News

Sam Hill JR in concert …. Angels & Ghosts

Sam Hill is playing two special concerts this week. If you are in the area be sure not to miss them! He will be joined by long-time collaborators and friends Richard Curran, Alan Gregson, and Geoff Orr.

You can see him at the New Continental in Preston on the 26th April, and also at The Hall, Lancaster on the 27th. Check his website and local listings for more details. www.samhilljr.co.uk

 

Holy Week poetry……

A Meditation from the poet John Updike

Seven Stanzas at Easter

John Updike (1932–2009)

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that-pierced-died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

St David’s Day…

Happy St David’s Day!

It was on this day in the year 589 AD that Bishop David died; he was canonised in the year 1120 AD. He became known as the patron saint of Wales in the 12th Century, during the time of fierce Welsh resistance to the invading Normans.  His shrine can be visited at the Cathedral dedicated to him in Pembrokeshire, and which is built on the site of a Celtic monastic community that he established, Glyn Rhosyn, meaning The Vale of Roses. He was born to an aristocratic family in Caerfai, Pembrokshire, and studied theology under St Paulinus in Cardigan, eventually being consecrated Bishop.  His devout Christian life was an example to all, and he went on to found some twelve monasteries, encouraging his monastic followers to lead simple lives of quiet devotion and labour.

He is recorded to have included this encouraging exhortation in one of his last sermons; “Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about. I will walk the path that our fathers have trod before us.”   The expression “Do the little things” went on to become a well-known inspirational saying, and is still very much in use in Wales today.

 

 

Peace, Love and Understanding ….

Our troubled world is most definitely in need of more peace, more love and more understanding. More light in the darkness. More compassion. More patience. More kindness.  More standing up to evil. More helping the helpless and disenfranchised. More helping those on the margins of society, who are so often overlooked and ignored.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day…

Love is everything……

Valentine, the priest after whom Valentine’s Day is named, was martyred for his belief and commitment to the institution of marriage.

The emperor of Rome during Valentine’s life, Claudius II, passed a law banning marriages for the young.  His reason was simple: men would not volunteer to join the Roman army if they were married, and had children. Valentine kept on officiating at marriage services – but in secret.  He would whisper the words of the ceremony, while listening for soldiers on the steps outside his church.

One night, he did indeed hear footsteps.  The couple whom he was marrying escaped, but he was caught, arrested, and thrown into prison. He was sentenced to death.

Valentine remained cheerful whilst in prison and many people came to visit him.  He even continued to perform marriage ceremonies whilst in prison. He also converted the jailer to Christianity. The jailer’s daughter would often visit Valentine in his cell and they became friends.

On the day Valentine was to be executed, he left this girl a note, thanking her for her friendship and loyalty.  He signed it, “With love from your Valentine”.  That note, written on the day Valentine died –  February 14th, 270 AD – started the custom of exchanging love notes on St. Valentine’s Day. He was martyred on the eve of the important Roman festival of  Lupercalia. It is possible that Valentine’s execution formed part of a series of entertainment activities for the Romans, along with the persecution and punishment of Christians for evangelising Roman citizens, thus drawing them to Jesus Christ and away from the Roman gods of Janus, Saturnis and Solarus.

Valentine was a man of great courage.  The theologian Karl Barth wrote: “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” So whether you are young, old, married or single, may you know that you are loved and appreciated and cared for, wherever you are in this big old world.

“For God so loVed the world, 
…….That He gAve 
………..His onL
………..BegottE
…………….SoN 
………………..That whosever 
…….Believeth In Him 
……….Should Not perish, 
…….But have Everlasting life.” 
John 3:16