Tag: Gill Henwood

Summer Solstice

Photo of Red Screes, Lake District taken by Gill Henwood

My dear friend Gill Henwood has sent me this to help us celebrate the Longest day or Summer Solstice. *

“Here’s a photo from yesterday evening of Red Screes, the fell between Ambleside and the Kirkstone Pass to Ullswater. The midsummer sun setting at its furthest NNW reach casts a shadow only seen for a few evenings, showing the steep face of the screes’ far side. On the saddle under the deep shadow lies the Kirkstone Inn – bathed in glorious sunlight all day but deepest shadow under the great fell.

It seems a parable of contrast – dazzling glory is heightened by deepest shadow. And the darkest shade has piercing light beyond.

It reminds me of a story that in a night time barn or hall, a huge space, it only takes one candle to give us light. God illuminates us in the Light of Christ, shining in the deepest dangers of our troubled world.”

[GH]

Dear God
Thank you for light and warmth. 
Thank you for the sun.
Thank you for the gifts of nature and for the annual cycles and seasons.
Today, give us grace to see you as the Creator,
the One who lifts us to the light.

Amen

* A solstice is an event that occurs when the Sun appears to reach its most northerly or southerly excursion relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere. Two solstices occur annually, around June 21 and December 21.

Ice Bow over Holy Island

IceBow over Holy Island (Lindisfarne) photographed by Gill Henwood.

This photograph was taken by my friend Gill Henwood during a visit to Holy Island (Lindisfane) this past week.

The unusual light formation is of a weather phenomenon known as an IceBow.This is an ice-halo formed by plate shaped ice crystals in atmospheric clouds. Sunlight refracts through ice crystals giving this circular effect. Sometimes it is known as an ice-rainbow.
I’m told that it is extremely rare and not all that easy to photograph. (please ignore the green dot which is a camera effect and not a visiting martian!)

We are once again reminded that our planet is constantly surprising us. There is a beauty and awesomeness that is pure gift. We just have to tune ourselves to see the many splendored thing

In the  Prayer of Azariah  (Old Testament Apocrypha) verse 49, we read :
Bless the Lord ice and cold;
Sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.  (NRSV version)

This forms a verse of the Praise Song known as the Benedicite. (The Song of the Three Children)

O ye Ice and Snow, bless ye the Lord :
praise him, and magnify him for ever.  (verse 13)

The Song is an amazing prayer of Praise to God our Creator and a recognition that everything owes its being to Him. Praying it helps us to keep and correct the delicate balance of the earth, as well as putting us in our place!

Benedicite

1    O all ye Works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

2    O ye Angels of the Lord, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

3    O ye Heavens, bless ye the Lord :praise him, and magnify him for ever.

4    O ye Waters that be above the Firmament, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

5    O all ye Powers of the Lord, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

6    O ye Sun and Moon, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever. #

7    O ye Stars of Heaven, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

8    O ye Showers and Dew, bless ye the Lord :praise him, and magnify him for ever.

9    O ye Winds of God, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

10  O ye Fire and Heat, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

11  O ye Winter and Summer, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

12  O ye Dews and Frosts, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

13  O ye Frost and Cold, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

14  O ye Ice and Snow, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

15  O ye Nights and Days, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

16  O ye Light and Darkness, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

17  O ye Lightnings and Clouds, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

18  O let the Earth bless the Lord : yea, let it praise him, and magnify him for ever.

19  O ye Mountains and Hills, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

20  O all ye Green Things upon the Earth, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

21  O ye Wells, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

22  O ye Seas and Floods, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

23  O ye Whales, and all that move in the Waters, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

24  O all ye Fowls of the Air, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

25  O all ye Beasts and Cattle, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

26  O ye Children of Men, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

27  O let Israel bless the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

28  O ye Priests of the Lord, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

29  O ye Servants of the Lord, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

30  O ye Spirits and Souls of the Righteous, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

31  O ye holy and humble of heart, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

[Mr G]

Waiting

‘Bethlehem’ at the Basilica of St Peter & St Paul, Prague. Photo by Gill Henwood

My friend Gill Henwood is joining the people of Prague as they wait to celebrate the birth of the Christ –Child at Christmas. Here are some photos she has sent of the crib scene in the basilica of St. Peter & St Paul.
When I first visited Prague in 1993 the churches were only just being restored after the ravages of communism, and the celebration of Christmas was less exuberant.
Gill writes…

Greetings from Prague! and  SS Peter & Paul Basilica ‘Bethlehem’, as they call their crib scenes.
This is the only one seen so far with the manger waiting for the birth of the Christ child in the dark night of Christmas Eve. We have noticed that the wise men are accompanied by an elephant (and a camel, usually), which is a new thought for our crib scenes at home!
Families bring little children to see, and hear the story. School groups seem to be taken to visit too. There are fewer tourists this year, so local people are much in evidence, enjoying their beautiful city.

There are two very lifelike shaggy sheep by the Charles Bridge with just an angel, each made from hay and straw. Perhaps they’re being rounded up!

Photos : Gill Henwood

All good gifts around us…

Thoughts from a reflective walk in the Lake District,  Cumbria by my friend, Gill Henwood.

“This morning I took this panorama from the edge of Grizedale Forest, overlooking Coniston and the fells. Autumn is in the air, with the first fresh winds blowing in clouds and scattering rowan berries on the woodland tracks. Geese have begun their noisy migrations southward, in V formations high above. Hearing their calls makes me look up.

Nature’s harvest this year is bountiful. Blackberries cover the bramble thickets (our black Labrador helps herself, picking carefully!). Yew berries are carpeting old grassland, picked up by nuthatches. 
Charms of fledgling goldfinches are learning to land on our squirrel-proof bird feeders, taking turns with green finches and tits of all kinds. 
Robins sing and wrens chatter in the hedgerows. Tawny and barn owlets shout ever-louder at dusk to be fed. 

Creation is preparing for autumn and the cold dark days of winter.
So must we. Francistide (St. Francis’ feast day is October 4th) reminds us of our common heritage as Gods beloved creatures: God, our sustainer and theirs. 
As the wild berries and the garden bird feeders strengthen tiny, fragile birds for adverse times, may we cooperate with God to care for all in need.

In the panorama, I recalled Psalm 19.1….

The heavens are telling the glory of God;
   and the firmament proclaims his handiwork

We have had such a dry summer we are looking forward to some long-awaited ‘soft refreshing rain’. Thirlmere (reservoir) is 8m below its ‘spillway’ level, and Haweswater drowned village outlines are visible too. 

I sang (in my head!) along my walk:

All good gifts around us are sent from heav’n above, then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord, for all his love’.

Gill “

Photo of the Lake District taken by Gill Henwood

The Revd Dr. Gill Henwood is a priest in the Church of England