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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Take up your cross

Sermon preached at St George’s Preshute on 25th February 2018
Second Sunday of Lent: Genesis 1.1-7,15,16 & Mark 8.31-38

Jesus said: if any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

cross

It seems a very straightforward message in today’s Gospel reading. What we need to do to follow Jesus is to deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Him.

However, what does it actually mean to deny ourselves and what does it mean to take up our cross? And even if we have worked out what it meant for Jesus’ first disciples, what does it mean for us, today? Continue reading “Take up your cross”

What am I for?

Sermon preached at St Mary Magdalene Hucknall on 18th February
First Sunday of Lent: Genesis 9.8-17 & Mark 1.9-15

Today is the first Sunday of Lent, the season in which Christians, as individuals and as a Church prepare to celebrate the Easter feast. Through fasting and self-denial; prayer and the study of Scripture; through worship and our daily acts, we try to align ourselves once more with God’s purpose for us.

This morning, we hear two readings that both explain to us what that purpose, God’s purpose for us, may be, so it is worth having a closer look at both of them, and to see how this may apply to us in our daily lives. And so, as we go through these texts, I’d like you to keep the question in mind: What am I for? What is my purpose? Or, most accurately, what is God’s purpose for me?

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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.

treasure chest

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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Preparing the way of the Lord

A Sermon for the Second Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 40.1-11 and Mark 1.1-8

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Advent, maybe more than any other time of the year, encourages us to reflect on the many paradoxes of faith, and through that, indeed, on the many paradoxes of life. In the darkest time of the year, we prepare ourselves for the light coming into the world. We are waiting for something that in many ways, though not all, has already happened. Many of us will go from Advent service to Christmas carol concert, and then back to our Advent devotion or worship.

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