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Thursday, August 10, 2017

History repeats itself...

Recently I began browsing through some boxes of sermons preached by my father Rev John Pritchard. The dates range from the 1930's to 1970's. There are a few news clippings included and many of his sermons refer to current events. I haven't got very far in my browsing yet but one newspaper article certainly attracted my attention. Unfortunately it is not dated! But I surmise that it was written in 1955. Here's the headline:
The first paragraphs read: 
"Eight scientists of international repute warned the world at the weekend that the continued existence of mankind was in doubt.
   They gave the warning in a statement on nuclear weapons which was made public in London.
   The statement was issued by  Earl Russell (Bertrand Russell) at a press conference crowded by correspondents from many countries. Among the signatories was Professor Einstein, who signed it in the week before his death on April 18." Einstein died in 1955 so I presume this is the date of the article. "Lord Russell told reporters that the statement was being sent to the heads of States which possessed or were about to possess nuclear weapons, and to China."

The full article is long but here are a few more paragraphs which seem even more relevant now 62 years later:
All in peril 
"We shall try to say no single word which should appeal to one group rather than to another. All equally are in peril. We are speaking on this occasion not as members of this or that nation, continent or creed, but as human beings - members of the species man whose continued existence is in doubt.
The world is full of conflicts; and overshadowing all minor conflicts is the struggle between communism and anti-Communism. We have to learn to think in a new way.We have to learn not to ask ourselves what steps can be taken to give military victory to whatever group we prefer, for there no longer are such steps.
   The question we have to ask ourselves is: What steps can be taken to prevent a military contest of which the issue must be disastrous to all parties."
"There lies before us, if we choose, continual progress in happiness, knowledge and wisdom. Shall we instead choose death because we cannot forget our quarrels?"

The parallels to where we find ourselves today are obvious. Yet we are still here today! And I can't help thinking of what God said to God's people many centuries before 1955:
Deuteronomy 30:19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life." New Living Translation

Monday, August 7, 2017

A playful walk.

Sometimes all it takes is a change of perspective...

...to get the mind and body into a different gear!

Or maybe just delighting in some unexpected colour and quirkiness!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Behind the clouds...

After a bleak cold day yesterday I ventured out early this morning determined to walk no matter what!

And then I noticed that Eye in the sky 
reminding me 
that behind the clouds 
there is still blue sky and 
the sun still rises.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Retreat at Mercy Centre 2017

The location of the Mercy Centre so close to One Tree Hill and Cornwall Park is such a gift!
I find that contemplative walking in  such a beautiful environment is very nourishing to body, soul and spirit! Just as reflecting on Scripture (or other inspiring written material) can be called Lectio Divina (sacred reading), so reflecting on creation can be called Visio Divina (sacred looking/seeing)
Here are a few photos I took during the week.

The sign says: Please keep off the garden Tulips Growing.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The peace of wild things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry in Risking Everything

Peter's Pool - Franz Josef Glacier

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Responding to injustice and uncertainty

I very much appreciate the weekly Blog Brain Pickings.

"Maria Popova is a Bulgarian writer, blogger, and critic living in Brooklyn, New York. She is known for her blog BrainPickings.org, which features her writing on culture, books, and eclectic subjects off and on the Internet." Wikipedia

I sometimes find it hard to keep up with all the wonderful topics she writes about and the links she provides. It's no wonder she has been awarded a prize for Blogging!

In this week's Blog I highlighted two quotes, both of which seem very appropriate to the world we currently live in.

The first is from Albert Einstein speaking about how to respond to the enormous injustices that sometimes feel overwhelming:

"Einstein suggests that the power to speak out against injustice need not be reserved for those professionally devoted to human rights work, nor manifested in grand deeds of activism. He reflects on his own simple, steadfast commitment:
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
'In a long life I have devoted all my faculties to reach a somewhat deeper insight into the structure of physical reality. Never have I made any systematic effort to ameliorate the lot of men, to fight injustice and suppression, and to improve the traditional forms of human relations. The only thing I did was this: in long intervals I have expressed an opinion on public issues whenever they appeared to me so bad and unfortunate that silence would have made me feel guilty of complicity.' " (Underlining mine.)

The second quote from Brain Pickings relates to living with uncertainty:

Albert Camus (1913-1960)
"Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present,” Albert Camus wrote in his 1951 meditation on what it really means to be a rebel. At the heart of this sentiment are the two complementary forces of love and will, for a loving regard for the future requires a willful commitment to rising to the problems of the present and transcending its tumults — a dependency as true in our personal lives as it is in our political lives, and one which demands a capacity for withstanding uncertainty.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

"Heaven is under our feet...

...as well as over our heads." Henry David Thoreau Walden

I never tire of relishing the beauty of the simple, natural things I see every day:
 Little Violas bursting with seeds that might be missed if not for careful noticing -

Reflections on the lake - five minutes from home.

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. ... There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter."
—Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sydney "Vivid" Part 2

As well as the light displays at night we enjoyed several other local Sydney places.
The Botanic gardens, especially an area called The Calyx which showcased a garden wall:

On the only rather grey-sky day we walked across the Pyrmont Bridge to Madame Tussaud's and had great fun with some famous figures:

We also enjoyed the Chinese Garden of Friendship which was walking distance from our hotel.

It is a very tranquil place in the midst of high-rise buildings and all the commercialism of Darling Harbour with its many Hotels. We spent our final morning here before setting off back to NZ!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sydney "Vivid" 2017 - Part 1

Sydney puts on a festive display of lights for a few weeks in winter. We enjoyed five days to explore in the daytime and the nighttime. A few highlights...

Staying at the Ibis Hotel in Darling Harbour was a very convenient location:

 On the Pyrmont Bridge joining the harbour to the city. Hotel in background.
View from our room in the early morning sunshine...
...and at night when fireworks and other light displays were on show.
We made many trips on the ferry to Circular Quay ...
....and on another ferry to Manly for a walk and...

Innocently named a summer salad, we ordered one each. We ate one between us and took the other home for our dinner :-)

Sydney Harbour Bridge by day and night.

The constantly changing patterns on the Opera House were the most spectacular highlight:

The patterns on the Opera House were not static but constantly moving and merging.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

A Personal Portrait of Brother David Steindl-Rast

Brother David is one of my sages, mentors... I think I've said before that I had the delight of meeting him personally a few years ago at a Spiritual Directors International conference. If you want an inspiring 45 minutes, make a cuppa and enjoy this documentary.

"This (2016) documentary, produced by Robert Neumüller for Austrian ORF television, takes Brother David Steindl-Rast back many generations to his ancestor’s castle and to the pilgrimage town of Maria Rast (Ruše, Slovenia), to which the family owes its name. Full of humor and openness, Br. David also goes back through many stories of his own life, and helps us to see why gratitude has been accompanying him for a lifetime."