Thursday, 5 November 2015


Angels of the Creation of Days by Sir Edward Burne Jones

" The more materialistic science becomes, the more I shall paint angels: their wings are my protest in favour of the immortality of the soul."

                                                                                 Sir Edward Burne Jones

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

The Canticle of the Sun

Most High, all-powerful, all good Lord, all praise is yours, all glory, honour and blessings.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong; no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

We praise you, Lord, for all your creatures, especially for Brother Sun, who is the day through whom you give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour, of you Most High, he bears your likeness.

We praise you, Lord, for Sister Moon and the stars, in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.

We praise you, Lord, for Brothers Wind and Air, fair and stormy, all weather's moods, by which you cherish all that you have made.

We praise you, Lord, for Sister Water, so useful, humble, precious and pure.

We praise you., Lord, for Brother Fire, through whom you light the night.
He is beautiful, playful, robust and strong.

We praise you, Lord, for Sister Earth, who sustains us with her fruits, coloured flowers, and herbs.

We praise and bless you, Lord, and give you thanks, and serve you in all humility.

                                              Extract from the Canticle of the Sun, by Saint Francis of Assisi.

" Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years."
Laudato Si' #53

" Yet all is not lost.  Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start."
Laudato Si' #205

Let us sing as we go.  May our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope."
Laudato Si' #244

                               Extracts from Pope Francis' Encyclical "Laudato Si' "

Monday, 10 August 2015

Behold a Tree

     Watercolour by Margaret M Brownlow

Behold a tree.  Outwardly it has a hard and rough shell, appearing dead and encrusted, but the body of the tree has a living power, which breaks through the hard and dry bark and generates many young bodies, branches and leaves, which, however, all are rooted in the body of the tree.
Thus it is with the whole house of this world, wherein the holy light of God appears to have died out, because it has withdrawn and seems dead.  But love ever again and again breaks through this very house of death and generates holy and celestial branches in this great tree, and which root in the light.

                                         Jakob Bohme (1575 - 1624)  German Christian mystic and theologian.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

To All I Leave

Nothing to give, nothing to leave but life,
Nothing to take, nothing to grasp but eternity.
Material possessions have I non
But a body of skin and bone.
In the vast mountains of my mind, ranging high,
In the deep caverns of my heart, reaching far,
Spiritual possessions have I many
And a soul for the future, ready.

To all I leave the seasons changes
And the ever changing beauty each season brings,
The ocean depths, the mountain ranges,
Each beast, each creature, each bird that wings
Away across earth's beloved surface
To soar to heaven, to greet the eternal.
Stars on courses mapped out in space,
Planets revolving around the sun infernal.
Moon's cool gleam at deep of night,
A beacon for nocturnal creatures.
The grace to accept the gift of sight
And possess all that nature teaches.

For all I ask both real and inner peace,
The sublimation of baser human traits,
Violence, robbery, libel, all to cease,
To civilise man; an acceptance of fates
Decrees and service to all others,
So to receive continued grace.
Seek not the gold that smothers
As foul hands upon a face.
Pollute not youth's happy, carefree years
But rather cleanse the heart of sin,
Of bitter, disillusioned tears,
Bequeathing spiritual peace within.


Wednesday, 15 July 2015

The Sower

Bharadvaja, a wealthy Brahman farmer, was celebrating his harvest-thanksgiving when the Blessed One came with his alms-bowl, begging for food.

Some of the people paid him reverence, but the Brahman was angry and said: "O samana, it would be more fitting for thee to go to work than to beg.  I plough and sow, and having ploughed and sown, I eat.  If thou didst likewise, thou too, wouldst have something to eat."

The Tathagata, answered him and said: "O Brahman, I,too, plough and sow, and having ploughed and sown, I eat."

"Dost thou profess to be a husbandman?" replied the Brahman.  "Where then are thy bullocks?  Where is the seed and the plough?"

The Blessed One said: "Faith is the seed I sow: good works are the rain that fertilizes it; wisdom and modesty are the plough; my mind is the guiding-rein; I lay hold of the handle of the law; earnestness is the goad I use, and exertion is my draught-ox.  This ploughing is ploughed to destroy the weeds of illusion.  The harvest it yields is the immortal fruit of Nirvana, and thus all sorrow ends."

Then the Brahman poured rice-milk into a golden bowl and offered it to the Blessed One, saying: "Let the teacher of mankind partake of the rice-milk, for the venerable Gotama ploughs a ploughing that bears the fruit of immortality."

                                                                           Taken from the Gospel of the Buddha.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Meander 6

The pain of grief is just as much a part of life as the joy of love,
it is perhaps the price we pay for love, the cost of commitment.

        John Bolam, March 1989.  Essay on bereavement, final sentence.


One only sees clearly with the heart.
What is essential is invisible to the eyes.

