A Good Christmas with Bishop Rowan Williams with Link that Works

The previous link did not work so am re-posting one that I hope will. Thanks to Michael Marsh who first posted this though. Some of you will obviously get this through twice!

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After A While…

After a while you learn the subtle difference

Between holding a hand and chaining a soul.

And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning

And that company does not mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts

And presents aren’t promises.

And you begin to accept your defeats

With your head held up and your eyes open.

With the grace of an adult

Not the grief of a child.

And you learn to build all your roads on today

Because tomorrows ground is too uncertain

For your plans.

After a while you learn that even sunshine

Burns if you have too much.

So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul

Instead of waiting for someone to buy you flowers.

And you will learn that you can endure

That you are really special

And that you really do have worth.

Live to learn and love yourself.

In doing so, you will learn to live.

 

Anon.

Beauly Priory Atumn Leaves

Veni Sanctus Spiritus: Come Holy Spirit

I offer this to gently lift our hearts and minds, on the feather light wings of the Holy Spirit. May we mindfully join with our Soul in its eternal song of Joy and Praise. May we find peace in these troubled times, may our gentleness act as a grace within our world and our compassion heal wounds of the human experience. Let us rest in the grace of God and know each other as family no matter how different we may appear on the surface. And may we have the courage to Love.

One commentator on this said the following: ‘Come Holy Spirit and inflame the hearts of nations. Forgive our differences, enlighten our hearts and minds that we may see our common brotherhood as children of the one true God.’  

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Veni Sancte Spiritus 

Latin Text.
Veni, Sancte Spiritus, et emitte caelitus lucis tuae radium. Veni, pater pauperum, veni, dator munerum, veni, lumen cordium. Consolator optime, dulcis hospes animae, dulce refrigerium. In labore requies, in aestu temperies, in fletu solatium. O lux beatissima, reple cordis intima tuorum fidelium. Sine tuo numine, nihil est in homine, nihil est innoxium. Lava quod est sordidum, riga quod est aridum, sana quod est saucium. Flecte quod est rigidum, fove quod est frigidum, rege quod est devium. Da tuis fidelibus, in te confidentibus, sacrum septenarium. Da virtutis meritum, da salutis exitum, da perenne gaudium. 
Come, Holy Spirit, send forth the heavenly radiance of your light. Come, father of the poor, come, giver of gifts, come, light of the heart. Greatest comforter, sweet guest of the soul, sweet consolation. In labor, rest, in heat, temperance, in tears, solace. O most blessed light, fill the inmost heart of your faithful. Without your grace, there is nothing in us, nothing that is not harmful. Cleanse that which is unclean, water that which is dry, heal that which is wounded. Bend that which is inflexible, fire that which is chilled, correct what goes  stray. Give to your faithful, those who trust in you, the sevenfold gifts. Grant the reward of virtue, grant the deliverance of salvation, grant eternal joy.

 

 

Starry Starry Night

The marrying of Van Gogh’s art and the beautiful song by Don McLean in this short video, makes us stop…smile…and remember God’s Eternal presence in our world and our lives. Although not always obvious to us…it cannot be otherwise.  Beauty and deep love are God’s ‘signatures’ and can be visible even in our greatest personal sufferings and deepest misunderstandings. Just wanted to share this. If you have problems viewing it, visit the link below the video which should take you straight to it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dipFMJckZOM

 

You’re The Voice….

Today, in the Daily Mail here in the UK…this was reported. And I feel compelled to make a response.

Clip: “WE MUST MAKE WAR MORE ACCEPTABLE”

Repatriation ceremonies for the remains of dead soldiers should have a lower profile in order to make war more palatable to the British public, according to a report for the Ministry of Defence. It examines how to sway ‘casualty averse’ public opinion, a situation commonly known as ‘body bag syndrome’, and was published by the MoD’s strategy formulation unit.

The document suggests that the MoD should ‘reduce the profile of the repatriation ceremonies’ where coffins carrying deceased soldiers are brought back to UK bases such as RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. It discusses ways to ‘reduce public sensitivity’ and methods of explaining that ‘risks are knowingly and willingly undertaken’ by armed forces personnel.

