Spreading our wings

Patterns of nature

I have been really struck by the simplicity of the natural world as I have watched ducklings, goslings and now cygnets venture out on the water not long after hatching. They soon follow the lead of their parents in feeding and cleaning themselves. It is truly lovely to watch. I have been struck by the resonances between young birds venturing out and us venturing out as aspects of lockdown have been lifted. The latest announcements have led to much planning and preparation as people seek to bring more familiar aspects of our society out of hibernation; it can be really reassuring to see more signs of ‘normality’ returning to our communities.

On the other hand, in Leicester, we seem to be seeing an increase in cases; this has led to talks of a local ‘lockdown’. I have not found significant media speculation very helpful over the last number of months, but this comes as a stark reminder of the threat that continues to loom. One thing which seems ever apparent is that it is difficult to have any sense of certainty about anything in these times…I have found certainty however, in nature.

I’ve recently read Losing Eden by Lucy Jones which I highly recommend. The core thread running through it is that our minds need connection with wild, natural, world to be well – this connection brings clarity and a sense of something bigger – perspective. I have really noticed that when I have been able to walk or to sit in the garden, to listen to the birdsong, to feel the sun on my face, I have found comfort and refreshment, even amidst uncertainty and unfamiliar circumstances. This is one revelation from being in lockdown that I do not want to lose – what are your signs of hope during lockdown that you wish to hold on to?

Beyond the Study

The comfortable security
gently draws me in.
The old leather arm chair
sits in the corner waiting
to envelope, to take me home,
back to a time and place
which no longer exists
with the charm and charisma
of wonderful nostalgia.
The leather smell releases
as I sink deep into the chair
which empowers the dreamer
to dig deep into the soul.
I close my eyes to explore
the space and place I have
been brought – past, present, future?
None of it beyond reckoning –
I am outside time and space.
I sit at the top of a castle tower,
overpowered by darkness.
Light clusters around a small candle
to my left – I reach out for it
and take it as I tentatively lean
towards the top of the steps
the urge to step out and explore
overtakes me…and I go!

Sorrows and joys

#444 As part of #eveningprayer this evening we were invited to #symbolise giving our #sorrows and #joys to God by releasing stones to represent our sorrows and petals to represent our joys. The stones sink in the water, in the same way that God envelops and surrounds them for us and with us. Equally the petals float, just as God holds our joys with us and encourages us to flourish in them. Tonight I #pray that all those with sorrows on their heart might be held and #comforted by God, and that those with joy would be encouraged to #flourish. Amen.

The robin

#344 It’s funny how people who have recently been bereaved find comfort in the presence of something their loved one liked or admired. We met this beautiful #robin yesterday who danced around us for a good few minutes, and was just lovely. #godinnature #presenceofgod

Presence of God

#216 The #comfort of the #presenceofgod was hugely over-powering during this worship. With Rachmaninoff Vespers playing, incense burning, the opportunity to light candles, or just sit and pray the atmosphere was immense! Thank you for #inspirationalcolleagues (at Cuddesdon)

Crying Out For Calais

#44 #home and #comfort are perhaps things that we have come to take for granted in some parts of the world. Yesterday was a bit of a chilly day and I spent much of the day on the sofa reading. I felt comfortable, safe and secure, as I pray many of us do at home. With the #refugeecrisis however I expect the #refugeecamps are a very different picture, with very little comfort or homeliness. When it’s cold, many people will just have to be cold, when it rains, their clothes are wet. They don’t have a wardrobe of clothes to consult, often they have only what they stand up in. In our #morningprayer reading yesterday Jesus was asked about entering the Kingdom of God. He said ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ I’m not sure that Jesus was referring to literal wealth as much as a mindset regarding how you use, or do not use your wealth. Equally, I would not consider myself a rich person at all, but as I think about the disparity between my home, comfort and possessions, and those of #refugees in #calais, the only conclusion I can come to is that I must act. How could we do anything but say #refugeeswelcome – after all we are ALL children of God, aren’t we?
www.crowdfunder.co.uk/crying-out-for-calais (at Ripon College Cuddesdon)