Wednesday, 29 April 2015
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
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....
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.
If you get simple beauty and nought else,
you get about the best thing God invents.
Look thy last on all things lovely-
Walter de la Mare
Thursday, 23 April 2015
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 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
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
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.