Apple blossom (2)

The other large apple tree in the manse garden in now in full bloom. It spends most of  its life in shadow so the blossom is always later than on the  main tree which gets the sun all day. 

This tree is in our “wild corner” and is always surrounded by beautiful bluebells at this time of the year.

   

 

  

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Lost things

Today’s photographic is called “lost spirituality” (by Jonny Baker on Flickr). 

It seemed appropriate for today when the significance of Good Friday, other than being a day off from school and work (for some anyway), is largely lost or ignored. 

  

In keeping with the bleakness of my mood on this Good Friday, here is a favourite poem from a beautifully bleak poet:

In Church (RS Thomas)

Often I try 

To analyse the quality 

Of its silences. Is this where God hides

From my searching? I have stopped to listen,

After the people have gone,

to the air recomposing itself

For vigil. It has waited like this

Since the stones grouped themselves about it.

These are the hard ribs

Of a body that our prayers have failed

To animate. Shadows advance

From their corners to take possession

Of places the light held

For an hour. The bats resume

Their business. The uneasiness of the pews

Ceases. There is no other sound

In the darkness but the sound of a man

Breathing, testing his faith

On emptiness, nailing his questions

One by one to an untenanted cross

(From Collected Poems, 1945-1990. P180.)

Hope revisited

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Kent Nerburn also finds hope in the everyday… in the quiet corners of the ordinary.

Like Chittister (yesterday) he finds hope lies in the small actions we perform everyday which have the power to transform not only our own lives, but the lives of other people.

“We are not saints, we are not heroes.

Our lives are lived in the quiet corners of the ordinary.

We build tiny hearth fires, sometimes barely strong enough to give off warmth. But to the person lost in the darkness, our tiny flame may be the road to safety, the path to salvation.

“It is not given us to know who is lost in the darkness that surrounds us or even if our light is seen. We can only know that against even the smallest of lights, darkness cannot stand.

“A sailor lost at sea can be guided home by a single candle.

A person lost in a wood can be led to safety by a flickering flame.

It is not an issue of quality or intensity or purity.

It is simply an issue of the presence of light.”

Picture is‘candlesanctuary2’ byJonny Baker

 

The Untried Melody

I will sing a new song.
I must learn the new song for the new needs
I must fashion new words born of all the new growth in my life – of my mind – of my spirit.
I must prepare for new melodies that have never been mine before,
That all that is within me may lift my voice unto God.

How I love the old familiarity of the wearied melody,
How I shrink from the harsh discords of the new untried harmonies.

Teach me, my Father, that I might learn with the abandonment and enthusiasm of Jesus,
The fresh new accent, the untried melody,
to meet the need of the untried morrow.

 (Howard Thurman)

This is a favourite prayer of mine (because I love to sing and the imagery appeals). Also it reflects my experiences of ministry so far. There have been so many transitions to live through with my congregation in such a short time and I have learned new songs for the new needs.

Sometimes I long for a period of stability – to have time for a melody to get wearied! But maybe it is better to be kept on my toes, to expect the unexpected in the dawn of the untried morrow?

Picture is ‘st cuthbert’s cross’ by Jonny Baker on Flickr

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