                                         Atoinne de Saint Exupery


Hide not your talents.  They for use were made.
What's a sundial in the shade.

                                        Benjamin Franklin


Dependence on the Holy Spirit is sometimes made an excuse for doing no homework before speaking, but the Holy Spirit cannot, of course, work on nothing.
It is the well-stored disciplined mind that is the vehicle of the Spirit.

                                         Denis Duncan


The distances between us, so vast and so close, are so easily bridged
not by what we make but by what we feel.

           from 'Worlds Apart'  'The Outer Limits' series BBC2 , 24th.March 1997


What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly.

In order to live free and happily, you must sacrifice boredom.
It is not always an easy sacrifice.

                                                           Richard Bach

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Seeking Truth

Whoever sincerely seeks truth with an open heart will find it revealed in the Master.

We do not need knowledge of Hebrew or Greek, but we do need to be united with the Spirit.
This Spirit guided the prophets and followers who recorded His words, and this Spirit alone can reveal their true meaning to us.

The language of the Master is spiritual, and we can only understand its meaning if we are awake in spirit.  We do not need to know or understand anything about theological questions or criticisms.
Indeed a child can most readily grasp the Master's teaching, for the child is still united with the spiritual world from which it came.  But those who possess wisdom that is only of this world can never understand, for the Master's spirit is not in them.

                                                                                                  Sundar Singh (1889-1929)

Monday, 29 June 2015

Prayer of St.Francis

Peace Rose - photo by Kosebamse

O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace,
Where there is hatred permit that I bring Love,
Where there is offence, that I bring pardon,
Where there is discord, that I bring union,
Where there is doubt, that I bring faith,
Where there is error, that I bring truth,
Where there is despair, that I bring hope,
Where there is sadness, that I bring joy,
Where there is darkness, that I bring light.

O Master, allow it that I do not seek so much
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to Love,
For it is in giving that we receive,
In forgiving that we are forgiven
In dying that we resurrect to Life Eternal.


After the shooting on the beach in Tunisia, the beheading in France and the bombing of the Mosque in Kuwait this is all I can think of to say.  Humankind, what are we doing?

Thursday, 25 June 2015

He suffers not.

 House Sparrow photo by Mkummerer

He suffers not a Sparrow's fall, they say..
He is Omnipotent and full of Wonder.
Do these little ones look up and ponder
About their sparrow claws and sparrow limbs today?
Does He remark their place?  When they are found.
Does Glory shine around?

Jonni Stratton-Brooke  -  December 1984

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Father's Day

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.

                                                           Book of Common Prayer 1928


Gracious Spirit, Master, Lord of Light and Love,
Allow the stream of your Holy Spirit to flow through all creation,
Grant that we may partake of you Love, Light, Peace and Healing;
Enable us to forgive, in Love, all our wrongs and all wrongdoers.
Guard and guide us as we unite with you,
For we are Spirit now and seek to be at one with the soul of the universe.
In Love and Peace.


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Inner Healing

  People may find, perhaps for a time, and very often it is matter of complaint, that they try to attend and cannot; they say the Psalms over with their lips, but their minds are all the while upon their own troubles
  Thus they seem to feel to themselves, and they are tempted to say, 'What good is this worship doing me?'  But if they persevere they will find, bye and bye, that all their wounds have been healing secretly.
  It may be, their seeming weariness is a trial, by which the enemy is permitted to vex them, and if they resolutely refuse to give way to it, it may cease altogether, and they may find, even in this world, what a joyful and pleasant thing it is to be thankful.

John Keble (1792-1866) English clergyman and poet, one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement.
               Keble's feast day is kept on 14th. July and a commemoration is observed on 29th.March.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Sweet Star of Hope

Sweet star of hope,so clear and bright,
shine on and cheer my yearning sight,
how dark the world would be to me,
did I not gaze sweet star on thee.

A foretaste of the realm divine,
is given forth by rays of thine,
shine on sweet star above my way, 
and guide me to the perfect day.

When sombre clouds obscure the light,
and all is wrapped in shades of night,
my eyes can pierce the gloom around,
until thy radiant beams are found.

A foretaste of the realm divine,
is given forth by rays of thine,
shine on sweet star above my way,
and guide me to the perfect day.

When fades the light of friendship's smile,
when love and faith no more beguile,
and o'er the earth we blindly grope,
how welcome is thy light, sweet hope.

A foretaste of the realms divine,
is given forth by rays of thine,
shine on sweet star above my way,
and guide me to the perfect day.

by W Dexter Smith Jnr.  (1842-1909)   American songwriter.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Wedding Day

Stained glass window of symbols of marriage at St.Blasius Church, Mosbruch.
Photo by Reinhardhauke.

