Showing posts from 2015

The night is past............

I had a bad night, not quite as bad as those the Psalmist used to endure. I wasn't watering my couch with tears but it was'nt getting better soon either! Joy did not come in the morning. None the less, something was dawning!

Floods in Cumbria, war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, millions of refugees on the move, Church of England going through difficult changes etc.. Dark enough without adding the usual problems, difficulties and challenges that come one's way.

Morning Prayer - "The night is past the day lies open before us."  You must be joking!
But no!  I was saying morning prayer, awaiting the sunrise and looking straight at Venus, The Morning Star,  low in the eastern sky.

St Peter came to mind - 
"For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honour and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Ma…

Outdoor Spirituality

This morning's New Testament reading has Jesus withdrawing from the hustle  "in a boat to a deserted place by himself." (Matthew 14.13)" and climbing a hill by himself to pray. 
My prayers of thanks and  concern for today are for all those who enable today's busy people get away from it all and encounter the Creator in his/her Creation.

Hope for the Post-Digital Church

I really admire Archbishop Justine's PR machine and greatly value having a feed from his Facebook Page! So I was upset to hear criticism of him and other church leaders for not "speaking out"!
In response, I mentioned Archbishop Justine's Facebook Page.  Bad move!! I had not been aware of of the degree of antipathy towards digital communications among churchgoers! I think it both sad and disappointing!
I was at a benefice meeting of a rural group of parishes in Norwich Diocese where the diocese's digital communications are improving year by year. Google Graham James Bishop of Norwich and you get 355,000 links. Bishop Graham, like Archbishop Justine, has a strong communications team supporting him.
The church in the countryside has been going through profound changes. No longer do people live, work, shop and take their recreation in the same community. No longer are communications limited to snail mail and newspapers and no longer does each village have its own v…

Broads Images and Stories

Passing Death and Glory at Belaugh I fell to thinking about Arthur Ransom's Coot Club. The Hulabaloos are still around on the Broads. Big cruisers power their way up the narrow River Ant, a bit late for their handover at Stalham. Other do not make it:  VIDEO: Cruiser gets stuck under bridge on Norfolk Broads - YBW.
There is always a danger that tourism can destroy the ecosystem on which it  depends. Too many big high powered cruisers charging from pub to pub will degrade Britains Magical Waterland.
Observe holiday makers on the Broads  - there are a lot who are identifying with our British seafaring heritage - OK maybe pirates do not quite fit the bill - but there are lots of them.
How strange to find a Mississippi stern wheeler..
Steam boats, traditional sailing boats and the deep England churches and thatched cottages in the landscape don't seem to clash in the same way.
What bells might they ring with the Black Asian and Minority Ethnic  (BLAME) communities?
What stories mi…

St.Ninian, Whithorn and the Ruthwell Cross

When Ted (Ted Heasley RIP) and I visited the Isle of Whithorn back in 2000 AD the Cairn of Witness was new. We liked the idea but we hadn't known about it, otherwise we would have brought a piece of East Anglian flint to place on the pile!
In 20015 it was still on my to do list.

So last month when I returned, a piece of Norfolk flint was added and I had a minute or two remembering Ted.

Back then we were on our way to Headford in County Galway  - a pilgrimage made in honour of St. Fursey - it all seemed cut and dried. But now scholars find it hard to agree on where St. Fursey had his monastic formation. It may have been just a short hop across the Irish Sea in Ulster.

Ted and I had called in at Whithorn where we visited the site of St. Ninian's , Candida Casa (White Shining perhaps? House ) the pilgrimage chapel at the Isle of Whithorn and Ninian's Cave. In my mind it had been a detour but now I see differently.

