MOST RECENT POSTS

In this column you will find the most recent posts unless you have selected a specific poem, meditation or collection/index in which case that single item will appear here.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

The Jesus Prayer - Taize style chant



Here at the beginning of Lent is a new penitential chant, in Taize style (below), to use with the Jesus Prayer. This prayer is a very ancient one which derives from the Orthodox tradition. Several years ago, I was drawn to this prayer by hearing Bishop Simon Barrington-Ward talking about it on a Quiet Day then reading his book (see below). Earlier, on this blog, I outlined why I find the prayer so compelling. That entry started thus:

'This is a very ancient prayer

'Lord Jesus Christ
Son of God
Have mercy on me, a sinner'.

In the book ‘Praying The Jesus Prayer Together’ by Brother Ramon and Bishop Simon Barrington-Ward (Bible Reading Fellowship: ISBN 1 S4101 147 9), Brother Ramon writes (p 111)

‘The cosmic nature of the prayer means that the believer lives as a human being in solidarity with all other human beings, and with the animal creation, together with the whole created order (the cosmos)’

and earlier in the same book, Bishop Simon writes (p42)

‘ At the heart of the creation, there must be a breaking and a re-making’

which is, indeed, the order and rhythm of the whole universe as we, at the beginning of the 21st century perceive it.'

If you look around this blog, you will understand the attraction . You can find the whole of that entry at The Jesus Prayer Illustrated which also has a link to a slide presentation of the prayer in 50 languages to represent the outreach of Jesus to every race and every tongue.

It is a prayer which can help to still the mind - perhaps using a prayer rope as illustrated at the top of this post: or it can prompt thinking in a glorious myriad of directions.

I hope the music set out here might help some want to explore more about the prayer as it is sung in a group or as a personal meditative chant. You can listen to the prayer here and read/ copy the score at the end of the post


May the Holy Spirit fall upon you if you seek to find your way into the depths of the prayer.
You might also be interested in the 

























Collection of Lent, Holy Week and Easter poems/ hymns on this blog













Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Introductory Booklet of 11 Hymns and Songs of Faith, Beauty and Science

I have been asked a few times lately to make my introductory collection of congregational hymns and songs of Faith, Beauty and Science available electronically.

A set of JPEGS follow which printed out will make up a 12 page A5 booklet to browse. All the hymns/songs can be sung to the tunes suggested which will be familiar to many fellowships and congregations. The topics covered in these 11 are
As Mighty Glaciers Recede - Climate change & Christian stewardship.
Be Still Small Earth - The cosmic signs attending Jesus’ birth.
Beyond The Farthest - DNA & moral understandings.
Cosmic Doxology - The present-now and cosmic Christ.
Does the God who Lived a Human - Injustice, false news, lies in our corridors of power. NB. The booklet pages suggest using the tune to Through The Night of Doubt and Sorrow. It is the 8.7.8.7 tune called ‘Marching’.
For Amazement by Beauty - Thanksgiving for our brain and our senses.
Give Thanks to God for Human Brains - Brains, Evolution, Age-related brain potential, medical research.
Let The Cosmos Praise its Maker - From the immense to the subatomic, Creation, Salvation.
Make us Good Stewards, Lord - Fossil fuels, plastics, possessions, injustice, the plight of the poor.
Stars and Planets Sing Your Story - The Cosmos, astronomy, the Incarnation, Redemption.
The Glorious Stars of Night’s Dark Sky - Astronomy, The Big bang, Creation. as God’s gift, Evolution, our fall and redemption








Further hymns, songs and meditations can be found at A COLLECTION OF POEMS CELEBRATING THE RICHNESS OF BEAUTY, SCIENCE AND FAITH

Saturday, 9 February 2019

A Sign of Hope: A small child in church

A little while back my d-in-law expressed her anger about her two-year-old being shushed in church. It seems from social media this happens in too many other places as well. The incident encouraged me to write the following. Feel free to pass this to others who might experience/ have experienced a similar vexation - if you feel it might be helpful


A Sign of Hope

There is hope when the voice of a young child
sounds out amidst a silence, a reading,
or prayer in a church:
for then you can thank the Holy Spirit that two, or even three
generations of a family are on a journey of faith,
making their search
to find the Saviour, who said, so explicitly,
‘Don’t ever stop them! Let the little children come to me.’

Friday, 1 February 2019

Joy of Encounter


The onset of hard weather brings visitors to our bird feeders, including the occasional beautifully coloured golden goldfinch. Seeing one a couple of days ago reminded me of this short prayer-poem that I wrote some little while ago:

Joy of Encounter.

