Morning Bell: Seeking Stillness

We find much of our meaning and sense of self through our actions – through the stuff we make, the actions we take, the things we do. That’s natural, and fine as far it goes. But our true sense of identity is to be found in a deeper place of stillness. We need to discover how to nurture patterns of stillness and movement, of prayer and action, which reshape us, and help us to bring goodness to the world. To venture in this direction will be at the same time both wonderful and disturbing. Stillness is one of the most demanding – and therefore least visited – places on the map of human existence. But it is full of promise.

 

 

The text for the series draws on reflections by Ian on  the practice of stillness in Running Over Rocks. The images for the series are all of an artwork that Ian has come to experience as an icon of stillness – one with which he spends some time most days when in Cambridge in his own attempts to be still and to pray – Daze IV by Antony Gormley, on the Sidgwick Campus of Cambridge University.

Inevitably perhaps we focus on Jesus’ words and actions, but running through the gospels we find at the heart of his practice a consistent commitment to stillness. In the spirit of the Christ may we find the stillness we seek around us and – crucially – within us, wherever we are.

Grace and peace to you for the journey into stillness and action for a better world…
Ian & Gail

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If you find Morning Bell helpful please considering making a donation towards our work. Friends and supporters we are very grateful for all your help and encouragement!

 

Unfurling cover final - Version 3

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

 

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morning bell: 3000 series

Earlier this year we realised that sometime around now we must be posting the 3000th Morning Bell! We began sending it out as a text message in 2008, converting it in 2012 into a visual image. In the next few months we’ll be returning to some of our earlier visual series, and sharing some vintage Morning Bells. Thank you for traveling with us, whatever the point at which you joined us.

 

 

 

Our aim remains as it was at the beginning, in the spirit of the praying monastics to enter stillness on even the busiest of days, seeking that still point of our belovedness from which everything tough may be faced, and from which everything good can emerge.

This start to the 3000 series features a series of images and text originally  posted in September 2012. The photos for the series are a mix from Andrea Harding and Ian Adams, and feature the holy islands of  Lindisfarne and Iona. The text invites us to follow Jesus the Christ in the spirit and footsteps of saints of those islands such as Aidan and Cuthbert. The bell on the 3000 Morning Bells image is at Westcott House Cambridge.

Grace and peace to you for the ongoing journey…
Ian & Gail

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

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If you find Morning Bell helpful please considering making a donation towards our work. Friends and supporters we are very grateful for all your help and encouragement!

 

Unfurling cover final - Version 3

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

 

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Morning Bell: Easter Anthems

Our series for Easter explores how the resurrection of Jesus might change us and reshape the world for good. Is it possible that in some way we may encounter and find new hope in the risen Christ?

 

 

Ian’s images for the series are of a sculpture we love – made by Kathleen Scott, wife of the explorer – situated in the grounds of the Scott Polar Institute in Cambridge. The model for the sculpture was A W Lawrence, younger bother of T E ‘Lawrence of Arabia.’

The text for the series is taken from three canticles or songs of the Church – the Easter Anthems, the Victimae Paschali  – A Song of the Resurrection, and A Song of Christ’s Appearing.

May the hope and wonder of the Christ’s resurrection be a gift to you this Easter season…

Grace and peace to you
Ian & Gail

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

If you find Morning Bell helpful please considering making a donation towards our work. Friends and supporters we are very grateful for all your help and encouragement!

 

Unfurling cover final - Version 3

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

 

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Morning Bell: Wilderness Taunts

Our series for Lent 2017 uses images from Ian’s new book Wilderness Taunts: revealing your light. This began as a personal journey in which Ian re-imagined the temptations faced by Jesus as taunts that might throw us off balance – critical voices from external sources and from within ourselves. His experience was that when faced with honesty and openness, the truth of these taunts, however disturbing, also begins to reveal some deeper truth. In the darkness, our light is revealed…

 

 

The full text reflecting on each taunt, together with additional images are in the book. Thank you for sharing the spiritual path with us. May grace, peace and light find you this Lent…

Ian & Gail

 

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

If you find Morning Bell helpful please considering making a donation towards our work. Friends and supporters we are very grateful for all your help and encouragement!

 

Unfurling cover final - Version 3

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

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Morning Bell – Unfurling Devotions

As winter continues we return to the Devotions haiku series from Ian’s Unfurling poem collection. These short poems have emerged from Ian’s experience of attempting to be still, to be present and to pray. We think of this as a daily practice of devotion to the presence of God and to the essence of being human.

