Friday, 28 November 2008

IRELAND'S OWN MAGAZINE

As it looks today
.
MY KINDLY BENEFACTOR
.

Many years ago I used to visit an old lady called Miss Dunne who lived on Nicholas Street in Limerick city. She was in her eighties then and was one of the ‘old stock’ of the city, a lady who had never married and lived alone in a tiny two-roomed apartment in a building known as the ‘Widows Alms Houses’. As an energetic youth I was part of a team who visited the people who lived there on a weekly basis and did whatever we could to be of assistance, from painting and decorating to shopping or simply sitting down and having a chat. Many of the residents were great characters who had a repository of information on the changing face of the city and it was an education to our inexperienced ears , as we revelled in their tales of yesteryear and how tough it was growing up in the early 1900’s. Miss Dunne was by far the most endearing of the locals and was well known by passers by on the street as she was a familiar figure who always had time to engage in conversation and discuss the gossip of the day. As she got older and became confined to her house the visitors came to see her, and keep her up to date with all that was going on outside. Every time I called to see her she would have kept a copy of the ‘Ireland’s Own’ for me. The magazine was a pot-pouri of lightweight articles covering Irish history ,literature and culture with a special emphasis on short stories that were nostalgic and romantic. This little magazine has been a feature of Irish life since its establishment in 1902 and was a response at the time to the influx of British newspapers and magazines that were seen as dangerous to the morals of the nation!
A unique feature of ‘Ireland’s Own’ is that it is based in Wexford and not in Dublin giving it an authentic ‘country’ flavour as distinct from an urban sophisticated view. Of course it has long been a favourite with Ireland's large emigrant community especially in Britain bringing a little piece of home to those who were compelled to travel across the water to find work. I liked the magazine for its snippets of biography, poems and words of songs and also because it has an old-fashioned feel to it, giving it a timeless quality of enduring appeal. One of the biggest thrills of my life was having a short-story accepted for publication a couple of years ago, the buzz of seeing my name printed in the ‘Ireland’s Own’ - fame at last!
Miss Dunne faithfully kept every issue of the magazine for me and even when she had to go to a nursing home and leave her beloved home, each time I visited there was always at least one of the magazines waiting for me. My visits became less frequent and I vividly remember the last occasion as I entered the ward and saw her bed empty. The nurse explained that she had died some weeks before and as I turned to leave she called me back. There carefully tucked away inside the locker was a bag of magazines with my name on it, a magazine for every week that I had failed to visit!
The ‘Ireland’s Own’ is still going strong and I regularly read it ' remembering the kindness and faithfulness of old Miss Dunne. In fact there is a regular feature in the magazine called ‘Miss Flanagan Investigates’ which always reminds me of my kindly benefactor from Nicholas Street who fed my ‘habit’ for wholesome reading all those years ago.

Gerard O'Shea

Monday, 24 November 2008

GEORGE BEST BELIEVED !

1946 - 2005
.
FOOTBALL LEGENDS
BEST DECISION
.
Thought by some to be the finest soccer player of them all, George Best had the world at his feet for much of his career. Playing for Manchester United he gave dazzling displays of his skill and football genius delighting his legion of fans, and to top it all George was one of our own, an Irishman! Not only was George one of our own but he was also ‘one of the lads’ enjoying the trappings of fame with a penchant for beautiful women and an increasing dependence on alcohol. Many would argue that Best’s glittering career was ended prematurely because of this hectic lifestyle and in his final years his battle with the booze became a continuing struggle. The Sydney Morning Herald in paying tribute said about him…“The originality of Best's play was breathtaking, encompassing a repertoire of feints and swerves, sudden stops and demoralising spurts which left opponents slack-jawed and bewildered. He reacted to scoring chances with a deadliness that made goalkeepers dread him. His skill was the epitome of natural, intuitive talent; he made it seem easy. It was Best's tragedy that he ultimately became as famous for his unsuccessful attempts to conquer his alcoholism as for his exploits on the field.”
Even in the throes of his ongoing health and addiction issues George regularly appeared on TV chat shows ,ever the charming and engaging guest. All who met him were struck by this charismatic personality who by his wanton behaviour inflicted so much pain and hardship on himself.George's lifestyle had caught up with him, and he was very ill. George was admitted to Cromwell Hospital, London on the 26th of September 2005. In the hospital God had Joyce, a Christian nurse, who read the Bible and prayed with George at every opportunity.
About three weeks before his death, George accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his own, personal Saviour making, without doubt, the best decision of his life. In the words of Joyce, "he confessed with his mouth".If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9) While George enjoyed all the good things that this life had to offer eventually he realised the truth that only God can satisfy the thirst and hunger of the human soul. Patrick Kavanagh expressed the shallowness of excess when he wrote these lines “We have tested and tasted too much…through a chink too wide comes in no wander…” And Jesus told the story about the man who gained the whole world and yet lost his soul !George Best was a blessed man to be given the opportunity to turn to Jesus even at the ninth hour and find forgiveness and peace for his soul. While all his family gathered around his bedside during his final moments none of them could prepare George for this final great journey!
On the day of his funeral,3 December 2005 his sister got an assurance from God as to Georges ultimate destination when she read these words from the Bible “This thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:32).
.
Gerard O'Shea