Lord Jesus Christ,
I thank you
for those awesome moments 
of encountering
something in nature
that no mortal
would ever have dreamed
of creating.

Other similarly themed prayers/poems can be found on this blog in the Collection of Beauty, Faith and Science poems

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

The Cosmic Genesis Burst Forth, (A Celebration of Creation and Redemption)

‘Creation' by Joanna Tulloch: 
This watercolour has been used elsewhere
on this blog - in landscape
rather than portrait. This serves as a reminder that at
the moment of creation there is no up or down,
nor east or west! For details of Joanna’s most recent 
book of poetry and her art - see note at end of post.

The Cosmic Genesis Burst Forth (8.8.8.8) can be sung to ‘Pure Nobis Nascitur’/ 'Come Thou Redeemer of the Earth'

The Cosmic genesis burst forth, 
Obedient to God’s Holy Word;
As light and particles deployed
‘’Tis Good”, God cried, with holy joy. 

Amidst this glorious mystery,
Time marked the start of history,
Allowing us to estimate
When primal matter did inflate.

That vast expansion left its trace, 
as stars and gas pervaded space, 
their early light and cosmic signs 
show how our universe aligned.  

Long aeons passed whilst dying stars
collapsed and flung their matter far:
some coalesced into our sun
whose planet forming then begun.

Once light and dark on early earth
Gave rise to vegetative birth:
A world for creature forms, then ripe 
To form a host of archetypes.  

Through evolution's wondrous chain
came humankind with thinking brain.
But love, God’s plan for all the world 
was soon, alas, by sin, despoiled

So late in time God intervened
By sending Christ to bear that sin,
through dying on the cross for us.
O praise the Lord for his great grace.

I am indebted to The Revd Dr Rodney Holder, author of ‘Big Bang, Big God: A Universe Designed for Life’ for looking over the text of this hymn and making suggestions to improve the science in it. 

If you like this hymn There is a further collection of Hymns/ Songs of Faith, Beauty and Science on this blog.

If you like Joanna’s watercolour, her latest book of poetry and artwork, 'The Invitation To The Garden' is available from Troubador Books where you will find the details.


Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Earth| is our |Planet A song| hymn on |climatechange by Dr John Hobbs









Chimneys| contributing to |globalwarrming|
Credit :Wikipedia Commons
I am grateful to John, a friend of my youth for this thoughtful contribution to The |CrossandCosmos collection.
A hymn/song to gather up the risks being talked about in |COP24 in Poland| just now

Earth| is our |Planet
by Dr John Hobbs (Tune: Morning has broken) 
Earth is our planet,
Beauty God-given,
Great plains and forests
Where the beasts roam:
Blue are the oceans,
Mighty the mountains,
This is our Eden,
This is our home.

Vanishing forests,
Oceans of plastic,
Mountains of garbage,
Smoke over all,
Dwindling glaciers:
We are the stewards,
This is our failure,
This is our Fall.

Lessen pollution,
Clean up the waste now,
Power from wind, sun:
No acid rain.
Nurture green spaces,
Cherish the ocean,
Let future's children
Sing the refrain:

Repeat first verse!

Another and seasonal offering, Star of High Heaven by John can be found at HERE

Thursday, 29 November 2018

‘Sing of The East’ NEW Words to tune of 'How Can I keep from Singing’

 'Sing of the East as sunlight’s rays
wake earth in all its glory'

In the summer, at the annual conference of The Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland, I was introduced to a lovely old song which has American roots, called ‘How Can I Keep from Singing'. I felt I wanted to re-construct the song bearing in mind those who through their personal darknesses find it almost impossible to ‘keep on singing’, which is sad because it is widely accepted that singing builds a sense of well-being.

Here is what emerged. I hope it will be helpful to some and enjoyed by others. The tune can be found in a number of hymnaries including Common Ground No 51: Worship & Rejoice 2003 - 424Lift Up Your Hearts 443:Evangelical Lutheran 2006 - 763Also in a Sankey and Moody book No 356
.
Sing Of The East
Tune: How can I keep from singing.
(These verses are written in a sequence which follows the daily path of the sun in the northern hemisphere. If sung in the southern hemisphere, north and south need to be reversed: east and west remain as they are positioned in the hymn simply because both hemispheres rotate in the same direction.)

Sing of the east, as sunlight’s rays
wake earth in all its glory; 
as colours fresh emerge from dusk:
a new day of God’s story.

Refrain
Come praise the Lord for joy-filled hours
when gifts of love are brimming.
Or if should be dark clouds oppress,
Lord, help us keep on singing.

