Look to this day!

Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn!
Look to this Day!
For it is Life, the very Life of Life.
In its brief course lie all the
Verities and Realities of your Existence;
The Bliss of Growth,
The Glory of Action,
The Splendor of Beauty;
For Yesterday is but a Dream,
And Tomorrow is only a Vision;
But Today well lived makes every
Yesterday a Dream of Happiness, and every
Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.
Look well therefore to this Day!
Such is the Salutation of the Dawn.

(attributed to Kalidasa – from the Sanskrit)

I came across this poem again today. I have posted it before but it is well worth repeating.

It’s origins are the subject of much debate – it is usually attributed to the Indian scholar and poet Kalidasa who lived sometime around the 4th Century AD but there is doubt over this and it could in fact be an unattributed  19th Century English poem!

But no matter where it came from, it is still a wonderful reminder of the hope that comes with each new dawn and of the challenge to live well every moment of every day.

Hope your Tuesday is a good one 🙂

Picture from Dave’s old districtblog

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One bead at a time…


Inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness. I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten—happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another.(Brenda Ueland)

I came across this quote on my old blog while I was looking for something completely different!

I love this description of inspiration – especially the image of writing being like putting beads on a string one after another because that is how it works for me. I have a magpie mind and am always collecting and filing things away for use later. Today I was frustrated because I remembered snippets of a story I wanted for a sermon but just could not track it down – maybe I will just use what I can remember and make up the rest 🙂

I also like the assertion that we need a little solitude and idleness as a primer for writing and creativity. I know I need this but I still get twinges of guilt about time spent quietly in the garden or elsewhere. Especially as in ministry there is always something more concrete and tangible needing to be done.

Being off sick for such a long period of time has shown me that the majority of the concrete and tangible things can wait; they will still be there tomorrow and tomorrow. But we need to catch those moments of solitude and idleness as not only will our writing benefit but also they will help us to live a more balanced and fruitful life.

Picture is ‘prayer beads’ by Jonny Baker on Flickr

Trading Joy

The trading of joy comes naturally because it is of the nature of joy to proclaim and share itself. Joy cannot contain itself, as we say. It overflows.

Frederick Buechner

This was this morning’s thought from inward/outward, and it came through just as I was thinking about the worship theme for this coming Sunday (yes I am starting back to work at last).

I was thinking about recognition and how we all need to be recognised, appreciated and loved. And I was reminded of this wonderful short film, part of which I am hoping to show on Sunday morning.

So if you have a dose of the Monday morning blues – then grab a coffee, put your feet up and watch this – I guarantee it will make you smile 🙂

On forgiveness…

There has been a lot of good stuff written about forgiveness this Easter time.  Forgiveness is something we can do for another person and forgiveness is something we do for ourselves – something which helps us to move on with our lives.

I am convinced that moving on is an important part of forgiveness. If someone has wronged you and you forgive them it doesn’t automatically mean that things will go back to the way they were before the perceived wrong occurred. When we forgive a new thing happens – perhaps a healing or a liberation or a means of moving on, even changing a pattern of behaviour which has become damaging.

It my case the situation involved a friend who behaved badly towards me.  Although I forgave the specific incident, I did not want to pick up the friendship where we had been before the incident happened.  It was time to draw a line under it and move on with our lives. However, to my former friend I am a terrible person. In her mind, forgiveness means returning to something which is now long gone – restoration. For me forgiveness meant acknowledging what had happened – drawing a line under the past and moving on to the new.

As a further example, I experienced a rupture in another friendship many years ago. The bust up was huge and significant and the fall out was painful and damaging for us both. Yet something new happened.  In the years of silence, we both learned the meaning of forgiveness and we picked up the friendship again at a different time in our lives. We still remember the past, but it is the past.

I don’t believe we forgive and forget. Forgiveness means living with what has happened, learning from it and moving on, believing that a new thing can and will happen.

I would be interested to hear other people’s views or experiences of forgiveness. Here is a interesting one on peopleforothers.

Photo is ‘going our separate ways’ by RebekahSfD on Flickr

Easter blessings

If you were not risen,
Lord Christ, to whom would we go
to discover a radiance
of the face of God?

