to through those words. I am glad to say that I was able to find a way forwards and believe that God was with me.
I am not laying claim to being a particularly wise person. I make plenty of stupid decisions, do, think and say foolish things, and behave in ways that are selfish, petty or short sighted. But I do know that the part of me where the greatest wisdom resides is also the part of me where God resides. It is when I seek answers from God, and when I look to that within me that is most Godly, that I find the truest answers and the clearest guidance.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Advent Freedom


Reconciliation seems to be emerging as my Advent theme this year. Advent brings hope, a promise of freedom for the captive, but Christ did not come, as many thought he would, to take sides and overthrow the external oppressor. He came to free us from the prison of ourselves. This does not mean we should not fight injustice and oppression, but to be truly free we must be prepared to be reconciled. As the quote above shows, Mandela's ability to facilitate the process of reconciliation for a nation began first within his heart and soul.

Sunday, 1 December 2013


Beautiful variation on a lovely hymn.