Friday, January 23, 2009

the morning star

I've been watching and wondering at a really bright light in the south-west night sky for a few months. Apparently it's the planet Venus. I can understand how our ancestors may have understood the appearance of stars as having meaning for us. It is so strong, bright, and close. Venus is the 'morning star' - a metaphor the Early Church used for the resurrected Jesus - like here in Revelation 22:
‘It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.’

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

hopeful day

What a hopeful day! I watched the inauguration of President Obama round at the home of our US friends Ken and Debby. Such a memorable moment, leading to a presidency full of possibility, although the challenges are huge. I really liked his assertion that the USA will seek to be a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity. May it be so.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

try this improvisation [13]: I will follow

mayBe's epiphany cycle with soundtrack by U2 continued at the weekend with this simple improvisation around the theme of following. We heard 3 brief moments in Matthew's Gospel when Jesus calls people to follow him. Then, taking an idea offered by Niamh at the community meal, we made a line of jenga blocks, and watched the line ripple around as the first block fell. We then reflected on our following of Jesus the Christ. Interesting stuff came out - like how we need each other, how we are just one little part of a very long line of followers, how you can't go back, and how falling over is part of following. Here's a video by Rich of mayBe's I will follow improvisation.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

how was the small missional communities conversation?

Very good to be involved in the CMS-hosted conversation around forming small missional communities of the global Jesus in an emerging world. A mix of people already involved in projects and those who would like to be. Great to share and be inspired by stories of simple but innovative stuff being done - like Mark Berry and Safe Space and Diane and Steve Eyre and Imagine. One of the themes that surfaced was around creating encounter spaces, spaces where we can encounter the divine, our neighbour and ourselves. It seems to me that this encounter space must come from who are and from our location, an authentic outcome of our attempting to follow Christ in our own setting. We finished by working on possibilities for further networking and mentoring. I'll blog more as this unfolds.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

small missional communities conversation

Looking forward to the small missional communities conversation on Thursday and Friday.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Epiphany mayBe

mayBe's community meal starts again tonight for a new year, a new season and a new cycle. This Epiphany we are planning to let the music of U2 be our soundtrack to the season. Tonight we are working with 'walk on' from the 'All that you can't leave behind' album. We'll use this as part of a small ritual, offering the gift of ourselves to Jesus the Christ in the spirit of Epiphany. The song, it seems to me, carries a call to become what really matters - something to do with love. You can see the lyrics on the excellent U2 website.

New Year in Devon

Very happy times in Devon over the New Year with Gail, Esther, Rachel, Joe and Sam. Lots of walks, games, some great DVDs and books, 2 cinema visits and pub lunches. When we got back to Oxford we didn't know where to gather in the house - in a very cold week the stove-animal at Old Walls had been our meeting place.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

into the new year with JS Bach

This time last year I blogged about my [very belated] discovery of musical genius Johann Sebastian Bach. I had come across his brilliant Cello Suites as played by Steven Isserlis. Over Christmas and New Year I have been really enjoying a Christmas gift of some of the cantatas he wrote for the Church year. Bach seems to have been employed as a church musician, and he composed these great pieces for his choir and band of musicians for feast days and Sundays throughout the year.

The cantatas I have been playing were composed for Christmas, the Second Day of Christmas, New Year's Day and the Sunday following, and the recordings are those by John Eliot Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists. Gardiner had this idea to record all the cantatas in one year, wherever possible on the days set, and some in the settings where Bach would have played them originally. The record label he was with withdrew their promised support, so Gardiner set up his own label Soli Deo Gloria, embarked on what he called the Bach cantata pilgrimage, and is gradually releasing the results. One of the things that I love about this series is that it represents a beautiful coming together of music, theology and design. Here’s the artwork for Volume 14, the Christmas cantatas, recorded on 25 December 2000 in St Bartholomew's church, New York.