to help you discover the God you already know

Year: 2020 (Page 1 of 2)

Light on Dark Matter ?

I’m going to wander well outside my areas of competence here, armed only with my curiosity and intuition. I’m going to do so because there are several areas of enquiry that have been engaging me, some of them for some time, and I’m beginning to wonder whether they might be connected.

Astrophysicists suggest that around 5% of the universe’s mass is made up of ‘baryonic matter’, matter we can touch with our hands & witness with our eyes & instruments; a little over 68% is presumed to be made of ‘dark energy’ an enigmatic force that seems to be accelerating the ongoing expansion of the cosmos; the remaining 27% is thought to be made up of ‘dark matter’, the particles of which wholly refuse to interact with baryonic matter, so we have no means of detecting it save through its perceived gravitational influence. It emits no light or energy, but is fundamental to everything in the universe, anchoring all structures together. Without it galaxies, planets, our earth and us humans would not exist, yet we know nothing about it. The particles thought most likely to be the constituent of dark matter traverse our livers, skulls and guts in their trillions each second. Its thought that they were created in sufficiently vast quantities in the seconds after the birth of the universe to account for the missing mass. Scientists reckon that to prove and decipher the existence of dark matter, would require us to acquire a whole new way of knowing everything.

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Art & Soul: Breathe Peace

As a counter to the turmoil depicted in my last piece, I have painted a view of Godrevy lighthouse and beach on a beautiful calm day. It is a very spacious beach, about three miles long, and the tide goes out a long way, revealing golden wet sands that reflect the sky and landscape. It all invites me to stop, and be…to ‘Breathe Peace’ in my body, mind and soul. 

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Audio prayer featured on Insight Timer

I use the Insight Timer app every day to support my own prayer practice and discipline. I highly recommend it. I have begun putting my own guided prayers on this platform to add a contemplative Christian presence. I’m chuffed to bits to learn that my Prayer for sleep is being featured on Insight Timer today. You can find it here.

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Prayer in the Morning

After writing about finding the gift in Covid19, I unexpectedly found myself sensing that perhaps I should go on and share the opening section of my current pattern of ‘prayer in the morning’?  But I felt reluctant to do so. It’s personal and I’m not sure if it’s appropriate to share something quite so personal. Its what has emerged for me having decided 18 months ago to explore my priestly ministry outside the constraints of the institutional church, and wanting to anchor that exploration in my own pattern of prayer in the morning. In doing so I’ve brought together resources that have spoken to me over the years. So it is very personal. I make no apology for that, but it does mean that it might not mean very much to anybody but me. I am certainly not offering it with the assumption that it’s something that others would feel comfortable using.  On the other hand, I’ve learnt to trust these unexpected ideas that come to me, and so after a bit of mulling I’ve chosen to trust this latest one. I do so in the spirit of wanting to encourage others to explore what might be helpful for them their prayer in the morning, rather than assuming that there’s an ‘off the shelf option’ that will be a good fit. There might be, but there might not. If not, then maybe you, like me, already have much of what you need already: the wisdom and resources acquired so far on your journey.  It’s a matter of putting them together into some sort of shape, and then using and refining it as you go. Trust that a pattern will emerge that will nourish and challenge you.

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Thoughts in a time of plague

Desert, Newberry Springs, CA (photo by Julian Maddock)
Desert, Newberry Springs, CA (photo by Julian Maddock)

I wrote a short piece for the London Centre for Spiritual Direction‘s May newsletter. Then a few days later I was invited to give a reflection at a Holy Communion Service on Zoom. I used the original piece as a springboard to engage with the scripture. Here is the delivered product.

This time of plague is a desolation for many: loss of work, loss of income, loss of health, loss of life; traumatic, dangerous front-line work; and decimated support services. Those of us not so endangered still suffer desolation. There is overwhelming uncertainty: where will we be next year, or next week!? How are we to live now? What is God’s call now?

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Where’s the gift in Covid19?

         With churches closed ‘Lockdown’ provides us with an opportunity to explore new spiritual resources.  Church services online are a resource for some, but apart from that we’re on our own, left to our own devices. Some may choose to do nothing, others reach out for a pre-packaged pattern from the internet.  My instinct is that we already possess the God-given resources we need and that deepening our trust in them is an excellent place to start.

I’ve personally learnt to relish the chance to trust a rhythm that comes naturally from within rather than one imposed from outside. Mostly its not a matter of learning new tricks, but rather of recognising the value of things that I already do, and nourishing  and deepening them.  

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The One God Whom we already know: part 3

Questions in a time of crisis

The current Lockdown presents everybody with a massive change of life style, the like of which most of us have never experienced before.  Some of us are facing death, our own or that of others, more sharply than before. Some of us are having our working lives turned upside down. Some of us are finding ourselves living solitary lives.  For most people this is a time of challenge and change. Inevitably it prods us into asking questions like: ‘What’s important to me in life?  ‘What makes life worth living? How do I want to live my life?’  In order to stimulate your thinking on these questions I share with you two pieces of wisdom from my collection, that prod and challenge me.

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Art & Soul – meditations

In these times I have been painting in my studio images inspired by the lighthouses of Cornwall. Each painting also reflects something of my prayers and my faith – encountering the dynamic presence of God in the world around us.

I have several on the go, but thought I’d share here the first one I have completed. Here it is on my easel – to give a sense of the scale. It’s 40 x 54 inches.

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The One God Whom we already know, part 2

If the women and men of prayer across all the world faiths experience the same Ultimate Reality when they pray, then they all encounter what Christians call God.  When a mixed group of Christians, for whom working together would seem like a miracle, instead share their experience of God they find themselves deeply united.  How do I reflect on these truths?

In 2001 I wrote a Report for The Spiritual Counsel Trust on the state of spiritual direction in the UK.  I wrote that. “In the course of my work, I listen to many people and try to help them discern the promptings of the Spirit of the risen Lord in their lives. Each person’s story is different, and yet I find that some themes occur frequently. When I talk with others engaged in this ministry I find that they are hearing the same themes. It seems to me to be incumbent upon me to say “I feel that the Spirit is saying these things to the churches and perhaps to society: spiritual direction leads into prophecy.” All of the themes I named then remain current. They were:

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