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, 8 August 2019

O Great Creator, Who Desires that Humans Should Protect the Wild

Threatened Species (CGI)

This seems to me the sort of new song we should be singing to The Lord.

O Great Creator, Who Desires.
(Tune: Eternal Father, Strong to Save)

O Great Creator, who desires
that humans should protect the wild,
and weeps when tiny sparrows die,
forgive us when we close our eyes
to grasping greed with single aim
that spoils and kills for short term gain.

Lord, wake us now to recognize
when caring people stand aside
from finding ways to stop the rape
of threatened creatures’ habitats;
your clear command is disobeyed,
with species failing day-by-day.

Lord, help us to change attitudes
and work to challenge such abuse
that linked with trends through climate change
will utterly destroy the range
of species in life’s fragile tree
and make earth sterile, needlessly.

© Trevor Thorn July 2020

For further ecology/ Care of the Planet/ Stewardship poems songs and hymns click on the ‘Living With Integrity’/ Care of the planet image near the top of the right hand column.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Lord Fill Me With (Digital) Wisdom.

I chose today’s picture to convey something of the extraordinary scope of the world-wide web and the confusion some of us can feel when trying to comprehend the rapidity of communications today compared with 10, 20, 50 years ago. To pray for wisdom in our use of this amazing technology and especially for the ability not to be distracted by trivia or worse, feels wholly appropriate. And if a suitable opportunity arose, the three verses could be sung to ’Streets of Laredo'

Lord, fill me with wisdom
each moment I access
the content and threads
of my tablet or phone:
keep me from time-wasting
on dangerous distractions,
or seeking for dark sites
to which I feel drawn.

The internet offers
the world on our small screens:
it tempts us to spending
on things we don’t need.
Invites us pursue links
that lead us to darkness
and sometimes self-loathing
through sex, hate or greed.

So, Lord help me focus
on sites that are wholesome,
avoiding all those
that will bring me to harm.
And if I am moved to 
express web-opinions
please help me to foster 
love, justice and calm.           

© TT June 2019

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Cosmos (A Cinquain)

In  March, as a guest on a quiet day we were invited to experiment with a poetic form called a cinquain. The simple shape of the format as introduced that day. - five lines of 1-2-3-2-1 words with its inherent demand for succinctness felt an unexpected opportunity to try and express a mighty theme just about as briefly as possible. On the day of the writing of this, felt pens were available, so gave an added opportunity to produce a very simple image to provoke further ideas around the theme. I hope it might set you thinking. 

Friday, 12 July 2019

'The Heavens Declare...' by Susan Sanderson

Following an invitation put out on the Association of Christian Writers blog for others to contribute guest items with science and faith themes, Susan Sanderson contributed this and some other poems which will appear on this blog in due course. Thank you Susan. It is good to have the topic of light pollution introduce this short poem and be reminded of the issue. We were recently in Northumberland witnessing the exquisitely dark skies in the vicinity of Kielder Observatory in Northumberland and it was startling to see the difference that intense dark makes compared to our skies just north of Cambridge UK and Ely. What an array of beauty there is when our vision is less challenged!

Star trails over Kielder from the Observatory website

The heavens declare…

The street lights’ glow in the city
makes it hard to see the stars.
It’s a pity city dwellers
Rarely see Jupiter and Mars.

Where land is flat vast skies appear
with clouds that drift, changing shape.
From industrial fields stars
(on moonless nights) make people gape.

Where mountains cause the rain to fall
rainbows renew the promise
God made to Noah in his ark –
significance most people miss.

When storm clouds hide both sun and moon
and rain comes down like stair-rods,
it’s hard to remember times
of brightness and grey are both God’s.

(c) Susan Sanderson  June 2017

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

8 Years old - A day of celebration

This is a celebratory post because last weekend was the eighth anniversary of the first entry on this blog. So this is an opportunity to say ‘Thank you' to all of you who call up The Cross and The Cosmos from time to time. I very much hope that you find both thought provoking and helpful material here. And from time to time some fun with which to engage children - hence the balloon image!

As this is a celebration, I thought it would be good to post a shortened version of my song ’This is a Day of Celebration’. The full version can be found HERE

This is a Day of Celebration

General Chorus (to start)
This is a day of celebration,
This is a day for shouts of praise,
This is a day of jubilation,
Jesus, your Name we raise

Jesus, the Name above all others,
Jesus the name that brings release,
Jesus, our Saviour, our Messiah,
Jesus the Prince of Peace.

This is a day of exultation,
This is a day of Jubilee,
This is a day to tell all nations
Jesus will set you free.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Yours, Lord, is The Greatness, the Power and the Glory.

Ever since discovering that the prayer in some forms of the Anglican communion service, commencing with the words of the title, was David’s thanksgiving (1 Chronicles 29.11) for the gifts which would enable the Temple to be built, I have felt drawn to wanting to use it as a framework for a meditation. It has taken a long time to come to fruition - but here it is. I hope it will prove helpful to some of you who are kind enough to read this blog.

