Thursday, 28 February 2013

Leaving Lindisfarne: St Aidan as guide

At the end of our retreat we were invited to 'throw an image out into the future to guide us' (Carl Jung) 

I had been working on a pastel sketch, so this became my image -  St Aidan to guide me (based on the Statue in the grounds of St. Mary the Virgin, next to the Priory)  
I've taken the 4 headings from Ray Simpson's booklet: Give yourself a (Re)treat on Lindisfarne   St Aidan Press 1998) section 2 'figure out St Aidan'


1 the face - gentle, humble, winsome, of stature and vision

his personality and character - described by Bede as a man of 'peace and love, purity and humility'
He was called by Bishop Lightfoot of Durham ' The Apostle of England' 

2 the torch - a passion to pass on faith to everyone one meets

He set up schools for court members and freed slaves, trtaininig indigenous priests; mission stations which were local focused and led, scriptorium producing books and churches ....... 

3 the staff - a shepherd's faithfulness
he preferred to walk so he was at the same level as ordinary folk and could easily talk to them.  He also used his priestly authority (symbolised by the staff) to check the proud and powerful, he tenderly comforted the sick, he relieved and protected the poor....  
the cross - a protecting and encircling shield at one's back

The Celtic Cross 'The circle is the world made one in the cross of Christ. The cross is not just for the church but for the whole world'
Aidan left behind churches in Essex (St Peters Beadwell-on-sea); Lashingham in N Yorks  and his disciples traveled far and wide : Wilfred to the South Saxons of Sussex, Holland and Belgium; Hilda of Whitby; Chad - bishop of Mercia, Lindsay of Litchfield, Wilfred & the Abbey of Hexham and Rippon 

Leaving Lindisfarne: 
'God of our Pilgrimage you have fed us with the bread of heaven. 
Refresh and sustain us as we go forth on our journey'

Leave me alone with God 
as much as may be. 
As the tide draws the waters
 close in upon the shore 
make me an island, set apart, 
alone with you, God , holy to you.

Then with the turning of the tide
prepare me to carry our presence
to the busy world beyond, 
the world that rushes in on me
til the waters come again
and fold me back to you

Prayer of St Aidan of Lindisfarne

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Lindisfarne: where heaven & earth are one

 I've just been on retreat with Rachel on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, staying with the Community of St Aidan and St Hilda at the Open Gate Retreat House.  The weekend was all about the Enneagram which is another story. But the place offered the opportunity to step back and reflect.  

The following are bits and pieces, quotes and prayer I copied into my journal (I can't remember where they came from), which spoke to me......

Do all journeys begin with a question? Out here on the sandy flats, deserts of water and sky, everything seemed open to question   

I came across this poem/ prayer called Holy Island by David Adams: 

God calls you out from where you are

God calls you from your safety and security


Come to the Borderlands where the sea meets sky

Come to the edge where earth meets sea


Come where two worlds meet

Come and discover that heaven and earth are one


You are children of the way

You have a road to travel


You need a Holy Island

A holy place that makes all places holy


You have a rendezvous to make

A meeting place to find


Listen to the waves and the murmurs of God

Be moved by the wind, ad the calling of God


Let walking become your prayer

Let journeying be part of your song


You may discover yourself

You may meet your own mysterious being


Discover for yourself sacred space

Enter into the time, which is beyond time


Then everything will be transformed


It is God who calls you to step out

It is God who travels the road with you


 "emptiness and an apparent uselessness are necessary conditions for an encounter with truth"

a 'holy wander': a meander past the harbour area and upturned boats, which look like a cross between a Hobbit hole & a garden shed -  to the National Trust Castle, an ancient exterior with an Edwardian interior. Along the coast to the Hide at Lough and the view of a peaceful 'swan' lake and then the obelisk besides the sea at Emmanuel Head - 'where sky meet sea and heaven meets earth';  along the pebbly beach of Sandham bay to the sand dunes; and back along Straight Lannes to the Village.   
'a swan floating by / a reed shaken by the wind / a moment of rest'

Pass on the flame:  
"May Christ be a bright star above us, 
a clear way before us, 
a warm fire within us"

St Aidan of Lindisfarne

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Hard Places - a video about Dr Tom

I was moved to support a video project - described as 'A film that tells the true story of Medal of Freedom recipient Dr. Tom Little and asks big questions about the future of Afghanistan'  It is being made by Lukas and Salome Augustine.
You can find out more on the Kickstarter website. Dr Tom ran the NOOR ophthalmic programme in Afghanistan, and was involved in helping thousands of Afghans recover their sight. He was leading the team that was killed on their way back form a medical trip in Nuristan in August 2010. I thought it looked excellent 


They produced another award winning vimeo called Afghanistan: Touchdown in flight which is well worth watching. I like the fact that it portrays the gentle side of Afghanistan, a country and people I have come to love.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Woking Street Angels - a cold and busy night

Woking Street Angels Report – Saturday 9th Feb 2013
Libby, my partner for the evening wrote up a full and detailed report of the evening which will give you a very good idea of what goes on during a 'typical Saturday night out with the Angels'    (NB I have changed all the names, except mine!)