Sing of the south when mid-day sun
gives warmth and light abundant,
nurturing life in many forms 
that fill us with enjoyment.

Refrain

Sing of the west when sunset hues,
with gold and red abounding
bestow upon the clouds and skies
a beauty quite astounding.  

Refrain

Sing of the north when brilliant stars
show God’s immense foundation;
know that, though little, you are loved
by Christ who shaped creation.

                        Refrain

To find The Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland's Home page, go to https://hymnsocietygbi.org.uk/









Friday, 23 November 2018

Defiled Sanctuaries in Northumberland.

Here the darkest skies
and other exquisitely silent sanctuaries,
such as a gladed well,
where the blessed Ninian baptised,
are defiled
by the devilish thuds
of heavy weaponry.

Cynically described as ‘means of defence’,
these are no more than
demonstrations
to prospective purchasers
of the possibilities of 
inflicting yet more death, injury and mayhem,
too often on innocent victims,
deemed ‘collateral damage’
(for which, read ‘irksome to me’)
by those who seek to impose  
their power-hungry will on others;
thereby making us, seekers after sanctuary,
but citizens of this nation of arms-vendors,
complicit in that vileness.

You will find a poem entitled ‘Shame’ in a similar vein by clicking  HERE


Friday, 2 November 2018

Something new amidst the traditional Christmas music?

BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS AND LINKS TO ALL THE CONTEMPORARY CAROLS PUBLISHED ON THIS BLOG SINCE ITS START


AN ANGEL TOLD SHEPHERDS WITH GREAT, GREAT JOY (CAROL) (Click here)
A simple-to- learn children's carol which tells of the birth of Jesus and the Salvation story. This is simple enough to teach in a service and the suggested activity which can involve small or large numbers of children - and the grown-ups with them!

AT BETHLEHEM IN BORROWED CATTLE STALL (CAROL) (Click here):
 A carol based on the beautiful French folksong Plaisir D'Amour with a fanfare chorus based on the magnificent  Isaiah prophecy "Wonderful, Counsellor... 


BEFORE THE CREATION, THE WORD WAS WITH GOD (HYMN) (Click Here)
A sung version of The Christmas Gospel (John 1. 1 - 15). Sing it  to the tune 'To God be The Glory


BE STILL, SMALL EARTH (CAROL) (Click Here),
also known as 'A Carol of the Cosmos' as it celebrates the cosmic disturbances that marked the birth of Jesus. This is written to be sung to the hymn tune from Finlandia (Please observe the copyright note printed with this carol).


GO TO NAZARETH MY GREAT MESSENGER (CAROL) Click Here Imagines God instructing His Angels from The Annunciation to the warning to Joseph to flee with his new family to Egypt. Lively dance-style tune.

OVER PLAINS OF ARABIA ONE CRYSTAL NIGHT (STAR OF JUBILEE) Click HereStory of the Star sung to the Shaker Tune used for Sidney Carter’s 'Lord of the Dance’

PRAISE THE CREATOR GOD Click Here
Hills of The North Rejoice reframed to start with creation and build to the crescendo of Advent.

STABLE TALK (This Mangers Well Made) - Click HERE
A  carol that gives Joseph a ‘voice’ in the stable as he imagines the future for his new-born son

STARS AND PLANETS SING YOUR GLORY  (HYMN) (Click here).

This hymn of praise, (can be sung ‘Lux Eoi’ (preferred tune) or to the Beethoven tune used for 'Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee’ or another 8.8.8.8 tune) is suitable as a Christmas hymn but can also be used at other times to celebrate Christ as the Lord of the entire cosmos.


STAR OF HIGH HEAVEN by John B Hobbs (Click Here)
Children’s Carol for the Epiphany to the Low German Folk tune Dat Du min leefste best’.

VIVID WINTER'S MORN (CAROL) (Click here)
This carol is intended to be played and sung in rock style

Whilst this post consists of all the contemporary Carols published on this blog, there are also childrens Christmas activities on this blog which you can access by clicking HERE

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

'Faithful Heritage' - Poem for All Saints' Day (and other Saints' Days)

Faithful Heritage

Down through five-score generations
someone passed on belief for me: 
at first, maybe a disciple
who walked beside Christ, strong and free,
inspired by the love of the Master
agog with miracles seen
fervent in faith; bold after Christ’s death
proclaiming New Life, not a dream.  

I give thanks for this faith-filled lineage
as the message was handed on,
through my forbears, or friends, or through clerics;
and sometime through children, in song
with a simple delight in Christ’s stories,
and a wonderful sense of the grace 
in the actions and love of a Saviour
who’s called me, that New Life, to embrace.

