Saturday, 10 November 2018


Now that the selling opportunities for Hallowe'en are over, the first Christmas trees/puds/cakes/mince pies have appeared in the supermarkets in preparation for the headlong rush over the next six weeks to whatever it is we celebrate on the 25th of December- family, surviving another year, getting plastered with drink- oh, and the birth of the saviour of the world.
I swear I heard the first 'Are you ready for Christmas?'  this week. Well, no actually. I haven't even prepared for Advent yet...…

There's a sense in today's world that things are upon us before we know it, and with no chance to savour the experience before all is overwhelmed in the cry 'On to the next thing- whatever it is!' We sacrifice so much without the opportunity to reflect, sum up, learn. The world of wisdom- which essentially is about learning, summing up, reflecting- is cast aside in favour of knowledge, and the flavour of the now.

If we loved properly, we would live more slowly, simply, with a wider sense of awe and mystery. These words find no resonance today, but perhaps in preparation for Advent, and for Christmas, in our hearts if not in our purses, they might bring a little recognition of what life is for.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Big rock candy mountain

Some hours later than usual, so apologies...….

 My mind drifted onto a song I had not thought about in many a long year, and which was a popular radio request when I was a child; Burl Ives' version of 'Big Rock Candy Mountain'. I looked up the lyrics, and was surprised it tells of the vision of a hobo, seeking his ideal destination, perhaps a  vision of heaven. Food security, a bed, not chased by the law, a supply of whiskey, no work to do, a productive earth.

Well, it's one vision of heaven, and there's much in those words that many would share. Indeed, much of it is worth striving for now as we seek justice and peace on the earth. And there are times of bliss when we somehow experience, are graced by, a coming together of many small portions of good and feel 'this is heaven'.

Are we deluded by these experiences into thinking that this is a foretaste of a much greater good which we shall enter in fullness beyond our earthly span? Or do these things have a truth about them? Is this all there is? Or is this another hint from a good God that we do not lose significance when we die, but enter into a much fuller experience of the 'life in all its fullness' that Jesus came to offer in this life, but accessed in an eternal way too?
The past few days of AllHallowsTide has spoken to me of the latter, and it has been, through the words of liturgy and prayer and scripture, a better, more substantive vision than a  big rock candy mountain.  May it have been so for you.