Posts tagged ‘Psalm’

February 16, 2015

Contentment

DSC_2606

We have some new neighbours in the field opposite us. One evening we went over to say ‘hello’ and we came across them looking towards the horizon where the sun was setting. Soon the lambs will arrive and all will be joyful chaos, but in the meantime there is peace and contentment…

The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.

(Psalm 23:1-3a)

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July 26, 2012

Ben Bulben

One of the first things that a visitor to Sligo will notice is the impressive shape of “Ben Bulben” dominating the skyline to the north of the town.  The name is an anglicisation of the Irish Binn Ghulbain, meaning “Gulbans’s Peak” or “Jaw-shaped Peak”.  W.B. Yeats in one of his last and most well-known poems ‘Under Ben Bulben’, penned the  line: Where Ben Bulben sets the scene, which I think describes the mountain perfectly.  (If you are interested, I wrote about Yeats and Ben Bulben before here).

Ben Bulben impressively sets the scene for what ever the performance might be, whether in mythology, such as with the legend of Diarmuid and Gráinne or the poetry of Yeats, or the more recent pantomime of Andy ‘the Bull’ McSharry, a farmer who fashioned himself after John B. Keane’s famously unaccommodating character Bull McCabe in The Field.  Ben Bulben had its role to play in more troubled parts of Irish history too, such as a refuge (albeit a futile one) for IRA soldiers during the Civil War or as the backdrop for a huge “Brits Out” (180 ft wide and 25 ft high) sign during the 1970’s.  A good starting place to find out more about this fascinating mountain is this Wikipedia article.

Below are a few photos of the mountain all taken a couple of weeks ago.

From the West (just of the N15).

From the Forestry road to the North.

From the South.

From the top (photo taken by Sonja).

These photos were taken while we were up in Sligo for the New Wine Summer Conference.  One of the great things about Sligo is its beautiful landscapes and seascapes which more than in any other place I have ever been make me want to fall on my knees and worship the One who brought it all into being…

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast in the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

Psalm 36:5-9

January 9, 2012

Deep calls to deep.

Glenmalure Waterfall

Waterfall at Glenmalure, on the approach to Lugnaquilla, Co. Wicklow.

In taking this picture on our recent trip to Co. Wicklow, I remembered these lines from Psalm 42:

Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

(Psalm 42:7-8)

The Psalms are so refreshingly (sometimes even painfully) honest; you will not find here any pretense that a life trying to follow God will be an easy one.  The writer of this Psalm is thirsting and longing for God in the midst of overwhelming depression, but even in the deafening roar that threatens to engulf them, the trust in God remains – even if it is only hanging on by a thread, that is enough…

February 7, 2011

Why the long face?

Horse #1

I came across these two characters at an ‘Equine Centre’ not too far from here – they were more than happy to pose for a portrait! The first horse insisted that I take his ‘best side’ and the second, well he just thought that he would put his ears back and see if he could eat my camera!

Why the long face?

Looking at these pictures reminded me of that awful ‘joke’, you know the one:

A horse walks into a bar and the barman says, ‘Hey, why the long face?’

I know, I know, lets move on. Here’s a really big tangent. Ready?

Okay, well the whole ‘long face’ thing got me thinking about sadness, and why so many many people are sad and why so many suffer from depression. This came into my head yesterday during church as we were reading the Psalm, (number 112). Here’s a couple of verses from it (1 & 7):

Blessed are those who fear the LORD,
who find great delight in his commands.

They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.

When I read those words yesterday, they took me back a while, nearly twenty years, to a church my better half and I used to attend before moving to Ireland. The church treasurer was a remarkable man, from Germany. During the second world war he had been a pilot in the Luftwaffe and he had been on a mission and was shot down. He survived the crash and made his way to the nearest barn to hide and to sleep out the rest of the night. He was of course afraid of being captured but he hadn’t reckoned on the Farmer’s daughter. They fell in love and fifty years later they were still inseparable. He still had quite a strong accent and whenever he was around I could always hear John Cleese in the back of my head saying “don’t mention the war.

Anyway, one day he said he had a verse of the Bible for me to remember. My initial excitement evaporated when he read out those two verses that are quoted above, all I could think about was ‘bad news’.

I can’t tell you the number of times those verses have been a source of encouragement and strength to me over the years since then. Whenever there is bad news those words are the first thing that comes into my mind, and what peace they bring.

For me those words have a strength that is beyond myself, indeed of God. I hope they will be a great help for you also, but may your bad news be a very long way off yet…