The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean.
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle
Why not I with thine?

by Percy Bysshe Shelley  (1792-1822)

Today my great-niece Valerie Shexnayder will be married to Austin DeArmond in Louisiana.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Statements of Intent

I have no one thing left to hold me,
No tie, no blood familiarity,
No mark upon my head, no forelock, no race.
I am colourless, odourless and unclassified,
I am flawless,

My estates are entailed, my baggage packed,
And discarded,
My money changed and my gold coined.
I have no memory
And no hindsight,
No alliance, no allegiance.
I own nothing, I owe nothing,
I am clear,

I have broken the circle
And stepped the line;
I have burnt the bridge
That brought me to this shore,
My trail ends here, confronted by this sea.
I shall step, I will not be diverted,
I will leap, I will not be dismayed,
I shall thrust, I cannot be harmed or hindered now;
I am winged,

I am willing.
I shall take nothing
And follow nothing,
Only the unperceiving, burning line.
I will move and I will motivate,
I will bring light
Into the dark places,
And burn there as a beacon,
I will not be extinguished.
Without conceit or concealment,
With hope and trust alone,
I am truly and totally
Ready to go.
                                                   by John Edmonstone

I have had the above in my scrapbook since the 1980's but the only reference I can find to a John Edmonstone is to the scientist who taught taxidermy to students in Edinburgh University including Charles Darwin. Whether this is by that John Edmonstone I do not know.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

A Quiet Place

Each one must make a quiet place
Within his heart, where he can go
To find himself, and for a space
Drink deeply where still waters flow.

by Inga Gilson Caldwell

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

I shall live beyond death.

I shall live beyond death, and I shall sing in your ears even after the vast sea-wave carries me back to the vast sea-depth.
I shall sit at your board though without a body, and I shall go with you to your fields, a spirit invisible.
I shall come to you at your fireside, a guest unseen.

Death changes nothing but the masks that cover our faces.
The woodsman shall be still a woodsman, the ploughman, a ploughman.
And he who sang his song to the wind shall sing it also to the moving spheres.

                                                   Extract from 'The Garden of the Prophet' by Kahlil Gibran

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Camphill Prayers 5

Bread is not our food.
  What feeds us in the bread
Is God's eternal Word,
  His Spirit and His Life


To Thee, oh higher life,
  Give thanks our life,
That our body, through Thy body,
  May be nourished.


May the deed become strength,
  May the light become wisdom,
May the word become goodness,
  When faithfully we serve the Spirit.


May our endeavour turn into strength,
  May the light we received shine on as wisdom,
May the word we have spoken engender goodness,
 When faithfully we serve the Spirit.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The Concern of Men

Gilgamesh, whither are you wandering?
Life, which you look for, you will never find.
For when the gods created man, they let
Death be his share, and withheld life
In their own hands.

Gilgamesh, fill your belly ---
Day and night make merry,
Let days be full of joy.
Dance and make music day and night,
And wear fresh clothes,
And wash your head and bathe.

Look at the child that is holding your hand,
And let your wife delight in your embrace.
These things alone are the concern of men

                          Taken from 'The Epic of Gilgamesh' - Mesopotamia

(Sent to me one birthday by my son Ashley)

Thursday, 14 May 2015

A Celtic Prayer

The Invocation of Light

Kindle this little light on the earth-plane.
I dedicate it to the service of the Spirit.
I guard and cherish this light as a living symbol,
And an act of faith in the reality of the powers of light.

Friday, 8 May 2015

The Life that I Have.

The life that I have is all that I have,
And the life that I have is yours.
The love that I have of the life that I have,
Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have,
Yet death will be but a pause,
For the peace of my years in the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.

                                                                         by Leo Marks    

Leo Marks wrote, in 1989 :  
'By March 1944 agents were using codes printed on silk.  But if agents lost them they had to rely on poems they had memorised.  For security reasons, it was important that these poems were original compositions.  In all I wrote 28 poems for agents.  To me they are codes rather than poems.
Violette (for whom this poem was composed) was executed at Ravensbruck.  Many of the other agents for whom I wrote poems did not return from the field, and I resolved never to write another.'

                                      Violette Szabo GC  (b1921 - executed February 1945)

Today is the 70th. Anniversary of VE Day, which was celebrated just four days before my ninth birthday and which I remember for the street parties, but today I also remember, with sadness, the terrible loss of lives, civilian and military on all sides.

Monday, 4 May 2015

The Spirit of Immortal Life

It is true that the body is mortal, that it is under the power of death; but it is also the dwelling of Atman, the Spirit of immortal life.  The body, the house of the Spirit, is under the power of pleasure and pain; and if a man is ruled by his body then this man can never be free.  But when a man is in the joy of the Spirit, in the Spirit which is ever free, then this man is free from all bondage, the bondage of pleasure and pain.

