Posts tagged ‘Tri-x’

July 19, 2011

Random Light

Here’s some photos taken over the last few weeks…

An ‘Early Purple Orchid’ growing on our front lawn. (Film: Kodak Portra 160 VC)

Long Strand, Co. Cork (Film: Kodak Tmax 100)

Garden Foxglove (Film: Kodak Tri-x)

From the hill down to Red Strand, with Galley Head Lighthouse in the distance.  (Film: Kodak Tri-x)

Not sure why I took this picture – something to do with patterns and textures I think! (Film: Kodak Tri-x)

Connonagh, Co. Cork (Film: Kodak Tri-x)

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…

February 3, 2011

Strange Tree

Strange Tree!

There’s that strange and surreal place between dreaming and waking where the two merge into each other.  The other night (or rather early morning) I awoke with a rather odd poem going around my head, about a tree…

It had all started the previous week when my better half and I were enjoying a pleasant walk along the beach at Long Strand.  We came across the tree in the photo above and well I thought it interesting enough to take a picture of.  Clearly my subconscious thought it interesting too, interesting enough to come up with a strange poem about a strange dream about a strange tree!  How did I remember the words?  Well, I happened to have my mobile phone nearby and just typed it in, all in one go…

Please take this poem about as seriously as you would read My lovely horse ;-)

Strange tree where have you come from,
What story do you have to tell?
Were you borne here on stormy seas, a refugee from fire or spell?
Oh what would you tell me if only you could say,
perhaps the hopes and dreams caught in your branches reflect the light from whence you came?

Strange tree what do you carry
What a load you have to bear?
Bottles, Tin cans, shoes and netting, things now beyond all care.
Oh what would you tell me if only you could say,
the hopes and dreams caught in your branches are so much more than things that were thrown away?

Strange tree where will you go to
When it comes your time again?
Will you roll upon the open seas to distant shores or mountain glen?
Oh the only thing I can tell you, all that I can say,
is that the hopes and dreams caught in your branches will live on in memories beyond this sunlit day.

(Hope I made you laugh!)

December 8, 2010

and the busy world is hushed

Clonakilty Snowscape
The past week or so has been unusual; many meetings, visits and school days have been cancelled and we have had the sort of weather that “only happens once in a generation” (except of course we had it last year as well.)  
Personally there has been an up-side to being confined to home – more family time, time for catching up on reading etc.  But there is more, a deeper sense of peace, perhaps because of being forced to slow down a little and to reflect upon the things that matter and the things that are important in life and in work.  
(Photography Bit).  Of course I have enjoyed taking a few photographs too :-)  Snow photography is pretty tricky because of all the light reflecting back; my little compact camera has a ‘snow’ scene setting, which is cheating a bit but really all it does (I think) is overexpose things by about a stop.  The above picture was taken from our garden using good old Tri-x film, with a Nikon F100 and 50mm lens.  Developed in Rodinal means that the grain is very grainy but I like the effect here.  
The scene above was as I was standing there in the stillness of the early morning light, very peaceful and  tranquil.  As I look at it now (and as I think about the memorial service I am doing this afternoon) I am reminded of one of the prayers from the funeral service (by John Henry Newman):  
O Lord,
support us all the day long
until the shades lengthen, and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed,
the fever of life is over,
and our work is done.
Then, Lord, in your mercy grant us safe lodging,
a holy rest, and peace at the last;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  
December 5, 2010

JtheB and the road to the Lord

Clonakilty in the snow

Thank you so much to the person (who wishes to remain anonymous) who posted me a Facebook message answering my call for help.  The message picked me up and got me writing again – thank you!

Today’s Sermon (Text: Matthew 3:1-12) Advent 2, Year A

In his poem “St. John the Baptist’s Day”, John Keble writes:

Where is the lore the Baptist taught,
The soul unswerving and the fearless tongue?
The much-enduring wisdom, sought
By lonely prayer the haunted rocks among?
Who counts it gain
His light should wane,
So the whole world to Jesus throng?(1)

The Lord Jesus said of John:
Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist… (Matthew 11:11a)

John the Baptist was an amazing character. He lived in the desert wilderness, and Matthew tells us that he had raggedy old clothes made from camel’s hair, held up by an old leather belt. For his food / Bush Tucker Trial, he had a strict diet of locusts and wild honey. The honey sounds nice, but I’m not so sure about the locusts! He doesn’t really sound like the type of character one would normally listen to, does he? But what an awesome character John was, so holy and so humble, never seeking any credit for himself and always directing attention away from himself and onto Christ.

When I was at theological college, a Rector who I did a parish placement with discussed John the Baptist with me as I was preparing to write a sermon for that Sunday. He told me about a sermon he did on John the Baptist when he was a Curate at a well-to-do parish in Dublin. Unbeknown to the very proper elderly ladies sitting a couple of pews back from the front, a friend of his had been hiding behind the Communion Table from before the start of the service. This friend was dressed as near as possible to what John the Baptist would have looked like; he was all messy and dressed in old rags, looking like he had wandered in from the nearest desert. Right in the middle of the sermon at the pre-selected point of time, he jumped out and shouted at the top of his voice “Repent, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near”. I’m told that the old ladies had such a shock that the preacher feared for their health. It took much apologising from both rector and curate to smooth things over afterwards!

