Today's image is a photo of an artefact from a collection held by the Marian Library of the University of Dayton, Ohio. Its simplicity is the key to its significance - minimal details, no facial features, only three characters.
A prayer (written here, not used in the reflection)
God of the simple things,
Thank you that you simply came into our complicated world,
That we might rediscover the simple truth that you love us.
Most years, I undertake a personal charity fund-raiser. This year I have decided to do a physical challenge, which will mean attempting to do 24 sits ups (proper ones, which I find really difficult to do) every day of December up to Christmas Eve. I have been practicing, and with a bit of foot anchoring (which I am assured is legitimate) I can certainly get to a dozen.
Cancer Support Scotland (Tak Tent) offers mental health and well-being support for anyone affected by cancer, whether a personal diagnosis or that of a family member. I make no secret of the fact that the triple-whammy of chemical (induced by chemotherapy and hormone therapy), surgical (due to the side effects of the hormone therapy) and age-related (inevitable!) menopause messed with my mental health. Although I was able to access other sources of support, others are not so fortunate, and organisations such as this are a real lifeline.
I know that money is tight and there are oodles of causes to support, but if you would like to make a small donation, click here for the link...
One of the Advent books I am working with this year is 'Music of Eternity' a relatively academic/theological, yet equally thoughtful/spiritual book that is new this year. It is inspired by the writings of Evelyn Underhill an Anglo-Catholic mystic. Many of my Baptist minister friends are also reading this book - so I wonder what that says!
Anyway, here is a tiny quote from today's chapter (chapter 2 'The Mighty Symphony of God') and a few thoughts of my own...
"So many Christians are like deaf people at a concert. They study the programme carefully, believe every statement made in it, speak respectfully of the music, but only really hear a phrase now and again. So they have no notion of the mighty symphony that fills the universe, to which our lives are destined to make their tiny contribution, the self-expression of the eternal God." (Page 15)
I understand what is being said here, and I think the point that Christians often know a lot about their faith, and can make the right noises, but sometimes it doesn't draw us in, as we might wish, is well made.
The 'deaf person at a concert' comparison grated harshly, and I have to remind myself that Underhill lived in a very different age (1875 - 1941) when to be deaf, or to have a hearing impairment was viewed very differently.
And anyway, even the book using Underhill's work was published before those of us in the UK could witness the incredible dance on BBC Strictly Come Dancing in which deaf actor Rose and her partner included a section of silence in tribute to the deaf community.
You don't have to hear with your ears in order to hear with your heart... perhaps some of us as hearing Christians might learn from Rose, and others, how to hear differently, and perhaps more deeply, the music of eternity.
My prayer for today:
God whose music is sometimes best heard in the sound of sheer silence, teach me to listen with my heart for your rhythms of grace and eternal harmonies. Amen