The wind has not a body, nor lightning, nor thunder, nor clouds; but when those rise into the higher spheres then they find the body of light.  In the same way, when the soul is in silent quietness it arises and leaves the body, and reaching the Spirit Supreme finds there its body of light.  It is the land of infinite liberty where, beyond its mortal body, the Spirit of man is free.  There can he laugh and sing of his glory with ethereal women and friends.  He enjoys ethereal chariots and forgets the cart of his body on earth.  For as a beast is attached to a cart, so on earth the soul is attached to a body.

Know that when the eye looks into space it is the Spirit of man that sees; the eye is only the organ of sight.  When one says "I feel this perfume," it is the Spirit that feels; he uses the organ of smell.  When one says "I am speaking," it is the Spirit that speaks; the voice is the organ of speech.  When one says "I am hearing," it is the Spirit that hears; the ear is the organ of hearing.  And when one says "I think," it is the Spirit that thinks; the mind is the organ of thought.  It is because of the light of the Spirit that the human mind can see, and can think, and enjoy this world.

All the gods in the heaven of Brahman adore in contemplation their Infinite Spirit Supreme.  This is why they have all joy, and all the worlds and all desires.  And man who is on this earth finds and knows Atman, his own Self, has all his holy desires and all the worlds and all joy.

                                                                                 Extract from the Chandogya Upanishad.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

We gather together

We gather together to ask the Lord's Blessing;
  he chastens and hastens His will to make known:
the wicked oppressing now cease from distressing,
  sing praises to His name, He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
  ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
so from the beginning the fight we are winning;
  Thou, Lord wast at our side: all glory be Thine.

We all do extol Thee, Thou leader triumphant
  and pray that Thou still our defender will be,
let Thy congregation escape tribulation,
  Thy name be ever praised! Oh Lord make us Free!

                                              Words by Nederlandtsche Gedenckelanck  1626

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Meander 5

Humankind has not woven the web of life,
  we are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
 All things are bound together,
all things correct....
                                   Chief Seatle


Teach your children what we have taught our children -
  that the Earth is our Mother.


Don't be dismayed at good-byes.
  A farewell is necessary before you can meet again.
And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes,
  is certain for those who are friends.

                                   Richard Bach


If you get simple beauty and nought else,
  you get about the best thing God invents.

                                     Robert Browning

Look thy last on all things lovely-
   Every hour-----

                                   Walter de la Mare

Thursday, 23 April 2015

A Melody of Love

God speaks to us in bird and song,
  in winds that drift the clouds along;
Above the din of toil and wrong,
  a melody of Love.

God speaks to us in far and near,
  in peace of home and friends most dear;
From the dim past and present clear,
  a melody of Love

God speaks to us in darkest night;
  by quiet ways through mornings bright;
When shadows fall with evening light,
  a melody of Love.

God speaks to us in every land,
  on wave-lapped shore and silent strand;
By kiss of child, and touch of hand,
  a melody of Love.

O voice Divine, speak Thou to me,
  Beyond the earth, beyond the sea;
First let me hear, then sing to Thee,
  a melody of Love

             by Joseph Johnson (1848-1926)  English Congregational Minister

                                                                                                               Photo by MMB

Friday, 17 April 2015

Our Mother

Our Mother of Perpetual Help - 15th.Century Byzantine Icon

Our Mother who art in Earth and Heaven,
(as we are in the Mother and Heaven is in us)
Hallowed, respectful,joyful Thy name.
Thy holy realm is already come,
Thy will awaits us to be done.
Give us this day the strength to love,
To be the lion and the dove.
Forgive us as we tread your flowers,
Ignoring duties that are ours.
Lead us from annihilation
To celebrate all creation,
For we share in the life and in the power
And in the glory forever and ever.

                                   Priscilla Baird Hinckley

I have had this cutting in my scrapbook since the mid 1980's and the only reference I can find to the author is that she wrote a booklet for the Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation.

Saturday, 11 April 2015


One night a man had a dream.  He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord.  Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.  For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at te footprints in the sand.  He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints.  He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life

This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it.  "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way.  But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints.  I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me."

The Lord replied,  "My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you.  During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."
                                                                         by Mary Stevenson (1922-99)

        Photo by Michal Osmenda.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Oscar Romero's Words

                                                  Photo - Sakramentskirken, Copenhagen

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No programme accomplishes the Church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realising that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own..

   Oscar Romero, Archbishop of El Salvador, murdered whilst saying Mass on 24th. March 1980.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Tree of Life

Sing, my tongue,                                                                        Pange, lingua, gloriosi
Tell His triumph far and wide;                                                    proelium certaminis,
The Savior's glory;                                                                      et super Crucis trophaeo
Tell aloud the famous story                                                         dic triumphum nobilem,
Of His body crucified;                                                                 qualiter Redemptor orbis
How upon the cross a victim,                                                      immolatus vicerit.
Vanquishing in death, He died.

