Tag: Joyce Smith

All is Gift

My friend Joyce Smith has sent me another picture tweet of a Gannet in flight. The caption is by Henry David Thoreau. Joyce writes:
Dear Friends, This graceful gannet witnesses to beauty in our present lives as well as to our future hope.
With my love and prayers, God bless, Joyce

I was inspired by the photo to try and capture my feelings in a poem.

All is Gift.

Gannet soars,
taking a path between earth and heaven.
Grace in flight buoyed up by the whisper of God’s breath
A joyful beauty here.

She reminds us of God’s creative love fashioning the world
spreading signs and reflections of His heaven –
brooding under, over and within Creation.
Entrusting this message not to us but to a creature of His artistry.
The gentle flap of her wing carries her through clouds,
across an ever-moving  sky,
from time to time she drops to kiss an azure sea,
beak dipping
foaming wave forming, where love breaks.

Gannet carries a gift from God,
A message from His heart ;
“Enjoy the freedom of grace-filled life.
I glide around you revealing the beauty above, below and within you
for I am always there.”

Look up and see, look down and feel.
Look within and breathe.
Live for a while in true harmony with all that I have made.
But know,
(and here Gannet flies away to spread her wings of beauty),
that all is gift.

[Mr G]

Pooh’s wise advice

Another picture reflection from my friend Joyce Smith

The quotation from ‘Winnie the Pooh’ is such a wise saying that it really needs little explanation.

As we emerge a little from isolation and lockdown, it is tempting to continue to stay in the safety of our own corner but Pooh would wag his paw at that thought.

We shouldn’t just wait for others to visit, email or ring our doorbell. If they don’t it is so easy to complain or think unkind thoughts about those who don’t reach out to us.

Human relationships (and probably cuddly bears too) require us to work at them, to make the effort. Friendship is a two way path.

We have a responsibility to those who care about us, and even more towards those we don’t know so well, to reach out with generous kindness and help people to see they matter.

If we make the effort to ring, write, email or visit we show people that they are special. It helps us too. We are social beings and we need to open not only our doors but also our hearts. Going outwards gives us a new appreciation of ourselves too. Showing love means we have love within us and that should lead us to have gratitude to the One who planted the seed of love within us. God and His love is always there loving us from within.

Don’t hide in a dark corner but embrace God’s love.

Just by leaving your corner and going to others, especially after such a time of isolation, we can share God’s mutual love and, as Pooh might well agree, share a little honey too

Lord, give us the wisdom and the joy
to know your love for us.
Help us to celebrate and share that love with others
and so spread a little honey as well!
Love and Amen.

Gathering with God

My friend Joyce Smith has sent me another of her lovely tweets for you to enjoy.

One of the current changes that the relaxation of Covid rules has made possible is that more people may gather together. This has brought joy to families who have been prevented from meeting. I was able to see my sister for the first time in 18 months and many of you can tell a similar story.

It is especially joyful for Christians to be able to meet for worship because sharing Eucharist and praying together or sharing in communal worship of other kinds is something Christians and other faiths know is important. The Quotation Joyce has selected from St. Matthew’s Gospel carriers a promise that when we gather together for prayer and worship, Jesus is amongst us.
Jesus is also with us whenever alone, we pray or are still in quiet contemplation, of course.

Gathering together does much to strengthen us as the people of God . We share in a very special Holy fellowship which is called Koinonia,  in which the Holy Spirit draws us not only to each other but to all who make up the Kingdom of God. That includes fellow worshippers throughout the world, but also those who are already in God’s nearer presence in heaven. We are part of a great company who on earth and beyond gather before God in His glory.

Whenever we quietly pray or engage with God in the Scriptures we draw close to Him. In the Church’s liturgy we say With angels and archangels and all the company of heaven and that means when we pray and worship alone or with others we gather at that thin place where God is especially near us and heaven is a breath away.

P.S. Being part of the Company of Heaven also means that the Church can never decline. It can sometimes grow more slowly that’s all!


Looking afresh at the world

newly fledged wrens at a small reserve in Scarborough! Photographed by Joyce Smith

My friend Joyce has sent me her latest Tweet.

These baby Wrens are signs to us of the joy of Creation.

They demonstrate to us that God is constantly renewing the earth despite all that we are doing to destroy it. As we continue to exploit the planet and refuse to heed all the warnings, which may well include mysterious diseases like Covid, one dominant and deeply self-centred species which has, supposedly, intelligence, fails to use the gifts and exercise stewardship responsibly. Ironically our actions demonstrate how extremely stupid we are!

So to be remind that there is an alternative, more innocent vision of creation is also to be given an invitation to see our world with new and more responsible eyes.

We are invited to see things with joy, exuberance, and vision.  We are being invited to be re-born as little children (or in a way, as new born fledgling birds). We are being encouraged to fill our lives with hope, wonder and awe.

 Jesus had a view that this requires humility and simplicity and thanksgiving. So, for example in Matthew 18 2-4 he said this:

Jesus called a child, whom he put among them, and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven

Why we need to re-think this is caught up in a saying from the book, The Little Prince:
All grown-ups were once children … but only a few remember it!

We need the kind of vision which believes that, with determination, we can see bigger and better and more amazing things in a world which belongs equally to all, because if we don’t then Jesus’ words will show us that we are going about things the wrong way.

A boy was once drawing a picture. He was transfixed with concentration as he worked carefully and with determination.

His father asked him what he was drawing.

“A picture of God”, the boy replied.

“But nobody knows what God looks like” said his father.

“They will soon” replied the boy, “I’ve nearly finished.”

The little wrens are a picture of God’s making. They reflect God so we can see a little bit more what God is like. They are drawing us a picture!
Maybe we can be encouraged to  find a way of showing a bit more of God in us, so that we reflect his glory and beauty a little better.