Sunday, 23 November 2008

WALKING THRU THE BIBLE !

The logo
.
MIMING AND
MINGLING IN CORK
.
I spent an enjoyable day on the banks of the river Lee yesterday, well Douglas to be precise and the Memorial Hall attached to St Luke’s school in particular. Along with Tony Ryan (my travelling companion !) and about 50 other participants we were there for a ‘Walk Thru the Bible’ New Testament one day seminar given by Jacob Reynolds (of the Irish Bible Institute). The idea of ‘Walk Thru’ is to present the essential structure of the where , when and how of the Bible using visual aids, mime and word association to link the main events of Scripture into a memorable seminar. Key events are lodged in the memory by the use of simple mimes such as the rocking of a baby for Christ’s Nativity or the washing of hands for the cleansing of the Temple! Jacob taught the whole programme with the right mixture of enthusiasm and good humour which was reflected in the general genial atmosphere of the group as a whole. I found the geographical references (not my strongest point!) to both the life of Christ and the journeys of Paul very illuminating as well as the personal asides that Jacob used to ‘flesh’ out the teaching of the seminar. And of course the ‘coffee breaks’ provided ample time to mix and meet with others and enjoy their fellowship and testimonies, ‘Queen’ Maeve and Maura both from Cork were cheerful and engaging ‘cuppa’ companions! Maeve, a veteran of ‘Walk Thru’ seminars later showed off her prowess by effortlessly going through the entire mime sequence of the Old Testament learned over a year ago! I was also glad to briefly meet some of the people behind Corks Christian radio station ‘Life 93.1 FM’. The station has two paid employees and apart from that run a 24 hour radio service with volunteer staff, and having listened in on a few occasions I can attest to their excellent programming (you can tune in online at http://www.lifefm.ie/live5/ ) I must mention also Florence Binions who organised the ‘Walk Thru’ day and was very helpful to me before the event with directions to the event, even though we did get lost en route, not her fault though…entirely mine. I seem to have a ‘blind spot’ for the Jack Lynch tunnel and have frequently lost my way to this Cork landmark, maybe I need to do a ‘Walk Thru Cork’ seminar ! If you would like any further info on the ‘Walk Thru the Bible’ ministry find it at http://www.bible.org.uk/
.
Gerard O'Shea

Friday, 21 November 2008

DRIVING WITH PENGUINS

A BLACK AND WHITE CASE !
.
A man was driving down the road with twenty penguins in the back seat.
The police stop him and say that he can't drive around
with the penguins in the car and should take them to the zoo.
The man agrees and drives off.
The next day the same man is driving down the road
with twenty penguins in the back .
He is stopped by the same police officer who says,
"Hey! I though I told you to take those to the zoo."
The man replies
"I did. Today I'm taking them to the cinema."