Eating of the tree forbidden,                                                        De parentis protoplasti
Man had sunk in Satan's snare,                                                    fraude Factor condolens,
When our pitying Creator did                                                      quanda pomi noxialis
This second tree prepare;                                                             morte morsu corruit,
Destined, many ages later,                                                           lignum tunc notavit,
That first evil to repair.                                                                damna ligni ut solveret.

Faithful Cross!                                                                              Crux fidelis,
Above all other,                                                                             inter omnes
One and only noble Tree!                                                              arbor una nobilis;
None in foliage, non in blossom,                                                   nulla talem silva profert,
None in fruit thy peers may be;                                                     flore, fronde, germine.
Sweetest wood and sweetest iron!                                                 Dulce lignum, dulci clavo,
Sweetest Weight is hung on thee!                                                  dulce pondus sustinens!

                                                by Venantius Fortunatus (530-609)  In this extract from a hymn written for the procession that brought a part of the true Cross to Queen Radegrund in 570 Venantiius supposes that the cross on which Jesus died was made from wood grown from a cutting of the tree from which Adam and Eve ate the fruit.

The photo,above, by Marie-Lan Nguyen, is of 'The Holy Cross plus two Trees of Life' (circa 950AD)
with the inscription 'Jesus Christ conquers'. This is the centre section of the Harbaville Tryptych, in the Louvre.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem

              Mural in the Franciscan Church, Bethphage.  Photo by

.....he called his twelve apostles unto him and said,
This day we go up to Jerusalem; be not afraid; my time has not yet come.
Now, two of you may go unto the village of Bethphage, and you will find an ass tied to a tree, and you will see a little colt near by.
Untie the ass and bring her here to me.  If any one inquires why you take the ass, just say, The master has need of her; and then the owner will come on with you.
And the disciples went as Jesus bade them go; they found the ass and colt a-near an open door; and when they would untie the ass the owner said, Why would you take the ass away?
And the disciples said, The master has need of he, and the owner said, 'Tis well.
And then they brought the animal, and on her put their coats, and Jesus sat upon the ass and rode into Jerusalem.
And multitudes of people came and filled the way, and his disciples praised the Lord and said,
Thrice blessed is the king who in the name of God is come!  All glory be to God, and peace on earth; good will to men!
And many spread their garments in the way, and some tore branches from the trees and cast them in the way.
And many children came with garlands of sweet flowers and placed them on the Lord, or strewed them in the way, and said, All hail the king!  Long live the king!
The throne of David shall be built again.  Hosanna to the Lord of hosts!

The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ.  Chap.151 v 3-14

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Only God I Saw

In the market, in the cloister - only God I saw,
In the valley and on the mountain - only God I saw.
Him I have seen beside me oft in tribulation;
In favour and in fortune - only God I saw,
In prayer and fasting, in praise and contemplation,
In the religion of the Prophet - only God I saw.
Neither soul nor body, accident nor substance,
Qualities nor causes - only God I saw.
I oped mine eyes and by the light of His face around me,
In all the eye discovered - only God I saw.
Like a candle I was melting in His fire;
Amidst the flames out flashing - only God I saw.
Myself with mine own eyes, I saw most clearly,
But when I looked with God's eyes - only God I saw.
I passed away into nothingness, I vanished,
And lo! I was the All-Living - only God I saw.

                                by Baba Kuhi of Shiraz, Iranian Poet-Saint, died 1050AD.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

What is Death

Death is nothing at all.  I have only slipped away into the next room.  Nothing has happened, everything remains exactly as it was.  I am I, you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.  Whatever we were to each other, that we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in that easy way you always used.  Put no difference in your tone.  Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.  Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.  Let my name be ever the household word it was, let it be spoken without effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

Life means all that it has ever meant.  It is the same that it ever was.  There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.  Nothing is past, nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.

                                            by Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918)  Canon of St.Paul's Cathedral

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Spirit of God

                                               Photo taken at Upper Powburn by MMB

Spirit of God
Fill all,
Fill their Souls.
To their souls give strength,
Strength also to their hearts,
Their hearts that seek for Thee,
Seek Thee with earnest longing,
Longing to be whole and well,
Whole and well and full of courage,
Courage, the gift from the hand of God,
Gift from Thee, O Spirit of God,
Spirit of God,
Fill all.


