Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Stony-faced Welcome!

Canon A570IS, f4, 1/60 sec, ISO 80, 5.8mm

This fellow with the curious expression greets worshipers on their way into Christchurch in Rushbrooke, Cobh. I wonder who he is? Some famous Anglican like Latimer, Ridley, or Cranmer? Maybe one of the Apostles? Maybe the Architect of the church building? Maybe the winner of a competition (held in the 1860's and presumably on a scratchcard) to "win a carving of your head to be placed at the entrance to the church being built in Cobh!?"

The thing is that he is always there, come rain or shine (hence the heavily pock-marked face). It doesn't matter that the service starts at 9.45 am on a Sunday morning and he's been out the night before, he is to be found at church every time, without exception. Now that's what I call dedication...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Pick up the stick and throw!

"Play with me!"
Nikon D70s 1/500 sec, f11, ISO 200, 18mm, RAW

We love going down to Garrettstown beach near Kinsale and it seemed that last Saturday, even though the weather wasn't great many other people (and animals) had the same idea. There we were making sandcastles and digging holes when we had an unexpected (and uninvited) visitor in the shape of a very hairy, wet and sandy dog. Our canine companion had kindly brought a stick with him and kept coming a little closer and dropping the stick then coming closer still. No doubt he couldn't believe how thick I was being, after all he was a dog and he was giving me a stick - go figure! Eventually he pestered me so much that I picked up the stick and threw it (not nearly far enough). The furry wet sandy mass came to life, bounded after the stick and hastily brought it back. I sort of was enjoying the game now so I went to pick up the stick again - but he grabbed it before me and wouldn't let go! The game of 'throw' had now become a game of 'tug'. I wasn't a good playmate, he soon got bored and ran off to find someone else who could do better...

I'm reminded of what Jesus said about persistence in prayer. There was a man who had a late night visitor but not enough food to give him, so he went over to his friends house to borrow some food. But the friend shouted out from upstairs that the door was locked and his children were in bed and to come back in the morning. But the man kept on and on asking until eventually the friend gave him the three loaves of bread he was asking for (Luke 18). The point I suppose is that sometimes God wants to see just how much we really want what we are asking Him for, is it just a whim or is it something that we are heartfelt and passionate about? If we persist asking God will eventually pick up the stick and throw!

Jesus said: "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." (Luke 11:9-10)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Glimpses of Heaven

"Early Bird..."
Panasonic FZ50, f4.0, 100 ISO, 88 mm Jpeg

We all have ephemeral glimpses of heaven but I suppose that sometimes we are too busy to notice. How many times have I missed a moment of divine beauty because I was fretting about a parish meeting or wondering how I was going to pay the tax return?! Often such glimpses are unexpected, as in driving around the corner to see little more than the shadow of a deer just vanishing into the forest or the glimpse into the soul of a newborn baby when they open their eyes for the first time. Sometimes they are more planned such as in reaching the summit of a mountain on a clear day and then trying to absorb the sheer scale of the magnificently crafted landscape beneath you. Perhaps the most surprising thing of all is that God's beauty is everywhere, to be found in every person, each of whom He has made in His own image and to be found in all that the Creator's hand has touched...

One morning I was standing out the front of our house to have a better look at the misty yet colourful sunrise that was taking place - it was a special moment. Out of the mist came a single bird flying towards me. Without thinking I lifted up my camera and took the picture you see above. A lucky shot? Yes, and one that reminds me of the beauty of God's creation that I take too often for granted...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Lambeth Conference

It is interesting to read Bishop Paul's blog on his time at Lambeth. One of the things I hope and pray will happen is that the Bishops will be able to understand each other - they come from a vast range of backgrounds and cultures and many of them are very hurt by the issues surrounding a certain American gay Bishop. Some are hurt because he was consecrated in the first place, others because he was not invited to the Conference at all.

These are our Spiritual leaders and more than ever it seems they need our prayers. May God do something very profound and special at Lambeth and may it result in the Gospel message being proclaimed with greater force, energy, conviction and power than ever before...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Belvelly, Cobh

Canon A570is 2 exposures made into panorama

I'm really blessed to have such a scenic parish to drive around in. This photo is taken on the Cobh side of Belvelly Bridge. The sign that greets you gives directions for Cobh going on the left and right roads, which can be quite confusing for the uninitiated! The Norman Keep in the picture is actually for sale - you can just make out the large auctioneers sign above the parked minibus - needless to say, it would take a bit of work. I drive over this bridge several times a week - though it is nearly always at its best early on a Sunday morning when I am on my way to church in Cobh. Many time I've wished I had my camera to capture a silvery winter sunrise or the glorious blue of a midsummer's day (not too many of those mind you). So last Sunday morning I made sure I did have the camera and here is the picture - the clouds were not nearly that dark in reality, it is just the extra contrast produced by taking the shot into the sun.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ballywilling Strand

Canon A570is, 3 exposure panorama

We discovered this wonderful place recently on a family outing, a relatively hidden beach not too far away from the much more popular Garryvoe Beach in East Cork. I wonder who lives in that little house, not a bad view - though perhaps a bit scary during a winter storm?!

I'm thinking of starting a blog...

This is the first of what I hope will be many blog entries. I don’t know how it will take shape, so the format may change as I get more of a feel for the sorts of things I would like to write and the photographs I would like to show. The sensation is a bit like I’m poking my head around the side of the stage curtain and seeing what’s out there!

I chose the title "Imprints of Light" because that is what photographs are, literally the light coming through the lens and imprinting an image on to the digital sensor (or film). There is also a parallel with God's Light in us, as He transforms us and shapes us through the inworking of the Holy Spirit, scattering the darkness of our hearts...