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

STUFF AT CHRISTMAS

Scrooge looking for love !
.
A FUNNY OLD SEASON
.
This is a funny old time of the year, as we rush headlong towards the hustle-bustle time of year which is Christmas, now only five weeks away. I have written here before about my mixed feelings about this end of year celebration, a desire to make it meaningful on the one hand and a sneaking feeling that it is a con job on the other! Sure, the birth of Jesus Christ is a significant and worthy object of commemoration and certainly He gets honourable mention throughout the Seasonal festivities, but I have this sneaking feeling that the essence of Jesus message is largely lost in the rampant materialism and ‘jollity’ so prevalent at the foot of the annual Christmas tree!
As a younger man I tried so hard to redeem the ‘true’ meaning of Christmas and rescue it, as I saw it, from these pagan interlopers, however with maturing years I realise the reality is a bit more complex than what I once thought. Much of what I would have reckoned as a wholesome Christmas celebration came not from the pages of the Gospels but from the fertile imagination of one Charles Dickens who probably did more than any other single person to shape the popular concept of what a ‘traditional’ Christmas ought to be. Dickens wrote several books around the Christmas theme his most popular being the salutary tale of Ebenezer Scrooge in ‘A Christmas Carol‘. This little book is a joy to read and cheerfully announces the potential for redemptive change even for a curmudgeon like Scrooge who became so entangled with his assets and possessions that he lost sight of the power of love and fellow-feeling. And I suppose ,that redemptive parable skirts around the transforming power of Jesus Christ in a persons life when he is taken in as Lord and Saviour!
The problem with the Dickens' Christmas is that the figure of a Redeemer is an optional extra and that the power of change somehow resides within the human heart apart from any of the ’God’ stuff! Maybe that’s the problem with the whole shebang of Christmas, it’s full of stuff but not much bothered with the ‘God’ stuff !
So how do we try and keep this chameleon Season in some sort of positive meaningful perspective ? We should begin I think with the Bible, and go back to the original accounts of Jesus' birth in the Gospels ,and about now is a good time to begin to reflect anew on this most familiar of stories. I am fascinated at the new insights I glean from the few dozen verses in the early chapters of Matthew and Luke’s Gospels on repeated readings, and the series of peripheral events around the actual birth that are so rich in themselves and in assisting our understanding of this momentous event - the invisible Spirit God becoming like one of us in tangible human form ! No other Faith offers the depth and scope of the Incarnation, the Creator God of the Universe entering our sphere as a gurgling , smiling infant. Our familiarity with the story sometimes dilutes its impact and veils the relevance that such a manifestation of God can have for our lives.
As well as meditating on the Scriptural accounts of the Nativity I try and attend some communal expression of faith around this time, even a good old fashioned carol-service or better still to gather with a group for a Bible study. Handel’s Messiah is always an inspiration and even though originally penned with Easter in mind serves well in reminding us of the whole point of Christmas and the person behind it, who can hear those timeless words from this oratorio “For unto us a child is born…a son is given, And his name shall be called…Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God…the Everlasting Father…” without realising that after all this Christmas season really is all about the ‘God’ stuff and not the other stuff !!! Perhaps with old Scrooge ,we may yet discover the power of a really meaningful Christmas and the possibility that there exists within that hoary old festival a life-changing epiphany not wrought by Dickens' power of positive thinking tale, but based firmly on the real events that took place on that holiest of nights all those years ago. That Bethlehem Visitation reminds us we are loved by a God who lived amongst us as Jesus Christ and nailed his love to the cross to rescue us from our sins. Now that seems to me to be the perfect recipe for a really happy Christmas !
.
Gerard O'Shea

Thursday, 13 November 2008

MONASTIC REVELATION

THE LITERAL TRUTH

A young monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to helping the other monks in copying the old canons and laws of the church by hand.


He notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript. So, the new monk goes to the head abbot to question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up! In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.


The head monk, says, "We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son."



He goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscripts are held as archives in a locked vault that hasn't been opened for hundreds of years. Hours go by and nobody sees the old abbot.



So, the young monk gets worried and goes down to look for him. He sees him banging his head against the wall and wailing,"We missed the "R" ! , we missed the "R" !"
His forehead is all bloody and bruised and he is crying uncontrollably.
The young monk asks the old abbot, "What's wrong, father?
"With A choking voice, the old abbot replies,
"The word was...




CELEBRATE !!!"

