Celtic Midday Prayer

I’ve posted before about the Northumbria Community, a dispersed, worldwide, network Christian Community, committed to a new way for living. Source

Over the years, I’ve found their Daily Prayer books and website helpful, especially in troubled times when they provide much needed grounding and routine.

The Daily Office – Morning, Midday and Evening Prayer – is at the core of the life of the Northumbria Community. A regular cycle of daily prayers constitutes the essential rhythm of life around which other activities can take their proper place. Source

In this simple weekday devotional I would like to point you to their Midday Prayer, which can be used by individuals or groups.

Why not take some time to thoughtfully pray this today and in the coming days?

Proportion (Ben Jonson)

It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:
A lily of a day
Is fairer far in May,
Although it fall and die that night;
It was the plant and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures, life may perfect be.

Ben Jonson (1572-1637)

Pride Month (A Christian Reflection)

As an observer (and sometimes participant) in discussions between Christians about LGBTQ+ issues, it’s clear that they need to be seasoned with grace in a way that is often (sadly) not the case.

These are not the clear-cut black and white issues some people seem to assume. There are many Christians who have thoughtfully and prayerfully considered all the issues in scripture, and have come to other than the traditional view of love and marriage.

Love and grace needs to be shown by all Christians, along with humility towards LGBTQ+ people; many of whom have been deeply hurt, or have even taken their own lives, in part because of the attitudes of some Christians and the Church.

See also: Undivided (Vicky Beeching)

This is how truth is twisted…

…by cowards hiding behind anonymous profiles on Twitter:

  1. I express an anti-racist comment.
  2. I’m mocked for expressing this opinion.
  3. I’m told I’m anti-white.
  4. I’m told (in bad English) that I’m the real racist.
  5. I’m categorised as ‘you people’.
  6. Therefore my opinion doesn’t count.
  7. There’s no discussion, even though I’m polite.
  8. I’m sworn at!
  9. I block them!

Alternative ending…

  1. I’m ignored.
  2. I don’t block them.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the problem!

Tarkus (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)

This classic album by Emerson, Lake & Palmer was released on 14 June 1971, and I still don’t fully understand what it’s all about. But Tarkus is prog rock, and so it doesn’t really matter. Overblown, pretentious, and glorious. I probably drove my parents mad playing this vinyl LP.

The first side (yes, this is before CDs) comprises a long, seven part piece that is open to interpretation. Towards the end there’s a contrapuntal section, when the two parts are separated by the left and right channels so you can switch between the two using the balance control.

There’s a variety of tracks on the second side, including an obligatory church organ, de rigueur for any self-respecting prog rock keyboard player of the 70s.

The album ends with a wonderfully exuberant rock and roll tribute to engineer Eddy Offord, Are You Ready Eddy?

Are you ready, Eddy, to turn out rock-and-roll?
Are you ready, Eddy, ready to rock-and-roll?
Are you ready, Eddy, to give me some of your soul?

Are you ready, Eddy, to pull those faders down?
Are you ready, Eddy, to pull those faders down?
Are you ready, Eddy, to turn your scully round?

Not the greatest prog rock album ever, but worth a revisit nevertheless.

Only Seeds

A rather late in the day (I nearly didn’t make it) Sunday devotional based on a Lectionary reading for today – Mark 4:26-34 (click to read).

A new shop opened up in the village. A woman went in and found God behind the counter.

‘What are you selling here?’

‘Everything you could possibly wish for.’

‘Oh good. I’ll have happiness, wisdom, love, freedom from fear, and peace, please. Oh, and for everyone.’

‘Sorry, you got it wrong. I’m not selling any fruits. Only seeds.’

Anon.

She Walks in Beauty (Lord Byron)

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Lord Byron (1788-1824)

Annular Solar Eclipse (2021)

On 10 June 2021 there was an annular solar eclipse, when the Moon is too far from the Earth to completely cover the disc of the Sun. The Moon was only two days past apogee (its farthest distance from the Earth) and so a ‘ring of fire’ appeared around the Moon.

Not many people were around to see it though, as it was only fully visible in very northerly latitudes. The ground track where the full eclipse was visible began in Arctic Canada, then passing across northwestern Greenland, the Arctic Ocean (it crossed the North Pole), finishing off in the far corner of northeastern Siberia.

The width of any solar eclipse path is always narrow (this time 527 km across), but a partial eclipse was visible over a much wider area of the northern hemisphere. I was able to briefly see a ‘bite’ taken out of the Sun from Northern England when it was behind some thick cloud, but it was only a very quick glance.

Important Note: Never look directly at the Sun.

See also: A Very British Eclipse

Sonnet 120 (William Shakespeare)

That you were once unkind, befriends me now,
And for that sorrow, which I then did feel
Needs must I under my transgression bow,
Unless my nerves were brass or hammered steel.
For if you were by my unkindness shaken,
As I by yours, y’ have pass’d a hell of time,
And I, a tyrant, have no leisure taken
To weigh how once I suffer’d in your crime.
O, that our night of woe might have remember’d
My deepest sense, how hard true sorrow hits,
And soon to you, as you to me, then tendered
The humble salve which wounded bosoms fits!
But that your trespass now becomes a fee;
Mine ransoms yours, and yours must ransom me.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)