Month: June 2021

Friendship with God

My friend Joyce Smith has sent me this tweet – a photo which tells its own story.

Joyce says : In the same way as words are often not needed when sitting with good friends, sitting in quiet with our Heavenly Father helps us to absorb his love and know his peace.

Silence & Prayer
inspired by Joyce’s photograph and caption

Some people find silence uncomfortable but in our praying to God, it’s more than an absence of exterior noise.
Real silence before God is actually quite an active thing.

Prayer has been likened by the late Mother Mary Clare SLG, as a ‘Love-Affair with God’ in which all the emotions are engaged from silent hand-holding to tempestuous tiffs. It’s about sitting with God in a state of loving friendship.

Another teacher of prayer, Father Benson, the founder of the Cowley Fathers (SSJE) said:

“The soul in its littleness looks upon God in his greatness; and God in his greatness looks upon the soul in its littleness and loves it.”

This understanding of prayer is reinforced by a quite famous story connected with Jean Vianney, (known to us as the Curé d’Ars). He noticed that an old man came regularly into church and just sat there for hours, staring ahead.
Eventually the priest asked him what he was doing all day, to which came the simple but profound reply,

“I looks at Him and He looks at me.”

These words remind us that in our personal praying we should be thinking about God. Prayer is not always  bombarding him with requests.

Mother Mary Clare, makes a valid point when she says:

Let us be clear that what we are seeking in prayer is God Himself; not thoughts about Him nor about ourselves in relation to Him.

This involves silence. A silence which, as with the old man, is about sitting with God. When we do, we may express our love for God just by spending time with Him. Almost certainly, we will also discover God’s deep love for us because whilst I looks at Him, God will be looking at me and at you, and, as Fr. Benson puts it, God looks upon our soul, and loves it.

[Mr. G]

Mother Mary Clare SLG:

Some of the teachings on prayer by the late Mother Mary Clare SLG can be found in ‘Encountering the Depths’ a short but rich book about the nature and practice of prayer.  Price £4 plus postage from the SLG Press. Go to the website. If you are not familiar with the SLG Press you will encounter a feast of books about prayer, spirituality and the Christian life.


Breathtaking butterfly

Peacock Butterfly photographed by Lynn Hurry in Latton Vicarage Garden

The other day a Peacock Butterfly visited the garden at Latton Vicarage and my friend Lynn, the Vicar, took this photo. She sent it to me with the suggestion that it might inspire me. So I have written a poem.

The Peacock Butterfly is a familiar sight in gardens across the British Isles and is unmistakable, with quite spectacular eyes on the upperside of the hindwings that give this butterfly its name. Despite being a common sight there is a breathtaking beauty about this butterfly which gave me the inspiration for the poem

Peacock butterfly  … Breathtaking

A   beautiful sunny afternoon in heaven.
God rested, stretched, relaxed;
but the creator of everything cannot be still.
an idea formed;
a longing to make something beautiful.
When you are full of love it is no chore to create.

He would paint,
brushing into life something stunning,

His canvas invitingly empty

God dipped the brush of his imagination,
stretched out his hand.
Intricate sparkling colours
flowed from his fingers.
What figment of his palette
did He conjure up?
Slow formation of something crazy.

He fashioned me, a butterfly
adorned with Peacock colours.
I am painted with the eye of God,
a reflection of His love for making.
Crafted by God,
every act of creativity births new loveliness
into the world

God blew on my wings.
Breath giving


I fly.

Mr. G.

23rd June 2021

Lift up your hearts!

These ‘foxtail lilies’ have been photographed by my friend Gill Henwood in her Lakeland garden.
I have chosen them to illustrate a reflection, by my friend Julia Sheffield, which arose from a conversation we had
after morning Eucharist recently.
The majestic flowers, soaring up to the sky in splendid, silent beauty point us, like a prayer, towards God.

Sursum Corda! 

“Lift up your hearts! We lift them to the Lord!”

So begins, with this response, the great prayer of thanksgiving central to the Eucharist.

Have you ever noticed what happens when you ‘lift your heart to the Lord’?

Notice the change of energy. Attention! Look here! Do this! LIFT your hearts! 

It’s an imperative, not ‘if you please, would you mind’.

No matter where the preceding service of the word has led you or left you, these words gather everyone’s attention, and we focus together as one towards the central act of remembering and re-enactment of the Last Supper. It’s important we are all there, to witness it, and to give thanks.

And why the heart? Why not our heads or our hands? In the Hebrew scriptures the heart represents more than just an organ to pump the circulation, or the seat of eros, romantic love. The heart, in the Bible, is considered the home of the inner life, and everything that makes us human, our spirits, our character, our emotions and our will. The heart represents the whole person. So, the command to lift our hearts is a call to bring our whole selves into the presence of God – we lift ourselves to the Lord.

Lifting our hearts is not just a good intention, but an actual physical act. There is a real power in the gesture of altering our posture as we say the words, and this can be done whether we are standing, sitting or kneeling. Think where in the body the heart is placed, about halfway between the armpit and the navel on the left side of the centre of the chest. In order to lift the heart, you need to lift the head and shoulders, straighten the spine, and open out the chest. And then what happens? The lungs expand and you cannot help but draw air into your body. What a wonderful wordless prayer that is, bringing our focus on the Lord, and responding physically with a movement that draws in afresh the very breath of life.

Lift up your hearts!
We lift them to the Lord

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God
It is right to give Him thanks and praise!

​Revd Julia Sheffield

Photo : Revd Gill Henwood

Remember the little Fox Cubs!

A few weeks ago we posted a blog about the little fox cubs at Latton Vicarage, being cared for by Vicar Lynn.

Well they are a lot bigger now and beginning to prepare themselves for adulthood with all the risks involved in moving out into the bigger world. For now they are enjoying life cared for by Mamma x 2 and Papa (also 2 of them we think).
Of course, they are all cared for by Lynn and we know that our Heavenly Father cares for foxes and Humans
Lynn has even taught them to do creative writing which is why we have the piece below. Enjoy!