reflecting my eclectic (and sometimes erratic) life
Author: John Ager
Salvation Army Officer (in retirement) who likes technology, Radiohead and F1. Married to Naomi. Runner. Christian with an open heart and mind. Left of centre. Freedom, justice and equality. Feminism. LGBTQ ally. Interfaith dialogue with those of all faiths and none. Geek. Personal views.
The England football team, staff, and manager, represent the country I want to live in. A country that works as a team, values diversity and inclusion, and stands up to injustice despite opposition. A forward looking, thoughtful, brave, open, and compassionate country.
Unfortunately, a vision made more difficult to achieve by Brexit, but I still hope and strive for it. C’mon England!
Football is a microcosm of all human life: the best and the worst, the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, the triumphs and the sorrows, the successes and the failures, the ecstasy and the agony, the beauty and the ugliness. Love it or loathe it, you can’t escape it. You have to deal with it.
What better vehicle is there to teach our children human character, the value of working as a team, and emotional intelligence for their adult lives? And, in the light of the result, I would add the need to demonstrate graciousness in defeat.
Every year churches around the world celebrate Sea Sunday on the second Sunday in July. It’s a day for people to come together to pray for seafarers and fishers, and thank them for the vital role they play in all of our lives. Here’s a Bible reading (click on the link), a hymn, and a prayer for you to use.
Eternal Father, strong to save, Whose arm hath bound the restless wave, Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep Its own appointed limits keep: O hear us when we cry to thee For those in peril on the sea.
O Saviour, whose almighty word The winds and waves submissive heard, Who walkedst on the foaming deep, And calm amid its rage didst sleep: O hear us when we cry to thee For those in peril on the sea.
O Holy Spirit, who didst brood Upon the chaos dark and rude, And bid its angry tumult cease, And give, for wild confusion, peace: O hear us when we cry to thee For those in peril on the sea.
O Trinity of love and power, Our brethren shield in danger’s hour; From rock and tempest, fire and foe, Protect them wheresoe’er they go: And ever let there rise to thee Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.
Almighty God, we remember those whose lives are lived on your great oceans. For those who go down to the sea in ships, we give thanks; they enrich our lives at great personal cost. May they daily feel the strength of your protection, the warmth of your presence and the love of your relationship as they seek hope of safe passage. Pray for seafarers who are stranded at sea and forced to survive using only the resources available around them. Comfort them in times of loneliness and need and remind them that, in you, they are never alone, particularly when they are struggling with poor weather conditions or sickness. Amen.Source
The England football song Three Lions (1996) (sometimes known as It’s Coming Home) can come across as arrogant, and arrogance is something often attributed to England (and sometimes more widely to Great Britain). Sadly, with good reason considering our attitudes and history. Equally, this arrogance is also felt in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Unlike other football songs, the lyrics express the disappointment of being a football fan. It’s actually about dreaming, recognising that the result might go against us, but still believing and hoping.
I think it’s bad news for the English game We’re not creative enough, and we’re not positive enough
It’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming Football’s coming home (We’ll go on getting bad results) It’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming Football’s coming home It’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming Football’s coming home It’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming Football’s coming home
Everyone seems to know the score, they’ve seen it all before They just know, they’re so sure That England’s gonna throw it away, gonna blow it away But I know they can play, ’cause I remember
Three lions on a shirt Jules Rimet still gleaming Thirty years of hurt Never stopped me dreaming
So many jokes, so many sneers But all those “Oh, so nears” wear you down through the years But I still see that tackle by Moore and when Lineker scored Bobby belting the ball, and Nobby dancing
Three lions on a shirt Jules Rimet still gleaming Thirty years of hurt Never stopped me dreaming
England have done it, in the last minute of extra time! What a save, Gordon Banks! Good old England, England that couldn’t play football! England have got it in the bag! I know that was then, but it could be again
It’s coming home, it’s coming Football’s coming home It’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming Football’s coming home (England have done it) It’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming Football’s coming home It’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming Football’s coming home
(It’s coming home) Three lions on a shirt (It’s coming home, it’s coming) Jules Rimet still gleaming (Football’s coming home It’s coming home) Thirty years of hurt (It’s coming home, it’s coming) Never stopped me dreaming (Football’s coming home It’s coming home) Three lions on a shirt (It’s coming home, it’s coming) Jules Rimet still gleaming (Football’s coming home It’s coming home) Thirty years of hurt (It’s coming home, it’s coming) Never stopped me dreaming (Football’s coming home It’s coming home) Three lions on a shirt (It’s coming home, it’s coming) Jules Rimet still gleaming (Football’s coming home It’s coming home) Thirty years of hurt (It’s coming home, it’s coming) Never stopped me dreaming (Football’s coming home)
NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has spotted a number of ‘free floating’ planets in deep space. The telescope discovered four rogue planets with a similar mass to Earth. However, none of them were attached to our solar system.
NASA Exoplanets shared the names of the two planets and wrote that it added to the total of 4,424 found exoplanets. The two planets were named Kepler-129d and GJ849c. (July 2021)
Free-floating planetary mass ‘may represent the end-states of disrupted exoplanetary systems’, according University of Manchester researchers.
I am the great sun, but you do not see me, I am your husband, but you turn away. I am the captive, but you do not free me, I am the captain but you will not obey. I am the truth, but you will not believe me, I am the city where you will not stay. I am your wife, your child, but you will leave me, I am that God to whom you will not pray. I am your counsel, but you will not hear me, I am your lover whom you will betray. I am the victor, but you do not cheer me, I am the holy dove whom you will slay. I am your life, but if you will not name me, Seal up your soul with tears, and never blame me.
Charles Causley (24 August 1917 – 4 November 2003) was a Cornish poet, schoolmaster and writer. His work is noted for its simplicity and directness and for its associations with folklore, especially when linked to his native Cornwall.
Look how the pale queen of the silent night Doth cause the ocean to attend upon her, And he, as long as she is in his sight, With her full tide is ready her to honour. But when the silver wagon of the moon Is mounted up so high he cannot follow, The sea calls home his crystal waves to moan, And with low ebb doth manifest his sorrow. So you that are the sovereign of my heart Have all my joys attending on your will; My joys low ebbing when you do depart, When you return their tide my heart doth fill. So as you come and as you do depart, Joys ebb and flow within my tender heart.
Psalm 139 is a wonderful description of God’s spiritual care and protection, combined with a personal desire to live a life in keeping with God’s character. God surrounds us and hems us in, but not in a bad way. His light is so bright that ‘even the darkness will not be dark to you, the night will shine like the day’. The psalmist recognizes that he can’t escape from the Lord. His anxiety dissolves when he considers God’s loving care for him, even before his birth.
Towards the end, the psalmist criticises and wishes dead those who disobey God, probably because he is so committed to living his own virtuous life. This needs to be viewed in the light of the New Testament, and the love shown by Jesus to all people, even his enemies. The psalm is actually a strong affirmation of the value God places on humankind in all its variety.
The psalmist opens up every aspect of his being, character, behaviour, and speech to God’s examination. As hard as his life is, he wants to ensure his own spiritual growth so that he doesn’t come under God’s judgment.
You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with you.
If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.