Let brotherly love continue.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers;
for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

                                                                      Hebrews 13 v 1-2

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Book of Life

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
                                                                             Revelation 20:12

On the dead for whom once Thou diest, Lord Jesus, have mercy,
On the living for whom Thou ever livest, have mercy.
Thou who wast arraigned before a corrupt judge, O Incorruptible Judge, have mercy,
Thou who knowest what is in man, O Son of Man, have mercy.
Thou whose works were all good, have mercy.
Thou whose life, in the sight of the unwise, once hung in suspense before Pilate, have mercy.
Thou who Thyself ever knowest what Thou wilt do, have mercy.
On the small, mercy.
On the great, mercy.
Thou who art unlike us in Thy sinlessness, on us sinners, have mercy.
Thou who art like us in Thy Humanity, on us Thy brethren and Thy sisters, have mercy.
Blot out our evil works from Thy Book of Works, and have mercy.
Write our names in Thy Book of Life, and have mercy.
Blot not out our names, but have mercy.
Give us tears from the Fountain of Thy Mercy.
Store our tears in Thy bottle, with Thine own tears shed for us in pure mercy.
And whatever we lack let us not lack Thy mercy.  

From 'The Face of the Deep' by Christina Rossetti (1830-94)

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Meander 4

'Dalescape' oil on canvas by Margaret M Brownlow

Watch, O Lord, over the little birds and protect the trees and fields from the anger of the storm; 
for Thou art merciful and full of Love.


Only those return to Eternity,
Who on earth seek out Eternity.


God made our bodies temples for our souls, and they should be kept strong and clean to be worthy of the deity that occupies them.


The truly religious man does not embrace a religion, and he who embraces one has no religion.


More quotations from my scrapbook by Kahlil Gibran.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Creator God

Creator God,
As we journey through this world
give us the grace to allow your Holy Spirit to work through us.
Help us to speak, think and work with honesty and compassion,
to celebrate all that is life-giving,
to restore hope where it has been lost,
and to bring about change where it is needed.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our companion.

                                                                      Linda R Jones


"Forgiveness is a skill for a good life, just like reading, writing or arithmetic.
I forgive and then I claim my power back."

Quotation by Eva Kos, a holocaust survivor.  She and her twin sister were subjected to medical experiments by the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele in Auschwitz.

Friday, 27 February 2015


When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree;
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain;
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.

                                           Christina Rossetti  (1839-94)

Monday, 23 February 2015

A Glance at the Future

From behind the wall of the Present I heard the hymns of humanity.  I heard the sounds of the bells announcing the beginning of prayer in the temple of Beauty.  Bells moulded in the metal of emotion and poised above the holy altar - the human heart.

From behind the Future I saw multitudes worshipping on the bosom of Nature, their faces turned towards the East and awaiting the inundation of the morning light - the morning of Truth.

I saw the city in ruins and nothing remained to tell man of the defeat of ignorance and the triumph of Light.

I saw the elders seated under the shade of cypress and willow trees, surrounded by youths listening to their tales of former times.

I saw the youths strumming their guitars and piping on their reeds and the loose-tressed damsels dancing under the jasmine trees.

I saw the husbandmen harvesting the wheat, and the wives gathering the sheaves and singing mirthful songs.

I saw woman adorning herself with a crown of lilies and a girdle of green leaves.

I saw Friendship strengthened between man and all creatures, and clans of birds and butterflies, confident and secure, winging towards the brooks.

I saw no poverty; neither did I encounter excess.  I saw fraternity and equality prevailing among man.

I saw not one physician, for everyone had the means and knowledge to heal himself.

I found no priest, for conscience had become the High Priest.  Neither did I see a lawyer, for Nature has taken the place of the courts, and treaties of amity and companionship were in force.

I saw that man knew that he is the cornerstone of creation, and that he has raised himself above littleness and baseness and cast off the veil of confusion from the eyes of the soul; this soul now reads what the clouds write on the face of heaven and what the breeze draws on the surface of the water; now understands the meaning of the flower's breath and the cadences of the nightingale.

From behind the wall of the Present, upon the stage of coming ages, I saw Beauty as a groom and Spirit as a bride, and Life as the ceremonial Night of the Kedre.

                                                                                                            Kahlil Gibran

( Night of the Kedre - a night during the Moslem Lent - Ramadan - when God is said to grant the wishes of the devout.)

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Briefly it enters, briefly speaks.

'The Light of the World' by Holman Hunt

I am the blossom pressed in a book,
found again after two hundred years....

I am the maker, the lover, and the keeper....

When the young girl who starves
sits down to a table
she will sit beside me....

I am food on the prisoner's plate....

I am water rushing to the well-head,
filling the pitcher until it spills....

I am the patient gardener
of the dry and weedy garden....

I am the stone step,
the latch, and the working hinge....

I am the heart contracted by joy...
the longest hair, white
before the rest....

I am there in the basket of fruit
presented to the widow....

I am the musk rose opening
unattended, the fern on the boggy summit....

I am the one whose love
overcomes you, already with you
when you think to call my name....

                       by Jane Kenyon (1947-95)  American Poet and Translator

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Finding God Within

"Universal Man" from a 13th.C copy of Hildegard von Bingen's 'Book of Divine Works'

What then is heaven to a reasonable soul?  Truly nothing else but Jesus God  For if heaven is only that which is above all things, then God alone is heaven to man's soul, for he alone is above the nature of a soul.  Then, if a soul can through grace have knowledge of that blessed nature of Jesus, truly he sees heaven, for he sees God.  So there are many men who err in understanding some things that are spoken of God, because they do not understand them spiritually.

