Ordinary Times – Awakenings

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Holding On.

Malcolm Guite recently reflected (actually I re-read recently) his awakening in his sonnet for Colmcille (St Columba) and this lead to my own reflection on mine. Before I get to my story I have to write down today’s deep thoughts forming within my heartstrings.

I am sat here re-listening to Ólafur Arnald’s new project, ‘Island Songs’ and his stirring recording of Icelandic poet Einar Georg reciting his poem about a river from his childhood. To listen to an indigenous language of nature is like listening to his heart whisper. It gives you, the listener, that deepest ache in your heart, a stirring that you cannot explain; your own heart whispers back from it’s source and an internal creation relives and is reborn every moment. Christ whispers to us in this way.

I wondered how Jesus would have sounded, speaking in his own language but I understand and know the Word is eternal and ingrained within our very spark at our core. Christ whispered to me through my deep love of my own human roots, in our fair Isles’ Celtic heritage and ancestry and He set my spark, re-ignited my indigenous eternal voice on the threads of my weaving. He trembled my warp and my weft and set His Golden Thread amongst my raw and rustic whisperings that was once lost and unattached. Christ loves my wildness and He keeps my sett beating to our heartbeat’s whisper. What is beautiful about the introduction to Ólafur’s composition is that he says that, after consideration with his translators, some of Einar’s Icelandic words cannot be translated but merely that we should enjoy the beauty it reflects in its sound. This is so with Christ’s words … they need no explanation as the beauty is in the way it conveys a single thought through a vibration of love for a place, for a moment, for people. Whatever the situation, outcome or action. Love and the knowledge that God hangs on to me whatever the situation, the outcome or the action, He has my thread in His hand.

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In my sketch, GOD has a handful of my wild threads ready to set my warp and weft and highlight His Golden Thread that has always been in me.

Malcolm’s sonnet for Columba can be found here, https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/columba-and-my-calling-4/

Ólafur Arnald’s wonderful composition can be found here,

Malcolm sent me his Weaving Song … this should be part of my life’s soundtrack. Found here.

Weaving One of my shawls, handmade by me, TAW.

An Addendum: my own awakening? Many years ago during the last Millenium, I attended a Church service at my parish church on the spur of the moment. The title caught my eye, “A Celtic Evening Liturgy” (c) Iona Community. I went in and when I heard and read the line, “We believe, O God of all the peoples, that you created our souls and set their warp..” I was finished, in a heap. I spent the rest of the evening service in tears. This was the moment Christ picked up my warp and weft and re-trembled the fibres, setting God’s Golden Thread within mine in all my wildness and yearning. I had something to grasp, to hold on to, to cherish and to love always. Upon looking back on my intermittent diaries and written down dreams, the thread and the warp has been a theme running through the Living Water within me. As poetic or full of nonsense this may sound, this is my truth and I do not need to justify it. It has happened amongst a treasured handful of spiritual moments and encounters that keeps me on His path when times are incredibly tough. I relive this joy in times of need. This is my warp within Christ and it is a strong warp. TAW 2016.

FB_IMG_1449012249739 My own shawl, made by me, that I wear xXx.

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Ascension Day in Ordinary Times, Easter Season

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Thalassa.

My parish church used to observe such feast days on the actual day with beautiful but simple evening services. My parish is now victim to convenience and these services have been unceremoniously cut from my community’s calendar. It is so wrong to do this. Church is not a Sunday observance which it has fast become. For some people, church during the week in a quiet service was the only way they could attend for a variety of reasons from forced work commitments to hidden persecution, of which persecution on a Sunday still happens today for a Christian. The only church door open for me at the moment is the local Roman Catholic church and that is only because it is now run by a strict patriarchal order of monks – better than nothing? They might not share  Communion with me but they give me much needed spiritual space within a sanctuary.

Malcolm’s sonnet for today from his book, ‘Sounding the Seasons’, has me reflecting on the line, ‘whilst we ourselves become his clouds of witness’ and I wonder if we really are that any more if the church only observes feast days through convenience on the nearest Sunday? Even the smallest attendance on the right day warrants being a cloud of witness, two or three attending would suffice and by being a presence and by opening the parish church door today we become a witness.

