Sunday, December 02, 2007

Silence and God not 'being there'...

A story about silence...A woman who had been using the Jesus Prayer for fourteen years complained that she had never had any sense that God was there. But when she had it pointed out to her that she was talking all the time, she agreed to take her stand silently for a few days. As she was doing it she became aware that God was there, that the silence that surrounded her was not emptiness, absence of noise and agitation, but that there was a solidity to this silence, that it was not something negative, but positive, a presence, the presence of God who had made himself known to her by creating the same silence in her. And then she discovered that the prayer came up quite naturally again, but it was no longer the sort of discursive noise that had prevented God from making himself known. (Living Prayer by Metropolitan Anthony Bloom DLT 1966) I like it that God created the same silence in the woman as surrounded her... Andrew

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Taizé Podcast

Taizé music is great for meditation and contemplation - just found out there's a regular podcast now. You can find it just by searching on the Apple iTunes Store or here on the Taizé website. Enjoy! Andrew

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Rejecting traditional Spirituality? I think not...

Last night went to hear Ian Mobsby of emerging church MOOT speaking at Blah Birmingham. Ian quoted research suggesting that people are turning away from the traditional spiritualities of the churches to alternative spiritualities informed by New Age - I have to disagree - why? because I don't see many churches actually teaching people how to practice traditional christian spirituality. How many churches are teaching people how to pray, to meditate, ways of contemplative prayer, lectio and deep engagement with Scripture, really? What people are turning away from then, is the shallower stuff that's going on. I wonder what would happen if the discipleship practices of the christian Tradition (with a capital 'T' rather than 'traditions') were being taught, practised and promoted? As Ian said, it's the perceived traditional spirituality people are leaving behind...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I came across these 'boazbands' - wristbands crafted by refugees living in BOAZ houses in Manchester. They tell a story...Grand-père Boaz sat warming his old bones in the hot African sun.“Tell me a story,” said a little voice at his side, “tell me the story of the Kinsman-Redeemer.”“Oh yes, it is a great story,” said Grand-père Boaz, “and it is a most important story.”Running his fingers over his bracelet he began –“When I see this blue bead I am reminded of ...

Friday, June 08, 2007

Desert Monks Story

At Celtic Morning Prayer yesterday we had this story - love it!
'Once Abbot Antony was conversing with some brethren, and a hunter who was after game in the wilderness came upon them. He saw Abbot Antony and the brothers enjoying themselves, and disapproved. Abbot Antony said: 'Put a an arrow in your bow and shoot it.'
This he did.
'Now shoot another,' said the Elder. 'And another, and another.'
Then the hunter said: 'If I bend my bow all the time it will break.'
Abbot Antony replied: 'So it is also in the work of God. If we push ourselves beyond measure, the brethren will soon collapse. It is right therefore, from time to time, to relax.' Celtic Daily Prayer

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Story Beads

Hazel, introduced me to her new 'His Story' bracelet. Each bead represents something in the story of Jesus. It was moving to hear her tell me the story, pointing at each bead in turn - the story was somehow more real - there is something special about the physicality of beads :

'One night there was a bright star which guided three men, who were the three wise men, to the birth of Jesus who later in life became a carpenter and a fisher of men and souls. He had twelve apostles who spread the Word Of Christ but on one dark day of hatred, envy & death He was crucified. He shed His blood for us to purify & save us. He rose and is now in Heaven seated with the Father & the Holy Spirit. and He did all this because of His great love for us.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Let nothing disturb thee..

Let nothing disturb thee,
nothing affright thee;
all things are passing,
God never changeth!
Patient endurance attaineth to all things;
who God possesseth
in nothing is wanting;
alone God sufficeth. (from Celtic Daily Prayer Midday Prayer)

Friday, March 16, 2007

brand sense and 'Here's to the people behind the numbers'

The other week I went to listen to Simon Harrop, Executive Director of BRAND sense agency. He was saying that in the 70's people would remember around 25% of the TV ads they saw, now it's only around 5% - so he's promoting use of the other non-visual senses in advertising, particularly 'smell' and 'ritual'. Apparently people used to enjoy sliding their fingernail down the foil between two pieces of the KitKat chocolate bar to break into it - and that was a ritual - lost when the wrappers became plastic. Have you heard/seen the new Yellow Pages ad? It's both ritualistic and deeply spiritual; 'here's to the people behind the numbers' (watch it here) - slowly, repetitively, the advert honours different people - it's almost a prayer. And apparently, suggests Harrop, we use vision and audio to screen stuff out, but smell, touch and taste to engage. So why not include a little ritual and multi-sensory in your prayer times? Light some incense, use some oil to prayerfully anoint yourself/a friend, light a candle, begin your prayer time with ritual eg. 'In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit'. Seems there's some sense in the ancient traditions after all...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Spirituality of a Prayer Rope Maker

I find that making a prayer rope calms me, and the activity naturally becomes a 'still point' in a turning world; taking it further why not pray for the person you are making the prayer rope for and make it a spiritual activity? Liz Babbs book and CD, 'The Celtic Heart' has a beautiful meditation which fits:

Cords of Love
Thank you, Lord,
for the cutting and weaving
for that first umbilical knot
you were shaping
and forming
all that I was to become.

Thank you, Lord,
for the 'ups' and 'downs'
the 'unders' and 'overs'
you were weaving
beauty and purpose
into my life.

Psalm 139: 'When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.'

and as you hold the cord, hold the person before God:

We hold each other's lives
in our hands
What fragility and responsibility
Eathen vessels formed
from loving hands
So easily crushed
by clumsy words and actions
and only forgiveness can reassemble the parts
according to the Maker's instructions.