Suggestions included making greater use of the SAS and other special forces, as well as mercenaries, because it claims losses sustained by the elite soldiers and hired guns do not have the same impact on the public and press. ‘Neither the media nor the public in the west appear to identify with contractors in the way that they do with their military personnel. Thus casualties from within the contractorised force are more acceptable in pursuit of military ends than those from among our own forces.’

It added: ‘The public appear to have a more robust attitude to SF [special forces] losses.’ ‘Historically, once the public are convinced that they have a stake in the conflict they are prepared to endorse military risks and will accept casualties as the necessary consequence of the use of military force,’ it says.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2434435/Ministry-Defence-urged-make-repatriation-ceremonies-low-key-reduce-body-bag-syndrome.html#ixzz2g6lJehFd

Stephanie:

Well you cant get much more deluded and out of touch than that can you! So the MoD feels that by hiding the bodies coming back, [which incidentally the ceremonies mentioned were spontaneous gestures by the British people turning out in their hundreds, [including medalled veterans of the second world war], to stand in the tiny streets of Brize Norton to witness silently each coffin that came back…so the MoD changed the venues to a private area where the public could not turn out…] that somehow in their twisted and warped minds makes war more acceptable to us. After all…they describe us, the majority of the British public as “casualty averse”. We have no moral point it seems, just an aversion to body bags! How insulting is that!! More war? No, not in my name. No.

I am not sure quite what mentality and lack of intelligence is the driving force behind these officials in charge. I am not quite sure which part of the word NO they do not understand. I am not sure why they could possibly think that the use of more drones in foreign countries is in any way acceptable to our moral repugnance at war, or that by using mercenaries????, paid guns?  [in full article]suddenly we find war “acceptable”? Does it matter to me what nationality someone is that dies in a war in my name? No it does not. Each death is one too many.

I am sure of of two things though:

1] War, terrorism and its destruction of life and of fear is not of God and cannot ever be justified in His name.

2] All it needs for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing, words spoken by Edmund Burke, who also said the following words which I think are equally applicable to the constant warmongers in our world today…”They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance.”

I think I would rather pass on their inheritance at the moment! And I will continue to pray for peace, to try and live peacefully and to not let despair overtake hope in my heart.

All We Are Saying This Week As Congress Votes Is….Give Peace A Chance

As relevant now as it was then….from the people to our leaders right now…

Here in the UK our parliament has already voted…NO. Now we wait on Congress over in America this week.

Give peace a chance…

“Give Peace a Chance” is a 1969 single by (John Lennon’s) Plastic Ono Band that became an anthem of the American anti-war movement at that time.

Destruction or Creation?

As I sit like many of you hearing conflicting reports of what is happening in Syria [and other Middle Eastern and African countries such as Egypt, Libya, and Iraq], I feel bowed with sorrow at the pain and suffering being experienced by so many. My focus in this post is Syria.

I watch coverage, see children hiding in caves in the dark; not knowing whether they will survive the night and I see long trails of humans walking to cross borders leaving their homes and families and their household goods, dispossessed people now refugees in another land. I see the destructive force of bombs, and gunfire, ravaged buildings that all represent crushed homes that held families, with their dreams, hopes, and aspirations just a few short years ago, that now lie in rubble, torn down by the destructive hand of mankind. I see piles of frail human bodies, some covered in rags and blankets, their lives and their stories of their lives forever turned into a great silence, their lives stolen, their futures stolen. The living stare back at us with blank traumatised eyes, or if their frustration can still find expression…some talk quickly, angrily about who did this to them. Each ‘side’ tells a different story. All suffer. As well as bombs and the death of so very many, now the use of chemical weapons has been added to the poisonous mix. And we have an almighty heady brew.

It was the regime, say one group. No, it was the rebels say the regime. The world’s countries polarise depending on which side they back. And in that polarisation we all become more alienated, less likely to hear the voice of reason, less able to find a diplomatic solution, less inclined to listen and to talk…and more likely to inflict yet more carnage and destruction upon those who have already suffered so much as the drums of war bang louder by the day.  We all become more wary of each other, rifles are cocked, weapons counted and made ready, old international divisions surface and rumble…This further proposed possible infliction of damage upon the Syrian regime  by the USA and Western allies now being considered is a show of power, a proposed act of ‘proportional’ damage that is intended to show their strength and by inflicting more damage somehow prevent further damage by the warring sides themselves, to each other. It is as if, by bombing Syria, the leaders of our Western nations believe that somehow this will bring these damaged and shattered people to their senses…and history rings its mournful bell to remind us that this has never worked before and likely never will.  A bomb does not kill an ideology or a belief. You cannot bomb a thought. I remember Iraq.