Most of what we know about Ninian is from the Ven. Bede who p…

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

I particularly like this photo taken in the Spring of 2008 in Cyprus. It illustrates the Parable of the Mustard Seed (Mark 4.31) and the Allegory of the Vine (John 15). The brilliant yellow of the mustard flower is every where in the spring -  on field edges, in gardens, on little bits of waste land in Cyprus and Galilee.
The mustard seed does not grow into a great tree where the birds of the tree make their nests. Everyone knows that! 
It is a pernicious weed that spreads everywhere! Look in the photo at the yellow all around the edge of the vineyard where the vines are pruned and ready!  A different sort of power and a different sort of kingdom to those of Egypt or Assyria  (See Ezekiel 17.22 ff and 36.66ff)

St. Cuthbert - Something understood

It was too windy to go out to the Farne Islands on Wednesday last week so I walked from Bamburgh around the coast to Budle Bay then back by way of the Spindle Stone. I could not help looking back at the castle and realising how close it was to the Inner Farnes . It was then I got cross with Cuthbert! He had his hermitage on the Inner Farnes. The king lived at Bamburgh Castle. It is one thing feeling you have a vocation to be a hermit. Its another to go grand standing about it. "Look at me I'm a holy hermit living on next to nothing in the middle of the sea?"
By the time I'd walked the circuit I'd come to terms with what he had done. I realised I thought nothing in mounting the steps of a pulpit and preaching in the name of Father, Son  and Holy Spirit. Cuthbert's  enacted example was far more costly and communicated deep and uncomfortable truths that are still resonate.
Life is precarious, it mattered little if you were a fighting king or a hermit. Oswiu had…

Caring for God's Acre Conference

Brilliant Day

Inspirational Speakers

Great Workshops

Great Partnership between
Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Caring for God's Acre Diocese of Norwich
Thoughtful kind and intelligent chairing Thanks you Canon Dr. Jeremy Haselock

Ace food Thank you Luke (the Griddler) Blackburn
Church and Churchyard Open and welcoming                                           Thanks churchwardens Richard and Sylvia  and Horstead PCC

Last but not leastLets hear it for the washers up
Thanks Margaret, Sue, Jacqueline and Bridget

Hail Mary of Raymond Llull

Hail Mary!

Your servant salutes you on behalf of the angels,
And the patriarchs, of the prophets and the martyrs,
Of the confessors and the virgins.
I greet you on behalf of all the saints of heaven.  Hail Mary!

Your greetings from the Christians,
The faithful and the sinners.
From the faithful
because you are worthy of their praise
And because you are the hope for our salvation;
The sinners salute you and beg for your forgiveness.

Hail Mary!  I bring you greetings from Muslims and Jews,
From Greeks, Mongols and Tartars.
I am the channel through which they,
And many other unbelievers, greet you.
I salute you for them
So that your Son will remember them.

Hail Mary!

For you are worthy to be known,
Loved, served and honoured by all the peoples
And all the nations on Earth.
They all salute you
And beg for your glory and forgiveness. Translation from the Sanctuari de Lluch

A Sacred Grove in the Mountains

Come to the shrine “Walk towards splendour Your God walks with you”
Prepare your heart and leave with trust and joy, Alone, or with your brothers, but Come.
Walk in the footsteps of your ancestors
Whoever you may be, In God’s house there is a place for you, You have brothers to meet, Saints to follow, Mary to listen to And the mysteries of the Church to live.
If you thirst for joy, peace and justice, If you thirst for love and forgiveness, Come and drink the Living water From the fountain of salvation,
You who are young and full of enthusiasm You who are ill and wretchedly suffering, You who are feeling marginalised, As well as you who are blessed With a pleasant family life, Come and be illuminated by the light of the Gospel.
Go And come back reconciled   Comforted, Renewed.
Proclaim the Good News to your brothers: God loves us And awaits us.
“Walk towards splendour:
Your God walks with you.”

In Roman times there was a sacred grove - Lucus. The Arabs Al-Luc, then after the reconqu…

Last Fish ( for a time at least)

 "They toiled all night and caugh nothing!"  Did you catch anything? people ask. But somehow they miss the point. I hadn'nt been up all night, but  I did get up and go out before breakfast to have an hour and a half on the river bank, on the last day of the fishing season!  Considering the birds, I didn't fancy my chances. All winter long cormorants have been working this stretch of river. Now they have gone. I expect they have followed  the shoals of roach etc. they have been feeding on. It is only to be expected that the pike and perch that feed off the smaller fish will have moved away too!  So what was the point of getting up early? The river bank is a great place to say one's prayers. As the cold began to creep in, my heart turned towards those families with small children in refugee camps and among the bombed out buildings of Gaza. I wondered at the way the Prince of Glory shed everything to be a refugee child in the Middle East! One amazed, wondering moment f…