PHOBIA SOLUTIONS
.
Here are the correct pairings to the Phobias poser of a few days ago…

Spiders…Arachnophobia / Foreign People…Xenophobia / Flying…Aerophobia / Open Spaces…Agrophobia / Confined Spaces…Claustrophobia / Heights…Acrophobia / Lightning…Astraphobia / Money…Chrometophobia / Injections…Typanophobia / Everything…Panophobia / Ghost…Phasmophobia / Cancer…Carcinomaphobia / Chickens…Alektorophobia

A BLESSED HOPE

THE
DARKLING
THRUSH
.
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.
.
The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.
.
At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.
.
So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.
.
Thomas Hardy

Saturday, 8 November 2008

SWEET, SWEET, LOVE

THE LOVER TO HIS BELOVED
.
You are beautiful, my darling,
beautiful beyond words.
Your eyes are like doves
behind your veil.
Your hair falls in waves,
like a flock of goats winding down the slopes of Gilead.
.
Your teeth are as white as sheep,
recently shorn and freshly washed.
Your smile is flawless,
each tooth matched with its twin.
Your lips are like scarlet ribbon;
your mouth is inviting.
Your cheeks are like rosy pomegranates
behind your veil.
Your neck is as beautiful as the tower of David,
jewelled with the shields of a thousand heroes.
.
Your breasts are like two fawns,
twin fawns of a gazelle grazing among the lilies.
Before the dawn breezes blow
and the night shadows flee,
I will hurry to the mountain of myrrh
and to the hill of frankincense.
.
You are altogether beautiful,
my darling,beautiful in every way…
You have captured my heart,
my treasure, my bride.
You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes,
with a single jewel of your necklace.
.
Your love delights me,
my treasure, my bride.
Your love is better than wine,
your perfume more fragrant than spices.
Your lips are as sweet as nectar, my bride.
Honey and milk are under your tongue.
Your clothes are scented
like the cedars of Lebanon.
.

Song of Solomon 4:1-7,9-11


.S
Song

PRAYER AT NIGHT

LORD...
Some days just wear me down, and at their end I feel all washed up and burnt out. I feel sullied and soiled by my walk in this world, too many things pressing in and not enough sight or sound of you ! Touch me now Lord and fill my life with the delight of your Being. Wash over my spirit with the stream of your Word, speak your truth deep within me.
I know you love me as I remember your death for me on the cross, I know you care for me as I come into your risen Presence in the assurance of your victory even over the grave. Just as long ago you washed your disciples feet, make me clean…and as you gave the Samaritan woman that Living water, pour a draught for me sweet Lord.
Thank you Lord Jesus for your faithfulness and continuing mercy through every day of my life, may tomorrow present a new opportunity to trace your hand in the minutiae of the commonplace and the ordinary. Even though you are the lord God of the universe and the God of miracles and power, sometimes you come in a small whisper when we least expect it. Enable me to be alert in the Spirit for these subtle encounters ,that I may draw close to you and sitting at your feet find nourishment for my soul.


Friday, 7 November 2008

PHOBIA-PHOBES BEWARE !

Winter is drawing in and the evenings are darkening and sending us homeward towards hearth and warmth. To shorten our quality 'couch-slouch' TV time I offer this mild teaser to jostle the brain cells and stir the blood. Below are listed some popular and some obscure phobias that bedevil our human psyche, all that is required is to match the conditions in the right column with their meaning on the left. As the interactive features of this blog are limited the easiest way to set about this task is to print the page and using an old fashioned pen mix and match ! ~GOSh.~
.
FEEL THE FEAR...
.
Spiders...... Carcinomaphobia
Foreign people...... Panophobia.
Flying...... Acrophobia.
Open spaces..... Chrometophobia.
Confined spaces...... Alektorophobia.
Heights...... Claustrophobia.
Lightning...... Phasmophobia
Money...... Agrophobia
Injections...... Arachnaphobia
Everything...... Aerophobia.
Ghost ......Trypanophobia.
Cancer...... Xenophobia.
Chickens...... Astraphobia.
.
Answers as ever will be posted...SOON !

