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.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Let The Cosmos Praise its Maker. (A hymn/ song)


Cross-stitch bookmarks designed to represent
Christ’s involvement in the early universe
(through the image) and his sovereignty
over all nations in the several languages
of the quote from Revelation.

Let the Cosmos praise its maker,
In its known and unknown tongues, 
Giving thanks for all existence
In its multitude of forms;
From immense to subatomic,
From primaeval to new-born.

All the fundamental forces
Dance before his heavenly throne, 
Giving praise with saints and angels 
For the mighty deeds he’s done; 
Bringing matter out of nothing 
As the universe was formed. 

Let us, as his much loved creatures
Seek how we might understand
All the glory of creation, 
All the beauty that he planned, 
And his cosmic gift, salvation 
Through Christ Jesus, God in man.

This hymn/ song was written with the meditative tune in mind to which ‘Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence’ is usually sung (Picardy), and with the idea that it provides a short, thought-provoking time for reflection on the immensity of the cosmos and what that says about God.

It could equally well be sung as a celebratory song of the glory of the universe and there are numerous hymn tunes with 87.87.87 metre which could be used for this such as the well known 'Praise My Soul'

There are three lines of the song that warrant brief explanation for those not familiar with current scientific understandings.

Although the cross-stitch bookmarks illustrated above the first verse are limited to English, Spanish and French, the expression 'known and unknown tongues’ is intended to allow not only for lesser known terrestrial languages but also for ‘ tongues' which may be used on planets or moons far beyond our amazing solar system. Thousands of stars are now known to have ‘exoplanets’ and ‘exomoons’ circling them similarly to our solar system, and many astronomers/cosmologists think it is more, rather than less likely, that some of these support life that thinks and communicates in ways comparable to the way we humans do.

The first line of the second verse, ‘All the fundamental forces’  could  easily refer to storms, winds and floods and it is likely most people will understand it as such. But it also has a more scientific meaning. In this sense it refers to the four fundamental forces. These are the gravitational force, the electromagnetic force, the strong interactive force and the weak interactive force which between them hold matter in its place, from the component parts of atoms and molecules to galaxies.

Finally, the penultimate line of the song specifically points to the cosmic significance of Christ’s coming to us here on earth: this is a proposition which many thoughtful scientist/ Christians have written on persuasively and enthusiastically.

I hope this ‘shorthand’, note will encourage both those who use this language readily and enable those who don’t, to be drawn into the glorious mysteries of our faith, complemented by the scientific explorations and understandings of so many awe inspiring aspects of ‘our’ amazingly benign cosmos in which our planet has its being.

Further songs with similar faith and science themes can be found in the second section of the left hand column of this collection

Monday, 8 January 2018

You, Lord Will Take Good Care of Me. (Based on Psalm 23 for anyone who has never seen a shepherd!)

(Sing it to 'Amazing Grace' )

You, Lord, will take good care of me
Each day and every night,
For like a lamb, so lovable,
I’m precious in your sight.

By sea or stream or river calm
Help me to think of you,
As I look at your wondrous world,
And at the night skies too.

May love and truth and honesty
Be constant gifts from you,
So those who see the way I’m led
Might want to follow too.

If I’m afraid or desperate,
So sad, I need to cry:
I know that you can calm my fears
And lift my spirits high.

Lord, may I ever thankful be
For precious food and fare:
The promise that your world can yield
Enough for all to share.

Your love, dear Lord, will follow me
As I learn more and more
Of all the awe and wonder that
Creation holds in store.



Friday, 22 December 2017

Two contemporary Carols to greet you in this Christmas season.

Two of the contemporary carols posted earlier on this site to wish all who visit it from time to time a blessed and peaceful Christmas: one of the carols is to a well known tune, the other to a new tune.

 Carol of the Cosmos                         Finlandia *(10.10.10.10.10.10)


Be still small earth, this is the night of nights,
Your great Creator hovers at your gates,
In human form, now to become a babe
To Jewish maid, who for this moment waits:
Fulfilling now the ancient prophecies,
Her child, the Saviour of the human race.

You nightly stars surrounding Bethlehem,
Prepare yourselves to be eclipsed this night,
An angel host, with joyful beating wings
Clothes all the waiting hills with brilliant light.
And shepherds, spurned by those of wealth and might,
Are first to see the Christ, this holy sight.

