Vincent Van Gogh painted Blossoming Almond Tree (1890) with a particular person in mind, he dedicated the painting to his nephew. Vincent’s brother Theo had named his son after his uncle. The painting was placed above the boy’s bed:
You don’t have to travel across the continent of Europe in order to experience passion, especially in the Christian sense of the word. Passion Plays are beginning to spring up in the unlikeliest places – Port Talbot, Manchester, Auchtermuchty, and closer to home, Abingdon and Woodstock. Continue reading “Passion”
I admire actors who can get into the character of a part. It is their genius that they can become another persona. Harder still to morph into a renowned international and historical figure who is still alive. Helen Mirren did not find it easy playing the Queen on film or stage. The actress comes from a family reportedly to be anti-royalist, particularly disapproving of the class system in the UK. Yet Mirren (Dame Helen) still felt empathy for the person and inspiration for her role.
Continue reading “The Queen”
I finally read the announcement which has been long in coming. The white smoke ascended, a new shepherd has been found for the rather irritable, frustrated and impatient sheep of the Oxford diocese! The Rt Revd Steven Croft, Bishop of Sheffield, is translating his gifts and talents to Oxford. Steven is no stranger to St Michael’s, he assisted here (before my time) and the people remember him with affection. So what are the marks of a Bishop of Oxford? The remit for those in episcopal oversight is that of teaching well, upholding sound doctrine, promoting unity within the church and by example, live a godly life.
Continue reading “The smell of smoke and sheep”
Spiritual direction is a very wonderful thing, something that I commend to all who want to experience life in a deeper, clearer perspective. I travel to see my spiritual guide. I go to London, which is an enlightening experience in its own way. The new service from Oxford Parkway is enriching – lots of staff on hand, newspapers and coffee on sale, few other travellers and quiet carriages. How civilised! But good soul searching can be challenging especially if your soul friend is discerning and courageous enough to address with you some of the demons which lurk just below the surface. Continue reading “From the head to the heart”