Two in a space blanket. Just what is needed on those cold nights!

It was a rainy cold evening/night but not quite as cold as predicted so that was a bonus!  ….though by 0430 having stood around trying to sort out a “domestic” for an hour  - it was pretty chilly!! (more later).
Libby and Phil on first tour of duty gave out our “earliest” flip flops at 10:30 – to a lady and her friend who had been to BINGO!! She was tottering on her 7” heels and so thankful to have ff’s to catch the train back to Guildford. Despite her protestation of not being under the influence – we feel she may just have had a sherry or two!!
Quake was open this evening – for a Special Needs Night: it was a well organised evening with plenty of able bodied helpers. We came across an unconscious female lying on the pavement outside around 1045 being tended by an older man who turned out to be her father and two onlookers (one young male and one female: they were disability workers who knew the girl). They all said they did not need help and this was a regular occurrence – girl was out sparko. Police arrived and they were told that no help was needed. Dad kept talking to girl and flicking her face – no response at all for what seemed an age: we were getting quite anxious: they all seemed unperturbed. They did accept offer of blanket. Then, quick as a flash she suddenly came to, leapt up, and walked off with Dad and got into their nearby car!! The young couple explained that she had a known medical condition that they could not disclose. Amazing that she was instantly conscious and OK.

Another meeting by Pete and Jo  was with a quite drunk young black man who professed to be earning £2k a day as a business adviser and offered Pete his card – it was the card of a lady Law specialist. Pete emailed her to alert her that this chap has a stash of her cards!

There were a number of great conversations with men and women on the work of SA and how much appreciated it was which was heartening. A pretty busy night in all  venues.

Whilst walking by McDonald’s at about 1pm we were alerted by a female that there was a girl in there having a cheeseburger who was in a bad way and was a Type 1 Diabetic – Heather was very drunk and very disorientated but gradually came to and started to talk as the cheeseburger took effect and then she had a coffee. She was from Ashford, had come to Woking with best friend Gail (they worked together as hairdressers) but Heather said she had deserted her and Gail had a plan to get home. Heather had Gail’s car keys in her purse. There followed a series of texts/phone calls/visit from friends they had met during the evening in Woking and lots of abuse and ranting – threats to be removed from McD’s if not calmed down. A group of other youngsters nearby offered to help to find Gail in the other clubs: they were brilliant and we gave them all lollies and Street Angel info cards told them to apply to help: especially one lad who was a 'real angel' and managed to somehow get Heather to give him her Dad’s phone number so we could call him to maybe collect Heather – She was very resistant to this: did not want her Dad involved and also had no money for taxi and neither did he - £35. We were about to offer to help towards this when one of the other girls came in and said that the Police would take her home if she was a diabetic but would first have to get para-medics to check her out. She refused. Finally after about an hour it was agreed that the £6 she had would be given to taxi driver and Dad would pay balance when she got back home.  Khalil of Boomerang Taxis took her to Ashford.

At the end of the evening around 03:30 just as all was calming and kebab shops were emptying etc we came across one very distraught young woman being huddled along by another very brisk, efficient lady in cowgirl outfit: as we offered help Susan declined and said they were fine, We watched them hail down a passing Police van and speak to the driver. The van drove off the girls walked towards us – it seems that Grace (distraught one - very pale, tearful and shivering) was concerned about her husband Kevin who was very drunk and threatening to hit her. He was around the back of Weatherspoons in the Car Park area. We went with them to investigate – joined by Susan’s boyfriend (Jeff, bouncer from Chameleon). Kevin was stood still swaying and raging …. swearing obscenities at anyone who approached him or tried to talk to him. Jeff seemed to be doing well – telling him to be a gentleman and take Grace home – all he would say was that he had given her the money for the taxi. She would not go home without him but was worried about what he might do. They finally got into a taxi together at about 0430 – with all 6 angels standing by - we are all anxious about what may have happened but they are married and unless she reports abuse or leaves him nothing will change. We gave her a contact number card and advised her not to go. The other couple were very helpful and Susan who did not know Grace wanted her to go home with them. Kevin at one point went from being aggressive and rude to emotionally and self harming – we all felt that he maybe had taken some drugs. Boomerang Taxis were again helpful took them home, 'cos they knew them well.
Another fight occurred in McD’s whilst we were in there with Heather – two young ladies being abusive were asked to leave by bouncers, would not so were ejected – there ensued a ruckus on the pavement and we called Police to deal with it. The two bouncers were hit and scratched.

£15 found in street by Jo & Jeff – a profitable night! The money was put in the kitty.

We were surprised to meet two Town Marshalls at around 11pm – Arran and Lewis ….they were surprised that we did not know they would be out! Seem to be similar to us but paid and looking at licensed premises and their applications more? It appears that the Town Marshalls are “hands on” in the sense that they responded before the Police to a fight and waded in to try to break it up.

Sorry this is a bit lengthy – busy night!

