For everything there is a season

For everything there is a season
A Reflection for May Day

seasonsThe first day of May, May Day, has been traditionally been marked as a day to celebrate the return of spring. Despite the chill, it was a glorious morning this year. At Marlborough College we were treated by the Chamber Choir singing the May Madrigals in Court from the Bradleian Arches. It was an opportunity to pause for just a few moments, listening to wonderfully sung music and feeling the warmth of the sun on our backs.

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We and those around us

Some thoughts about living in community

‘The nation doesn’t simply need what we have. It needs what we are.’
Edith Stein (1891–1942)

For any community to thrive, whether it’s a town, a school, a business or even a nation, its members need to be able to live together and form meaningful relationships. It also requires an economy of giving and receiving, in which people take on particular roles and show a willingness to contribute to the flourishing of all. This, in turn, will only happen, if relationships are defined by trust, loyalty, and mutual fulfilment.

Community

To establish relationships of this nature, we need a sense of self-awareness, and I would like to suggest that, maybe paradoxically, we will obtain the truest perspective of ourselves if we are rooted in a flourishing community. For most of us, our first community in which we discover who we are consists of our family, and in later life school, university, workplace and neighbourhood provide a framework in which we find our own particular place. Continue reading “We and those around us”

What marks we shall leave upon the snow

A reflection on Charlotte Mew’s Poem ‘The Call’

From our low seat beside the fire
Where we have dozed and dreamed and watched the glow
Or raked the ashes, stopping so
We scarcely saw the sun or rain
Above, or looked much higher
Than this same quiet red or burned-out fire.
Tonight we heard a call,
A rattle on the window pane,
A voice on the sharp air,
And felt a breath stirring our hair,
A flame within us: Something swift and tall
Swept in and out and that was all.
Was it a bright or a dark angel? Who can know?
It left no mark upon the snow,
But suddenly it snapped the chain
Unbarred, flung wide the door
Which will not shut again;
And so we cannot sit here any more.
We must arise and go:
The world is cold without
And dark and hedged about
With mystery and enmity and doubt,
But we must go
Though yet we do not know
Who called, or what marks we shall leave upon the snow.

Charlotte Mew (1869-1928)

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Unlikely Contrasts

A reflection at the beginning of Lent

These last few days have been a time of unlikely contrasts. Personally, as the start of the season of Lent was not only marked by a celebration of the Eucharist, but also by a iPGCE residential organised by Buckingham University, filled with lectures about marking, lesson planning and essay writing.

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I have been surprised by the lack of acknowledgement and conversations about the horrid shootings in Florida earlier this week, despite being together with over 300 teachers and educational specialists. Does it show that this kind of news tragically has become too ‘normal’, or does it show that we are so focused on our own targets, that we lose interest in what is happening around us? And if the latter, does it imply we are losing compassion for those who are further away than the immediate?

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Taking Stock

A reflection just before the half-term holiday and the start of Lent

It is the week before the spring half-term, which this year is also the week before the start of Lent. Two good reasons to take stock and see how far we got. Especially for those of us who have started something new at the beginning of the academic year, a lot will have happened since September, and it is good to take some time to see where we are.

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Come and See!

A sermon preached at Sherborne Abbey at the Sherborne School Service
Second Sunday of Epiphany: John 1.43-51

When I was coming towards the end of my time at school, I was thinking what to study. The options were: medicine, theology or physics. So, as you do, I went to visit some open days. Medicine was quickly removed as an option, as it required a lot of group work: something I didn’t really see myself doing at the time. Theology sounded interesting, but visiting the university’s open day, the second youngest student was in her 40s, so it didn’t promise a vibrant student life.

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What do you really want?

A reflection on what truly matters

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

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Have you ever really, really wanted something? Not just wishing it, but with your whole being really wanting it? I’m thinking not just of objects, or presents, but more of achievements or particular situations you would like to be different. For example, you may want to do particularly well in a physics test, or be selected for the first team in netball or hockey. Maybe you want a particular relationship to be better, or – thinking big – peace in the world, or at least a bit more of it.

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