Holy Scripture says that a soul who wants to find God must lift her inward eye upward, and seek God above herself.  Some people who want to put this teaching into practice, understand this word 'above' to signify the setting of one thing above another in place and worthiness of bodily position.  But that is not the case when the word is taken spiritually; for a soul is above every bodily thing, not visibly in location, but in purity and worthiness of his unchangeable blessed nature.

And therefore whoever wants to seek God wisely, and find him, must not run away with his thoughts as if he would climb above the sun, and cleave the firmament, and imagine his majesty to be like to a hundred suns.  But he must rather draw down the sun, and all the firmament, and cast it beneath the place where he stands, and put all this, and all physical things too, at nought.  And then, if he can, he should think spiritually both of himself and of God also.  And if he does so thus, then the soul will see above itself, then will it see into heaven.

In the same way this word 'within' should be understood.  It is often said that a soul shall see our Lord 'within' all things and 'within' itself.  It is true that our Lord is within all creatures, but not in the way that the kernel is hidden within the the nutshell, or as a little bodily thing is contained within a greater.  But he is within all creatures, as holding and preserving them in their being, through the subtlety and power of his own blessed nature, and invisible purity. 

For just as something which is most precious and clean is laid within wrappings, so it is said metaphorically that the nature of God, which is most precious, most clean, most goodly, most remote from bodily substance, is hidden within all things.  So whoever wants to seek God within, must first forget all bodily things, for all such things are on the outside, as with his own body.  And he must stop thinking of his own soul, and think on uncreated nature, that is, Jesus, who made him, keeps him alive, preserves him, and gives him reason, memory and the power to love.  Jesus God is within him through his power and sovereign subtlety.

Extract from 'The Ladder of Perfection' by the English Augustinian Mystic  Walter Hilton (1343-96)

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Camphill Prayers 4

Sun, earth and air
Have wrought by God's care
That the plants live and bear.
Praising God for this food,
In truth live we would
Bearing beauty and good.


The bread from corn,
The corn from light,
The light from the countenance of God.
From the glory of God
May the fruits of the earth
Bring light into being
Within our hearts.


For the food we have, we give thanks,
And ask for those who have not
The Grace of Your Love
And the favour of Your Bounty

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Midnight Breakers

'Point Judith, Rhode Island' - Oil painting by Martin Johnson Heade (1819-1904)

Tonight, as midnight breakers raked and rolled
The glistening pebbles down the streaming beach,
I glimpsed a sombre glory, dark and cold;
A majesty beyond my spirit's reach.
And looking heavenwards I saw a star,
Vivid and true, trapped in the folds of night;
A pin-point beacon blazing from afar,
Enthralling every surging wave with light:
Flickers and flares of pale and austere gold
Marking the swell of sea towards the land,
Where midnight breakers pulled and raked and rolled
The glistening pebbles through the weeping sand . . .
                                                                        Febrin LePadden

Friday, 30 January 2015


Red figured wine jug with two horse chariot passing a finish post.  British Museum.
Photo by Carole Raddato, Frankfurt, Germany.

Life is a ... what? A dream? A walking shadow?
   A joke, as Gilbert said, That's just begun?
Better to say a game of chance, a lottery
   You may have lost,or, at the reckoning, won.

A game indeed, a cap from which each player
   In times gone past drew his allotted spill,
Which left him on unequal terms with others,
   A hand i' cap, to test his strength of will.

Fortunes may sometimes seem to rob the gifted,
   But gives them other qualities instead:
As colours blazed from Renoir's crippled fingers,
   As music thundered in Beethoven's head.

'How sad!' we say, embarrassed by affliction,
   Buying a flag to fit a buttonhole;
Think of the damaged who are not defeated,
   The drowners in self-pity who are whole.

There was a horse that triumphed in the derby,
   There was a rider who never would say die:
The heart may know a hundred ways of winning,
   The only way to fail is not to try.

              by Roger Woddis  (1917-93)     This poem was published in the Radio Times in 1981,                                                                             according to the yellowing cutting in my scrap-book.
I think the second line of the last verse is a reference to the steeple-chase jockey Bob Champion who fought his battle with cancer to return to the sport to win the English Grand National in 1981 on Aldaniti.  This horse had, in 1979, received severe fractures to his right hind leg and the vets. had recommended that he be destroyed.  A winning combination in so many respects.

