REVIVE US AGAIN #8 Sunday 8 January 2017 . . . “Bearing gifts we traverse afar / Field and fountain, / Moor and mountain, / Following yonder star.”
We sang that song after lunch at church today n celebration of Three Kings Day (that took place on Friday). The Rosca, a sweet bread baked in the shape of a crown, is decorated with dried fruits to represent crown jewels.
“Gold I bring . . . Frankincense to offer have I . . . Myrrh is mine . . . Glorious now behold Him arise, / King and God and Sacrifice! / Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia, / Heaven to earth replies.”
Without worship, our monthly fellowship meal, and a special discussion on sanctuary or refuge for aliens and refugees, the start of the week would be like a weak, lukewarm, compromised cup of tea. Thanks to the music, prayers and guest preacher Belihu Hailu from Ethiopia, our spirits were lifted. Hailu is taking courses at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. He preached on “The role of the Holy Spirit for a more accurate knowledge of God.” Through the Holy Spirit we receive not just the words but the gifts of the Spirit and the power of God, he said. To be humble and honest in our search for God opens the door for the Spirit to work in us.
Mum for the moment
In the week ahead I want to collect my musings on the political situation in the USA, but not today.
Musings from winter walks and reading
This week we walked in both fog and cold. I didn’t say “in a fog,” though that could be true too. Walking does clear the mind and gladden the heart. Yesterday we walked three miles to and from the library in exceedingly cold weather (13F-10.5C). We were warmly dressed. On the way home we stopped for a late lunch at Martin’s Supermarket.
At lunch Marty noticed a gentleman nearby who was working with a slew of cigarette butts on his table. He was rolling new cigarettes from the left-over tobacco. On our way to pick up some groceries I stopped to introduce myself and wish him well. He told me his name is Tom. We chatted a bit and I gave Tom a couple dollars for a coffee or hot chocolate. Now, Tom could use the services of a dentist and a barber, yet somewhere he had gotten a decent winter coat, hat and gloves. As I was picking up a shopping basket I noticed that Tom was buying two chocolate-covered long johns. Way to go, Tom! I love long johns but you Tom, thin as you are, deserve them more than I do.
I’ve just about finished reading Trains and Buttered Toast by John Betjeman. (John Murray, London, 2006). The book gives selections of Betjeman’s radio talks on the BBC from the 1930s, 40s, 50s and one on Isaac Watts, 1975. Betjeman was born in 1906 and died in 1984. His topics ranged from topographical to religious concerns. Architecture, towns, town planning, churches, eccentric vicars and hymns were the main topics he addressed with wit, out-spoken directness and humour, In a lengthy Introduction editor Stephen Games said about the radio talks, “Finally, they reveal something of the inner life of a man of rich humanity and deep feeling who was troubled by inner demons.”
“What he wanted,” Games said, “as he said in his autobiographical poem Summoned by Bells, was to be
Safe, in a world of trains and buttered toast
Where things inanimate could feel and think . . . “
I came across the name, David Winter, in this book of Betjeman talks. David was a producer for the BBC, ending up as head of Religious Broadcasting. He was the producer for Betjeman’s 1975 radio talk on Isaac Watts, The name rang a bell. I checked, and sure enough, David has had pieces published in New Contact, the bimonthly magazine of St Anta and St Uny churches in Cornwall. David taught English and Religious Studies, was involved in magazine journalism and served 20 years as a BBC producer, an article in New Contact stated. “Then he got a proper job–he was ordained in the Church of England.” David has visited St Anta and St Uny during his visits to Cornwall, staying with friends from whom we rent our winter flat. Small world, happy wonder.
I bought the book years ago in Stratford, Ontario. The bookshop has gone out of business, but it’s worth checking out their website with their farewell message.
Here’s a concluding thought from a scrap of paper I unearthed in clearing out some old files. I jotted down something about the transformational power of travel. Walking the slow-down road is where being meets doing and the two amble amicably on. Sometimes you’re walking In wild or wildish places, that is off the beaten path, as you take measured risks by venturing into the unknown.
Ellie Wiesel wrote of “the mystery of beginnings.” Each day can be such a beginning. O happy day! Or as the chorus of the three kings of orient goes:
O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright.
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.