How can we ‘wane darkness into light’ when our own church puts its light under the bushel and hides it behind a closed door? Are we so used to grey days now that we no longer lift our heads to see the sun peeking through the cloud for that brief moment? Does that not make you smile any more, to know that His presence is always there? Do we let the sea overcome us and the waves swell that we no longer understand the right response?

As an addendum, Christ makes me feel uncomfortable in challenging me to respond in the way that I do because I want to feel His joy and not my sorrow. Having said that, if I do not feel uncomfortable then I become stagnant and my growth stops, it is not an easy process. Being a Christian woman is not an easy path, not for me anyway because I am spurned to feel so passionate about particular things and I have to challenge myself why I feel the way I do in order to make sense of my world and Christ within it, and Christ within me. Some days leave me empty.

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My idea stuck for today’s reflection before I read Malcolm’s sonnet but after finding out we had no service tonight for Ascension. Christ as the Light coming through the clouds. I am going to add a veil to the drawing so that we have the invitation to lift it up if we wish to seek Christ. This might not be important for me now at this moment but could be in months to come when I revisit my diaries. The Greek word “Thalassa” is one that has been much misinterpreted and one used as an example in highlighting the importance of the right translation. The tale we had as NT Greek students was that the NIV translated it to ‘waves’ in the passage when Christ tamed the storm (Mark 4:35-41), to the point where it could have been understood that Christ could only command the waves and not the entirety of the seas. Are we then, as witnesses, to behave like waves or to respond collectively like the seas?

Malcolm’s wonderful sonnet can be found here.

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Easter Tides – 14th April 2016

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Fragrant Tears

Wanting to write and not being able to write are moments that I now accept. It’s a void space of knowing not which way to go, I’m without direction and without prayer. What has been on my mind I do feel compelled to write about and this has been spurned on by reading one of Malcolm’s poems from ‘The Singing Bowl’ about the old altar, “Communion Table, St Edward’s, Cambridge”.

Sat here in my little garden, in a rare and longed for moment of sunshine, Malcolm’s poem stuck with me and here, on my old and weather worn garden table I had already placed a small bowl of water, a candle, a terracotta bowl of burning incense and a dried red rose. ‘Here’s the old forgotten altar’ I thought and I set about drawing the image in my mind – the rose of Mary Magdalene, the Living Water and our prayers offered in incense on an old altar that has not been forgotten and often honoured and remembered by the women down the ages whilst the men raged on in theological battles.

We have one today in my own Diocese … ‘new expressions’, ‘pioneer ministers’ or whatever they want to call it, in a bid to get young blood in the door at a huge sacrifice to the already attending faithful. It is not the change but the way it has been done, at the expense of others’ spirituality (already a delicate thing in today’s society). Liturgy has survived for over one thousand years and will do so for a lot longer. I remember the words of John Philip Newell in his new book, “The Rebirthing of God”, that the Church will fall away but it is our duty to ensure Christ continues whatever the latest fad or finance pushes onto us.

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DSC_2674 Diary entry and painting on the old table.

The link to Malcolm’s sonnet, here it is called “This Table”, and is the fourth sonnet on this page.

DSC_0016 John Philip’s website can be found here.

Advent Diary -14th December 2015

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Rolling Seasons

Out with the old and in with the new doesn’t always seem to work. Sometimes the old and new clash with such ferocity that flints spark, crumble and fall; the spark ignites the new yet invigorates the old and it has to be that both have to exist in unity, interwoven eternally and one cannot exist without the other.

All creation is born from all, just as the roots reach down to caress old bones and old foundations, giving out to its decay by releasing nutrients into the soil and therefore sustaining new growth. In Britain, the old faith lives in the new, both as old as each other though the Divine Creator remains above all creation in all aspects. This unity must be something to build from, to lay down new foundations upon the old. The dying gives nutrients to new life and woven in and out through all threads is the bright Light that exists within us; for me this is the Christ Light, my Divine Spark. Logos is the thread, GOD is the Creator.

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The old and the new and the old. The Goldfinch, St John the Baptist’s scroll and cross, the Green Man.

Malcolm’s spoken word can be found here.

https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/2015/12/14/autumn-by-david-baird/

Ordinary Times – the Word in Creation

IMG_20150831_201815In our hands. The ending and beginnings of seasons.