Monday, 26 January 2015

The Touch of The Master's Hand

                                                  Violin - Vuillaume  photo by Frinck51

'Twas battered and scarred, and the Auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin
As he held it up with a smile.
"What am I bid for this old violin?
Who'll start the bidding?" he cried.
"A dollar! - who'll make it two?
Two dollars - who'll make it three?
Three dollars, once, three dollars twice,
And going and gone", said he.
But no!
From the room far back came a grey haired man.
He wiped the dust from the old violin
And tightened up all the strings.
He played a melody pure and sweet,
As sweet as an angel sings.
The music ceased and the Auctioneer
In a voice soft and low
Said, "What am I bid for the old violin?"
As he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars! - who'll make it two?
Two thousand! - who'll make it three?
Three thousand once, three thousand twice
And going gone!" said he.
The people cheered but some of them cried,
"We do not understand!  What changed its worth?"
Swift came the reply,
"Twas the touch of the Master's Hand"
And there's many a man
With his life out of tune,
Who's battered and torn with sin
And auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd
Much like the old violin.
A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He's going once, he's going twice,
He's going and he's almost gone.
But the Master comes and the foolish crowd
Cannot quite understand
The worth of a soul
Or the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Master's hand.

I've had this piece of paper in my scrap-book for some years.  The poem is not attributed to anyone but is obviously of American origin.  If you can enlighten me please do so.

Thanks to Ashley I can now attribute the poem, which was written in 1921, to Myra Brooks Welch  (1877-1959)  of La Verne, California, USA.

Friday, 23 January 2015

When the Soul finds God

God never discourages a seeker by judging his or her beliefs to be wrong.  Rather, God allows each person to recognise spiritual error or truth by degrees.

 The story is told of a poor grass cutter who found a beautiful stone in the jungle.  he had often heard of people finding valuable diamonds and thought this must be one.  He took it to a jeweller and showed it to him with delight.  Being a kind and sympathetic man, the jeweller knew that if he bluntly told the grass cutter that his stone was worthless glass, the man would either refuse to believe it or else fall into a state of depression.  So instead, the jeweller offered the grass cutter some work in his shop so that he might become better acquainted with precious stones and their value.

Meanwhile, the man kept his stone safely locked away in a strongbox.  Several weeks later, the jeweller encouraged the man to bring out his stone and examine it.  As soon as he took it out of the chest and looked at it more closely, he immediately saw that it was worthless.  His disappointment was great, but he went to the jeweller and said: "I thank you that you did not destroy my hope but aided me instead to see my mistake on my own.  If you will have me, I will stay with you and faithfully serve you, as you are a good and kind master."  In the same way, God leads back to truth those who have wandered into error.  When they recognise the truth for themselves, they gladly and joyfully give themselves in obedient service.

Some say that desire is the root cause of all pain and sorrow.  According to this philosophy, salvation consists in eliminating all desire, including any desire for eternal bliss or communion with God.  But when someone is thirsty, do we tell him to kill his thirst instead of giving him water to drink?  To drive out thirst without quenching it with life-sustaining water is to drive out life itself.  The result is death, not salvation.  Thirst is an expression of our need for water and a sign of hope that somewhere there is water that can satisfy our thirst.  Similarly, the deep longing in our soul is a clear sign of hope that spiritual peace exists.  Something can satisfy our thirsty souls.  When the soul finds God, the author of that spiritual thirst, it receives far greater satisfaction than any thirsty man who receives water.  When the soul's desire is satisfied, we have found heaven.

                                                                        Extract from the teachings of Sundar Singh

Saturday, 17 January 2015

I Needed the Quiet

I needed the quiet so He drew me aside,
Into the shadows where we could confide;
Away from the hustle where all the day long
I hurried and worried when active and strong.

I needed the quiet though at first I rebelled'
But gently, so gently, my cross He upheld,
And whispered so sweetly of spiritual things,
Though weakened in body my spirit took wings
To heights never dreamed of when active and strong.
He loved me so gently He drew me along.

I needed the quiet, no prison my bed
But a beautiful valley of blessing instead;
A place to grow richer, in Jesus to hide,
I needed the quiet so He drew me aside.

                                by Alice Hansche Mortenson (1898-1988)  Racine, Wisconsin, USA

This poem, in my scrapbook, is in a cutting I took from 'The Universe' for Sunday February 1990.
It claims that the poem was written by Cardinal Cushing, Archbishop of Boston, towards the end of his life; but a little research has now led me to correctly ascribe the work to Alice Hansch Mortenson.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

On Growing Old


Thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will some day be old.
Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release  me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs.  Make me thoughtful but not moody: helpful but not bossy.  With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest Lord that I want a few friends at the end.

Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.  Seal my lips on my aches and pains.  They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by.  I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others' pains, but help me to endure them with patience.

I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessing cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others.  Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a Saint - some of them are so hard to live with - but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil.  Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people.  And, give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so. so.


Prayer of a 17th. Century Nun; anonymous.