Christmas At Thomas Hardy's Sherton Abbas

 

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Glazed Nativity inside the old Conduit House, Sherborne

 

The bells of Sherborne Abbey are famed as the heaviest peal of eight in the world! Four of them were cast by the imperilled Whitechapel Bell Foundry.

 

About Sherborne Abbey

 

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A Way Forward: Voting in the time of Advent

 

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The first time I heard the phrase 'a way forward' was in the early years of the millennium and it rang with the darkest irony. My husband was doubly disabled with terminal cancer and a palliative care regime was the only option.

How to proceed is, in some measure or other, the challenge, the trial, the privilege, we face with the dawning of each new day. In what frame of mind and heart we approach it will determine outcomes in the near and far future. Daunting responsibilities may be presented we aren't wise enough, nor foreseeing enough, nor strong enough, to tackle. There are times when we cannot 'go it alone' without breaking down. We need help. We need each other. We need a loving Heavenly Father who will not fail us nor forsake us and who will undertake for us in our direst moments.

In a democracy, the ordinary people are the movers and shakers. We look to governments to enable a framework in which we can flourish as human beings and play our part. The rest is up to us. Shades of politics, and whether Leave or Remain, are very much states of mind, theories, and not the reality of how things work out when rival agendas run riot. If we look for divisions, we will surely find them. If we focus on them, we will become obsessed by them so that perspective becomes entirely warped and destructive.

What we must deal with on the ground is bigger than any ideology.

 

The Sensation of Crossing the Street Stanley Cursitor



Sometimes, it is good to take stock of where we have come from as a people, as a family of nations. If we aren't devastated by the faith, the charity, the community, the respect for healthy boundaries and sincerely held opinion of others, that have become a casualty of recent decades, how shall we begin to Hope? How shall we build a new era?

The other day, I came across this statement: Time is not given to us to keep a faith we once had, but to acquire a faith we need now.

Once, we assented to the idea that there was a better path than everyday expediency. We relied heavily on guidelines, a route map, exemplars. Even when it hurt, we felt happier when we had done our best to obey cheerfully. Those times we went our own sweet way, we felt dissatisfied, frustrated, depressed, remorseful. Though we still respected the blueprint that might appear flawed, we sensed, deep down, that something further was needed. Some agency beyond us. A Deus ex machina.

We were weary of strife. For those who persevered, the crack in the door of Advent shed an illumination we were drawn to and blessed by. The door was nudged further and further ajar, banishing the shadows, until at last we beheld the unspeakably humbling Truth, that the God of Creation was the little child born within our very injured and suffering selves and that when we honoured him with generous and thankful hearts, day in, day out, never mind the circumstances, His Kingdom was manifest within and about us. The miracle of shared and sharing Bread was beginning to renew the face of the earth.

We fail. We fall short. It is a journey. If we want a better world, let us acknowledge that we cannot construct it alone, neither for ourselves nor as a race.

Let us pray for, and long for, the hastening of that time when ‘the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.’

I wish you a Blessed Advent and Hope in the coming year.

 

Adoration of the Christ Child Gerard van Honthorst

 

 

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Tree Of Life

 

A poem for the season of Ascension and Pentecost...

 

 

Like whispering silk, the elm

Like Bridal Veil the birch

The Groom is gone...the Groom is come!

His Body is the Church

 

The Marriage Bond aspires

to realms beyond closed doors

A new vocabulary transcends

Past covenantal laws

 

Like Eden's fruit, the Vine

Transplanted now in Heaven's Acre

Wind whistles through the golden pine

Like tongues of fire, the sanguine acer

 

 

 

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Incandescence

 

 
Poem on the first Feast of Pentecost



They don't know what comes next.
They are trembling,
assembled together for comfort,
confused, bereft, vulnerable,
exposed to hostile forces,
on the edge of unbeing.
They've nothing to bless themselves with
and their manifesto looks dumb
without a party leader.
Where are they to go from here?
 

It was safe in his company,
despite the witchhunt.
The suffering had a purpose.
They trusted what he was about,
dimly grasping that the 'whited sepulchre'
must be blasted to shards.
To Regain Paradise by dint of law
and the redistribution of wealth
was both illusion and travesty
that cost blood anyway.
 

He had come to weigh himself
in the balance,
the fulcrum of those scales
unhinged by Adam for all time,
without some Mighty Advocate
intervene with a case
of special pleading and turn the tables
on the wealth-and-muscle hungry,
those with intellectual pretensions
and stiff-necked arrogance.
 

But why abandon his own,
just when the tide seems
to be turning? The corporate
wounds, defiantly repairing, are now
incorporeal. His mother, the chamber
of his incarnation, the only shrine
and single point of focus, holding it
all together: they could scavenge
with their eyes of dust until eternity,
the vision fumed with nostalgia.
 

But hark! This rushing wind fans
embers into conflagration.
He's here! In cloistered space!
Mary's haloed head peers heavenward
and hands are linked in concord.
Atomic Courage! Immortal Inspiration!
Babel rased to debris! Love reigns!
No power on earth can quench
Shekhinah's fire! Go, tell the world
and dare to live as if...
 


From JERICHO ROSE, Songs from the Wilderness (poetry collection in preparation).

 

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Rosy Cole Florence
17 June 2020
Thank you for your delightful comment. It is good to reflect on a way of life that has been lost.
Stephen Evans Florence
16 June 2020
Enjoyed this so much. Charming, evocative, and lyrical.
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15 June 2020
Thanks Rosy. The story had to be told and I've been the fortunate person to be able to tell it. The ...
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Helpful context
Rosy Cole Farm Reflections: Lands faraway
15 June 2020
Monika has taken us on a wonderfully illuminating journey, full of interest and humanity. We are so ...