Discovering Malcolm’s Seven Whole Days roundels on Creation happened at the right time to conclude this volume of my small and faithful diary notebook. This ‘beginning journal’ has taken me on an incredible journey from the tender and innocent beginnings of Lent, as a newly birthed creature, through the emotion and pain of birth and then loss of another to the awakening dawn of my Morning Star, inspired by Malcolm’s sonnets. And then, to confirm that God sings to us through others in perfect sense, He uses current human events to confirm His Creation to unfold the awe-inspiring sequence that happens every day, every hour and second; that there is a birth and an unfolding, a passing of life and a folding and every incident is blessed in prayer and in Light. Nothing goes unnoticed.

This Summer, through ordinary times, I have discovered this truth in every day and given praise and thanks as life unfolds in the simplest of things and I am ever in awe of life’s simplicity. Treasure things in your heart and ponder on them.

Malcolm writes, “… and on the cross, in darkness on this day, You made us new” (Day VI). Christ’s resurrection happens every day with every event and it is our journey to discover the awakenings in Creation with the dawn chorus, the Sun rising and setting, the birds flying from leaf to hedge and the awakening within ourselves as we honour this life and our place in it.

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  Malcolm’s roundels can be found here.

DSC_0018 Lenten Diary 2015, accompanied by “The Word in the Wilderness” by Malcolm Guite.

http://www.malcolmguite.wordpress.com  

Ordinary Times – Ramblings on a Cosmic Scale …

IMG_20150801_002034 Cosmos and the Moon.

It has been amazing. The past couple of months have been on a celestial scale, quite literally; not only with the scientific achievements but with the feast days celebrated. New Horizons reached the far depths of the Cosmos to Pluto and now beyond, meteor showers are about to start, the alignment of the two planets that could have been the origins of the Star of Bethlehem (worked out to mathematical formulae of its appearances) and the Blue Moon occurrence this week.

This year I have been transfixed with the Aurora Borealis as it’s colours have come into most of my drawings and I sit and ponder upon what it is God wants me to convey. At this moment, it is the vast expanse of His beauty and creation.

Songs have been composed around sounds recorded in space … the Gospels should always be heard as well as read. Somewhere I read that God does not talk to us but sings to us. I was in awe of that single thought. Our whole world is in song from the depths of the ocean to the far reaches of our atmosphere, all in tune with one another as ecosystems balance their reliance upon each other.

If I were able to create such beauty, I too would sing for an eternity. God’s song softens our modern and often hardened hearts. His song soothes our battle weariness. His song brings us healing in every whisper and echo that is present within his Creation. We must strive to listen to His song.

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Upon checking Malcolm’s site for a poem, searching for ‘cosmos’, he has indeed written such a sonnet … again God gives me surprises and an affirmation that this is something He perhaps wants us all to focus on – the entirety, the beauty, the expanse and the order of His cosmos (and I love the NT Greek in this). It is so important that we interpret correctly not only the ancient NT codexes but also His message to us and reflect upon this.

Malcolm’s poem sheds a whole new light onto my diary entry.

https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/for-god-so-loved-the-world/

Lenten Diary – Ascension and Pentecost.

IMG_20150704_090031  Crucifixion, Ascension and Living.

Ascension and Pentecost are always difficult to reflect upon but perhaps only sometimes. Ascension is the pinnacle of the Easter season for me – the actualisation of Christ’s true being, of one with the Father. But it is His feet that I focus upon.

His crucified feet show the absolute, raw human suffering with blood, grime, bruising and abuse in such a graphic way that your eye cannot bear the pain.

His resurrected and ascending feet are pure, clean and in childlike innocence as the last physical presence to leave the earthly realm.

Then, His Living feet in every foot on this earth, me and you as His representative. If only we could unclothe our own feet, to touch the dew soft grass in innocence with naked and bare skin so that we can truly feel what it is to be alive in Him in His Creation.

We clothe our feet to hide ourselves from Eden, to shield our self from the painful reality of truly walking in His footsteps in the most difficult aspect of our own pilgrimage – to be truly Christlike.

IMG_20150704_090110 A Trinity of Presence, a Trinity of feet.