Thoughts behind ‘Faithful Heritage’

For several years now particularly at All Saints’-tide, I have marveled that, if I could trace it, there would be a genealogy of believers who have passed on the faith in every generation since Jesus lived with us on earth, until it reached me. In my case my parents, grandparents and, I think, at least two of my great- grandparents are part of that precious chain. For others, it will be people completely out of their own family; but the person who helped them to faith will have their faith-genealogy too. Somewhere down those long lines there will, quite possibly, be a saint who is recognized by the church, maybe a member of The Way persecuted to death for passing on the Good News; maybe someone of Roman extract or of the Norman church; maybe a person or people from a completely different Christian source.

This poem embraces these thoughts and could be linked for an assembly/ collective worship/ all-age service  with the simple but very effective all-age activity which can be found at http://crossandcosmos.blogspot.com/2014/10/all-saints-day-activity-timeline-of.html

In the second verse, there is another possibility that we (my wife, Pam and I) have encountered from time to time – the glorious evangelism of children brought up in the faith. We know from older friends, who in their childhood lived in comparative isolation in a home where the only book was a Bible, that many of the games they played were Biblically based (an opportunity to dig a hole and put your brother into it, for example!). This notion of children playing such a part resonates with Matthew 11.16 (children playing) but even more so with Matthew 18.3, Matthew 19.4 and similar passages in Mark and Luke. (Unless you become like little children, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven).

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Dragonfly

Dragonfly - picture taken in our garden by Pam
emphasising the delicacy of the wings.

Dragonfly.

What exquisite aerobatics
are being performed above our garden bench?
Gossamer wings,
scarce look able to propel the body
as it turns in an instant;
now, seemingly retracing a flight path,
seeking miniscule prey, 
or maybe a partner 
with whom to procreate.

By this will be sustained
the presence of dragonflies
in this location
with a history
that massively pre-dates
our arrival as owners –
or is it borrowers-
of this small square of territory.

So today, once again, it welcomes
this season’s visitors
having known their
great, great, great, great grandparents
and even more ancient
short-lived generations.

And in this brief watching,
there is blessing,
that we pray will survive
the shifting seasons
of this fragile earth.

The presence of 3 dragonflies in our garden at the beginning of September prompted this poem and also reminded me that in the nine years I worked at Ridley Hall, Cambridge there were two or three days each year when the South-west corner of the quadrangle was filled with maybe a hundred or so of these elegant creatures: beautiful.

Both our garden and Ridley Hall are some 300/500 metres from water.




Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Psalm 93 - Re-imagined for C21st

Moth Galaxy (imagined: acrylic by the author)

You, Lord, are ruler of the whole universe:
you are robed in the fabric of the cosmos
which was established at your Word.
The vastness of space and time
cannot contain you, Lord.
You are from and to everlasting.

Constellations are testimonies to your might,
Planets and their inhabitants praise you
   in joyful outpourings of known and unknown tongues.  

More majestic than the roar of gargantuan waters
that dwarf all of earth’s mighty oceans;
more majestic than storms that are indescribably vast,
are you almighty God
.
You reign in eternity and even now know the
    time of your return and the end-time of the universe .

Your laws guide us into truth, righteousness and justice.
Let me delight in the holiness of your domain
both now and forever, O mighty God.

If you appreciate this sort of re-working, you may like a similar refashioning of part of Job 38 which you can find HERE

Monday, 6 August 2018

Cosmic Doxology (Durham 4)

Post first published for Feast of The Transfiguration (2018)
 and suitable for any occasion to 
recognise the cosmic realm of the Messiah.


Cosmic Doxology (87.87.D)  
Suggested Tune: Blaenwern (Love Divine)
  
Christ  before us, Christ within us,
Christ to left and Christ to right.
Christ whose love enfolds all creatures,
Christ the source of life and light.
Christ the cosmic Lord of glory,
Christ who battled sin’s great curse,
Christ the risen and ascended
Sanctifies the universe.

Other hymns and songs that praise God incorporating the language of science can be found in The Collection of hymns and songs of beauty, faith and science on this blog 

Nativity Star (CGI)

Nativity Star (CGI)
Nativity Star: This image will link you to the collection of new Carols on this site. Also, the image can easily be copied onto an overhead acetate and used as a window decoration. Easy for children to achieve. Note the cross at the centre of the star.

Cross of Nails (CGI)

Cross of Nails (CGI)
Let this 'Cross of Nails' lead you to "O Dare I Gaze Upon The Cross' with its newly published tune.

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe
It is currently thought that the Universe has at least 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars! Hence the use of the word ‘scintilla’ for a mere ten thousand billion.

