All is still, and quiet as the early winter sun appears over the rooftops. The freshness of a new day is so welcome when the sun’s warmth is rising. Even in the cold a sunny day makes so much difference. A new day comes pristine, hopeful and full of possibilities. This is ‘day’s most sacred hour‘ – a daily gift of grace, Continue reading “A Winter Dawn”
The death of his mother when he was only 9 devastated his happy childhood. In his own words, it seemed that “the great continent had sunk like Atlantis beneath the sea.” He was left with a life of meaninglessness and despair. Continue reading “December Turned to May”
One of the glories of England’s quiet shires is the patchwork of little country parishes each with its own church and churchyard, many of them national treasures. Come and see ours and find out how mistaken Philip Larkin was!
Continue reading “An English Village Church”
Keats’ ‘gathering swallows twittering in the skies‘ have gone and last week I heard the plaintive call of a chiff chaff, a sign that other migrants are on their way back south, to warmer climes. We’re left alone to contemplate with the sad autumnal song of ‘the redbreast whistling from a garden croft’. We feel we’ve been watching summer’s ‘soft dying day‘. Continue reading “Michaelmas – angels unawares”
Imagine how miserable those first disciples of Jesus must have felt after the terrible events of Good Friday. The words of those two on the road to Emmaus say what they all must have thought ‘we had hoped that he would be the one who was going to redeem Israel……..’ (Luke’s Gospel chapter 24 verse 21) But then, on the third day, the most wonderful thing happened and all was changed.
I hope you won’t mind, but for this post I want to use a story as a sort of personal reflection on a theme dear to my own heart – the Father-heart of God. In the midst of a cold January spell of weather, I hope it will come as a cordial to warm us from the inside.
Oh Dear !
Just take a look at this rather sad looking toy rabbit. Nothing much to notice really – hardly deserves a second glance. It looks rather shabby, worn and neglected, unlike the other toys around which look shiny and new, fresh from their Christmas-wrapped boxes.
However, first appearances can be deceptive, as we will soon see: Continue reading “The Velveteen Rabbit”
Immensity cloistered in thy dear wombe,
Now leaves his welbelov’d imprisonment,
There he hath made himself to his intent
Weak enough, now into our world to come;
But Oh, for thee, for him, hath th’Inne no roome?
Yet lay him in this stall, and from the Orient,
Stars, and wisemen will travel to prevent
Th’effect of Herod’s jealous general doom;
Seest thou, my Soul, with thy faith’s eyes, how he
Which fills all place, yet none holds him, doth lie?
Was not his pity towards thee wondrous high,
That would have need to be pitied by thee?
Kiss him, and with him into Egypt goe,
With his kind mother, who partakes thy woe.
This old verse is part of the poet John Donne’s 7 verse poem ‘La Corona’ (The Crown) about the life of Christ from the Annunciation to the Ascension.
What Glorious ‘Impossibilities’!
The Maker is made , the One who is everywhere is ‘cloistered’ in a womb, the All powerful Creator comes in the weakness and vulnerability of a babe, the God of love, becomes an infant needing a mother’s loving care. We walk on holy ground here!
The line that has been ringing in my ears since hearing this poem read out aloud (as all poetry should be) is ‘Immensity cloistered in thy dear wombe’.
How wonderful that though there was ‘no room in the inn’, there was room in Mary’s womb—a place where Immensity could be ‘cloistered’ – staggering thought. We can all identify with this, since we have all come from a mother’s ‘womb’ – a place of security and warmth were life can begin. We can identify with Jesus as he identifies with us, not just from ‘the cradle to the grave’, as we sometimes say, but from the womb to the Resurrection – the whole of life.
Have a heart felt and Christ filled Christmas this year.