Vital Statistics 

Space blankets given out : 2
Fleece Blankets given out : 1
Knitted hats given out: 1 
Flip Flops : 5 pairs
Bottles/cans picked up : 38
People helped : 8
Contact cards given out : 2
Conversations over 18s : 17
Conversations under 18s : 4
Lollipops : dozens ! 

Monday, 4 February 2013

Simeon: Learning to wait well

During a Candlemas Retreat at St Columbas Woking we had space and opportunity  to do our own thing.  So I tried my hand at an 'icon', using oil pastels on an A4 art sheet (larger than my normal A6 pad).  More a impressionist painting than a proper, spiritual 'writing' of an icon. It was based on, or rather 'inspired' by an actual orthodox icon:   

I loved the cheek-to-cheek intimacy in the picture. As always the Christ-figure looks more a small adult than a child. And Simeon does not look that old... 

Simeon, if you remember, is the old man, who is on the scene when Jesus is presented in the Jerusalem temple (Luke 2:22-40).   He is described as 'righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel and the Holy Spirit was upon him'.  
When he sees the Christ-child he proclaims what is now called the nunc dimittus or 'Canticle of Simeon'. He declares, among other things, Jesus to be 'a light to lighten the nations and the glory of your people Israel'.    

I played a version Harry Christophers Ikon album 'The Sixteen'  during the 8 o'clock communion service on Sunday  You can listen to a sample here 

Here is another YouTube version sung by Aled Jones with Ben Crawley - Nunc Dimittis

Learning to wait well 

Watching and waiting
for Salvation to appear,
for the Promise to be fulfilled,  
for an Infant to be born. 
Recognising the small and insignificant One 
for what He is in all His potential.
And being content....
It is enough.  

Help me to be content,
with small beginnings
even when time seems to be running out.  

Haiku Prayers

I like the simplicity of Japanese haiku poems (17 syllables in 3 phases -  5,7,5)... 
Lord let your servant
depart in peace, for my eyes
have seen Salvation

Simeon watching
for salvation to appear,
Learning to wait well

Sunday, 3 February 2013

My Daily Newspaper

 My Guardian:  This must be my favourite song at present  
'You go before me, my Guardian' by Ben Cantelon #Guardian. We sing it a lot @CCWoking. You can hear it/ watch it on YouTube

King of love and grace
My Guardian
All my hopes and fears
Are in Your hands
I'm in Your hands

Where You go I'll go
Show me the way
Every step I take
Be now my guide
God on my side

You go before me
You're there beside me
And if I wander
Love will find me

Goodness and mercy
Will always follow
You go before me
My Guardian

When I hear You say
Trust in the way
I will walk by faith
And not by sight
God of my life

So let Your kingdom come
Your will be done
All Your promises will stand forever
You're my defender

You go before me
You're there beside me
And if I wander
Love will find me

Goodness and mercy
Will always follow
You go before me
My Guardian

You are God
Our Great defender
Strong in love
Forever faithful
We are Yours
And we will trust in You

You go before me
You're there beside me
And if I wander
Love will find me
Goodness and mercy
Will always follow
You go before me
My Guardian

My Guardian

I wanted to change the words a bit - in fact I do sing the chorus slightly differently. The song implies there is something wrong with wandering. I suppose it is talking about wandering astray. But I do it (wander I mean) all the time. As you can see, my blog is called wandering4theloveofGod. 'Peregrinate pro Dei Amore'.   To me 'wandering is a good thing, it is part of our pilgrimage and involves being attentive to the winds of the spirit guiding us.
So I now sing:
You go before me
You're there beside me
And when I wander
Love will guide me
Goodness and mercy
Will always follow
You go before me
My Guardian

I mentioned to a friend that this song is like me, left of centre and couldn't imagine an equivalent 'My Telegraph'. So during the service at the back of church (which is a very creative space!) he wrote the following:
My Lord, my God,
You hear my prayer
You listen to what I have to say
And in the silence     
When I'm listening                           
You speak to me
We talk both ways
My Telegraph
Now I'm thinking of maybe a whole series on My Newspaper........   
In fact I seem to remember a conference I went to (Spring Harvest?) organising different streams based on Newspaper titles.
So how about 'my Mirror' (I Cor 13:12 or James 1:23?), 'my Sun' (of Righteousness? Mal 4:2)  'my Daily Mail' ( a bit like Daily bread readings), 'my Times' (1 Chron 12:32?), 'my Independent' (I Cor 11:11??) 
Any poetic contributions welcome.... 

Francisco d'Andrade, Reading a Newspaper


Friday, 1 February 2013

AsiaCMS web presence

 AsiaCMS is now up and running with its own website
This is the organisation I was involved with over the past few years. It is now based in Asia with a central Hub in Kuala Lumpur and satellite hubs in Pakistan India and Korea. There is also a lot happening in Nepal and Philippines, as well as elsewhere.  
Do pay them a visit. And support them in prayer and giving.

AsiaCMS is also on Facebook, which is a great way to pray and participate. Come and join us.....