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

 

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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:

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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: 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:

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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: 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:

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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: 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:

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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: 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:

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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: 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:

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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 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.

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morning bell: 40 Invitations – series for Easter

This new series for the Easter season titled 40 Invitations runs from Resurrection Sunday until Ascension day. It draws on themes and phrases from the stories told in the gospels about the resurrection of Jesus, inviting us to live in the spirit of resurrection here and now. The core of each of these 40 reflections was written in real time in Easter 2015 as Ian attempted to let the resurrection story work on him. And the heart of each invitation remains here as it was written then, retaining the raw surprise of the Easter experience. We hope that you will find something of yourself here.

 

Peace Be With You flyer

 

Images for the series were taken by Ian on Iona and Mull. We hope that they convey something of the vibrancy of the resurrection possibility.

If you enjoy this series the full text and additional images are available to download now from Proost. This Easter season may you discover the resurrected Jesus already living around you and within you. And so may everything change for good…

Ian & Gail

 

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

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

 

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!

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: 40 Temptations – series for Lent

We begin a new series for the season of Lent: 40 Temptations. This series draws on the gospel accounts of the testing and temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. In this series Ian has re-imagined the temptations that we might face as taunts that might throw us off balance. In our experience there is an element of truth in each taunt – but if we face them with honesty we may discover, in the grace of God, the gift of some greater reality.

 

40 Temptations square cover

 

 

Ian wrote a reflection based on these 40 Temptations ‘in real time’ each day in Lent last year – the full text and images are available to download now from online publisher Proost. The images for the series are all made from photographs reflecting the bleak beauty of our urban landscape.

This series is demanding – perhaps as it should be in Lent. Please be kind to yourself, and take a break should you need one. As we pray and reflect together with Morning Bell may we find all the strength and grace we need to allow this season to do its work of preparation and transformation within us…

Ian & Gail

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

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Unfurling cover final - Version 3Flyer for Spring 2016 gigs

 

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!

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: Lament series

January 27 is Holocaust Memorial day, a day to remember the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust under Nazi Persecution, and in subsequent genocides that continue today. In Morning Bell this solemn moment marks the beginning of a series ‘Lament’ in which we aim to create space to lament all the death-dealing activity that continues to be perpetrated.

Lament is the necessary first step to enable our participation in change for good, by recognising the reality of what has happened. Through attention to lament – and in the grace of God – some renewed sense of hope may, in time, emerge.

 

Lament 1

 

The text for the series is from a lamentation by the Jewish prophet Jeremiah on the downfall of Israel and the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonians at the beginning of the 6th century BC. The images for the series were taken by Ian and Gail in Berlin in 2015.

In lament, may grace and peace be yours,
and hope renewed…
Ian & Gail

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

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Unfurling cover final - Version 3Flyer for Spring 2016 gigs

 

If you find Morning Bell helpful please considering making a donation towards our work via the donate button at the bottom of this page. Friends and supporters we are very grateful for all your help and encouragement!

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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