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.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Bring some joy into the lockdown: Music - a mighty gift.

Credit www.publicdomainpictures.net

I caught it only fleetingly as I ‘surfed’ some websites – a single line that set me thinking - ‘Music is a gift of God’. That chimed with something I make part of my quiet times. YouTube is a rich resource for videos of all kinds of music in a wide, wide range of styles and one's favourite hymn is an excellent starting point to experiment with. Just call up, for example ‘YouTube And Can it Be’. (You now know one of my favourites!) But try ‘YouTube Shine Jesus Shine’ if that’s more to your taste. There really is something for everyone.

So, before I give you some further ideas, let me share more about one version of ‘And Can It Be’ which should be one of the options you will be presented with. It is a clip from a ‘Songs of Praise’ broadcast. To me, it is magnificent far beyond the great tune, great words level. The congregation is wonderfully diverse: young people, old people, people of numerous races, some who look very much like I envisage ‘business’ people, lots of smiles and those lovely moments when someone realises they are ‘on screen’ for just a few moments. Some wonderful national costumes; singing with wide open mouths; singing with less wide mouths. Then a piece of brilliant creativity. As the line ‘I woke, the dungeon flamed with light’, comes on screen, the camera points straight at a spotlight and the screen flares into a brief blaze of glory. Then as the hymn draws to an end the camera hovers on a young black man who is so enjoying the singing making it a moment moment to thank God and Charles Wesley for his incredible words that are as true today as they were in his time – 300 years ago, and they appear line by line on the screen so anyone can follow. But not to forget Thomas Campbell who provided the glorious tune.

But that may not be your taste. If not, then how about watching hundreds, if not thousands of young people worshipping together. To see that happening is a joy, just call up You Tube Hillsong. Here again such a glorious grouping of people of all nations. A different balance to the congregation of ‘And Can it Be’ and a reminder that Jesus’ love is wide and free.

‘YouTube Taize’ will lead you into something quite different, calm reflective music maybe especially delightful in the evening. The search will offer you the simple, restful and consoling chants in English or Latin and some in other languages too. Pick one of those that appeals most to you but be brave from time to time and think about the multitude of people who may prefer another language to worship the same God as we do.

Songs from Iona which are always thought provoking are a bit harder to find because the most popular sites using the island’s name are about cruises but YouTube Wild Goose will uncover a fair number fairly easily. Here you will be presented with hymns and songs about social justice, creation in all its glory and some short songs from the world’s church which again recognise that songs and hymns and worship chants arise from people all over this lovely but endangered world of ours. 

So what thought is uppermost in my mind as I leave this with you. This is a real chance to enjoy your favourite hymns or worship songs – but ALSO an opportunity to go beyond your own comfort zone in the privacy of your own home and reflect on how our human-ness gives rise to such a glorious range of styles of bringing different people closer to God. Oh yes! And you will, of course, find a different style again by calling up ‘YouTube Psalms ‘. May whatever you alight upon bring you joy.

Later added note: (2 June 2020) Since the beginning of the Lockdown, there has been a surge of recordings of ‘Blessings’. These are a remarkable use of contemporary video equipment, including, in some cases, mobile phones. Well worth having a look at: I think this is the ‘origin’ of the  song from Elevation Worship. You should be able to find an English version, a South African, South Korean, German,  Zimbabwean, Canadian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, two or three American and Dutch, at least. Whilst you will almost certainly not want to listen to them all, I invite you to watch the first three to four minutes of a few, and marvel at some of the features. Most are sung by young people, most of the singers seem to be joy-filled, many (I think most) of the recordings have members of different races among the singers, thus giving a clear message about the wide spread of the Gospel  and hope for all of us and for the churches of Jesus.

Even later note! (27th October 2020)
There are now over 80 different versions - and some from countries that might surprise many of us in the wealthy west.
Have a look at The Blessing, Uzbekistan for instance.

Cascade of Stars and Gas (Imagined image: CGI)

Cascade of Stars and Gas (Imagined image: CGI)
Cascade of Stars and Gases. This image will take you to the meditation 'Deep Silence'

Wildfires: Evidence of Climate Chaos

Wildfires: Evidence of Climate Chaos
Wildfires: Evidence of Climate Chaos

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

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.

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.

Orange Galaxy

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

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 Icon 7 Summerflower

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

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

Celtic cross candle (Photo)

Celtic cross candle (Photo)
Celtic Cross and candle' linked to the poem 'Awesome, Wonderful Creator'. Go to the poem by clicking on the image.

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

Thinking about the Brain

Thinking about the Brain
This image is formed from a small section of neural pathways posted by the Koch Institute, clipped, part inverted and stitched together. It is intended to impart a sense of our extensive, but still partial understanding of what goes on in that awesome part of our bodies, our brains. By clicking on the image, you will be taken to a celebratory poem/song ‘For Amazement by Beauty’ about all of our senses.

Source (CGI by Trevor Thorn)

Source (CGI by Trevor Thorn)
Source: Expand the image to reveal its heart

Rainbow spiral (CGI)

Rainbow spiral (CGI)
'Rainbow Spiral' to accompany 'Darkness,Illuminator' . Find the poem by clicking on the iImagined mage

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'