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.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

5th Anniversary: Going into all the world: A Celebration

My main purpose in posting a celebratory message on the anniversary dates of starting this blog is to encourage other Christians who feel they can bring helpful insights and images to the web, to take the plunge and start blogging (or vlogging if you’re more internet-savvy than me).

Whilst the early days were slow, momentum picked up, rather as it might for a small business, and at each anniversary, the numbers of pageviews have felt very encouraging. At the year ends, the figures were Yr 1 – 3000/ Yr 2 – 7000/ Yr3 – 13000/ Yr4 – 45000 and today – in excess of 75000. I recognize that these numbers will include occasions when one or more ‘trolls’ are on the site and that a number of views will be people who accidentally graze the site on the way somewhere else: but for a site which features poetry, science and faith by an ‘unknown’ author, if even, say only 30 – 40% of these are ‘true views’, I feel very encouraged.

Further encouragement has come from elsewhere – and has given rise to some delightful surprises.  The Principal of St John’s College at Durham University (who holds professorships in both astrophysics and theology and has become aware of what I try to do on the blog) has invited me to spend a term at the college as a ‘Visiting Fellow’ to develop the ideas alongside university academics. That cannot be until 2018 because of the popularity of such fellowships but the offer was way beyond anything I could possibly have anticipated arising out of my writing. That offer was followed by a request to preach and lecture on Science and Faith at Trinity College, Dublin. I have been thrilled by all this.

So I will undoubtedly be continuing in this venture and if you are a new reader, you might like to see the following three examples of work I have published – under three different categories.

First – on Beauty, Science and Faith (fastest growing of the Science and Faith/ Wonders of Creation category on this blog)

I met with Beauty, Science and Faith
walking life’s uncertain road.
Beauty, with her exquisite modesty
outlined a rôle with which she serves God:
‘I am granted a special privilege’, she said,
‘Of stirring humans to wonder and awe,
into heightening of senses; of prompting thanksgiving 
that may wake an instinctive desire to adore.’

‘Ah!’ said Science, ‘It is my task
to explore the relevant ‘laws’ of creation
which underlie the cause and the mystery
of just such outbursts of elation.’
‘To shape understandings and insights
that between them progressively yield
deeper, empirical details 
of all pertinent knowledge-based fields.’ 

‘And then’ said Faith, ‘It is my part
to explore and illuminate,
the purpose, the cosmic significance
of both rapturous and reasoning state.’
‘To encourage human cognition,
to re-visit paths it has trod            
of experiment, wondering and prescience,
and search them for glimpses of God.’

Second in the category of Science based hymnody
(This Can be Sung to ‘Little Cornard’/ Hills of the North Rejoice)

Praise the Creator God,
Lord of the dark night sky.
Myriad of stars we see,
Far more beyond our eye;
Some young, still in their forming stage
And some, about to die from age.

Planets go round most stars,
Gathered by gravity:
Size and their mineral mix
Form their trajectories.
Among this family, spread through space
Earth seems a rare life-giving place.

So let all earth rejoice,
Hills, rivers, ocean’s waves
You’ve heard the advent voice,
You’ve seen Messiah’s ways.
Your great Creator’s trod your soil,
A babe, a man, redeeming all.

Third, in the category of ‘Care of our Common Home’ poems

Plea of an Unborn Child
Dearly beloved Mother, you are, just now, 
the only person to whom I can talk.
You are my sustenance, my comfort,
my very life; and it will be much the same
up to and beyond that special day when I can walk.

Today I want to ask you
that you will do all you can to ensure
the world into which I will be born
will sustain me and your grandchildren,
and not be so hideously transformed
that we will find it impossible to live without fear
of disasters, even wars, brought about
by too much or too little water, violent winds,
extremes of cold and heat:
and a probability of having to weep all-too-frequent tears.

Please, please, listen to discerning,
careful, forward-thinking scientists
and whenever possible,
tell those who pursue the relentless exploitation of fossil fuels -
and everything that follows in its wake -
that you need them to draw it to a rapid halt, for my sake
and for every single child of my generation.

Please go on marches,
write indignant letters,
organise petitions,
argue with vehement determination,
that I and all of us-in-waiting
may not have to mourn the earth,
but live as you would no doubt have us live,
to welcome our children
in the fullness of time,
with joyous celebrating.

I hope all of this may have whetted your appetite to start communicating YOUR faith in whatever way you think might interest and excite others. Blogging is an astonishing way of ‘Going out into all the world and preaching the Gospel’ (Mark 16.15).

If you need help as to how to start, a very good guide (in the UK) is the book ‘Blogging For Dummies’).

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'