The photograph is of a group of six starlings (a ‘mini murmuration?’), sittimg on a BT pole at the bottom of the garden. They were chattering away and seemimgly enjoying their moment in the late afternoon sun.
There is much murmuring going on within the human population in the times which we are passing through. Thankfully we don’t have to balance on a wire 30ft up in the air to speak and listen!
Lots of conversations trying to find answers to questions which we revisit daily. A roundabout with seemimgly no stopping point. We have that need to understand, and our conscious mind is on overdrive. Then suddenly we have to call a stop to the chatter and find whatever we might call the ‘still point’. That moment of connection with a deeper and quieter voice which speaks into our soul.
Dare we believe that this ‘still point’ exists, or are we happier to let it be drowned out by murmour and the constant noise in our heads and on the screens of our connevted devices. Information overload is surely not the answer to the finding of peace.
I like to think that the starlings were finding some kind of harmony in their gathering and chatter. I want to belive that I too, and you who are reading this, can find that still point, even for a fleeting moment.
May you find the blessing of that moment in the chatter of your day!
Helen spotted these two damsel flies resting on a rock in our garden, and soaking up the warm sunshine. Taking a moment; enjoying the peace; planing their next move…or just being a damsel fly!!
‘Just being, not doing’ is a phrase that is bandied about when talking about prayer and our attitude as we pray. I like the phrase, but to be honest find it very difficult to acheive. As soon as I stop everything and try to ‘be’ rather than ‘do’, my brain goes into overload. The still point disappears into a fog of thoughts, plans and worries. The internal chatter drowns out anything I try to focus on.
In my experience the best moments of ‘just being’ come unannounced. During ordinary space and time, when I’m not consciously trying to connect with God. This is God connecting with me and drawing my consciousness away from my preoccupations. Deep in the Psalms we read this simple advice; ‘Be still, and know that I am God….’
The damsel flies were captured in a moment of stillness. We need to allow ourselves to be caught up in the moments of stillness that we are given each day. Stillness that is enriching, not a time for fidgeting and boredom. As I write these words I recognise how far from this I am. But I’m conscious that God invites us to these ‘Just being’ moments all the time. But we’re too preoccupied with our worries and fears to give the moment any time, and quickly move on to fill the space with chatter. Drowning out the ‘still small voice’.
Perhaps for a moment, these damsel flies were connecting with their creator and sustainer and ‘just being’. What a lesson for us to learn!!
An unhappy gargoyle!!!! Perhaps even a little angry or just naturaly a glass half empty. I love the carving; it is so expressive!
It perhaps speaks to us of what we might try to hide, but which reveals itself through our facial expression. Somebody picking up on what we think might be hiding inside us, out of sight…..’Are you OK?’ The question that reveals what is happening within. The response is generally, ‘I’m fine thanks’…and the retort is, ‘You don’t look it!’ Fight or flight, what do we do?
Happy days..or running away? The gargoyle has no choice. It is frozen in this pose for ever.
It makes me wonder about what I/we reveal to others, that we are not even aware of. The external has a nasty habit of revealing what is inside us, and we can’t run away from it; others pick up the signals.
Then we move onto the complex relationship with God. It think the slight look of bemusement on the gargoyle says it all. Perhaps the medieval stonemason was picturing himself, his own sense of who he was. His grasping for meaning…or just having a bad day and not feeling particularly holy.
My sense is that God approaches us just as we are; Happy days/ Sad days. We don’t need to put on a mask to appraoch God, we come as we are and are welcomed as we are.
When I first made a conscious step along the road of faith, I was a teenager. 46 years later here I am. The first steps I took were very much about the ‘gap’ between me and God. This apparently unbreachable chasm was what separated me from the Almighty. The good news I was told, was that God had breached that gap through the death and resurrection of Jesus, on the cross. Sin was dealt with and I could move into the new relationship.
This was a key moment in my journey, guided by saintly older Christian. All important parts of the journey. As my faith grew and developed I began to move beyond this rather negative view of God and the gap. Now it is more of a reaching out on both sides and prompts a poem
A photo of me photographing Helen, who at the same moment was taking this photograph of me. This could go on for a long time!!!! Apologies
It was a moment in time where we both decided to photograph each other. Why? I have no idea. It speaks to me about how we see ourselves. How we categorise who we are; make sense of our lives; share this one life with others. The unique genetics that we carry. The fact that we are ‘one offs’; existing for a moment in time.
I wonder a lot about existence; not just my own, but the whole thing. Variety and perspective woven together. Not always coming to conclusions. For me, faith, however you want to define it, creates more questions than answers
I remember someone telling me that they couldn’t wait to meet God, becuse they had lots of questions to ask! Thank goodness for eternity, because if we all wanted answers, then they would be a long time coming. But I wonder whether actually we will see ourselves as God sees us, and all the wondering will be gone in an instant.
We are not the best judges of ourselves, or others for that matter. It’s enough to deal with our own existence.
Just be prepared to be a wonderer and a wanderer and enjoy the journey, if you can. Even for a moment, when the camera points at you!
Some words from the mouth of Jesus; ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you,.
I ‘m not certain where I was when I took this photograph, or what prompted me to take it. But as I pondered, the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew’s gospel, sprung into my consciousness.
The trees seem to be blocking what is beyond; only the light seems to offer hope. I think there is something of a parable here, about ways being blocked; despair, longning, new possibilities and alternative paths.
The seeking of our soul to find hope and direction and purpose. We will all have days of uncertainty and drifting, until we find where the path might be. We need the reassurance of these words of Jesus that there are always new paths and ways through what might seem like a wall of obstruction.
We all walk our own paths through life; perhaps sometimes we need to stop and take a look around. To see beyond the barrier across our path, which becomes our obsession. Seeking for a new vision which is already within us, but which we are choosing to ignore.
My prayer is that this week will be a moment of seeking and surprise for each of us!
Early this morning; photograph for the blog. Foreground, sea, boat and structures! My deduction was that the boat was towing. the structures, heading in a northerly direction. This was simply because they kept a equal distance and the structures had no obvious means of propulsion! Whare they were heading and for what purpose, I have no idea, but I’m fine with that. Mystery is an important part of our mental framework!
You may remember the song by Johnny Nash,..‘There are more questions than answers…and the more I find out the less I know.’ There it is in a nutshell! We live in a time where we have pushed the boundaries of what we undestand and know and still there is mystery and much to understand. We each create our own narrative about ourselves; our place in the world and what still stays as mystery, Life is about balance and also living with what we cannot fathom.
I have more questions than answers, and in terms of faith in God that balance doesn’t change. Without the questions, there would be no possibility of answers. So faith lives with that tension, which is massively frustrating at times, but is actually the driver to explore further. Here are some words from the letter to the Hebrews, in the New Testament; Chapter 11, verse 1; Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Something here about a profound trust, living with mystery.
The scene I photgraphed this morning, left me with more questions than answers, and that’s fine. Because that’s life and faith!!
Seasons come and go with haste, it seems! This year which is rolling on into autumn has been perhaps one of the most strangest times in my life, and I am sure, in yours! We have all had to find ways to adapt to and make sense of the pandemic which still occupies our thoughts.
In the ‘backgroud to all that is unfolding, is the natural world, which follows the pattern of the seasons through drought and flood and everything inbetween!
Just the other day I spotted some ripening Yew berries which made a bold statement as the path wandered past. Their vibrant colours spoke of the rhytmn of the natural world, and proclaimed hopefulness in the midst of all that we are passing through. The potential for new life within the berries spoke of abundance in the moments of what for me, inwardly sometimes feels like a dry and barren place. In a split second of taking note of the scene, my spirit filled with hopefulness and promise and assurance.
There is, for each of us, the need to stop and take note; sometimes literally (!), of what is around us, what we are part of.
May you find the presence of the Creator and Sustainer in the abundance of the Creation; in the heartbeat of the natural world.