Ian has a new publication out – Seeking Light – available now for download from online publisher Proost. In words and images Seeking Light explores a spiritual path through Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.
One of the many gifts of Christmas is its capacity to nurture within us an openness to new possibilities coming into being, unseen, unlikely, unnoticed. Closer than we may imagine, something new is always being birthed. God coming towards us, God with us, God within us. A stream of light spilling under the door of darkness. May we not miss the wonder of this moment… See all of Ian’s Proost publications here.
We’re halfway through our retreat/event programme for 2015 – and it’s been a great experience. Thank you so much to everyone who has joined us at Scargill, Oxford and on Iona and for your thoughtful and passionate engagement with us. It’s wonderful to explore the spiritual path together. Here’s a few photos – you can see more on our Facebook page.
We are looking forward to more retreats coming up at Ammerdown, Sheldon and Glastonbury. Hope to see you in the still space somewhere soon!
This new Morning bell series for Pentecost and the start of the Trinity season explores pilgrimage. The essence of pilgrimage is a physical journey made with spiritual intention. We hope that this series may inspire you to make such a journey – local or far from home, short or demanding. If that’s not possible may you be able to take something of the spirit of pilgrimage into your life at this time.
Photography for the series is by Natalie Baxter Strange, in which she beautifully documents her own experience of joining the famous pilgrimage route to the shrine of St James in Northern Spain – the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. Natalie says ‘while walking on the Camino I discovered the joy of slowing down and taking photographs. When I slow down and look through the lens of my camera, I notice details I would have otherwise missed. Photography has become another way for me to listen to God and to express something of my faith in him.’ Text for the series is adapted from a Pilgrim’s Prayer commonly used on the Camino. If you want to explore more about pilgrimage Ian has written about the practice in Running Over Rocks.
Grace and peace to you for your own experience of pilgrimage this Pentecost and Trinity…
Ian & Gail
There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:
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.
REFLECTION: ‘The opening, the taking, the tapping, the bringing up, the lighting, the drawing in, the breathing out, the watching, and the letting go. There’s a contemplative in everyone. And for this young and unknowing contemplative, the reassuring clunk and smell of the zippo further heightened the experience. I’m not advocating that we should all return to the contemplative ritual of the mid-morning cigarette with our coffee. But I am suggesting that the ability and desire to pause, to become still, and to remain in the place that is beyond what we can see may just be our natural home…’
PRACTICE: ‘ The contemplative strand has always been present at the heart of the ancient and unfolding Jesus tradition. It is the necessary starting point for any real change for good to take shape in us and then ripple out into the wider world. I’ll be bold enough to say that some practice of Cave of the Heart (Nurture the Contemplative) is essential for anyone who is serious about becoming truly human. At the first stage, in the spirit of the tradition’s ancient practice of contemplation, this is about developing your own stance of stillness, presence, and openness to all that exists…’
REFLECTION: ‘Pilgrimage is a physical journey made with spiritual intention. And it’s this mix of physicality and spirituality that makes the practice of pilgrimage such a vital one in the tradition. Physical capability is not enough on pilgrimage. Belief alone is not enough. Experience on its own won’t carry us through. Even desire is not enough. Rather it’s in the coming together of all these characteristics of what it means to be human in the world that make a pilgrimage experience and enable it to shape us for good. The physical journey begins to reveals something of our greater journeys though life. And the questions raised by the physical journey begin to work on us…’
PRACTICE: ‘The first stage of the practice On the Road is a commitment to live with the spirit of pilgrimage. To become willing to see your life right now as a journey, to travel light, to commit to learning from whatever happens on the way, to keep going. And to be changed. The second stage involves making a pilgrimage in the ancient Jesus tradition…’
The new series of morning bell for the beginning of Advent is emerging from our musing on the wisdom of the great Jewish prophet Isaiah (and his co-writers) – and specifically from the readings set for each day of this season. These poetic insights from the 8th century BC continue to resonate for us now, and particularly so in Advent – as they look ahead to coming salvation.
The images are all from a retreat that we were involved in leading earlier this month at Scargill House in North Yorkshire, home to the brilliant Scargill Movement. Make a visit there if you can!
One of the motifs that Isaiah uses is that of a ‘fruitful field’. May Advent prove to be a fruitful field for you…
Grace and peace to you at the beginning of this new Church year, Ian & Gail.
We’re back from the first Beloved Life retreat and feeling very privileged to have shared the weekend with such creative and imaginative people! Thanks everyone for participating with such generosity and insight. Here are some pics: