January 18, 2013
Nikon D7000, 35mm f1.8 G DX, (1/250 sec, f8, ISO 400) Processed in Instagram.
It was Sunday morning. As usual I was in a hurry to get myself ready and get out of the door, into the car and on my way to church to make it in time for the 9.00am service. To make matters worse when I did get to the car it was coated in ice! I quickly dashed back inside and filled a large jug with warm water to defrost the windows. I was really running late now (or so I thought). I drove reasonably quickly whilst taking care to be on the lookout for patches of ice on the road. The sun was just coming over the low hills on the Eastern horizon, it was spectacular. I had the camera in my bag and I started to think about how I would find the time to take a photo.
Much to my surprise I arrived in Timoleague in good time, I was early. At the entrance to the village I pulled over and got out with my camera to try to get a picture of the Abbey ruins with the sun rising behind it, but there was a problem – I only had a 35mm lens, which meant that the Abbey was too far away and there would have been too much junk in the foreground of the picture – I really needed 150mm or more to get the right shot. A voice in my head said ‘drive on, keep going’. I got back in the car and drove to just beside the Abbey, facing the estuary, the tide was high. I got out of the car and walked over to the water’s edge. As I was lifting the camera to my eye I heard a flapping noise to my left; my presence had alerted a duck and he was now flying low across the water. He came into the viewfinder and I waited until he was in just the right spot and then I pressed the shutter release. I had my photo, but much more importantly I was now relaxed and ready for worship, my stress had gone. Somehow in that moment by the water’s edge I connected with God, with His Creation as a means, a platform for holy enchantment.
June 28, 2012
(Larger version on Flickr here.)
While waiting to talk to a couple about their marriage ceremony recently I had a few moments to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet of my surroundings. The church interior was very dim but this only served to highlight the beautiful stained glass all the more. I reached into my bag for the camera and took a few pictures.
The one above is on the south side of the building and has the title “EGO SUM LUX MUNDI” (I am the Light of the World) . It reminds me of the famous painting by Holman Hunt (there is a stained glass representation of this painting at the church in Clonakilty – a subject for another day).
The title of the window comes from Jesus’ words as recorded in John 8:12
I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
The knocking on the door image comes from Revelation 3:20
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
The door in the picture represents the human heart – Christ knocks gently – do we hear it – will we open the door?
April 24, 2012
Timoleague at 10.30 pm, 4/4/2011, link to photo on Flickr here.
I was looking through some photos from this time last year and came across some I had completely forgotten about. Seeing them again reawakened the memory; I was on my way home from a Bible Study and as I approached Timoleague on the Courtmacsherry road I noticed the reflections on the water (and mud) of the Argideen river / estuary. Fortunately I had the camera and tripod with me but I remember being disappointed with the results, which is why I suppose I didn’t put them on the blog at the time. At 10.30 pm, It was just too dark and there was too much mud and not enough water. But now looking at the photos again just over a year later I thought it would be worth including one of the pictures after all, even if only to see if I can improve on it another time. I suppose that is a principle that can apply to all sort of things, that given a bit of time our views and perspectives can change; things we didn’t like too much we soften on, and conversely, things that were once important to us, become less so…
January 30, 2012
January has to be my least favourite month of the year but now it is coming to an end I have to say that it hasn’t been too bad this year. The weather has been ridiculously mild, (especially compared to the last two years) and for a month that normally drags on it just seems to have flown by this year. January is usually a fairly quiet month work wise, but not this year. Lots of good stuff is happening in the parish at the moment; the three mid-week home / bible study / worship groups are going well and it’s really exciting to see people getting involved and using their God-given gifts to make a difference in all sorts of ways. Perhaps we are slowly beginning to open the door to the 21st century and realise that it’s not as scary as we thought it would be…
The interesting headstone above is is the graveyard of Timoleague Abbey, which I drive past several times a week. I had noticed it on an earlier visit and so when I had a bit of time on my hands on the way back from Courtmacsherry earlier this month I stopped and another look. I find this winged head fascinating – does it represent the persons soul flying away or does it represent the fleeting nature of life, is it a type of Angel? I don’t know. I found a good article on these motifs here.
June 8, 2011
Last week we had a special occasion in the life of the parish – the Bicentenary of the Church of the Ascension in Timoleague. It was great to welcome the Bishop, the Clerks Choral choir and lots of friends and visitors. The Bishop in his sermon reminded us that the problems faced by people two hundred years ago are not all that different to those of today – and of course the mission of the Church remains the same as it always has been, to live out and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ near and far…
June 4, 2010
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.
April 4, 2010
Detail from Stained Glass in the Church of the Ascension, Timoleague, Co. Cork
Nikon D70s, f4, 1/30 sec, ISO 200, 75mm equivalent
There’s something about that foot. It was one of my first Sundays in Timoleague when I saw it. The image seemed to jump out at me. I even remember waking in the early hours of one morning with this image burning in my mind. It’s the wound of course. It is compelling, it says so much, it is so deep so clinically cut, so painful looking. This is the bit that get’s me – it is my fault. It is my fault that Christ had to be given those horrible wounds, more than that, that He willingly allowed those wounds in order to take the punishment that I deserve. Such incredible love and amazing grace, what a Sacrifice, what a Saviour.