 

 

Most of the time this practice of devotion feels very ordinary; it often feels tough; but is just occasionally blissful. We hope that you will enjoy spending time in the company of these poems, and be curious about whatever unfurls… The photographs for the series are all being taken this winter in Cambridge.

Thank you for sharing the spiritual path with us. May grace, peace and light find you…

Ian & Gail

 

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

If you find Morning Bell helpful please considering making a donation towards our work. Friends and supporters we are very grateful for all your help and encouragement!

 

Unfurling cover final - Version 3

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

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Morning Bell: Seeking Light

As winter begins we find ourselves Seeking Light in advancing darkness. This series of Morning Bell seeks to open up ways for us to discover the light within and through the darkness. It draws on Ian’s new publication Seeking Light now available on Proost. The text for the series was written in real time last Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, and represents a personal journey through these winter seasons.

 

seekinglight-flyer

 

The photographs for the series were all taken in winter on the coasts of Devon and Cornwall.

Thank you for sharing the spiritual path with us. May grace, peace and light find you…

Ian & Gail

 

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

If you find Morning Bell helpful please considering making a donation towards our work. Friends and supporters we are very grateful for all your help and encouragement!

 

Unfurling cover final - Version 3

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

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Morning Bell: You Are The Light

Welcome to a new series of Morning Bell – a chance each day to experience stillness, to explore contemplation and to enter prayer. In the northern hemisphere we are now deep into Autumn, the hours of darkness lengthening each day. In this series You Are The Light we are returning (as we will continue to do) to the Beatitudes, perhaps the core wisdom teachings of Jesus.

 

you-are-the-light-flyer

 

Our experience is that the Beatitudes don’t get the attention they deserve. Perhaps because they are so demanding. You may know the famous quotation by GK Chesterton: the Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried. We sense that the Beatitudes may be a good place to begin or to renew our trying.

The photographs in You Are The Light were all made by Ian around the waterfront in Plymouth. They have just been shown at the North Cornwall Book Festival. Together they form a meditation on the Beatitudes and related sayings of Jesus in chapters 5 & 6 of Matthew’s Gospel, including sayings in which light is the main theme. We think that they are really important in this context. We may be familiar with Jesus’s claim to be the light of the world. Perhaps less familiar with his saying you are the light of the world.

The Beatitudes are demanding but potentially transformative. How might they reshape us for good? And what kind of world might they be calling into being? The light the world needs is yours. You are the light of the world. Let your light shine. And your whole body will be full of light…

Thank you for sharing the spiritual path with us. May grace, peace and light find you…

Ian & Gail

 

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

If you find Morning Bell helpful please considering making a donation towards our work. Friends and supporters we are very grateful for all your help and encouragement!

 

Unfurling cover final - Version 3

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

Read More

Morning Bell: in our prayers – contemplative intercession

In the Tuscan hill-town Cortona this June we found ourselves pausing at the shrines of saints and motor bikes. Santa Maria is loved here, and Moto Guzzi is revered. At these sun and candle-lit-shrines we found ourselves praying for others, making prayers both for the possible and prayers for the (seemingly) impossible.

This series of Morning Bell explores the idea of practising contemplative prayer as intercession on behalf of others. And it seeks to understand what may be possible when we tell someone that they are ‘in our thoughts and prayers.’ If the idea of prayer is unusual to you, it’s worth thinking of this process as exploring your yearnings for others. What do you hope for for them?

 

Cortona flyer

 

In contemplative prayer we can gradually move from the stimulation of thoughts, feelings, words and signs (as helpful as they can be) into greater self-awareness, and then opening ourselves up into the possibility of raw divine encounter. In this way we may find ourselves gradually becoming more aware of God’s loving presence in and around us.

In this place of love and acceptance, we discover that God’s presence is both deeply personal, and broad and deep beyond our imagination. Contemplative prayer is both an experience of you and God and an entering into the oneness of all. Here we realise our deep connectedness.

In entering into this experience of connection our prayer signifies and in some way make possible an ever closer union of humanity with each other and with God. The remembering of others, spoken and unspoken, becomes part of the prayer without ceasing to which we are called.

And perhaps we truly find ourselves whenever we pray for others, the act of prayer softening us, calling us into greater generosity as we discern the divine in the ones for whom we are praying.