Lent Tool Kit

A Lent Sermon preached at Belaugh, St. Peter
Children are feeding Spring lambs at Wroxham Barns
Lent – it is the Old English word for Spring.   Please when you hear the word Lent think Spring. Spring and the connotations of Spring – New Life, Spring Cleaning and Springing Forward My prayer this Lent is for a new Spring time for the Church.
On this first Sunday of Lent I propose a Lent Toolkit. It contains 5 items:

1) Readiness to Change The only person I can legitimately change is me. It would be so much nicer if only our loved ones, friends, neighbours, fellow Christians, all those others were nicer, kinder, more honest, more helpful... etc... Yes, that maybe true, but the only person you can change is you! The bride who at her church wedding vowed Aisle, Altar, Hymn was well out of order! We will do well if we try not follow her example!

2) Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a concept that is all the rage these days. The word is borrowed from Buddhist practice describing a state of mind that stands…

Another Simeon Moment

Anna and I were at the Big God Shop on Sunday. It was a week after Candlemass so I wasn't expecting lights to enlighten anyone really! 
Back in the day Simeon had argued passionately for the ordination of women. Twenty years ago he had participated in the first ordination service at Norwich Cathedral.  From time to time he had wondered if he had got it wrong.
The readings and teaching focused on God as Creator and the involvement of, the feminine, Wisdom. Oh and then he saw what was plainly before his eyes: Jane, the Dean was presiding, beside her his friend Angela was acting as sub-deacon. There were two lady servers and his former religious, fiddle-playing, friend Janet was an acolyte.  There was not a completely female cast among the ministers. The preacher was male, as was the deacon as were some of the readers and the intercessor. It was just  that things were balanced female and male ordained and lay. That is the way he'd imagined it would be. The way it will be in God&…

A Food Pilgrimage - Norwich

Do your praying where ever!  You choose -  the great out doors, a church, cathedral! Is there a mosque or a synagogue?
Then head north up Magdalene Street. Half way up on the left hand side you will find Ruth's Kitchen.

The tag line is "Jerusalem Street Food"!
Jerusalem means City of Peace
There is little difference in the Hebrew Shalom and the Arabic Salam.

How we need peace

There's a warm welcome in Ruth's Kitchen  and I have never tasted better falafal north of the Mediterranean.

Religion can divide food unites!
Jew, Christian, Muslim, Agnostic, Atheist all need to eat, all appreciate a warm welcome. You'll find it here!
As I ate falafel and mezze I found my mind straying to Isaiah a prophet of all three Abrahamic religions  In my heart I sang as I ate
 A Song of the New Jerusalem1Arise, shine out, for your light has come, •
the glory of the Lord is rising upon you. 2Though night still covers the earth, •
and darkness the peoples; 3Above you t…

A Candlemass Simeon Moment

Truth to tell the Family Service was a little long. There had been a baptism. It was great to welcome Ruben into the Family of the Church. My role was working the CD player for the songs!

When it was all over I needed to loosen up so I thought I'd teach some of the children the Butterfly Song with actions. It was fun!

It was only afterwards, when I reflected about it, I realised I had recreated the Simeon in the Temple thing engaging with and rejoicing in and with a new generation of the Servants of God who were going to make a difference.

Me? I'm a white beard but still a child of God,  not quite ready for my Nunc Dimitis, and trusting in the next generation to take things forward. What a lucky old man I am - "And I just thank you father for making me me!"

The Way..............

Its a privilege to walk to church across the meadows

On the Way time to prepare my soul to preside at the eucharist - time to consider birds and flowers. The wild goose Celtic symbol for the Holy Spirit. The first of the  snowdrops - Candle Mass bells!  Mole hills remind me that a lot of stuff goes on under ground, so to speak. And an anti-dog poo notice reminds me that we can foul up whatever is good and beautiful when we don't think of others.