Posts tagged ‘35mm’

August 13, 2015

“Imprints of Light” Exhibition

Soon we will be leaving Cork to move to Dublin, where I will take on a new role as a school chaplain (more on that another day). We have greatly enjoyed our twelve years in this wonderful part of Ireland and God-willing we will return for holidays and other adventures in the future.

One of the things I have been asked to do before we go is to have an exhibition of photographs for the Timoleague Festival. I feel very honoured to have been asked and a little daunted by the whole undertaking. Thankfully I have some excellent help from a parishioner who is also a very accomplished and gifted photographer and who knows a good deal about this sort of thing. The photos will go up later today and the display will be open to the public from Saturday for a week.

Here is a gallery of the photos that have been printed for the exhibition; some of them have appeared on this blog before and others are new:

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.

October 3, 2010

Encouragement for the journey

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(Photo from the Sheep’s Head walk for Christian Aid last month)

A couple of people actually read last weeks effort, so for anyone that may be interested, here is this mornings sermon.

Text:  2 Timothy 1:1-14

Have you ever watched or taken part in a long distance endurance test, you know something like a sponsored walk from Malin Head to Mizen Head, a cross-channel swim, the Cork, Dublin or London Marathon, or crossing the Himalayas on a pogo stick!?  One of the things that they all have in common (apart from making the participants very tired) is that they all have support teams.  There will be a crew of people backing up the walkers, providing food, drink and perhaps shelter.  There may also be a crowd along the way, clapping and cheering as the participants pass by, giving encouragement “well done”, “keep going”, “Only 4000 Kilometres to go” and so on. 
The Christian life is in many ways a bit like a long endurance race.  We will sometimes find the going tough, we may even want to give up, drop out completely or hail a taxi to take us to the finish line!  One of the things that makes it easier is when we encourage one another.  I just love it when I hear that happening, when you take the time and the effort to look after your fellow travellers and ask how they are doing and help them in different ways, encourage them to persevere and pray for them.  This is one of the reasons why the Tuesday morning and Thursday evening groups work so well for those that take part; they are places of encouragement.  People always come away encouraged and built up in their faith. 
As we look at the reading today from 2 Timothy, we see that Timothy, a young church leader has a very tough job to do.  Without support, it would be fair to say that Timothy would not have lasted the distance, yet the letters he receives from the Apostle Paul (who is in prison in Rome), spur him on and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, he is given the power and energy and strength to persevere. 
Right in the first verse, Paul puts the Gospel in a nutshell; it is “the promise of life”.  Outside of what Jesus did for us upon the cross there is no promise of life.  Without Christ we are completely lost and without any hope, yet the gift of God is forgiveness and eternal life.
Then in verse 3, Paul writes: 
I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 
Wow, Imagine that, having the Apostle Paul pray for you, wouldn’t that be great!  Perhaps we underestimate the importance of praying for each other.  I cannot tell you how grateful I am for your prayers for my family and for me “Please Lord help Daniel with his work, help him to get round all the visits he needs to do, get to all the meetings he needs to be at and let his sermon not be so long this week Amen!”  Let us always pray for each other, for our family members, friends and even people whom we don’t know.  I’m sure that in heaven we will be stunned at the effect our prayers had in the purposes of God’s Kingdom, how God used our weakness to perform mighty acts of greatness.  Never underestimate the power of prayer. 
Timothy came from a godly home.  Paul writes that
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.  (v 5)
The love of Jesus was there in Timothy’s younger days.  He saw how important this faith was to his grandmother and mother.  Timothy grew up in the Lord.  How important it is for us to make sure that our children ‘grow up in the Lord’, that we show them a godly example of how to live and that we teach them to pray and teach them to read the Bible and show them how to be godly, to be loving to others, to be forgiving and gentle, yet strong in faith and courage.  I know how difficult this is and we can only begin to do it with God’s help, but I am convinced that all the effort that we put into trying to bring up our children to know and love the Lord Jesus will not be in vain.  Our children may not turn out the way we want them to, but if they can just acknowledge God in their life then ultimately that is all that matters. 
As the weather begins to turn cold once more some of you may have already lit your first fire for several months.  Some people just seem to have a gift when it comes to lighting a fire.  Many times I have a fire all set, I have a good amount of dry kindling and newspaper and it is all looking good.  I light the match and it all starts off well, the fire roars into life then in no time at all the flame dies down and there is just a bit of smoke hanging on and it is all looking rather pathetic.  Then Sonja comes in, gives me a look of pity, and in less than a minute I have to stand back because the heat of the fire is so great! 
The Apostle Paul likens Timothy’s spiritual gift to a fire.  He says:  
 I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; 7for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. (6b, 7)
We don’t know especially what Timothy’s gift is, but the same truth applies to us also.  What gifts do you have?  What has God made you good at?  Gifts tend to fade in strength when they are not used or encouraged, so whatever gift you have make sure you use it and when you do, give all the credit and glory to God, because a gift is just that, a gift.  There are lots of people at the moment helping to make the Alpha course we are doing go so well, including those with the gift of hospitality.  They are using that gift so well that the Grace Centre feels such a welcoming and homely place (not to mention the fact that I have probably put on half a stone since the course has started)! 
It seems that Timothy was (understandably) a bit overawed by the responsibilities entrusted to him.  Ephesus was a city where few people had any sympathy for Christ; there was much persecution and opposition to the Christians there.  Paul reminds Timothy to rekindle, to get the fire going again, to be strong in the Lord, not to rely on his own strength and power, but Gods strength and power.  The word ‘cowardice’ in the Greek means someone who flees from the battle, who will not stand up to the fight.  How often has this been true of us, that we have not spoken up when we should have done?  How often have we neglected to tell someone of God’s love and forgiveness, how often have we fled from the battle?  I can think of many times when I should have spoken up on something but didn’t, so I am encouraged by this verse and I hope you are too; God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. 
We know that in our own strength we are simply not able, we do not have the ability to use our God-given gifts, we are naturally cowards who run away from the battle, we are lacking in love and we have the self-discipline of a sloth!  Verse 8 though gives us the answer:
‘…relying on the power of God’ 
That’s it, that’s the secret.  Relying on the power of God.  Have you ever run out of petrol and had to push your car?  It’s not easy is it?  It is possible (especially with a bit of help) to move the car, but it will move very slowly and only for a short distance.  When we do not rely on the power of God it is like we are running on empty!  We need His power and we get this power when we surrender to Him, when we hand over control of our lives to Him.  Let us pray:
Here I am Lord, I give you everything, my whole life and all that I am.  All my plans, wishes and desires I give to you.  Leave no stone unturned.  Lord, please heal me of my selfishness and forgive me for the countless times I have sinned.  Cleanse me through the power of the cross, wash me from the inside out.  Lord I am yours, use me for the glory of your name and by your grace to make a real difference in this world for you.  Fill me with your Spirit that I may not be afraid to speak about you and to help people in your name, to live out the gospel everyday in all that I say and all that I do and I ask this in the name of your Son, my Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen. 
June 4, 2010