You’ll be pleased to know that there are no hidden John the Baptists here this morning, behind the Communion Table or anywhere else!

Matthew tells us that John the Baptist came preaching in the desert. Here was a man who had given his life to God, and now God had a very important job for him to do. Firstly, he had to awaken the people to see their need to be converted and secondly he was going to introduce them to the Messiah, who would make it possible for the people to be converted.

If any of you have ever been to see a famous band or act such as U2, Lady Gaga or the Munster Ramblers :-/ perform, they will usually have what is known as a “support band”. This is a kind of “warm-up” act, to get everyone in the mood for the main performance. Usually however, people tend to ignore the support band and not bother coming out of the bar until the main performance starts. John is a bit like the warm-up act, though his job is infinitely more important. Perhaps a better example is whenever a head of state, such as a King or Queen does something important, they may be announced with a fanfare of trumpets, the red carpet will be rolled out, and people will have spent time beforehand making sure that everything is ready for the important person to arrive. This is exactly what John the Baptist is doing for the immanent arrival of the Lord Jesus and the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. John is blowing Jesus’ trumpet and he’s laying out the red carpet to prepare the way for the coming Messiah.

So John went into the countryside all around the River Jordan and he preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The word Repent in Greek is μετάνοία (metanoia), It means ‘to change one’s mind for the better, knowing that you have offended someone (in this case God) and to look with abhorrence on your past sins’ (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon). Of course, repentance then is not just once off, it must be the way of life for the Christian. Every day in prayer and through reading God’s word we allow Him to work in us to align us to His will, to His plan and purpose for our lives and to repent of our old way of living.

Baptism was nothing new. The Jewish people had for a long time performed a ceremonial washing of Gentiles who had converted to Judaism. The idea being that Gentiles were unclean and they needed to be washed before they could become one of God’s people. But here John is having the cheek to tell the Jewish people themselves that they needed to be washed, they too were unclean! But he’s saying to them, “Yes, you are unclean, but you can be forgiven, your sins can be washed away.” His audience would have been well aware of some wonderful verses in the Hebrew Scriptures that tell us about God’s forgiveness, for example:

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)

You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
(Micah 7:19)

A family member told me about a dream they had once, where they were looking out to sea. The tide was out and in the mud there was lots of junk, you know the sort of thing, old shopping trolleys, washing machines and so on. The person understood these to represent all the junk in their life, in other words, all the sin. But then the tide turned, the sea came in and completely covered over all the junk. This represented what God does with our sins when we say “sorry” to Him. Even more than that, because in the dream the junk was still there under the surface – but God does much more than that, He removes our sin completely.

In other words, when God forgives, He sends our sins away to a place from which they can never be brought back. When we forgive someone, we might occasionally remind them of the bad thing that they did to us, thereby showing that we haven’t totally forgiven them at all. But God doesn’t do that. He doesn’t remind us of our sins, He completely wipes them out, so that they are no more, literally, as far as the east is from the west, or as if they had been cast into the depths of the sea.

Quoting from Isaiah, John says that there will be:

A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight …’ The voice in the desert is of course John himself, but what does he mean when he says about making straight paths for the Lord? Perhaps that his audience should provide the Lord with ready access to their hearts and lives. May we let God’s access to us not be a windy narrow West Cork Boreen full of pot holes, but a highway where we openly welcome Him into our hearts and lives.

Later on, the Lord Jesus was to declare that John was in fact the most important of all the prophets. But even he is only a forerunner, he is only the one to announce the arrival of the coming King, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Lamb of God and Saviour of the world.

John welcomed the King himself, and many people who heard John’s message also welcomed Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Let’s ask ourselves, how straight the paths are between us and God; are there obstacles in the way? Let’s be encouraged by John’s message. Let us allow ourselves to be converted, to repent, to walk in the direction of God’s will for our lives. If we’ve done this already, let’s keep going, and let us allow God by His grace to remove every obstacle in our lives that prevents us from having an increasingly full relationship with Him. Let us pray:

Lord God, you know our lives so completely, you know my life. You know the obstacles, all the pit falls, all that hinders my relationship with you. Lord there are things I try to hide, things that I am ashamed of, things I avoid; words I should say and words I shouldn’t, things I should do and things I shouldn’t … I give this all to you now and I say ‘sorry’ with all my heart. Help me Lord, help me every day to follow you, every day and every moment of my life now and into eternity. For the glory of Your Name. Amen.

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(1) http://yimcatholic.blogspot.com/2010/06/poem-on-st-john-baptists-day.html

September 1, 2010

Coffee

Tri-x Coffee

Good Morning.  Coffee?  Fair Trade is good.

August 30, 2010

Joy

1008tri-x032

The Saturday before last we had a great day at the wedding of two friends.  It was a day full of happiness, even more than that, a day of deep Joy.

There is something very special about witnessing the marriage of two people who openly acknowledge their belief and trust in God.  Yes they love each other more than they at one time would have thought it possible to love another person and yet – their love for God is even greater.  God is love, He is the source of that powerful emotion and attribute, and no one has greater love than He for us.

A marriage then may be a reflection of this Divine love, a glimpse behind the curtain of eternity.

“No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him”
(1 Corinthians 2:9)
All that the husband and wife see in each other that is beautiful and precious and lovely are marks of the Creator’s hand.  These qualities enable a couple over time draw closer to each other in love and, if they have their eyes open, closer to God also…