If you were not risen,
we would not be together
seeking your communion.
We would not find in your presence
forgiveness,
wellspring of a new beginning.

If you were not risen,
where would we draw the energy
for following you
right to the end of our existence,
for choosing you again and anew?

Brother Roger of Taize

A prayer for Tuesday after Holy Week and Easter, for all those who now draw breath and seek rest and renewal.

Those of you following the blog will know that Lent, Holy Week and Easter have happened without me this year. It has been strange observing rather than participating in worship.

It has been a virtual journey through the season for me, following Lenten blogs and observing how others have prepared and participated through their postings on social networking sites.

I have especially enjoyed the posts and comments on Revgalblogpals blogspot and on their Facebook page. And I have stored away some ideas for next Easter. Thanks ladies (and gents too) for creating sacred space in the blogsphere.

After nearly three months of coughing – day and night –  it seems to have eased off at last over the past week or so and I am beginning to feel human again! My residual worry is the effect all this coughing has had on my voice which is still rather hoarse, so your prayers for this are appreciated – for obvious reasons!

A belated happy Easter to all, especially the bloggers and posters who have shared the journey with me – without even knowing it 🙂

(Photo taken in the Lake District by the Husband)

The Musician

A memory of Kreisler once:
At some recital in this same city,
The seats all taken, I found myself pushed
On to the stage with a few others,
So near that I could see the toil
Of his face muscles, a pulse like a moth
Fluttering under the fine skin,
And the indelible veins of his smooth brow.

I could see, too, the twitching of the fingers,
Caught temporarily in art’s neurosis,
As we sat there or warmly applauded
This player who so beautifully suffered
For each of us upon his instrument.

So it must have been on Calvary
In the fiercer light of the thorns’ halo:
The men standing by and that one figure,
The hands bleeding, the mind bruised but calm,
Making such music as lives still.
And no one daring to interrupt
Because it was himself that he played
And closer than all of them the God listened.

~ R.S. Thomas

A wonderful poem for Good Friday with thanks to Robin

Photo is ‘thin place’ by Jonny Baker on Flickr

He will walk

Palm Sunday… Lent ends and Holy Week Begins.

And to take us through this week, a wonderful meditation from The Wild Goose Resource Group . I adapted it slightly a couple of years back for my voice and spit it into parts.

This is my Holy Week post as I am away and the internet access is painfully slow,

He will walk
A little in front of us
Towards Jerusalem.

He will not be scared
Though we are apprehensive.

If we try to discourage Him
He will recognise the Devil in our voice.
And He will tell us as much
In no uncertain terms.

Then He will go on again,
In faith,
Towards Jerusalem.

He will walk
A little in front of us,
Into controversy.

He will be scared
Though we are apprehensive.
He will argue with the intelligent,
Stop the self-assured in their tracks

He will touch the scabby.
He will upset bank balances by his outlandish behaviour in the sanctuary,
He will weep in public.

Then He will go on again,
In faith
Towards Jerusalem.

He will walk
A little way in front of us
Into Gethsemane

He will not hold back
Though we are apprehensive.

He will sweat blood
He will ask God if there is another way.

And when God says no,

He will take the traitor’s kiss,
The soldiers’ spit
The vile and venom from the princes of religion.

Then He will go on again,
In faith,
Towards the cross.

He will walk
A little in front of us
Towards Calvary.

He will not turn back
No, he will not turn back
He will feel the pain
Of wood and nails;

But more than this He will feel the weight
Of all the evil,
All the malice,
All the pettiness,
All the sin of the world
Heaped upon His shoulders.

He will not throw off the weight,
Though he could.

He will not give back evil for evil.
He will not return malice for malice.
He will not take revenge on the petty-minded
Or spew out hate on all who have despised or rejected Him.

He will not give back the sin of the world,
He will take it away…
Into death, into hell,
So that He can lead us to heaven.

Then He will go on again,
In faith,
Towards the resurrection.

He will walk
A little behind us,
Through the graveyard.

And he will wait
Until we realise that He has died
Until we admit our complicity in His life’s ending.

Then He will come up behind us,

He will say our name,
So that we can be His,
Forever.