Archive for March, 2012

March 30, 2012

You’re the colour of my world.


Driving along listening to a C.D. by the Rend Collective Experiment, a line caught my attention and reawakened an old, precious memory.  The song is called ‘Exalt‘ and the line I got so excited about is the title of this post, ‘You’re the colour of my world.’  The music brought me back to when I was nineteen, when after several years of ‘off and on’ trying to understand Christianity and Jesus in particular, one afternoon as I was reading the Bible, it was like everything suddenly made sense.  It was a ‘Eureka’ moment; Jesus, the cross, my sin, His forgiveness just suddenly all made sense.  I knelt, I prayed and was overcome with sheer blissful happiness at the newfound realisation of God’s love for me, even me.  It felt akin to seeing everything in black and white throughout my whole life until that point and now suddenly I was seeing in colour for the first time!  I ran downstairs and much to my poor Mother’s amusement and confusion I shouted out ‘Mum, Mum, I know everything!’  Of course I didn’t know even the tiniest fraction of ‘everything’ but at that brief moment it felt like I did; even though I was less than the minutest speck in the universe I actually mattered to God and He actually cared about me…

Here’s the rest of the lyrics to ‘Exalt’:

I’m bare before You, O risen Jesus.
I can’t hide from You, Your kindness is too strong.
Today You kneel, You wash my feet,
Where the dirt of sin has harmed me.
Who has heard of such majesty?
Glorious One, I let down the walls again.
There’s nothing that’s sweeter than Your friendship,
There’s nothing that’s greater than Your Lordship.

I exalt You, I exalt You,
I exalt You and enjoy You.
I exalt You, I exalt You, I exalt You,
You’re the colour of my world.
You’re the colour of my world.

There’s nothing that’s sweeter than Your friendship,
There’s nothing that’s greater than Your Lordship.
There’s nothing that’s stronger than Your overwhelming grace,
And Your truth is my wide open space.

You are my sight, my life’s guide;
Though I’m blind, You brighten the way.
The troubles they are many,
And I feel I’m losing,
But You rescue me in Your time.
Glorious One, You redeem all my mistakes;
There’s nothing that’s stronger than Your overwhelming grace,
And Your truth is my wide open space.

March 28, 2012

A conjunction of Venus and Jupiter, oh and the Moon as well…

Moon, Venus & Jupiter Conjunction

I just learnt yesterday that a ‘Conjunction’ is the term used for whenever two celestial bodies appear close to one another in the sky.  It has been wonderful the past two nights to have clear skies and to see what is apparently a rare conjunction of Venus (the one nearest to the moon in the picture) and Jupiter (at the top).

Although they appear to be close to one another, they are of course mind-bogglingly (is that a word?) far apart.  The moon is 238,000 miles (382,900 kilometers) from the Earth, at the moment Venus is about 67 million miles (108 million km) from the Earth and Jupiter is about 535 million miles (861 million km) away!  (Source).  Naturally these are tiny distances compared to measuring the distances between stars, but there is something special about our planetary neighbours.

Venus is the second closest planet to the Sun and is similar in size to the Earth.  It has a barren rocky surface and an atmosphere of carbon dioxide with clouds of Sulphuric acid!  Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet in our Solar System, over 120 times larger than the Earth!

Some words from Psalm 148 seem appropriate:

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
He also established them forever and ever;
He made a decree which shall not pass away.

March 26, 2012

Random Light No.6

Clonakilty St. Patrick's Day 2

This is a great little shop in Clonakilty, with floor to ceiling shelves stocked with plastic things made in China!
Field sprayed with a herbicide

The field behind our house a few days after being sprayed with ‘weed killer’.  Our water supply comes from the reservoir you can see as a green mound behind the tree in the field :-(

Chocolates in English Market

Chocolates for sale in the English Market, Cork.

Church of the Immaculate Conception, Clonakilty

Church of the Immaculate Conception, Clonakilty
Cats like to read too!

Jasper the cat was interested in one of the books that the boys brought home from the library…
Moon and star

The Moon and Venus taken last night.
Lady Bird

Greenfly be very afraid!

March 20, 2012

St. Patrick’s Day in Clonakilty

For once the sun shone on St. Patrick’s Day and a great time was had by all.  Well done to the Town Council and people of Clonakilty who put on a great parade.  Apart from these few pictures posted here there are many more on Flickr (if you click on one of the pictures below it will take you into the Flickr photo stream).

Clonakilty St. Patrick's Day 20

It is still possible to find some genuinely Irish people in West Cork :-)
Clonakilty St. Patrick's Day 1

A strong and intimidating Garda presence for the day…

Clonakilty St. Patrick's Day 7

As elsewhere, emigration is a big issue for many families in these parts; this couple were great fun.
Clonakilty St. Patrick's Day 14

Our very own Girls Brigade…
Clonakilty St. Patrick's Day 13

… and Boys Brigade.
Clonakilty St. Patrick's Day 18

The man himself.
Clonakilty St. Patrick's Day 5

Kebab anyone?

