Showing posts from August, 2016

Taking time to appreciate simple things

Yesterday after some energetic gardening I made and ate a cucumber sandwich, using a cucumber from our garden.

I ate this cucumber sandwich mindlessly while scrolling through messages on my smartphone.

In retrospect I can say the cucumber sandwich was delicious, but I’m ashamed to say I failed to notice and appreciate it at the time. My mind was on other things. That is not a good way to eat. That is not how to enjoy the good things of life. That is not how to engender gratitude for the simple delights of everyday. It is the antithesis of living in the present moment.

I had forgotten about that cucumber sandwich (which I had hardly noticed). This morning I remembered it when I read the 'iBenedictines' blog. There I found a timely reminder to take time to savour and be grateful for whatever is there in the present moment. It seems that 'Digitalnun' had also prepared and eaten a cucumber sandwich yesterday, but she had noticed and savoured its delight.

When I read Digitalnun…

Psalm 23: complex version

Psalm 23 is many people's favourite Psalm, especially in its various sung versions like 'The Lord's my Shepherd'.

I like some of the paraphrases and other adaptions based on Psalm 23. They sometimes give a refreshing angle on familiar words. 

Whoever wrote this version (below) probably did it for fun, rather than to shed light on old words. If you like using several long words where one simple one would do, then this complex version of Psalm 23 is the one for you. it isn't for me. What do you think?
Psalm 23
The Lord and I are in a shepherd/sheep situation
and I am in a position of negative need.
He prostrates me in a greenbelt grazing area:
he conducts me directionally parallel to non-torrential aqueous liquid.
He switches me onto a positive behavioural format
for the maximum prestige of his identity.
It should be said that notwithstanding the fact that I make ambulatory progress
through the inter-hill mortality slot,
terror sensations will not be substantiated in me due…

5 Blogs to encourage Christian life and faith

This post is to share 5 blogs that encourage me in Christian life and faith. I recommend each of them. There are others, but these I have chosen as a sample. There's a variety here, so take your pick or look at all of them.
1. A mostly photo blog

The Penelopepiscopal blog is mostly her own photos, often linked to a Bible verse or a prayer.

Often it is just one photo plus a few lines of text, so it doesn't take long to visit. I do so almost every day and it often lightens up my day in some way.
If you don't want to read long blog posts but like pictures, take a look.

2. Another mostly photo blog

Rosemary lives in the Cotswolds in the UK. As someone interested in art, architecture, design, travel and gardening, among other things, her Where Five Valleys Meet blog has consistently superb photographs.
Unlike the other blogs I'm linking to today it is not a specifically Christian blog, but since Christianity is about all of life and not only the spiritual/religious aspects of li…

What helps you to pray?

If you've been reading my posts in the last few days you will know I'm taking part in a 7 day 'ProBlogger Challenge'. This is day 6 and today's challenge is to create a discussion post. 

Having posted yesterday something about how to pray I would really like to know what helps you to pray. What helps me may not be what helps you. We are all different, at different stages of life and in different situations. Some people find going on a pilgrimage helpful, especially if it involves walking, either alone or with others. I find walking refreshing even when it is challenging, as prayer so often is. That is why I have chosen this image of a pilgrim walking to Camino da Santiago.

You may find other things helpful. You may have favourite or habitual aids to prayer that you use. Let me know in the comments. You can just put one word or something longer. It is up to you.

To start you thinking, here's a list of things some people find helpful for prayer:
being alonebeing with…

How to pray when you don't know how

Even when I want to pray, I sometimes feel I don't know how.
Faced with disasters on a grand scale, or the smaller but just as painful griefs we all encounter at some time, there don't seem to be the right words.

That doesn't matter. Prayer is about the focus of the heart, not the babbling of the mouth.

Jesus taught that when we pray we shouldn't keep on babbling in the hope that God will hear because of the repetition of many words.

When Jesus' disciples asked him to teach them to pray, he gave a framework or pattern for prayer which Christians call 'The Lord's Prayer'. 
There are two versions of the Lord's Prayer in the gospels, one in Matthew's gospel and one in Luke's gospel. Here's the Matthew version, from the New Revised Standard Version:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors…

Thomas's Story

I was so scared that day in Jerusalem. Jesus said things that made some people think he was crazy. They nearly stoned him. They tried to arrest him. We escaped with Jesus. We could have gone to Bethany where Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha lived – only 2 miles away. We were always sure of a warm welcome there. But it was too near Jerusalem. We retreated with Jesus out of Judea, back across the Jordan river - much safer. It was good to get away and I felt relieved I can tell you.
Then Jesus heard that his friend Lazarus was sick. He didn’t set off immediately to see him. Even with the danger of returning to the danger area we thought that odd. He loved that family - but he stayed put 2 more days. Eventually he said'let's go back to Judea'.Afraid he'd be killed, we tried to talk him out of it. That was no good. Jesus was determined. He said Lazarus was asleep. He had to go to wake him up. It didn't make sense. It made even less sense when Jesus said Lazarus wa…

Why Christianity Makes Sense - a book review post

When John Pritchard was Bishop of Oxford he wrote a book called, 'Ten: Why Christianity makes sense', published by SPCK in 2014.

After decades of explaining Christian faith to others, this book is the result of a sabbatical when he clarified in his mind some core things he believes about God and key things he has learned about Christian faith. The result is an easy to read book about why and how Christianity makes sense for him.

I write this on the 3rd of 7 days of the Pro-Blogging Challenge. Today's challenge is to write a review post. As I love books and reading the obvious way for me to respond is to write a book review. I hesitated when choosing John Pritchard's book 'Ten: Why Christianity makes sense' when I re-read a comment he wrote in my author-signed copy,
"Be generous when you mark this out of 10!"I will not be giving marks out of 10 but I am enthusiastic about this book. I think it succeeds in working as the author intended:
"I hope it'…

Why go to church?

I'm taking part in a 7 day blogging challenge called 7 days to get back your blogging groove.

The challenge each day is to post in a particular style which is not given until the day.

Yesterday's challenge was to publish a 'list post'. So I posted a list of 5 short prayers for everyday activities. Today's challenge is to post an answer to a frequently asked question in your own niche. The question I've chosen is 'why go to church? I've broken that down into 3 subsidiary questions:

Is it worth going to church even if I'm not sure if Christianity is for me?Can I be a Christian and not go to church?If I am a Christian why should I go to church?In a short post like this I can only give a few pointers, rather than an in-depth complete answer.

Is it worth going to church even if I'm not sure if Christianity is for me?
The short answer is yes. I know a number of people who go to church occasionally or regularly who would not call themselves Christians.

Why w…

5 Short Prayers for Everyday Activities

If you pray, what prompts you to do so?
A particular place, time, need, or something else?
Are your prayers kept in a compartment labelled 'holy'?
Do you also integrate your prayer life with everyday life?

There are some activities most people do every day: waking upwashingeatinggoing out and coming homegoing to sleepOrdinary everyday events can be triggers for prayer.
I have found it helpful to use a brief prayer while doing things I do every day. Like 'coffee to go' you could think of such prayers as 'prayer to go'.

Need some ideas?

Here are 5 short prayers for everyday activities:
1. Prayer to use on waking up
Thank you God for this new day.
Open my eyes to see you, my ears to hear you, my heart to receive you and my lips to praise you, in this new day.
2. Prayer to use while washing or showering
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
3. Prayer to use before eating
Bless this food to our use, and us in your service. Give us grateful hearts and…