OBAMA'S CREDO

On last Tuesday night Barack Obama was elected the first black president of the U.S.A. A crowd of nearly quarter of a million packed into Grant Park and surrounding areas of Chicago as the 44 th. President-elect addressed the nation in a historic victory speech.
“If there is anyone out there who doubts that America is a place where anything is possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,” he proclaimed to an enthusiastic audience.
“Young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled, Americans have sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of red states and blue states,” he said
. “We have been and always will be the United States of America.
“It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America,”
he announced to the roars of appreciation from the assembled crowd. ~GOSh.~

BARACK OBAMA’S FAITH
.
In June of 2007 Obama spoke about his personal journey to faith…
.
It wasn’t until after college, when I went to Chicago to work as a community organizer for a group of Christian churches, that I confronted my own spiritual dilemma. In a sense, what brought me to Chicago in the first place was a hunger for some sort of meaning in my life. I wanted to be part of something larger. I’d been inspired by the civil rights movement – by all the clear-eyed, straight-backed, courageous young people who’d boarded buses and travelled down South to march and sit at lunch counters, and lay down their lives in some cases for freedom. I was too young to be involved in that movement, but I felt I could play a small part in the continuing battle for justice by helping rebuild some of Chicago’s poorest neighbourhoods.
.
SOMETHING WAS MISSING

So it’s 1985, and I’m in Chicago, and I’m working with these churches, and with lots of laypeople who are much older than I am. And I found that I recognized in these folks a part of myself. I learned that everyone’s got a sacred story when you take the time to listen. And I think they recognized a part of themselves in me too. They saw that I knew the Scriptures and that many of the values I held and that propelled me in my work were values they shared. But I think they also sensed that a part of me remained removed and detached – that I was an observer in their midst.
And slowly, I came to realize that something was missing as well – that without an anchor for my beliefs, without a commitment to a particular community of faith, at some level I would always remain apart, and alone.
And it’s around this time that some pastors I was working with came up to me and asked if I was a member of a church. “If you’re organizing churches,” they said, “it might be helpful if you went to church once in a while.” And I thought, “Well, I guess that makes sense.”
.
MY CHRISTIAN FAITH

So one Sunday, I put on one of the few clean jackets I had, and went over to Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street on the South Side of Chicago. And I heard Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright deliver a sermon called “The Audacity of Hope.” And during the course of that sermon, he introduced me to someone named Jesus Christ. I learned that my sins could be redeemed. I learned that those things I was too weak to accomplish myself, He would accomplish with me if I placed my trust in Him. And in time, I came to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death, but rather as an active, palpable agent in the world and in my own life.
It was because of these new found understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. I didn’t fall out in church, as folks sometimes do. The questions I had didn’t magically disappear. The sceptical bent of my mind didn’t suddenly vanish. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt I heard God’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth and carrying out His works…
.
A HUNGER

There’s a hunger that’s deeper than that – a hunger that goes beyond any single cause or issue. It seems to me that each day, thousands of Americans are going about their lives – dropping the kids off at school, driving to work, shopping at the mall, trying to stay on their diets, trying to kick a cigarette habit – and they’re coming to the realization that something is missing. They’re deciding that their work, their possessions, their diversions, their sheer busyness, is not enough.
They want a sense of purpose, a narrative arc to their lives. They’re looking to relieve a chronic loneliness. And so they need an assurance that somebody out there cares about them, is listening to them – that they are not just destined to travel down that long road toward nothingness.
.
Barack Obama

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

IN THE MONASTERY

AND ANOTHER THING...
.
A young man joined a monastery and took a vow of silence. Every day he worked hard in the fields and never said a word.
After ten years, the Abbot summoned him. "Brother, it is ten years since your vow of silence. On this special day, you may speak. Do you have anything to say?"
He said, "The food is terrible!"
Ten years later, he was again summoned to the Abbot's office. "Brother, it is now twenty years since you joined us. Again, on this special day you may speak."
The monk said, "The bed is too hard", and walked out.
Ten years later he was again called to see the Abbot. "It has been thirty years since you took your vow of silence, brother. Is there anything you would like to say?"
Said the monk, "I'm resigning."
The Abbot replied, "Yes, I'm not surprised. You haven't done anything but complain since you got here!"