March 18, 2012

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother and child Zebra at Fota Wildlife Park

Mother and Joey


March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick

Statue of St. Patrick in Timoleague, Co. Cork

St. Patrick’s Day Sermon, 17/3/12
Text: John 4:31-38

Of course we don’t know a whole lot about St. Patrick and it can be hard to know sometimes where the facts end and the legend begins, but one thing we do know is that he was passionate about serving his Master. In Patrick we have a man of God and someone who was willing to give up everything in order to follow God’s call upon his life. For Patrick God was everything; he would have wholeheartedly agreed with the Psalmist when he wrote of God:

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside you. (Psalm 73:25)

Wouldn’t it be great if we could have this same passion, this same focus and drive and commitment?

In the Gospel reading for today, we see that the Lord Jesus is tired from the long journey that He is making with His disciples, as they walk from Judea to Galilee. He is sat down by Jacob’s well, where he has just had that famous conversation with the Samaritan woman and the disciples come up to him and urge him, saying:

‘Rabbi, eat something.’ (31)

To which Jesus replies:

‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ (32) and
‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work’ (34)

It is as if Jesus is saying to his disciples that doing God’s will is even more important than eating! It is from doing God’s will and God’s work that Jesus gains spiritual strength and sustenance. Yes, we make sure that we are physically fed and nourished but what about spiritual food (in other words doing God’s will for our lives)? Perhaps one of the things that we are reminded of in Lent is that food is just for the physical nourishment of our bodies. Yes, we can enjoy food (and who doesn’t), but let it not preoccupy us so much. Let us spend more time being preoccupied with Spiritual food, doing God’s will, for that is where true nourishment is found.

We see a great and godly example in the life of St. Patrick. In his early twenties he was willing to leave his parents and homeland for the sake of following God’s call. Patrick heeded God’s call to come to Ireland, a land where the Good News of Jesus Christ had been little heard, a land of hardship and warring kings, a land of pagan worship practices and a land of spiritual darkness. But with the eyes that God gave him, what did Patrick see? He saw the same thing as Jesus saw when he said to his disciples:

‘… But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting.’ (35)

Patrick saw a land of people who were starving, not for lack of food but for lack of God. In his own words he wrote:

I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: “The Voice of the Irish”. As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: “We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.

Just as the Lord Jesus, in the land of the Samaritans, saw people who were ready and eager to receive God’s word, so Patrick saw that the Irish were hungry for truth and thirsty for salvation.

For someone without faith, it would have seemed an impossible task; to go to another country, where many of the people were hostile and speak to them of a God of love, a God who gave his Son to die in their stead upon a cross, in a place far away in time and distance from their own and yet Patrick did it anyway. Patrick took the risk, he did not play it safe. He did not try and form a committee or organise a mission conference or plan a direct mailing campaign, he just went.

As I think about that I find it exhilarating, exciting and liberating. We do not need to carry the weight on our shoulders of what we need to do and when and how we need to do it; it is not our work, but God’s. He is leader, we just need to follow.

As we look over Ireland today, in almost every conceivable way it is a very different Ireland from the one whose shores St. Patrick would have landed upon all those centuries ago. In Patrick’s time there were no tarmacadamed roads, no means of instant communication over long distances, no cars, no computers, no shopping centres or multiplex cinemas, none of the ‘stuff’ that occupies so much of the time we always complain we don’t have enough of today. Yes, the landscape might be very different, but the people are not so different really; just like our ancient forbears, we have hopes and dreams, ambitions and fears and we all like they need a Saviour.

The fields are as ripe for harvest today as they ever were. How many of the people thronging the streets of our towns and cities and celebrating this day are lost, lonely and hurting inside? For how many of them does life seem hopeless and bleak with no apparent purpose and meaning? And who are the St. Patrick’s today who will tell them and show them Jesus?

We are.

March 8, 2012

Crawford Gallery, Cork

A couple of days ago whilst on a brief outing to Cork city, we decided to have lunch in the Crawford Gallery Café as it had been several years since our previous visit there.  The food is excellent (though perhaps a bit healthier than is my natural want) and the gallery itself is just wonderful.  I wasn’t sure if photography was allowed, so just three ‘undercover’ shots were taken…

The table next to ours.  I really like the expressions on the faces of two figures in the window!
Crawford Gallery Café

The upper corridor that runs by the Harry Clarke gallery, I think it was the curvature towards the light that made me lift the camera to take this one.
Crawford curving corridor

The Classical and neo-classical sculptures near the main entrance…
Crawford Gallery, Cork

These statues made me think of the film ‘A Night at the Museum‘!  Also a verse from the Bible comes to mind now as I look at this:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  (Ephesians 2:10)

March 6, 2012

Great and Small

early evening moon