Yours, Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory.

Yours, Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory; for everything in heaven and the entire universe is yours, and of your own do we give you.*

Your realm, Lord, is the realm of glory; the realm where Archangels, Angels, Apostles – both women and men, Martyrs, Saints and the souls of all the faithful give you ceaseless praise. 

From that eternal home, long ages before it was peopled, in your deep, deep Wisdom, you conceived the inspiration of a nurturing universe.

Then, at your Word, fundamental forces and streams of particles emerged to form an initially turbulent cosmic existence; time and space sprang into being.  

Yours, Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory; for everything in heaven and the entire universe is yours, and of your own do we give you.

With the passing of the ages, turbulence diminished and shape and form grew into the universe we are privileged to be able to observe with contemporary equipment.

Suns, planets, moons and asteroids emerged out of primeval dust and gases to form myriads of communities of galaxies.  

Around some planets, our exquisite earth being one, atmospheres, stratospheres and magnetospheres sprang up, protecting and enriching the environments of their hosts. 

Yours, Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory; for everything in heaven and the entire universe is yours, and of your own do we give you.

 Elements coalesced and on earth some combined to give rise to the possibility of life.

Life emerged and by amazing paths of evolution took diverse shapes and forms, some of which survived catastrophic extinctions and grew into innumerable species of creatures. 
As humans evolved from early ancestors, brains developed within us, eventually enabling us to bear witness to the glory of the universe and this planet’s wonderful ability to sustain  life.

May we grow in our longing to be good stewards of this shared home – yours and ours.

Yours, Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory; for everything in heaven and the entire universe is yours, and of your own do we give you

With intellect and understanding came also the seeds of evil and at a time and place of your choosing, you, Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things were made, took human form and came among us to redeem us by your cross and resurrection.

Our home became a planet of your visitation and we beheld your glory.

Yours, Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory; for everything in heaven and the entire universe is yours, and of your own do we give you.

And in the last days, when heaven and earth will become as one, you Lord will be there to welcome all your faithful into that realm of glory, love, justice and peace.

May we be there with them, singing among our songs of praise this remembrance of the thanksgiving of David, King and prophet.

‘Yours, Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory; for everything in heaven and the entire universe is yours, and of your own do we give you.’  AMEN

* adapted from 1Chronicles 29.11

© Trevor Thorn 2019

Monday, 22 April 2019

Night Prayer

After a week in which evening offices and vigils followed each other daily, it felt good to post a simple night prayer with a couple of images that were each delightfully relevant in their own ways.

Beautiful picture of
Moon through tree on leaving
church Maundy Thursday.
Photo by Pam, my wife.

Night Prayer.

Lord enfold me in your presence,
bid my busy mind ‘Be Still’.
Let me rest in holy radiance;
with your love, my being fill.

Jesus, let your Holy Spirit
dwell in every breath I take:
strengthen me for giving service
in the morning when I wake.

The second image may look like the moon without feature  but is actually a serendipitous picture of a candle taken from a few centimetres above with unexpected radiance around it

Candle from above with unexpected radiance.

Further prayers on this blog can be found at Index of prayers on this blog

Thursday, 11 April 2019

First Day of the Week - A story for Palm Sunday

Crown of Thorns - cosmic storm

The concept of building an imaginary story or meditation from a time of reflection on a Bible passage is one I feel drawn to from time to time. This one imagines the experience of a citizen of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The title ‘First Day’ derives from the Hebrew practice of naming their days by numbers for each day of the week.
The poem might also help to think a little about why an estactic crowd shouting ‘Hosanna’ on Sunday turned to ‘Crucify’ just five days later.

First Day of The Week

It was the strangest of First Days
I had ever known.
In the Temple, on the Sabbath,
the day before,
there had been whispers,
lots of rumours
that the long awaited Messiah
was coming.
The strongest and strangest rumour
was that it was Jesus,
carpenter-turned-Rabbi from Nazareth.
That felt improbable on both counts – 
a carpenter – from Nazareth?
But it was being said he had healed people
and given food to huge crowds up in Galilee.

He was, they said,
coming with a band of followers,
both men and women.
Coming from Bethany, they said.

So there I was,
waiting by the City gate
in the midst of an expectant, excited crowd.
If this was the moment 
The accursed Romans were to be swept away
I wanted to be part of it.

I had paused at the door before leaving
wondering about taking a dagger.
But if it all went wrong
and I was found by a soldier with a dagger;
that would mean prison at best
or more likely, crucifixion.

So I contented myself with the stout stick
I use when walking distances.
Heavy enough to break a sword arm
or do serious damage to a Roman skull,
and easy to toss away if pursued.

When I arrived, I noticed 
There were a lot of similar ‘walking sticks’ around;
the soldiers eyed them
and put hands meaningfully 
on vicious swords.

We waited.
People were growing restless,
then from the hill below came a
bubbling excited sound 
with the word ‘Hosanna’ being often repeated.

