Tranquillity

Drop Thy still dews of quietness

Till all our strivings cease;

Take from our souls the strain and stress,

And let our ordered lives confess

The beauty of Thy peace.

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

Let us kneel

before the stream

of our lives

mining for those

golden moments when

we see right through

to the real: kindness,

laughter, innocence,

the light of all things

Then, slowly

release all the rest

allow it to flow

the way life will when

we learn what to hold,

what to let go.

Arlene Gay Levine

It was so simple. So average . . .

how could he find perfection

in such an

ordinary day . . . I realized

this was the

whole point.

Mitch Albom

Miracles

FIREFLY BY JEAN VADAL SMITH

The following is an excerpt from the book MY FATHER MY KING by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Hear your Father your King, the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe saying to you:

The world in which you live is full of miracles so that you will have constant reminders of My presence.

There are miracles of history. There are miracles of biology and botany. There are miracles of chemistry and physics and of anatomy and astronomy. There are miracles of events that are mathematically improbable. There are major miracles and there are minor miracles miracles that are easily recognizable and miracles subtle and hidden.

What you refer to as “nature” is the manifestation of My will in the world. All of nature is ultimately a miracle. Don’t allow familiarity to blind you to the magnitude of the miracles that appear commonplace.

Every heartbeat is a miracle. Every cough and sneeze is a miracle. Every step you take is a miracle.

Keep your eyes open for the myriad miracles in your life. Seeing those miracles will add a spiritual dimension wherever you are and wherever you go, and your entire life will be filled with joy and gratitude.

The Seasons of our Lives

The Seasons of the Year – Winter

There is a winter in all of our lives,
a chill and darkness that makes us yearn
for days that have gone
or put our hope in days yet to be.
Father God, you created seasons for a purpose.
Spring is full of expectation
buds breaking
frosts abating and an awakening
of creation before the first days of summer.
Now the sun gives warmth
and comfort to our lives
reviving aching joints
bringing colour, new life
and crops to fruiting.
Autumn gives nature space
to lean back, relax and enjoy the fruits of its labour
mellow colours in sky and landscape
as the earth prepares to rest.
Then winter, cold and bare as nature takes stock
rests, unwinds, sleeps until the time is right.
An endless cycle
and yet a perfect model.
We need a winter in our lives
a time of rest, a time to stand still
a time to reacquaint ourselves
with the faith in which we live.
It is only then that we can draw strength
from the one in whom we are rooted
take time to grow and rise through the darkness
into the warm glow of your springtime
to blossom and flourish
bring colour and vitality into this world
your garden.
Thank you Father
for the seasons of our lives

Copyright © John Birch, 2022 · Prayers written by the author may be copied freely for worship. If reproduced anywhere else please include acknowledgement to the author/website  

For a Change of Seasons

  

Creator, artist, author of the world,

what joy to sense the seasons turn,

the colors change

the flowers bloom,

the trees hum,

the music of birds,

the caress of the winds,

the stories of clouds.

The beauty of Your world

makes my own spirit dance,

as I watch time passing,

I know that You are eternal,

the Centre of Life,

the Creator of all things,

and I know

that there is beauty far beyond my imaginings,

and that all of us,

Your children,

Your creatures,

Your plantings —

live to honor You,

and sing your praise with

every breath.

God saw all that he had made, and behold it was very good.

(Genesis 1:31)

https://www.arrcc.org.au/


My Beautiful Day

My Beautiful Day by Marion Schoeberlein

I borrowed a poem from the sky,

and music from a bird,

I stole a chime out of the wind,

and from the rose a word.

I borrowed a song from the hills,

a psalm from the silver rain,

I took the footsteps of angels

out of a cobbled lane.

From each little thing I fashioned

something in my own way.

With God’s help, I put in my heart

a beautiful, wonderful day!

Seasons

The calendar says winter has begun but, while it is reasonably mild and there are still some reddening leaves on the trees, I want to dwell for a few moments on the beauty of autumn, as portrayed here by the great nature and romantic poet, John Keats.

JOHN KEATS
(1795 – 1821)

Ode To Autumn by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too –
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

John Keats was inspired to write his poem while out walking in the fields. He tarried, enjoying the moment to the full. The poem is bursting with imagery such as personification, metaphor and symbolism. In contrast, here’s a brief and succinct poem by Emily Bronte, who appears to delight in the final vestiges of autumn and is very much looking forward to the approaching winter.