What is a far more likely scenario is that the tinderbox that is the Middle East will erupt with a force like the wildfires around California at the moment, holding within them the energy to destroy everything in their wake, spreading viciously out of control. If the conflicts and divisions erupt we look at a scenario that sees the whole of the area, Syria, Egypt, Israel, Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, possibly Jordan as well simply explode with long pent-up resentments and an outward no holds barred war between Sunni and Shiite of which the likes has not been seen since our own Christian Reformation wars in Europe of the 1500 and 1600’s between Catholic and Protestant. In those times, millions were killed, directly and indirectly and this conflagration with the desperate drawing in of our three world superpowers, the USA, Russia and China could easily spark disastrous consequences for all humanity. It is spiralling out of control.

So what do we do? Do we ignore the suffering and deaths of so many? Do we stand by and simply watch as hundreds die from a possible chemical attack? Does our intervention stand any chance of helping? Should we rather have asked ourselves moral questions so many years ago? Who supplied the weapons now being used? Who payrolls the regimes?  Who makes puppets of nations? Who makes it possible for such countries rulers or citizens to act with such impunity against their own peoples and others whose ideologies differ? And perhaps the most difficult question…how do we as humans get beyond this constant inward acting out of destruction on other human beings, on our planet and thus always ultimately upon ourselves?

The UN was set up to try to prevent such things happening. The United Nations  is an international organization whose stated aims include promoting and facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, civil rights, civil liberties, political freedoms, democracy, and the achievement of lasting world peace. The UN was founded in 1945 after World War II to replace the League of Nations, to stop wars between countries, and to provide a platform for dialogue. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. That’s a lot of valuable opinions and experience…if we listen.

It is not perfect. But when countries now say that they will bypass its processes and decide to act alone with impunity; we are truly lost. For it is only by continuing to have an effective platform where we may listen and consult, and continue to talk and seek consensus opinion that the structure and the desire behind the very setting up of that structure may work at all and act to prevent one country dominating others. It is by bringing our disagreements to this platform that we may show willing to resolve them and find a way forward. If bypassing it in order to take unilateral action itself is not sanctioned; then effectively we have no way of resolving issues other than by war of the strongest against the weakest, and civilisation itself, both the notion of and living within, is destroyed. This is outright bullying of the weaker by the stronger. And THIS is not of any of our notions of God, regardless of creed and religious belief. This current of thought, energy and deed is not something that acts in humanity’s interests. This is something which if allowed to continue will by its nature and inevitable conclusion destroy humanity. Humanity will destroy itself if it loses what makes it human. The capacity to love and share and work together, both to progress and to resolve difficulties and to continue to be inventive, inspired and courageous enough to explore other than what it already knows.

So this is my dream. I hope that the UN will be consulted and its decision adhered to. I hope that humanity is able to work together and cease killing each other. And I hope that the children and peoples of these troubled lands will once again be able to live freely and laugh as they did in many years past before the destruction of all that is good in their lives came to them.  Many may call me an idealist. So was Martin Luther King 50 years ago when he made his famous speech. What content of character do we all have at this crossroads in time. Creation? Or Destruction? For we are all one. We live on one planet, we are all affected by what occurs in Syria, and Iraq, directly as the winds blow the military pollution across our planet, psychologically by seeing the carnage and emotional distress suffered, and mentally because destruction is not what we were created to do with the gift of life.

I have a wall hanging in my hall that says this:

If there is light in the soul,

There is beauty in the person,

If there is beauty in the person,

There will be harmony in the house,

If there is harmony in the house,

There will be order in the nation,

If there is order in the nation,

There will be peace in the world.

Thus, perhaps it is our duty and pleasure at this moment in time to lighten our own souls, and to extend this light throughout the world.

A poll yesterday in a British newspaper asked the question, “Should Britain go to war in Syria?”

21% said yes…and 79% said NO.

War is hell Vietnam

May our loving God protect and keep us all,

One family in Him.