WORD PERFECT !

oxymoron [ox-see-more-on]
Noun, a figure of speech that
combines two apparently
contradictory terms.
.
OXYMORONS I LOVE
.
Religious tolerance... Exact estimate... Working vacation ...Rap music ...Diet ice cream... Pretty ugly... Definite maybe... Tight slacks ...Political science Computer security... Terribly pleased ...Plastic glasses... Peace force... Clearly misunderstood... Taped live... Passive aggression... Now, then ... Child Proof... Act naturally... Almost exactly... Clearly confused... Deafening silence ...Divorce court... Cardinal sin... Cafeteria food... Half naked... Minor crises... Old news... Natural blond... Open secret ...Seriously funny... Peace offensive

PRESIDENTIAL RACE

The Candidates
.
On a night when the world’s media is focused on the U.S. presidential election and it seems likely that the Democratic candidate Barack Obama is going to win, many hopes will be pinned on the new incumbent to bring a fresh touch to America and a new vision for the future. After Americas disastrous foreign policy under George Bush many Americans are hoping that their country’s tarnished image abroad will be corrected and that Obama will become a domestic reformer and a world peace-maker. Can any leader live up to these expectations ? Eberhard Arnold wrote a book called ‘God’s Revolution’ in the 1920‘s, and went on to live out these principles in a radical and very practical way..In 1919 at age 37, Arnold abandoned middle-class life and moved with his wife and children to the village of Sannerz in central Germany, and founded a community with seven adult members and five children. Here they would attempt to put into practice what he believed the Holy Spirit had revealed to him. The community ethic was based on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. His words on the nature of real change and the realities behind the facade of outward things seem very apt on the brink of the election of the leader of the worlds most powerful nation . ~ GOSh, ~
.
HOW WE CAN CHANGE
.
Laying aside the old nature and putting on the new is the only thing that can help us in these times. It is a matter of the Spirit - a matter of the rule of spirits. Outward things do not matter. It is the inner things that have power, because behind all outward powers stand spiritual forces. So if we ask ourselves in what direction our lives should proceed, then there is only one question that matters. Which spirit will rule over us - the spirit of the world or the spirit of God? We face the great either/or, God or the devil, Christ or Satan. Jesus is the only one who can effect a change in us - Jesus, who lived amongst us and who uncovered and unmasked our hypocrisy. Only he can change and transform all things. But we can come under his rulership, under the authority of his Spirit, only through the great upheaval of repentance. The new birth of which he spoke to Nicodemus, the old man who came to him in the night, is repentance. And repentance is a complete revolution of life. It is conversion from the spirit of darkness to the spirit of
light, redemption from all constraints and servitude, from all error and delusion. But we should not worry about how this revolution will penetrate the cultural and political life before we ourselves arrive at it quite personally…

INNER STRENGTH

The great agitation in the world of today makes it more and more urgent to gain inner strength in those quiet encounters with Christ that make it possible for us to remain under his rule and authority. Situated as we are
in the midst of a world that is so terribly unpeaceful, we need constant nourishment for our inner life. It is important to look beyond confining externals... Instead of following the alien spirits of hatred and violence, of
lying, impure, and greedy possessiveness, we must follow the one spirit who alone is stronger than all other spirits...

REBIRTH OF HEART

Without a rebirth in our hearts, we will glean from fluctuating world events either a false meaning - based on material considerations or on emotional or racial ties - or no meaning at all. The course of history is interpreted falsely by very many, in the interests of their own nation or society. For most people, though, it never has any meaning at all. There is only one possible way of bringing this confusion to an end: the whole person, for the whole of life, must undergo a complete about-face toward the kingdom of God. Rebirth is the only name we can give to such a radical change - to the complete opposite of our former life. Only through such a complete change can we see in all that happens the approach and intervention of God’s rule. We can never see the kingdom of God, or have any part in it, without a rebirth of heart; without breaking down the whole structure of our life and then making a completely new start. Only a new beginning that proceeds
from the very bottom - a rebirth that goes back to the root - can prepare us for the kingdom of God. We need a new foundation for our entire personal life. If we want to avoid suffering inward shipwreck in the storm of public opinion and chaos, then our hidden inner being needs daily the quiet haven of communion with God.
.
Eberhard Arnold

Saturday, 1 November 2008

ROSSETTI POEM


REST

O EARTH, lie heavily upon her eyes;
Seal her sweet eyes weary of watching, Earth;
Lie close around her; leave no room for mirth
With its harsh laughter, nor for sound of sighs.
She hath no questions, she hath no replies,
Hush'd in and curtain'd with a bless├Ęd dearth
Of all that irk'd her from the hour of birth;
With stillness that is almost Paradise.
Darkness more clear than noonday holdeth her,
Silence more musical than any song;
Even her very heart has ceased to stir:
Until the morning of Eternity
Her rest shall not begin nor end, but be;
And when she wakes she will not think it long.

.
Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)