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)
Cross and Particle Accelerator. The words of 'A Prayer for Understanding' can be viewed by clicking on this image

Nebula (Embroidery)

Nebula (Embroidery)
Nebula (Embroidery) to accompany the poem 'Invitation' which can be found by clicking on the image.

Orange Galaxy

Orange Galaxy
'Orange Galaxy' posted to accompany 'Bounded and Boundless'. Go to the poem by clicking on the image.

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower
Cosmic Icon 7 - Summerflower Nebula (Acrylic)

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth
Cosmic Ikon 8: Moth Nebula(imagined-acrylic) The Gold field of deep space is intended to convey the Lordship of Christ over the whole of the Cosmos

Surprise garden rose (Photo)

Surprise garden rose (Photo)
This beautiful head of roses in our garden, which are giving off a delightful perfume in the morning sun, seems a fitting picture to link to the sonnet 'Evolution and Beauty'. Let the picture take you there. It is a surprise because it is growing high on a bush of otherwise pure yellow roses: amazing!

Cross and Vortex

Cross and Vortex
'Cross and Vortex' to accompany 'Stars and Planets Sing Your Glory'. Click on the image to go to the poem/hymn.

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)
Gaseous Cosmic Threads: Mixed media - acrylics and painted threads

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)
Warm Umbrian Hills: Click image to take you to the poem St Francis' Sky

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)
'Cosmic Labyrinth' - This icon is a symbol of the path through the near reaches of the Cosmos with its 'Havens' where current advances in science (2012/13) are celebrated. By clicking on the picture you will be taken to the latest version of the poem of the same name.

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)
Time, perhaps to consider a restorative break before the approach of Advent/ Christmas. Let this image take you to 'On Drawing Apart'.

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)
On the South shore of Iona is a bay which shows the industrial scarring of a beautiful place. Read of it by clicking on the picture

Butterfly Nebula (CGI)

Butterfly Nebula (CGI)
The Imaginary Butterfly Nebula . Anything like this would be a real Curiosity! The image will link you to the reflection titled 'Curiosity' which is actually a celebration of the achievement of landing the Mars Rover of that name

Light of the World amidst stars (CGI)

Light of the World amidst stars (CGI)
'Light of the world' posted to accompany 'To Light'. Find the poem by clicking on the image.

Iona from Fionnphort (Watercolour)

Iona from Fionnphort (Watercolour)
Iona from Fionnphort. At this point of the Isle of Mull, the end of a pilgrimage or trip to Iona is in sight. Click on this picture to take you to the poem 'IONA - The Pilgrim Way'

My Mesh Mask for Radiotherapy

My Mesh Mask for Radiotherapy
This is the mask which was moulded to my face to ensure the radiotherapy I had in April 2017 was precisely targeted. You can read more by clicking on the image

Double Celebration

Double Celebration
Pam, who has been magnificent in caring for me since my Cancer diagnosis in October and I celebrate the end of Radiotherapy and our 36th Wedding Anniversary (Note the return of some hair!). Click on the image to read about the treatment - and waiting.

St Neots Sunset (Photo)

St Neots Sunset (Photo)
Surrounded by beauty: Whie 'Evolution and Beauty' became one of the most viewed poems on this blog, Pam, my wife took this gorgeous picture of a sunset over the flatlands of Cambridgeshire UK. Click on it to go to the poem

Gabriel - written/painted by Pam, my wife in 2015

Gabriel - written/painted by Pam, my wife in 2015
Gabriel began the Christmas story with his visit to Mary. The story is told in our Christmas collection in the Carol, Go to Nazareth My Great Messenger. Click on this image to take you there.

Maple Leaf Nebula (CGI)

Maple Leaf Nebula (CGI)
IMAGINARY IMAGE TO CELEBRATE CANADA DAY: Click on this his imaginary 'Maple Leaf Nebula' to take you to a poem entitled 'Nebula' (image not to be confused with NGC 2024, the Flame Nebula which is also known as the Maple Leaf)

Beauty in the Garden - June 2016

Beauty in the Garden - June 2016
Beauty in the Garden - June 2016

Aurora Imagined over Iona (Watercolour & pastel)

Aurora Imagined over Iona (Watercolour & pastel)
First posted here on Adomnan’s day (23rd September) 2015. An imagined natural phenomenom that could be seen to resonate mystically with the idea of Iona being a ‘thin place’ where heaven brushes earth.

Assisi Sunset

Assisi Sunset
Assisi Sunset

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)
Cross and simple prayer rope: make one like this to use as an aid to using ‘The Jesus Prayer'