We are of course sometimes ourselves called to become part of the answer to the prayers we pray. So we may find ourselves being prompted in some practical way to do something for those we are holding. At other times our calling will be simply to remember. To hold. And to leave to God’s care. And this will be enough. For in such remembering the nature of all being is revealed: God is love, and each one we hold is loved by God, yearned for, and held.

Occasionally (and the nature of this is a mystery) in the grace of God the unfolding of a story may be reconfigured. In what can seem like a momentary acceleration towards the omega point – the healing and unity of all things – events and time can take new and surprising directions. So we can find ourselves praying for the extraordinary, for the miraculous, for the seemingly impossible. There has always been a place for this in the tradition. But it’s interesting to recognise that most of the time the miraculous seems to be experienced as God’s presence within the tough times, rather than in some spectacular removal from those tough times.

Here’s a practice of contemplative intercession that we use in Beloved Life:
1) ask ‘who and what am I / are we being called to pray for today?’
2) make simple prayers in your own way for these people, places and situations (perhaps just saying the name)
3) let those prayers evolve into one simple prayer repeated in time with your breathing (perhaps the Jesus Prayer or a similar Prayer Word)
4) gradually let go of this simple prayer, and be open to the possibility of divine presence embracing you and embracing all for whom you have prayed…

All the photographs for this series were taken by Ian in Cortona in June 2016.

We join with you in all your prayers, and in particular we pray for the people of Amatrice and all those affected by the recent earthquake in Italy.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon us…

Grace, mercy and peace to you

Ian & Gail

 

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / Eyeem

If you find Morning Bell helpful please considering making a donation towards our work. Friends and supporters we are very grateful for all your help and encouragement!

 

Unfurling cover final - Version 3

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

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Morning Bell: Julian of Norwich series – a revelation of love

In this series of Morning Bell we are returning to the English mystic Julian of Norwich (1342 – 1423) and to a series of revelations (or ‘showings’) that she received on 13 May 1373. Mother Julian lived in a demanding time of uncertainty, and her insights come to us now with particular clarity, challenge and reassurance. For above all, as she wrote at the beginning of the Long Text, this is a revelation of love.

 

JulianofN flyer

 

The images for the series have all been made from photographs taken by Ian on a recent visit to Norwich. They feature the art and spirituality centre Burning Bush Barn in the Diocese of Norwich, the art of the Barn’s Curator / Artist Priest Wendy Shaw and other BBB artists, the beautiful Rockland Broad near to the Barn, Norwich Cathedral and St Julian’s Church Norwich.  For more on Julian see the Julian Centre.

In her quest for life and for love and for God Julian chose a path that was extremely demanding. There is much about her life that we might find strange. And yet her experience comes to us as gift, full of insight as to the nature of earth, humanity and the divine. So may we once again, with Julian, discover that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and every kind of thing shall be well…

Grace, mercy and peace to you

Ian & Gail

 

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / Eyeem

If you find Morning Bell helpful please considering making a donation towards our work. Friends and supporters we are very grateful for all your help and encouragement!

 

Unfurling cover final - Version 3

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

Read More

Morning Bell: The Fire of Your Love – series for Pentecost and Trinity

This series for Ascensiontide, Pentecost and the start of the Trinity season is titled The Fire of Your Love. Text for the series is comprised of lines from Morning Prayer for these seasons in Church of England Common Worship. This short period in the Church year marks Jesus’ ascent into heaven, the pouring out of God’s Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ first followers, and the revelation of God as Holy Trinity. It encourages us to accept feelings of absence and unknowing, allowing them to deepen our anticipation and to open ourselves into faith, into experience, into integration and into the fire of God’s love.

 

Pentecost:Trinity flyer

 

The images for the series are all artworks by France-based artist Jon White, who describes his work as being ‘rooted in the understanding that the beautiful, broken, chaotic and mundane experiences of life present opportunities for creative inspiration and expression; the world around us inviting us to respond creatively.’ In 2014 Jon spent three months in New York as an apprentice in the traditional Japanese art form Nihonga with internationally renowned artist, writer and speaker Makoto Fujiumura. Many of the images in the series are examples of Jon’s Nihonga work.

We hope that in the quiet beauty of Jon’s art, and in the text of daily prayer, we will together find ourselves being drawn deeper into the fire of God’s love, the Love that heals us and heals the world…

Ian & Gail

 

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / Eyeem

If you find Morning Bell helpful please considering making a donation towards our work. Friends and supporters we are very grateful for all your help and encouragement!

 

Unfurling cover final - Version 3Flyer for Spring-Summer 2016 gigs

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

Read More