O dazzling skies, welcome a stranger star
To play its part, a brief and guiding role:
To bring from far, sage watchers of the night
Who linked its light to what the prophets told.
Trav’ling with gifts to celebrate The King
Rich myrrh and frankincense and precious Gold.

‘Twas by this child th'eternal Word came flesh
God’s pledge unveiled, such holy mystery.
Come praise him now, this coming was for us, 
His cosmic task laid by to set us free.
From death the natural end in time and space
He calls our souls beyond to his great grace. 

* * * * * * *


This second carol, unusually, gives Joseph a ‘voice’ in the stable as he expresses his hopes for his newborn son. (Find a printable score below the words and hear the first verse and chorus from the video file beneath the score)

‘This manger’s well made’,
said Joseph to Mary,
‘Its joints are a joy
 to a carpenter’s eye’.
‘I hope that our son 
will be skilled with timber, 
so neighbours we serve
will be e’er satisfied.

‘Oh Joseph love,
 you are so wise and good.
yet our son will, perhaps,
work with far more than wood.’

‘That crook there is shaped 
with skill and perception;
‘tis made for a shepherd
who’ll both dare and save’.
‘I’ll show our son how 
sheep are protected,
so shepherds will ask him,
to shape them good staves.

Oh Joseph love etc

‘This yoke is a work
of marvellous honing.
It never will chafe:
the ox scarce need a goad.
Our son must learn ways
of both beast and ploughman, 
then contour his yokes
to ease burdensome loads’.

Oh Joseph love etc.

‘I‘ll teach him the strengths,
Of timber, dear Mary,
show him all the things
he must and must not do’.
‘Like ne’er make a cross
for fierce Roman soldiers,
Nor sell them our wood 
To hang slave, thief or Jew.’

‘Oh Joseph love,
 you are so wise and good.
Yes, our son when time comes
Will be smitten by wood.




Listen to the first verse and chorus 

‘Stable Talk’ is part of ’The Cross and Cosmos’ Christmas collection which you can find HERE

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Body Language by Garry Kilworth


After a considerable gap, we caught up with friends Garry and Annette Kilworth recently. We were aware that Garry was a prolific writer in several genres (profile below) but I had not realised he wrote poetry. Some of his work resonates very well with the themes and aims of my blog. So I am grateful to Garry for his permission to publish one of his poems today and a further one with an unusual Lenten theme in the early part of next year.

Garry is also a skilful photographer and whilst we visited a reservoir-side bird hide with them, a kingfisher gave us an exquisite display just a few metres from the hide. That welcome little surprise seems to have a parallel in the first line of Garry’s poem - and you’ll find the gorgeous photo Garry took of the Kingfisher that Garry took below 

Body Language

When an eagle vaults the sky
or inventive Man spears deep space
at superhuman speed,
or a seed bursts like a bomb
and expands,
God is talking
with his hands.


© Garry Kilworth



Kingfisher at Alton Reservoir
photographed by Garry Kilworth
November 2017

Garry Kilworth has been a writer of fiction for almost 40 years and has published some 80+ novels and collections of short stories as well as four volumes of poetry. The genres in which he mainly writes are: science fiction, fantasy, young adults' literature, historical novels and general fiction. He has been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal twice, has won the Children's Book of the Year Award, the World Fantasy Award and also the Charles Whiting Award for Historical Fiction. His website, is www.garry-kilworth.co.uk.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Wicken Fen: November.

A second visit to Wicken Fen (National Trust wetland reserve) within a couple of weeks prompted a return to the poem started after the first visit 
Photo by Pam
 which prompted part of this poem

Wicken Fen: November.
 Stillness had wrapped the fen in her embrace,
nothing moved save the occasional reed
nudged at its base by creature unseen,
a brief, barely imperceptible interruption
of the enormous silence.

Above us, lazy clouds stole quietly across the vast sky,
punctuating the blue with subtle hues
of grey and white, with edges tinted
orange, pink and cream
as the sun drifted lower in the early winterscape.

We sit, eliminating even the faint sound of our footfall on the boardwalk,  
and our souls rest content in this Divinely given, cherished flatland.