EMILY BRONTE
(1818 – 1848)

Fall, Leaves, Fall by Emily Bronte

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;

Lengthen night and shorten day;

Every leaf speaks bliss to me

Fluttering from the autumn tree.

I shall smile when wreaths of snow

Blossom where the rose should grow;

I shall sing when night’s decay

Ushers in a drearier day.

Disguises of Love

Written by Eddie Askew (1927-2007) – former general secretary of The Leprosy Mission.

Lord, there are times

when silence seems best.

And yet, when I’m faced with your love,

even with the little I know, I have to speak.

If nothing else, to say thank you.

I don’t deserve it.

Now there’s an understatement.

Sometimes all I am and do

seems designed to test your love to the limit.

And you go on loving.

Lord, it’s breathtaking. Immense.

I hear your voice, carrying crystal clear over the vast plain,

re-affirming life and presence.

A small point of focus in infinity. Infinity of love.

Great enough for all. Small enough for me.

A love that comes to identify, to tell me I belong.

That comes to strengthen to tell me it’s mine.

That comes to comfort with the knowledge that you care.

A love that comes to challenge and discipline at the point of stress.

That stretches me nearly to breaking point and makes me grow.

That faces me, in searching, insistent strength,

with the pain of truth I’d rather not see.

That strips my illusions and leaves me trembling, naked,

in the cold wind of honesty.

The love that fights me as I struggle to preserve the lies I love

from the buffeting storm of your Spirit.

And through it all,

a love that holds me, firm and close.

Making me aware, in the eye of the cyclone, of your peace.

And in the wind-drop of understanding,

my ears still ringing, eyes still smarting, from the gale,

I recognise our love.

In the glacier wind as in the valley breeze.

Seeing, as in the crackling flash of brief lightning,

brilliant and clear,

some of the disguises of your love.

Lord, I know there’s more,

but I’m not ready for it yet.

What I found in my Garden

A couple of weeks ago, I was busy in the garden doing some tidying before the approach of harsher weather, when I encountered this little critter (pictured below) making his way across the lawn (at an alarmingly rapid pace for a caterpillar!). It’s an Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar, apparently fairly common in the u.k., though this is only the fourth time in my life that I’ve come across one.

Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar

I popped it in a plant pot so I could search for a suitable safe place to put it. The eye markings are false eyes. It puffs itself up to make itself look intimidating, with a good degree of success I think. Last summer, I read in a local newspaper how one family had called the R.S.P.C.A. (Royal Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) to report having found a baby snake. Of course, it was investigated and found to be an Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar and was returned to the outdoors. I was amused, but completely understood how it could be mistaken for a baby snake.

Pictured below is a clearer photo from the internet.

Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar (picture from Internet)

By now, I hope my little friend is safely cocooned inside its chrysalis, ready for the ongoing winter transformation from caterpillar to moth. Below is a picture of what it will look like.

ELEPHANT HAWKMOTH

You can find more information about Elephant Hawkmoths at the Woodland Trust.

CHRISTINA ROSSETTI (1830 – 1894)

Communion

Today, I went to church.

I stepped out into the garden

and the choir was already in full voice –

sparrows carrying the melody with soprano trills and leaps

to the jubilant chorus of a solo robin,

while the early morning gentle autumn sun

shone through the petals of a sunflower

like a stained-glass window.

A fat furry bee zig zagged past me

searching for its harvest of nectar

in the scarlet flowers of a runner bean plant.

In this church

the prayers are gratitude

the hymns are praise

and the lesson is peace.

And all the creatures exemplify the gifts and grace of God.

Amen.

L.M.D.

The Contemplation of Things That Fly

From The Book Of Idle Pleasures edited by Dan Kieran and Tom Hodgkinson

Because we can’t fly we are fascinated by the sight of things that can. I have always loved watching things that appear to be weightless in the air, not just birds and insects, but floating thistledown, autumn leaves, scraps of windblown paper, clouds, balloons and bubbles. Airborn creatures had the same kind of appeal to each of my children. Even when they were babies, lying in their prams, they were very quick to notice a bee or a butterfly or a passing bird, and their suddenly focused eyes would search for whatever it was a long time after it had flown out of sight. When they were older, say, three or four, they tried to emulate the birds by holding bunches of feathers, flapping their arms and jumping up in the air; and a few years later they copied them again by making paper planes in their image and tossing them off the hill behind our house. If one of these caught the updraught and floated away over the trees there was huge excitement, as if a bird’s own magic had got into it. Then the children would flap their arms again and run, leaping, down the hill.