I was always impressed by the girls at my primary school who could do that trick with their hands – here’s a church, here’s the steeple, through the doors and here are the people, and so on.
What impressed me was partly the uncopiable twisting wrists, the neatly knitted fingers, but it was also the way they could turn one thing – a human body into lots of little things: a church, a congregation, a parson climbing the stairs. You forget the person who’s telling the story, the person whose body this is, and just see the multiple elements in the story.
To you all,
Welcome to Holy Week.... Hosanna!
Hosanna? Does it sound odd in your ears? It does in mine, if I'm honest. Easter is going to feel odd to us all this year. We need to prepare ourselves, our hearts for that fact.
Through this week and beyond, I feel we may steer slightly away from the Psalms and towards the Prophets. Their anguished and righteous call for a return to God, a change of heart, a new way of living may resonate strongly this year as we journey towards what will be something of a whispered but profoundly special Easter, unique in all our lives. None of us will go unchanged by this Lent, Passiontide, and Easter.
I’m growing a beard. Well, you have to keep yourself occupied somehow.
Since I’m going be isolated, I thought, why not follow Robinson Crusoe’s example and let nature take its course. (Mind you, I still have a way to go before I can give St Euthymius ↑ a run for his money.)
But then I questioned myself: doesn’t Crusoe shave? Decent British chap that he is, he probably fashions a razor from flint or some such, and dutifully shaves in a reflective rock pool or something?
To you all,
Today our Deanery reflection comes from the… Dean himself. So, thank you to Canon Gerald Osborne for sharing his thoughts on something we're all having to show a lot of at the moment - patience.
A friend living in London under lockdown has been posting pictures of the city on Instagram. It’s shocking to see familiar streets suddenly, eerily empty. Without people, the city has taken on that ‘musuem’ quality you find at archaeological sites. These buildings, streets and thoroughfares, you feel, had a function and a life once, but quite what it was you can no longer remember or imagine.
In one photo I recognise the junction of Waterloo Bridge and the Strand, where the Strand becomes Aldwych. There’s the Lyceum theatre with its posters still up for The Lion King. And there’s not a single person to be seen.
At a time of anxiety and confusion and sadness, is it foolish to look... for joy? Perhaps, but then, depending on your point of view, the message of the Cross is foolishess (1 Corinthians 1:18).
Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:20-21)
So we have St Paul's blessing, and... today is April Fool's Day!
To you all,
While we find ourselves rooted suddenly in place, it's worth reflecting on how we're also rooted in time. I'm very grateful to Canon Alan Deboo for this wise and encouraging reflection on our shared roots in scripture and prayer. Perhaps the language of 'our roots' is less about our staying put, and more about our flourishing; less about where we belong and more about who we become...
I’ve been mildly asthmatic since infancy. At points, if I’m honest, it’s been more of a blessing than a curse: at school, for example, I could spend afternoons sitting in a warm library instead of hurling myself around in the cold and the mud.
And it’s a blessing in another way; it serves as a periodic reminder, not of my mortality, but the opposite: my vitality. It forces me to recognise that my life depends absolutely and wonderfully on all sorts of prevailing conditions. In this case, of course, on air. On air and my continuing capacity to breathe it. The gift of life.