From the monthly archives:

December 2013

“Truth” by Olav H. Hauge

by Kim on December 29, 2013

Truth is a shy bird,
like the Roc-bird who
arrives when you don’t expect it,
sometimes before,
sometimes after.
Some say she
doesn’t exist;
those who have seen her
just keep quiet.
I have never thought of truth
as a house bird,
but if she were
you could certainly stroke her feathers
without closing her up in some corner
till she lifts her eyes and her claws against you.
Others [...]

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It’s when we face for a moment
the worst our kind can do, and shudder to know
the taint in our own selves, that awe
cracks the mind’s shell and enters the heart:
not to a flower, not to a dolphin,
to no innocent form
but to this creature vainly sure
it and no other is god-like, God
(out of compassion for our [...]

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Mary’s song

by Richard on December 23, 2013

Blue homespun and the bend of my breast
keep warm this small hot naked star
fallen to my arms. (Rest . . .
you who have had so far
to come.) Now nearness satisfies
the body of God sweetly. Quiet he lies
whose vigor hurled
a universe. He sleeps
whose eyelids have not closed before.
His breath (so slight it seems
no breath at all) [...]

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Hymn of the day

by Richard on December 22, 2013

Let earth and heaven combine,
Angels and men agree,
To praise in songs divine
The incarnate Deity,
Our God contracted to a span,
Incomprehensibly made Man.
He laid His glory by,
He wrapped Him in our clay;
Unmarked by human eye,
The latent Godhead lay;
Infant of days He here became,
And bore the mild Immanuel’s Name.
Unsearchable the love
That hath the Saviour brought;
The grace is far [...]

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Christmas message from the President of Conference

by Richard on December 20, 2013

The Revd Ruth Gee, President of the Methodist Church, has called on the Methodist people to celebrate God’s generosity by being generous disciples.
In her Christmas message, the Revd Ruth Gee urged people to “celebrate and share the generous love of God who mothers us and longs to wipe away our tears, and to nurture [...]

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Two Nativities, One Lord

by Richard on December 19, 2013

I love nativity plays, but I worry about the way that some (most?) Christians treat the stories, as though if anyone asks if the events were not exactly as they’re portrayed in the school play that somehow the integrity and truth of the Bible is being questioned. “Biblical criticism” is used as a dirty phrase, [...]

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Hymn of the day

by Richard on December 15, 2013

Christ, whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the true, the only light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise,
triumph o’er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high, be near;
Daystar, in my heart appear.
Dark and cheerless is the morn
unaccompanied by thee;
joyless is the day’s return,
till thy mercy’s beams I see;
till they inward light impart,
glad my eyes and warm my [...]

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Matthew Norman (in the i [11 December]) on the Israeli prime minister’s cost-cutting refusal to attend the memorial service for Nelson Mandela:
The cynics and sneerers suspect that Bibi, to borrow from Mrs Thatcher’s Lincolnshire dialect, was frit. That he was sacred of being booed in the stadium by those who remember that Israel was [...]

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Global warming continues apace

by Richard on December 11, 2013

Whatever you may have read, climate change did not stop in 1998
… the authors note that while the increase in global temperatures has slowed, the oceans have taken up heat at a faster rate since the turn of the century. Over 90 percent of the overall extra heat goes into the oceans, with only about [...]

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“We both believe, and disbelieve, a hundred times an Hour, which keeps Believing nimble.”

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Hymn of the day

by Richard on December 8, 2013

Jesus comes with all his grace,
Comes to save a fallen race,
Object of our glorious hope,
Jesus comes to lift us up!
Let the living stones cry out!
Let the seed of Abram shout!
Praise we all our lowly King,
Give him thanks, rejoice, and sing!
He has our salvation wrought,
He our captive souls has bought,
He has reconciled to God,
He has washed [...]

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Exploring truth & myth in the Bible

by Richard on December 1, 2013

On 21st November my local newspaper was kind enough to publish a short piece by me for its regular ‘Crosstalk’ column under the headline “Exploring myth and truth while reading the Bible”. It isn’t available online, so here’s the text:
A friend of mine got very upset when I suggested to him that the Bible contains [...]

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“Advent Calendar” by Rowan Williams

by Richard on December 1, 2013

He will come like last leaf’s fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to the bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud’s folding.
He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens to mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.
He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting [...]

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Hymn of the day

by Richard on December 1, 2013

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now thy [...]

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