Monday, March 30, 2009
There is a time just before I leave the Vestry to take a Sunday Service. It is a special, hallowed time, what the Christian intelligentsia might call Kairos time: (Time as a moment, time as occasion, time as qualitative rather than quantitative, time as significant rather than dimensional).
It seems to always be different and yet in so many ways the same. Some weeks I may be more nervous than others, sometimes I may feel more prepared than others. Sometimes I picture myself like St. Peter about to step out of the boat and walk in faith towards the Lord Jesus, sometimes I feel compelled to kneel on the floor with my head bowed in submission. Often I experience a huge, almost overwhelming sense of my own inadequacy to say or do anything worthwhile for God, unless somehow in some way He is able to work in me and through me. Sometimes I feel inspired, strengthened and energised, other times I feel heavy-hearted, tired and would rather still be in bed, but usually I am fluctuating somewhere between the two extremes.
God is good.
Friday, March 27, 2009
We are just back from visiting family in Wales for a few days (availing of the recession-friendly ferry prices)! One of the highlights of our trip was a visit to the National Botanical Garden of Wales. The Glasshouse is very impressive: Designed by Norman Foster, it is the worlds largest single span Glasshouse measuring 110m long by 60m wide. The internal landscape covers 3500m square metres. The dome consists of 785 panes of glass, most of which are 4m x 1.5m and weighing about a tonne each!
With all the talk about the bad stuff we are doing to our planet it's great to see an example of us being the "co-creators" that we were made to be.
Anyway, I highly recommend a visit to these gardens if you ever find yourself in South Wales - even the drainage channels are interesting...
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
This beach can often be found deserted throughout the year (save for the odd sunny day here and there). Yesterday the sun was out - and so were the crowds (sort of). I think the people on the beach help to give depth and scale to the picture.
My inspiration here was that greatest of photographers, Ansel Adams, specifically his picture "Point Sur, Storm", taken in 1946. Have a look at the link it is a great photo.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The news at the moment just seems so grim. The murders in Northern Ireland threatening to reignite cross-community tensions, the terrible attack on two young couples last night in Drogheda, ten shot dead in a school in Germany, another ten in Alabama. This goes alongside daily news of appalling bombings and shootings in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan that occur with such frequency that we find ourselves suffering from "compassion fatigue".
Then of course we have the ‘mini budget’ to look forward to on April 7th. I don’t think that there’s going to be anything ‘mini’ about it at all – Raking €5 Billion (or whatever the ridiculous amount is), off the tax payers seems more like a ‘colossal budget’ to me.
Sad too is the treatment of the Cork County Hurling manager, Gerald McCarthy, having to resign his position because of death threats. At least the Champions league results brought some cheer for Liverpool and Chelsea Supporters.
What brings the most cheer for me though is knowing that despite all the bad news, despite all the tragedy and horror we have a God who understands what it is like to suffer, to die, to be rejected and hated and through all of that showed that love, sacrificial love, is the most powerful and potent and precious thing in all the world...
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:3,4 NLT)
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Sedimentary my dear Watson! Approaching the above cliff towards the end of a beach walk brought back happy memories of Geography field-trips at school. I find it absolutely fascinating to think how cliffs like these were formed. Look at all the different undulating layers, they've been twisted and turned over with unimaginable force and power. The rolling rippled rocks in the foreground look like a fossilised beach. Petrified sand - one day it's a beach then somehow in someway it gets turned into stone! I don't even begin to know or understand half of what has gone on here (my A-level Geography career ended nearly twenty years ago now ;-) Of course things such as this fill me with awe and draw me closer to God. It is almost sacramental, a masterpiece of the Creator's hand almost magnetically drawing the observer who will see into a state of humility and even worship.
As I pick up a handful of sand and let the tiny grains roll over my fingers, I consider the mind-bending truth that there are more stars in the Universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches on this tiny little blue planet of ours...
Reminds me of a verse from Romans:
But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. (Romans 1:20 Message)And also Bob Dylan's "Every Grain of Sand"
In the fury of the momentOh and for those who don't get excited by a bunch of crumbling rocks, the second picture of some Sandpipers might do it for you!
I can see the Master's hand
In every leaf that trembles,
in every grain of sand.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
This morning we awoke to find that snow had finally arrived in our part of the world. We had watched enviously as the rest of Ireland and our friends across the water had been literally buried in the stuff a few weeks ago whilst we had had what could only be generously described as “a light dusting”.
Unfortunately, even as I write this it is melting ☹. Such is the price for living in the semi-tropics of the Cork Riviera…
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
This is the view from someone's front door! I knocked and no one was in, so as I was writing a note to put through the door I turned round and thought 'wow'! O.K., on the left you can see Fota Island and then Great Island beyond. On the right you have the edge of Little Island in the middle and then beyond looks towards Passage West. Again on the left you can just make out the railway line that goes from Cork via Fota to Cobh and then the ugly remains of the old Fertilizer manufacturing plant in the middle - and here concludes our short tour of the north-west of Cork Harbour area!
Monday, March 2, 2009
Great to see the garden coming to life yesterday with a brief bit of sunshine. My Welsh blood reminded me that it was St. David's day and it was difficult not to burst into a rendition of "Land of my Fathers" in the back garden - but if I had it would have sent the neighbours scurrying indoors for cover and caused all the birds to fly away - so I managed to refrain... :-)