It grew louder,
and I stood on a boulder
to see what was happening.

That was a noisy, noisy group,
surrounding a man
who was obviously their Leader –
head high above the rest.

It was difficult to see
how he was that height – 
not high enough to be on a horse
which would have been logical
if he was going to lead a coup.
So perhaps on a portable platform,
maybe incorporating a throne:
that would make sense.

When they got closer, 
I could hear more of the chanting
‘Blessed is he who is coming
in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna, Hosanna’.

The crowd around the gate
were getting more and more excited
and taking up the cry
‘Hosanna, Hosanna’
and I admit I found myself shouting too -
even despite the presence 
of those accursed Roman soldiers.

It became more difficult to see,
Not easier!
People jumping up to get a view
and barging in front of me.

The shouting got louder and louder
and the soldiers grew more and more tense
as did the occasional Temple priest I saw
trying to look inconspicuous for once.

But me. I was adding my voice
To those of the hundreds – 
or was it thousands of restless,
jubilant people who clearly thought
they had found the Messiah.

Then the procession had to narrow
To get through the gate
so I could gradually see
some throwing coats down for him
with others tearing down palm branches
like a carpet.

Then suddenly I could see the Leader,
The one 
who was going to make Israel great again.

Then, then, 
I could hardly believe my eyes.
This man, this great Leader,
This Messiah
Was riding 
A donkey!

A donkey, I ask you
What was that all about?
It stopped my ‘Hosannas’ dead in their tracks.
This is NOT someone 
who is about to send the Romans packing!

Oh! The disappointment of it!
Oh! The anti climax – the let-down.

How could I have been so beguiled?
I’m so angry with myself,
With the crowd-
But most of all with HIM.
HIM on a donkey – a donkey – a donkey
That’s what he has made of me.
I hate him
Even if others are going along with him:
I can’t imagine why.

I got away just as soon as I could.

If this helped to think about the change from ‘Hosanna’ to ‘Crucify’, you might also like to look at A Temple Trader’s Rant where there is a further link to ‘A Temple Trader’s Glee'

Friday, 5 April 2019

Psalm 8 v 1 - 2 for 21st Century

Let's celebrate the growing wisdom of our young people

Background credit

More material like this on this blog

Saturday, 30 March 2019

From Universe to particles

Original working of this poem against
galactic spiral pattern

and a further version against a CGI image
named 'Gaseous Exoplanet'

It was good to experience excitement at being introduced to something new. Until last weekend I had never encountered the ‘Diamante’ form of a poem. Not only was I introduced to it but I had the gift of time to write in that form  and to paint a background for it all in the space of a Retreat. I was privileged to be present at a ‘Cursillo’ (see link at bottom of this entry) retreat to help with the computer projection of slides of Stanley Spencer’s ‘Christ in the Wilderness’ pictures and there was on offer a short session on ‘Having Fun with Words’. So, many thanks to Helen Randall for bringing this idea of the ‘Diamante’ back from St Bueno’s*.

The idea is that the top and bottom single words are opposites.
Line 2 are adjectives relating to the line 1 subject.
Line 3 are verbs relating to the line 1 subject
Line 4 has 2 nouns relating to the line 1 subject and 2 nouns relating to the line 7 subject
Line 5 has three verbs related to the line 7 subject
Line 6 has two adjectives relating to the line 7 subject
Line 7 subject word

The concept was just perfect for thinking about the universe at macro and micro level - so the poem built very quickly once I had decided on the beginning and end.

And, the whole is woven around ‘created’ in the second line. What a delightful couple of hours! A further entry on this blog will be in another novel mode, to me, the cinquain form.

As promised above, here is a link which will lead you to information on the Cursillo movement which excels at encouraging Christians building their faith and to greater service in their faith.

*Information on St Bueno’s retreat house and spirituality centre can be found HERE. If you are a protestant about to access this site - do not be deterred that it is a Jesuit site: they offer their centre to people of all denominations.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

June in February.

Much of the UK basked in an astonishing few days of unexpected warmth at the end of February. (2019). This followed on the heels of the immensely heartening news of children and teenagers coming out in protest at the irresponsible blindness of policy-makers to the climate chaos all around the world. This post is to celebrate the wisdom of those young people and hopefully encourage them to keep up their challenge. Well done to them all and to the teachers who have had the vision to give them support . And, of course, congratulations to Greta Thunberg for her inspiration that set these protests in train.

A June day in late February, 
geese and ducks bask in unseasonal sun.
Strangers chat by warm water
and marvel together
at the heat that arrived
as this hot day begun 
and persisted to draw in an African breeze.

Who might there be
that this would not please? 
It will be those with concern
such delight might subvert 
vital truth of our chaotic
climate-changed earth.

Their unease is urgent and real,
do not be beguiled; 
Just ask, if unsure,
any well-informed child!

See other  'Care of The Planet’ poems on this blog

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

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 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'