Saturday, 18 November 2017

TRUTH Sets Us Free by Roger Pullin

Roger, who wrote both words and tune of this song is a marine biologist who works internationally. He is also a member of Christians in Science and responded warmly to an invitation I put out through that organisation to contribute songs of faith and science towards the collection of such songs we are gathering together for singing in primary schools This is the first of three songs and feels VERY appropriate just now. It  draws on the words of Jesus in John 8.32 and gives them a contemporary sense
Roger Pullin
 God sends truth to me and you,
 Truth through faith a-nd science too,
 Truth in bo-dy-mind and soul,
 Sets us free and makes us whole.

Sets us free, free! free!!
You and me, me! me!!
Sets us free, free! free!!
You and me, me! me!!

Find chords and suggestions of how to best sing the song below and a printable score below that


TRUTH (SETS US FREE!) by Roger Pullin

Introduction[2]: C, Em, Am, Em/ F, C, G/ Em Am F, C/ G, C/

Verse[3] 1:  C       F      C         F    C    G
                God sends truth to me and you
                Em      Am       D            D7        G
                Truth through faith a-nd science too
                C    EmAmEm F      C      G
                Truth in bo-dy-mind and soul
                EmAm F      C     G                C
                Sets us free and makes us whole

Chorus[4]:   C  F    C
                Sets us free, free! free!!
                 F    BF
                You and me, me! me!!
                 G    C   G
                Sets us free, free! free!!
                 C     F    C
                You and me, me! me!!

Repeat as Introduction: /C/C/ (2 bars)

Verse 2:  C       F   C               F   C    G
                Seek the truth and you will find
               EmAmD            D7           G
                Op-en up yo-ur heart and mind
                 C     Em  Am Em  F    C   G
                God sends truth to you and me
                Em    Am   F              C  G   C
                Makes us whole and sets us free

Choruses (repeated and getting faster, as desired):





[1] By Roger Pullin
[2] As last two lines of the verse
[3] Verses are hymn-like, at moderate speed
[4] Choruses are faster, with hand claps and/or percussion


























Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Praise the Lord in the Dances

Sunrise in mist -
a dance of the nearer skies

Praise the Lord in the dances of the Universe,
Stars and constellations streaming through space;
All revolving to the rhythms of creation,
Wondrous signs of God’s creative grace.
  
Praise the Lord in the dances of our nearer skies,
Aurora and sunscapes set the skies ablaze;
Their dazzling glories are but shadows of the radiance
Of heaven, revealed in those aerial displays.  

Praise the Lord in the dances of the landscape,
Waterfalls, clouds and falling leaves:
Gravity and winds combine with nature’s beauty,
Harmonies of grace when they gently interweave.

Praise the Lord in the dances of the ocean’s depths,
Exquisite fish and creatures rare,
Colourful, colossal and many still unknown to us,
Gliding round rocks and coral thoroughfares.

Praise the Lord in the dances of molecules,
Elements with particles too small to see;
Neutrons and protons, quarks and electrons,
And DNA configured in both you and me.
           
Praise the Lord in the dances of devotion,
Like David with vigour, leaping for the Lord.
Childlike exuberance and deeply moving music,
Free some like him to dance and adore.

Praise the Lord in the dances of the angels,
With saints and elders round the throne of grace,
Singing ‘Holy, holy, holy’, God’s eternal honouring,
A sacred, vibrant theme for the cosmos to embrace. 

Other poems with the theme of Beauty, Science and Faith can be found HERE







Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Shame.

I am indebted to Dr Alan Storkey for the ideas which gave rise to this sonnet
This surely is one of the most hideous 
war pictures of our age
(Credit NY Daily News)
Shame.
Heap shame on manufacturers of arms,
whose shareholders profit from spleen,
from scarred children, caught in between
mayhem and death wrought by sadist tsars.
Stir up those yearning for peace and calm
to brand this production obscene;
to find ways of curbing their resource streams,
preventing them from fuelling the harms   
that accrue from the cesspools of foulness and hate,
and swamp the world with the bane
of the terrible trade we label ‘defence’;
which further disgusts, by promoting vile rape  
in the wake of its products of shame.

Does God weep at such corporate offence?

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Glory in the Night Sky (Meditation for a Stargazer).

Spiral Galaxy: Credit NASA

I have been drawn
into the pathways of the stars,
where planets spin their orbits*
in the weft of time and space,
to glimpse a tiny portion
of the beauty of the universe.
Brimful with wonder, I’ll extol 
those matchless cosmic glories
of our great Creator’s grace.

*We now know that many, many stars
have planets around them (exo-planets
when outside our solar system). In 2017 
more are being discovered almost daily.

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'

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'