Showing posts from February, 2018

In the deep and dark recesses of space, God moves. By Trevor Thorn

A song of praise to the 'Maker of Heaven and earth and the entire cosmos ’ LITTLE CANTICLE 22 (One of a series of 150) In the deep and dark recesses of space, God moves. In the whirling orderliness of galaxies, God moves. In the precise and sensitive balances which hold planetary and galactic systems together, God moves. In the continuously gigantic forces which fashion and refashion stars, God moves. In conditions of turmoil in the firmament which confound our understanding, God moves.  In the preservation of the cosmic vastness, God moves. In the gift of light across the universe and to a darkened world, God moves. Yet amidst these cosmic realities he is mindful of humanity: he gave his Son to suffer our woes and his Spirit to comfort us. How can we comprehend the substance of one so great? Who could destroy the universe with a word? Whose great love has not only given all that we can see and hear on earth and in the depths of space

Connecting and dividing, by Eve Lockett

‘I wish you would make up your mind, Mr Dickens. Was it the best of times or was it the worst of times? It could scarcely have been both.’      It was Virginia Woolf (not in person) who taught me that poets see connections and scientists see divisions. In other words, scientists classify things by their separation from other things: poets discern links and mergers. Well, that itself should begin a debate! But let me follow it up a little. In our church, we have a strong mix of ‘arts and sciences’. In a recent Bible study, someone with a science background asked me why I had chosen two separate readings which, in her view, had simply nothing in common. The poet in the room began listing all the connections, which was exactly why I had chosen them. I’ve noticed some people have trouble understanding, and therefore believing, a passage in the Bible because they want the words to mean only one thing, and that thing to be clearly stated. Writers know that words d

Tell Me a Story, by Fiona Lloyd

Those of you who know me well may well be surprised to hear that we decided to holiday somewhere other than Whitby this half-term. Armed with a smattering of dusty phrases from my O-level German and a stack of guidebooks loaned by more well-travelled friends, we set off for a long weekend in Berlin.             The hotel we stayed in was not the poshest I’ve ever been in, but it did have the advantage of being fairly central (just off Aleksanderplatz), and therefore only two minutes’ walk from one of the main tour bus stops. Given that the temperature was only just above freezing, this was an excellent way for us to get a historical overview of the city (without succumbing to frostbite in the process). I’m old enough to remember the fall of the Berlin wall, and how the political upheaval in Eastern Europe dominated the news headlines for several weeks. But it’s hard to gauge the impact of this – or the pressures of living in a divided city – from looking at a television scree

Ugliness in Fiction

A severe family health crisis this week has prevented my writing a blog, and I offer instead this extract from the concluding part of an article ‘On Ugliness in Fiction’ in the Edinburgh Review of April 1908 (pages 463-4). A somewhat tardily exhibited regard for space induces us to cut short our chain of analyses. It was necessary to make it sufficiently long to assure our readers that the evil to which they point is of sufficiently frequent manifestation to warrant attention. But we have by no means exhausted our stock of examples. Many of those which remain are such as to render any description of them difficult in the pages of this Review.  Once more let us emphatically say that our reduction to their bare poles of the plots which we have given was neither unfairly nor unkindly meant. We have done it in order to place, without confusion or admixture, one question before contemporary writers of fiction: ‘Why work upon a bad subject? Why prostitute your undoubted literary gifts?

Who am I? An exercise - by Helen Murray

Someone asked me who I was. What would I say? On my blog I am defined by relationships: I am someone's wife, someone's daughter, someone's mother. On Twitter I am defined by what I do: I am a reader, a writer, a swimmer, a coffee drinker. On my most basic, spiritual level, I am an adopted daughter of the Creator of the world - is that the best answer? Well, here are my musings. I suppose you could call this the long answer. I'm recording it here not because I know that you'll all be hanging on my every life-experience but for this reason: as I wrote down this stream-of-consciousness outpouring of thoughts and memories I found my head flooded with inspiration for things I wanted to write about. If you ever find yourself with your digits hovering over the home keys with a blank page ahead of you and no words, try it. The key is not to get too bogged down in explanations, chronology or even tenses, but to pour it all onto paper and see what comes out. Pleased to m

All in a Spin by Emily Owen

An engineer came to fix the stubbornly-refusing-to-spin washing machine.   I made him a cup of tea and then waited while he looked at the machine.   His diagnosis of the problem? “You have an unbalanced load.” A what? I had no idea what he meant, but that didn’t matter.   He was here to sort it, which was all I needed to know.   “How long will it take you to fix?” He took a sip of tea; “I can’t fix it.” Right. “But I can tell you how to sort it.” It seemed the fact that he was here was not all I needed to know. You have an unbalanced load. Apparently an unbalanced load is when the washing is all squashed on one side of the drum, and it causes the spin to not spin. It stops the spin from working properly. You have an unbalanced load. The way to sort it out is to stop the cycle, open the door, rearrange the washing so it is spread more evenly in the drum, shut the door, and put it on ‘spin’ again. I confess I was relieved that the solution wa

The currency of the Kingdom of God

"For where your treasure  is, there will your heart  also be."                          Matt.6.21 Two weeks ago I felt the Lord clearly say, "The currency of the Kingdom is in your hand."   I had been asking Him about a picture given in a recent prayer meeting where the Lord was seen putting a gold coin in our open hands.  At the time I sensed God was saying He knows our hearts, He values every prayer, He is blessed when we take time out to seek Him, and He desires that we might know Him as He knows us. What is the currency of the Kingdom of God?  In Jesus day it was a Roman coin.  If one is found today, it’s origin is tested, and although no longer legal tender, often more than valuable than at the time of issue. Due to the circulation of counterfeits our pound coin had to be replaced, the old worth nothing.  Centuries have passed, and I wonder is it a ‘coin’ incidence that the currency of any country tends to bear the face of the one who is see

Who's in charge here? by Sue Russell

Recently I gave a talk about my writing to a small group of British Christians in France - nothing very high-powered, and they were all very kind and attentive. Some of them even bought books! One person asked me whether I had a favourite among my titles, and this was something I didn't  remember having been asked before, and hadn't really thought about; but when  I did, I realised that my first three books - a trilogy, so arguably one story - were particularly close to my heart, despite being replete with the flaws that often bedevil one's first efforts. With the wisdom of hindsight I could see that in this story I was teaching myself something through the experiences of the protagonist - something I needed to learn: in short, to depend on God and not on myself. Obviously if I were to be asked, then or now,'Who is wiser, you or God?' I would answer, 'God, of course.' Anything else would clearly be insane. In my case self-reliance was (and maybe to some ext

Spotting snares, by Veronica Zundel

Yesterday at church a line in a familiar hymn struck me anew. Actually, the line itself wasn't that familiar, because it was in a verse that's rarely sung, and indeed not even printed in most hymnals. The hymn was the well known 'Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go', which in the Anglican hymnal Common Praise has all six original verses, and being a church which never misses out verses, we sang them all (actually, just before the service I heard our churchwarden say 'Verses 1-9' to the organist, and was relieved when I realised she was referring to the sung Psalm, not to a hymn with nine verses!). Any road, as they say where I come from, this particular rare verse began 'Preserve me from my calling's snare', and it brought me up short. What did it mean? It's a Charles Wesley hymn, so he could have meant his calling as, originally, an Anglican priest. But since it's  for congregational singing, it must have been intended to focus the singers o