Letting Go … letting God

Church of the Ascension, Timoleague  

Have you ever been at your wits end?  Have you ever been in a situation that was completely desperate and you simply could not see any way out?  I suspect most of us have felt a bit like that at one time or another.  Maybe it was a health problem, or something to do with finances or to do with a relationship or some kind of depression.  We are at a total loss and so we do not know what to do.  And so what is often our very last resort?  That’s right, we call out to God to help us.  And what are our prayers like in these moments; are they gentle platitudes?  No they are from the very depths of our being, from (as the saying goes) ‘the bottom of our hearts’.  And so with our fists clenched and our stomach in knots and our teeth grinding we cry out to God…  And do you know what?  In these moments prayer seems to have a potency and a power way and above the norm, it is like when we are on our knees in our own personal Garden of Gethsemene that the heavens are torn open and we have direct access to the Throne of Grace.  We have at last made room for God and He is there before the first word has even been uttered from our trembling lips.  

May 21, 2010

In my Father’s house…

Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 35mm f2.8, Yellow Filter, Ilford FP4 plus, ISO 125
…there are many mansions. 
These words of Jesus (from John 14) have ever since they were first spoken, been a source of tremendous hope and encouragement to Christians down through the centuries.  No matter what this world and what this life throws at us we know that Jesus has prepared a home in heaven for all those who would seek to follow Him in this life. 
I continue to be amazed by this.  I know that I am not good enough to be called one of Jesus’ friends and I could write an endless list of reasons why I shouldn’t go to heaven.  I have every sympathy with the Apostle Paul when he said:

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (Romans 7:15)

Time and time again we become aware of the battle between what we know is the right thing to do and what we naturally want to do, the battle between “the flesh” and “the spirit”, often portrayed in cartoons as the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other, each trying to win the mind of the person trapped in the middle! 
If the Apostle Paul struggled with this then we are in good company.  He goes on to say:

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (v24, 25a)

Yes we inhabit “bodies of death” but thank God that we are rescued from them by what Jesus did for us on the cross. 
The picture above brought all this to mind.  I have passed by many times on my way between Ballinascarthy and Pedlar’s cross.  It is a sad sight.  Recently I had a bit of time to spare before a home visit so I decided to drop in.  There was no one at home although it had been used fairly recently by a chain-smoking tabloid-reading occupant.  I could have gone upstairs but I didn’t want to, I felt like I was trespassing.  I couldn’t help but feel sad for the person who had lived here last, who had poured so much of their life into this place, in keeping it clean, in decorating, in tending the garden.  I thought of the long gone days when the steam train would have been visible on the old railway behind the house; the white puffs of steam and jolly passengers making their way to or from West Cork.  I could almost hear the echoes of voices, calling from the kitchen that dinner was ready or the sound of laughter as children played in the garden (if they ever did I don’t know).  The tall trees stand like silent spectators all around. If they could, I wonder what story they would tell?
Everything that we take for granted every day is just so temporary, so transient that we would do well and wisely not to cling on to it too tightly.  Thank God that our home prepared by Jesus in the next life is a home that is permanent and where ‘moth and rust’ do not destroy and where thieves do not ‘break in and steal’ (Matt.6:19).  We do not deserve this home but we have a God who specialises in Grace – undeserved favour.   
May 19, 2010

Follow me!

Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 35mm f2.8, Ilford FP4 plus, (developed in Ilfosol 3, 6 mins @ 24o)

We had great fun watching this mother duck and her ducklings (all twelve of them) make their way from a stream then across a road and finally into the lake at Fota recently.  At the first attempt the mother just hopped out and charged off and then realised that there were no little ones following her.  They were left stranded because the bank was too high for them to jump up.  So the mother duck had to go back and lead them to a place further down stream where they could climb / hop out.  Then they made their procession towards the lake as you see in the picture.  I wonder how many of these twelve cute fluffy ducklings will survive to adulthood – I expect they make a fine lunch for several different predators?

Following is not always easy but we have the perfect Leader who looks after us in ways beyond our understanding and will ultimately lead us to our final destination.  Of course we can choose to go off on our own way but that is a path where we lead ourselves to certain death.  Thankfully Jesus comes looking for us and longs to bring us back into the fold (getting into a knot of mixed metaphors here)!  But He will never force us against our will, we have to be willing to follow Him knowing that it really is the only sensible option, but more than that, it is the way to the fullness of life and love and joy and peace and forgiveness…

May 13, 2010

Mange Tout




Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 35mm (with yellow filter), Ilford FP4 plus, (pushed to ISO 400 in Ilfosol 3)

My better half has created the wonderful beginnings of a vegetable plot in a small area of the garden by the back door.  There are potatoes, cabbages, raspberries, strawberries, lettuces, radishes, a few other things that I’m not sure of and one of our favourites, Mange Tout.  (Since the above photo was taken they have grown quite a bit and are now supported by a clever arrangement of canes and string.)

When I was at school there was a strange sort of limbo time after all our A-level exams and before the end of term.  The boarding school was in the middle of nowhere in the Suffolk countryside and there was not a whole lot to do.  Someone had the bright idea that we could go and earn some money on a local farm, so off we went  cycling five miles or so to a farm that needed people to pick the crop of Mange Tout.  It was back-breaking work, it was baking hot but all quite good fun.  I’ll never forget the first day, we were surrounded by all sorts of interesting people from many different places who had very little English but could pick Mange Tout so fast their hands were just a blur.  I was quite proud of my several basketfuls and was convinced that my hard labour would earn me a small fortune.  As the day was coming to an end we were paid – I got seven pounds!  On the cycle back to school we stopped off at a pub, bought a meal and a drink and had about twenty pence left over.  But what happy times they were. 

May 10, 2010

Carmarthenshire

The Beach at Amroth
Olympus OM-1, G. Zuiko 35mm, Ilford FP4 plus (pushed to ISO 400)
Aberaeron
Olympus OM-1, G. Zuiko 35mm, Ilford FP4 plus (pushed to ISO 400)

It’s probably the Welsh blood in my veins but there is just something about the Carmarthenshire coast.  It’s not especially spectacular when compared to say the West Coasts of Ireland or Scotland but it has its very own beauty.  The beach rambler would never tire of the sheer variety of coastline, vast sandy beaches, small rocky coves, cliffs and dunes, the abundant wildlife (and even the good ol’ tacky amusement arcade here and there).  Many childhood memories are brought to mind in these places – lemonade in glass bottles, sandwiches with more sand in them than ham or cheese, Granddad with a knotted handkerchief on his head, huddled in a bus shelter in the rain whilst eating salty chips, my grandparents Morris Minor. Ah yes what a wonderful place and what special memories.

Now as we occasionally get to travel across we witness a new generation of grandchildren accumulating wonderful memories, as plentiful as the shells gathered into their seaside buckets.  The world might be a slightly different place – lemonade is now called different things and comes in a plastic bottle, chips no longer come packaged in yesterdays newspaper and many other changes which on their own are tiny but when put together represent a subtly different world.  The new generation of Grandparents though are just the same, just as loving and doting and instrumental in passing on to their grandchildren that love and kindness which will still be there when their turn comes, as it surely will, when they will watch their own grandchildren run about in frenzied joy in a world that is the same but different.

April 25, 2010

Leaving a mark

Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 35mm, Ilford HP5 plus @ 400 ISO

Two small boys and a muddy flower bed = hand prints on the side of the house!

We all leave a mark of some kind.  Perhaps in the context of history, the mark that we leave is about as permanent as these muddy hand prints, soon washed away and forgotten about.  Perhaps our names will be looked up and placed in a family tree by our distant descendants.  In the corridors of eternity our presence must be no more than a transitory echo, the whole sum of our existence and efforts no more permanent than the blinking of an eye.

And yet

We do matter and we do have a permanent and real and significant place not only here and now, but always.  These are some words of Jesus (speaking about His followers) from this mornings Gospel:

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.

(John 10:28)

Death is more of a beginning than it is an ending and as our Psalm reminds us this morning (Psalm 23), He is there with us not only in life, but in death too:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  

(Psalm 23:4)