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: 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.

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Morning Bell: Hail Mary, full of grace…

 

This series of Morning Bell begins on 15 August and marks the Church’s love and respect for Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Hail Mary is a prayer at the heart of devotion to her. The prayer is rooted in scripture – echoing words spoken to Mary by the angel Gabriel and then by her cousin Elizabeth (both in Luke 1) – and concludes with a humble request for Mary to pray for us.

 

Morning Bell: Hail Mary
Morning Bell: Hail Mary

Mary carried the Christ into the world and in Orthodox practice she as know as Theotokos, the God-bearer. Learning from the Celtic Christian tradition we love the sense of Jesus’ family, his disciples and the saints as being close by. They remind us that we too belong to the holy family of God. For us it seems that to love and honour Mary the mother of Jesus is both to step deeper into our calling to carry the Christ into the world, and to come home. Here’s the prayer in full, in its contemporary form…

 

Hail Mary, full of grace.
Our Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb,
Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

 

The images for this series are formed from photos taken by Ian of friends of ours. The women in the series remind us that Mary was and is one of us. A reminder too that we are called to live and love with Mary’s spirit of faith and courage. And so with Mary we may be able to sing ‘from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me…’

Grace and peace to you
Ian & Gail

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

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / Eyeem

 

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: letters from St Clare

 

This Morning Bell series explores one of the letters of St Clare of Assisi (1193/4 – 1263) whose life and example we celebrate on 11 August. In her letter to (the fabulously-named) Ermentrude of Brussels, who founded several monasteries in Flanders, Clare encouraged Ermentrude to remain faithful to her calling, and to ‘love God and Jesus his son with your whole heart’. There’s no doubt that Clare was wary of the wider world, her view clouded no doubt by personal experience and the experiences of the women in her order. But if there is a world-denying aspect to her writing, there is also evidence for a great love for God and for neighbour.

 

Clare flyer

 

The photography for this series is provided by Gloucestershire-based photographer Roger Hare from a series he calls ‘Successions’ – and we are delighted to collaborate with Roger in this way. We hope that this series will encourage you to step with us into stillness and prayer each day, re-shaping us and re-shaping the world…

Grace and peace to you
Ian & Gail

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

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / Eyeem

Unfurling: poems

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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Icons of the Beloved Life: Jesus with St Menas

 

‘I strike a match, bring the flame to the candle, watch it take. I kiss the icon. A kiss of greeting, recognition, humility, affection and yes, of love. And then a pause. How natural, how earthy, how good this seems. This practice of the Orthodox church has become part of my life. I’m an iconophile, I’m an iconodule, I love icons. I believe that they are a great gift of the ancient and unfolding Jesus tradition, simultaneously suggesting an alternative way to see the world for what it truly is – an earthly-heavenly paradise – and opening ways for us live that paradise to the full wherever we are…’*

 

icon of Jesus & St Menas
icon of Jesus & St Menas

We’ve been asked frequently about the icon on our website that we use as our social media avatar. It’s  a reproduction of a sixth-century Egyptian icon of Jesus with Saint Menas commonly known as the icon of “Jesus and his friend.” The original is at the Louvre museum in Paris, and a copy is used in prayer at the Church of Reconciliation, the home of the Taizé Community. We love it very much…

*This reflection by Ian Adams is from ‘Running Over Rocks: spiritual practices to transform tough times’ (Canterbury Press) in which the gift of icons – and other ancient spiritual practices of the Jesus tradition – are explored further.

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Morning Bell: if I do not love

 

This series of Morning Bell explores the theme of love. For this series we are pondering and re-mixing lines from St Paul’s famous meditation on love in his letter to the church in Corinth (chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians). He begins by suggesting that without love all our best efforts are worthless (If I do not have love he says I am nothing). He then opens up the possibility of love as it is lived, shared and encountered…

 

Morning bell: if I do not love
Morning bell: if I do not love

The theme of Love is developed further in Ian’s book Running Over Rocks – particularly in the closing chapters Face Fear with Love / Embrace Intimacy / and Give Everything To Find Everything. The images for this series are all from street photos Ian has taken in Plymouth.

Grace and peace to you, beloved…
Ian & Gail

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

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / Eyeem

Unfurling: poems
Unfurling: poems

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 Prologue

 

The Prologue is a new series of Morning Bell for the start of Advent and for the beginning of a new Church year. In this series we are simply offering text from the wonderful Prologue to John’s Gospel. John probably wrote his Gospel in old age, many years after his experience as a young man of being one of the disciples of Jesus. The Prologue represents a beautiful summary of what John seems to have concluded about Jesus and the nature of his place in – and gift to – the world. It’s a passage of scripture that is often read in Advent – and we invite you to imagine and reflect with us on what John is saying.

Morning Bell - the Prologue
Morning Bell – the Prologue

The photos for this series were all taken in October in Southsea and Portsmouth when I spent a week with religious community the Sisters of Bethany. Their devotion to the Christ now echoes John’s devotion to the Christ two thousand years ago. May we all be inspired again by John’s insight, and by his love…

Grace and peace to you this Advent
Ian

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

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / Eyeem

Unfurling: poems
Unfurling: poems

Ian’s new 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: become as saints

 

This series of Morning Bell become as saints marks the festival of All Saints. In this season we honour those widely recognised as great saints of the Jesus tradition. Equally importantly we remember all those who have sought to follow the Christ in the past and all who continue to do so now – the great body of saints present in every generation and almost every place. We are part of a huge family. You and I are saints! The challenge may be to accept that reality – and then to live it out – to become as saints…

morning bell; become as saints
morning bell: become as saints

The text for the series has emerged from my own reflections on the idea of saints, with particular reference to the New Testament. The photos for this series have all been taken this Autumn on a stretch of coastline in the South Hams.

Saints, as you engage each day with Morning Bell may you blessed and encouraged to continue your journey with the Christ.

Grace and peace to you
Ian

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

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / Eyeem

Unfurling: poems
Unfurling: poems

Ian’s new 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: courage to pray – St Teresa of Avila

 

This new series of Morning Bell is a journey into prayer and the spiritual life with St Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), founder of the Discalced Carmelites, whose life we celebrate each October 15. The sayings in the series are taken from her own account of her story: the Life of Teresa of Jesus. We are particularly moved by St Teresa’s humanity, her courage to continue in prayer throughout  her life, and her increasing sense of prayer as friendship with God.

morning bell: courage to pray, with St Teresa of Avila
morning bell: courage to pray, with St Teresa of Avila

The images for this series of a derelict farmhouse are by photographer and film-maker Jo Dolby – our second collaboration on Morning Bell. For more on Jo’s excellent work go to jodolby.com We hope that you will be encouraged in your own exploration into prayer and stillness. St Teresa is a passionate guide…

Grace and peace to you, Ian

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

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / Eyeem

Unfurling: poems
Unfurling: poems

Ian’s new 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