Sunday, 31 August 2008

Beauty surrounding us

I was what we call a late vocation, and first served my time as an audio/electronics engineer back in the late 60's. What started out as a hobby (short wave communication) ended up a career; in those days we were just into transistor radios and I remember turning an old cassette tape machine into what we now know as a "Walkman", the head phones were large but hidden mostly by my long hair. How technology has moved, I am now listening to the same music on a 2Gbyte iPod and though I accept is now as the norm, it still amazes me that I can get all the Beatles songs on one small piece of equipment. I have also recently got a portable MP3 recorder so watch out for some Podcasts in the future.

Washing up this morning and looking out of the window, I had one of those moments; thinking about how technology has moved so fast, we can post information on the Internet and immediately it is being read all round the world - Wow!
It always got me thinking when I remember how we were taught, that when Jesus returns - everyone will know - My mind would often think how that could happen? Telephone, television or now the Internet; it seems more possible now than ever before. Don't worry, I am not going to get into a debate about the second coming; this is a subject that seems to consume so many people and in my mind distracts from our real work - to feed the hungry, heal the sick, visit those in prison and clothe the naked. But just so we are not too absorbed in how all this is going to happen, my thoughts came closer to home. It does seem that with those very close to us, we develop an ability to know how they are even if they are physically miles away; so when Christ returns and our link with him is so strong, it would not be surprising to know (inside) of his earthly presence.

My iPod was with me this weekend as I worked in the garden, we have to catch up with garden chores as work permits and weather dictates. The old shed was leaning dangerously to the right so I set to and propped it up straight with a stout piece of timber; funny how one job leads to another, the shed itself needs emptying before I can put the internal ties in and then we need to decide what goes back into the shed. Wouldn't it be easier if tasks were single and simple, I am sure I would get more done. Brother Cyril sat in the garden while I worked and read his book, looking up occasionally to say what a good job I was doing. We sat and had a cup of tea together and he remenissed about the garden he grew up in and how his young friends would come and build dens among the trees. I said he could build us a new shed! he just laughed and said "have we had tea"? I keep threatening to pull out the butterfly bush and make a little more room for the other small shrubs around it, but when I see the host of butterfly's that it brings me - it stays at least for another year - such beauty and so delicate.

Note to evening office: How can I value such beauty the world provides me?

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Alnwick castle gardens

At the bottom of a spectacular waterfall are two drains;
as if someone has taken the plug out!

Children running to dodge the fountains.
Great fun!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Step out in faith

Two weeks ago I was a visiting speaker at one of our local parishes. The two masses (Saturday evening and Sunday morning) were quite different, this had nothing to do with the fact that we had a different priest for each mass. Singing was accompanied by music on Saturday, which always helps me to sing along and not worry about anyone hearing me; Sunday on the other hand was minus a musician. I settled at the back on the end of a pew so I could get out at the prescribed time. I was spotted by a friend and encouraged to join him. After crossing the aisle and greeting him he turned to an elderly couple and said "you can have your seat back now" evidently I had been sat in their pew. I guess I get stuck in a form of worship that has been with me for some time and as much as the mass is the same wherever you go "it isn't"

I spoke about faith, that which we believe - our common faith in God; but more about faith in what can be, and our active part in that process. Sitting and thinking that, if God wanted to He could move that mountain! was not what I had in mind.
In Joshua 3 they were carrying the arc of the covenant and came to the river Jordan (it was in flood) and it was only as their feet stepped out into the water that the upstream stopped flowing, piled up and they crossed over. I chose today's picture because it shows someone stepping out with direction; (a little help from photoshop) the contours of the land are disturbed - as we step forward - changes occur.

After mass I took a copy of Catholic Voice, an interesting article about adult formation and welcoming back those who had left the faith (as we say). There had been a couple of workshops led by the Redemptorists with a good turn out. The main point that came out was "the necessity of superb liturgy that heightens our sense of awe and emphasises the transcendence of God" - Wow, I am up for some of that!

Note to evening office: Be in awe of God in every day things, that we may worship in simplicity and truth.
PS - The book - Chapter one is well on the way.