April 3, 2015
(Photo of the recent Solar Eclipse)
The Death of Jesus
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.
Luke 23:44-49 (ESV)
February 5, 2015
At the moment I am reading Timothy Keller’s “Prayer, Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God” and I am finding it a great read. A quote quite early on in the book from Flannery O’Connor, beautifully describes the sense of the struggle and frustration that so many of us have with putting God first above all:
Dear God, I cannot love Thee the way I want to. You are the slim crescent of a moon that I see and my self is the earth’s shadow that keeps me from seeing all the moon … what I am afraid of, dear God, is that my self shadow will grow so large that it blocks the whole moon, and that I will judge myself by the shadow that is nothing. I do not know You God because I am in the way.
The implication is that a major aspect of learning to pray (and therefore growing in our relationship with God) is to not to let ourselves, or rather our ego get in the way. As John the Baptist said of the Lord Jesus:
“… He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Of course this is easier said than done!
March 28, 2012
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 from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
2 Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
3 Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
4 Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
6 He also established them forever and ever;
He made a decree which shall not pass away.
March 26, 2012
This is a great little shop in Clonakilty, with floor to ceiling shelves stocked with plastic things made in China!
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 for sale in the English Market, Cork.
Church of the Immaculate Conception, Clonakilty
Jasper the cat was interested in one of the books that the boys brought home from the library…
The Moon and Venus taken last night.
Greenfly be very afraid!
May 17, 2010
Nikon D70s, f4.2, 1/5 sec, ISO 200, 85mm
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
This was the view from the Rectory garden just after ten o’clock last night. Too large to be a star, my best guess is that it’s Venus (see here).
Photo notes (If you’re interested in the technical aspect of the picture): I set my camera on a tripod, placed on firm ground and put a timer delay so that there would be no vibration for the long exposure necessary. To my surprise I noticed however that even though there was no wind and I didn’t touch the camera during the exposure the picture is still slightly blurred. The only conclusion I can come to is that the slap of the viewfinder mirror caused it. Unfortunately my camera does not have mirror lock-up, which would have prevented this. Next time however I will take a much longer exposure and hold the lens cap over the lens for the first second so that the initial vibration is not recorded on the final picture.
December 2, 2009
Panasonic LX1, f4.9, 1/80 sec, ISO 80, 28mm equiv., Blue ‘Duotone’ effect in Photoshop Elements 6, (click to enlarge)
I’m finding my way around the parish the hard way! Occasionally I kid myself that I know which road to take to get home again after being out visiting. The result is often that I end up in the middle of nowhere (see picture). It wasn’t always this way – when I was a curate in East Belfast it was possible to do nearly all my visits by parking the car at one end of the street and then working my way along from door to door. The contrast with rural ministry is considerable.
Coincidentally I was reading (in the Message Bible) about Jesus being “The Road”:
I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life.
In life there are so many roads to take yet Jesus tells us there is only one Road that leads to God and eternal life and that is found in Him…
October 13, 2009
Nikon D70s, f9, 1/250 sec, ISO 200, 450mm equivalent (click to enlarge)
This picture of the moon was taken a few days ago in the early afternoon from the front garden. Nasa have been up to things crashing two unmanned spacecraft on to the moon’s surface to try and see if there were any signs of water in the past. An interesting experiment or a waste of money? I’m not sure.
It was you who opened up springs and streams; you dried up the ever-flowing rivers. The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon. It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.