Tuesday, 31 May 2016


I do not understand the mystery of grace,
only that it meets us where we are
and does not leave us where it found us.

Anne Lamott

image : Alice Christie

Monday, 30 May 2016

thy mighty glow

Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-52)

Thee, God, I come from, to thee go,
All day long I like fountain flow
From thy hand out, swayed about
Mote-like in thy mighty glow.

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844 – 1889)

image : © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Sunday, 29 May 2016

our mortal nature

Noah welcomes the dove back to the ark
Ely Cathedral

O God,
the strength of all those who put their trust in you,
mercifully accept our prayers
and, because through the weakness of our mortal nature
we can do no good thing without you,
grant us the help of your grace,
that in the keeping of your commandments
we may please you both in will and deed;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

[Collect : First Sunday after Trinity]

Common Worship
© The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England, 2000-2005

Friday, 27 May 2016

humble access

Detail from the Holy Blood Altar
St. Jakobs Church, Rothenburg
Tilman Riemenschneider (c.1460-1531)

We do not presume to come to this thy Table,
O merciful Lord,
trusting in our own righteousness,
but in thy manifold and great mercies.
We are not worthy so much as
to gather up the crumbs under thy Table.
But thou art the same Lord,
whose property is always to have mercy:
Grant us therefore, gracious Lord,
so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ,
and to drink his blood,
that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body,
and our souls washed through his most precious blood,
and that we may evermore dwell in him,
and he in us.

Prayer of Humble Access
1662 version

Thursday, 26 May 2016

i thank you God

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

e.e. cummings (1894–1962)

image : Alice Christie

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

morning star

The Starry Night
Vincent van Gogh

Christ is the morning star
who, when the night of this world is past,
brings to his saints the promise of the light of life
and opens everlasting day.

St. Bede (672 - 735)
from the Commentary on the Book of Revelation (c710)

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

a few moments

P. S. Krøyer 1893

There should be, even in the busiest day, a few moments when we can close our eyes and let God possess us. There should be moments at least when we become more conscious of his presence, when we become more conscious of it as the only reality, the only thing that will last forever.

The Comforting of Christ
Caryll Houselander (1954)

quoted by Magdalen Smith in Fragile Mystics (2015)

Sunday, 22 May 2016

enlarge our minds

Lance McNeel

Holy God,
faithful and unchanging:
enlarge our minds with the knowledge of your truth,
and draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love,
that we may truly worship you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Friday, 20 May 2016

sub tuum praesidium

Pietà of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon
Enguerrand Quarton
Musée du Louvre

We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God;
despise not our petitions in our necessities,
but deliver us always from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen


Thursday, 19 May 2016

something I can't not do

St Mary the Virgin, Wansford

Vocation at its deepest level is:

'This is something I can't not do,
for reasons I'm unable to explain to anyone else
and don't fully understand myself
but that are nonetheless compelling.'

Parker J. Palmer
Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

image : Alice Christie

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

keep me

Apple Harvesting
Eric Ravilious
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Keep me as the apple of your eye.

Order for Compline, Common Prayer
© Archbishops' Council2016

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

the living garden

I understood that every flower created by Him is beautiful, that the brilliance of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not lessen the perfume of the violet or the sweet simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all the lowly flowers wished to be roses, nature would no longer be enamelled with lovely hues. And so it is in the world of souls, Our Lord's living garden.

St. Thérèse de Lisieux

image : Alice Christie

Monday, 16 May 2016

how to find God

North Transept, Salisbury Cathedral
J.M.W. Turner

There is no better advice on how to find God
than to seek him where we left him:
do now, when you cannot find God,
what you did when last you had him,
and then you will find him again.

