MOST RECENT POSTS

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Thursday, 5 September 2013

St Francis:A fun All-age activity (St Francis Invites)

 I like to mix the serious and the fun whenever possible: so this is a good moment to mention a recent all-age activity/song we built into a recent 'Songs of  Praise' we held in our parish church as it had a Franciscan theme too. It is called


'St Francis Invites '.
A single child (or willing adult) is placed in the centre of the church while everyone sings the following to the folk tune 'Jolly Miller' below


In Assisi was a knight of wealth and fame
Who gave up everything in Jesus'name.
His name was Francis and he gathered some
To praise with him - NOW YOU CAN COME.

As the last four words are sung (with emphasis), the centre-person points to another member of the fellowship and then gently pulls them into the centre. The song is sung again so at the end of the next singing there are 4 people in the centre, then 8, then 16, then 32. Very soon everyone is in the centre.

The 'game' concludes with a very brief reminder of how important it is that everyone of us in a church bear a responsibility for evangelism - and how a church could thrive if every member heard and acted on this message. Very Franciscan!

(Original introduction) Last week I mentioned that we were about to start a retreat. It is being led by my wife, Pam and is taking place in a small retreat house owned by friends about 60 kilometres (40 miles) from Assisi. So you will not be surprised that the theme is St Francis. We're not visiting all the Franciscan sites because this  8 days is intended to be part holiday to gain some real refreshment for a small number of very busy people. But yesterday we did go into Assisi, starting in the amazing Basilica and almost literally ambling across the city via Santa Chiara and finishing in the delightful little church of San Damiano. It was good to take in the breadth of the centre of the city at a leisurely pace and the comparatively new statue of Francis looking over the valley towards the church of Santa Maria del Angeli led me to a reflection on the 'still heart' of Francis that must surely have been a part of him that contributed to his 'Canticle of The Sun'.

Those thoughts were very helpful this morning as an introduction to a short reflection on the God-centred cosmology of  Francis and our responses to the vast stores of understanding we now have about the universe at both the macro and the micro scales - and thought about the challenges of celebrating this knowledge and day-after-day discovery, in a myriad of scientific fields.

My fellow retreatants were kind enough to join me in singing 'Stars and Planets' sing your glory' amidst the glory of the Umbrian hills and in the delightful warmth of this early September morning. It was for me a very special moment.

Now that is all fairly serious thinking which I hope others may reflect on during the day at the retreat house we now have in front of us. But if you have been following my blog for any length of time, you will knowAmong our small retreat group we will, of course, return to more serious aspects of the Francis story but I feel sure Francis' child-likeness must have broken through from time to time in a man who so readily engaged so many .

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe
It is currently thought that the Universe has at least 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars! Hence the use of the word ‘scintilla’ for a mere ten thousand billion.

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)
Cross and Particle Accelerator. The words of 'A Prayer for Understanding' can be viewed by clicking on this image

Nebula (Embroidery)

Nebula (Embroidery)
Nebula (Embroidery) to accompany the poem 'Invitation' which can be found by clicking on the image.

Orange Galaxy

Orange Galaxy
'Orange Galaxy' posted to accompany 'Bounded and Boundless'. Go to the poem by clicking on the image.

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower
Cosmic Icon 7 - Summerflower Nebula (Acrylic)

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth
Cosmic Ikon 8: Moth Nebula(imagined-acrylic) The Gold field of deep space is intended to convey the Lordship of Christ over the whole of the Cosmos

Surprise garden rose (Photo)

Surprise garden rose (Photo)
This beautiful head of roses in our garden, which are giving off a delightful perfume in the morning sun, seems a fitting picture to link to the sonnet 'Evolution and Beauty'. Let the picture take you there. It is a surprise because it is growing high on a bush of otherwise pure yellow roses: amazing!

Cross and Vortex

Cross and Vortex
'Cross and Vortex' to accompany 'Stars and Planets Sing Your Glory'. Click on the image to go to the poem/hymn.

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)
Gaseous Cosmic Threads: Mixed media - acrylics and painted threads

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)
Warm Umbrian Hills: Click image to take you to the poem St Francis' Sky

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)
'Cosmic Labyrinth' - This icon is a symbol of the path through the near reaches of the Cosmos with its 'Havens' where current advances in science (2012/13) are celebrated. By clicking on the picture you will be taken to the latest version of the poem of the same name.

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)
Time, perhaps to consider a restorative break before the approach of Advent/ Christmas. Let this image take you to 'On Drawing Apart'.

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)
On the South shore of Iona is a bay which shows the industrial scarring of a beautiful place. Read of it by clicking on the picture

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)
Cross and simple prayer rope: make one like this to use as an aid to using ‘The Jesus Prayer'