Meister Eckhart

image : © Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum

Sunday, 15 May 2016

holy fire

The Holy Spirit descends on Mary and the Apostles

Holy Spirit, sent by the Father,
ignite in us your holy fire;
strengthen your children with the gift of faith,
revive your Church with the breath of love,
and renew the face of the earth,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

[Collect : Day of Pentecost]

Common Worship
© The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England, 2000-2005

Friday, 13 May 2016

light and life

Water Lilies (1915-1926)
Claude Monet

Blessed are you, creator God,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
As your Spirit moved over the face of the waters
bringing light and life to your creation,
pour out your Spirit on us today
that we may walk as children of light
and by your grace reveal your presence.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Morning Prayer, Common Worship
© The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England, 2000-2005

Thursday, 12 May 2016

figuring it out

Woman Writing
Edouard Vuillard

It's not hard to decide
what you want your life to be about.
What's hard...is figuring out
what you're willing to give up
in order to do the things you really care about.

Shauna Niequist
Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

a voice calling

Rythme, Joie de Vivre (1931)
Robert Delaunay

Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess. Vocation does not come from a voice “out there” calling me to be something I am not. It comes from a voice “in here” calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God.

Thomas Merton (1915-68)

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

to find Your glory

Leaping Hare
Ian MacCulloch

We thank you Lord God
for the life and prayer
of your servant Melangell.
May her care and compassion
for all your creatures
inspire us in our day
with the same concern
for all You have made.
May we with her learn
to find Your glory
In the world around us
and in all that
You give us to do.
We ask this through
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer for St Melangell, early Welsh Abbess (c.641)

The legend of St Melangell describes how
she saved a wild hare from the hunt 
by covering it with her skirts while she prayed.
Her shrine at Cwm Pennant is still a place of pilgrimage.

Monday, 9 May 2016

a summary of Christian faith

Micro Engraving
Ephraim W. Bouvé, Boston, c. 1840

"If somebody said,
give me a summary of Christian faith
on the back of an envelope,
the best thing to do
would be to write Our Lord's Prayer."

Rowan Williams

Sunday, 8 May 2016

power and compassion

Risen, ascended Lord,
as we rejoice at your triumph,
fill your Church on earth
with power and compassion,
that all who are estranged by sin
may find forgiveness and know your peace,
to the glory of God the Father.

[Collect : Seventh Sunday of Easter]

Common Worship
© The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England, 2000-2005

Friday, 6 May 2016

when we were still far off

Silhouette on a country road
Henri-Joseph Harpignies (1819 – 1916)

Father of all, we give you thanks and praise that, when we were still far off, you met us in your Son and brought us home. Dying and living, he declared your love, gave us grace and opened the gate of glory. May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life; we who drink his cup bring life to others; we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world. Keep us firm in the hope you have set before us so we and all your children shall be free and the whole earth live to praise you name, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Common Worship
© The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England, 2000-2005

Thursday, 5 May 2016

be with us today

Father in heaven,
you have given us
a mind to know you,
a will to serve you,
and a heart to love you.
Be with us today in all that we do,
so that your light may shine out in our lives.

St. Thomas More (1478-1535)

image : Alice Christie

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

pain and joy

Reflection of the Big Dipper
Jackson Pollock (1947)

Ministry means the ongoing attempt
to put one's own search for God,
with all the moments of
pain and joy, despair and hope,
at the disposal of those
who want to join this search
but do not know how.

Henri J.M. Nouwen

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

to seek you

The Harbor at Aden
John Taylor Arms (1887 - 1953)

Teach me to seek you
and show yourself to me as I seek;
for I am not able to seek you
unless you teach me;
nor am I able to find you
unless you show me the way.
Let me seek you in desiring you,
and desire you in seeking you.
May I find you in loving you,
and love you in finding you.

St. Anselm

Monday, 2 May 2016

the little daily dose

Tulip Stair
Queen's House, Greenwich

I sometimes pray not for self-knowledge in general
but for just so much self knowledge at the moment
as I can bear and use at the moment;
the little daily dose.

C.S. Lewis (1898 - 1963)
Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

Sunday, 1 May 2016

fishers of men

"I shall make you fishers of men"

Risen Christ,
by the lakeside you renewed your call to your disciples:
help your Church to obey your command
and draw the nations to the fire of your love,
to the glory of God the Father.

[Collect : Sixth Sunday of Easter]

(detail of stained glass)
St Peter's Church, Kilmore Quay
image : Andreas F. Borchert via Wikimedia Commons

Common Worship
© The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England, 2000-2005