Lent Thought of the Day

Moving On

The journey through Lent is completed now. Quartz met as a group during it, but I also know that other people have enjoyed just reading the posts and walking along in their own way.

Whichever of these approaches you identify with if you have found this way of doing things helpful please consider the ongoing help offered by the Jesuits around the world. You can find out more here:

Once I’ve taken some time out to smell spring I’m sure we will be doing more as Quartz too! Send an e-mail or subscibe to keep in touch.


Level up?

“Levelling up” is something which happens when all the experience gained in a game is used by the player to improve their characters skills.

Some games make this a very detailed process, and some players spend a lot of time working out the best way to spend their experience points so that they can complete the game on its most difficult setting.

You may not be familiar with this process. However in my lifetime gaming like this has moved on from being a niche interest. Every high street has a gaming shop, and gamers recently made headlines by taking on, and beating a hedge fund that treated a gamer business like monopoly money. It is global growth industry, and one in which Scottish companies and universities lead the way.

As a character levels up, the challenges they face also become more difficult. The rewards increase too! It is very different from just rolling dice and pushing an old boot round a board.

This is the end of the Quartz Lent retreat. We will meet for the last time this afternoon – but perhaps you will spend some time in the coming week “leveling up”

What have you experienced? What new adventures await? If you feel like you are just trudging round the board avoiding bankruptcy – perhaps it is time to seek out a new game?

Meeting ID: 852 1415 7058
Passcode: 451055


Easter Sunday!

Hope, a sunrise in the forest
Hope ! Hope as the sunrise dawning in the green of a forest of new hopes.

Christ is Risen!

Bleary eyed with our eyes full of sleep, we greet the dawn and a light which doesn’t blind us to what is happening – but which helps us see.

If we choose, this day can be the centre of time. Every Sunday an echo of creation being fulfilled, and every day a working out and releasing the potential laid within time from before time. The discovery of that which is truest to yourself and your environment.

Never laid upon us by an alien supreme entity but instead calling to us, through the example of Jesus descending to the lowest depths and returning with released captives.

Todays daily prayer material can be found here . If you’d simply like to join in the story of the Marys discovering the empty tomb this will take you to a song to sing and dance along to.

And a couple more …

We will have one more meeting after this. Next Sunday!

Lent Thought of the Day

Downside Up

This is not a new post. It seemed appropriate to me this morning though, at a time where everything is tumbling, and no one is sure what will emerge.

Follow the fool, but don’t be foolish 😉

Please click the button to read the original post. You may find it a lot to take in at first. Or, perhaps you are one of those who find this easy to understand and struggle with the ‘normal’ of formal Church. Either way, seek and you will find!

Lent Thought of the Day


In the UK companies are formed to sell disposable plastic bottles. People pay to consume waste, when they could turn on a tap.

Elsewhere people have great difficulty finding clean drinking water.

Where did it go wrong and what can be done about it?

A colourful and hopefully thought provoking series of images placed in St John’s Churchyard for Holy Week. The accompanying leaflet is available on St John’s (Glastonbury) website

Lent Outerweave

Summer time

In The UK it is now summer time.

Everything will happen an hour before your body thinks it should.

Clocks need to be set forward an hour 2pm (UT) is 3pm (BST).

Mobile phone and internet devices do this automatically based on the region they think they are in.

Sundials need their gnomen tweeked

And the clock in your car will either be right or wrong for another 6 months.

You can check the time in the UK here: CLICK


Palm Sunday

Grove Isle 2015
“Gran Saso”, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The 6th Sunday in our Lent journey

Last week we spent a while reflecting on passions, and especially Anger, in both the positive and negative ways we experience it. Can it inspire us to speak out on issues which concearn us – like catastrophic climate change? If we are angry out of fear does this lead us to strike out thoughtlessly?

This week has featured:

Jesus meeting Martha and Mary in their sorrow at the death of Lazerus. Fear and anticipation of his own future torture and death. Followed by the increasing hostility toward his lifestyle of associating with sinners and outcasts at the top end of the economic ladder. This, combined with concearn about his uncontrollable popularity that threatened the fragile political status quo and his acceptance of worship poured out from those disdained by respectable folk and his own followers in embarrasing acts of generosity.

In what ways is it possible to challenge those in power without disrespecting authority? What actions speak more strongly than words? Is it possible to inspire parades and mass popular support, without emotional mass hysteria? (which despite the bias in the language, history shows that men are just as susceptible to)

The daily readings can be found by following this link.



Today I have been struck by the emotions depicted in the way these pictures tell a story through “looks” (Read the story here)

All sorts of judgemental looking going on in the painting by Dieric Bouts. I wonder if you identify with any of them?

The overall composition of the picture makes me feel distant, almost as if it is encouraging me to be a judge of what is going on.

The painting by Donna Mitchell has a very different point of view.

I find it difficult to imagine that anyone looking at this could have an expression like the one painted on Jesus face in the first picture. I can imagine the awkwardness, disdain and contempt expressed by the other people in the room though.

What would it look like from the perspective of the woman ?

I suspect that she wasn’t looking. I hope she was caught up in the moment and that gave her the strength to ride out the looks which stormed round the room. Perhaps some were not hostile, just patronising. Perhaps she was used to glances like that whatever she did. How often our passions are crushed by glances from those around us, friends and enemies.

When Jesus spoke to say that her sins were forgiven, was it similar to the way he spoke when telling Lazarus to come out of the tomb. At that time he didn’t speak for the benefit of God, or perhaps even for Lazarus. He spoke so that the crowd could hear.

The woman already knew that her sins were forgiven, she knew that Jesus would not reject her action, or embarass her. A powerful place to be in while all others around you are caught up in the storm. Like poverty, the storm will always surround us. Our lives might be a mess, and we may have no clear idea about how we can make them any better. However, like the woman, we can let our love dare others to scorn us. We can wed ourselves these precious moments and find peace.

Lent Thought of the Day

Jesus Wept

Two thoughts from Alison arising from the Lent course…

I was struck by the way in which Jesus responsed to the grieving women in the family of Lazerus. He didn’t try to make them look on the bright side. “At least we know that he is happy in heaven now”. He didn’t avoid their raw grief “No! don’t talk to me about people dying!”.

Instead he met with them and wept, how many of his tears were for Lazerus and how many for the loss experienced by Mary and Martha?

The second thought:

We never know when a disaster will lead to better things. However, while you are expereincing a disaster it will always be a disaster.

She also told me about a poem she found helpful around the time of one of those disasters. It is called “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop and you can read it HERE

climate change Fresh Expressions Lent Mission Uncategorized


Today’s lent thinking revolves around Jesus praying in Gethsemane. The story describes him feeling powerful emotions as he anticipates where his path will lead him.

Most people avoid fear and anger and the situations where we may experience these emotional states. There is a tradition of “Via Negitiva” though. I react badly to (hate?) Disney for the decisions they have made to edit out tragedy from old stories, or redress them to promote a simplistic and conservative vision of the USA. I think stories can, and should, help us encounter feelings we hope we will never experience for real and that this will help us handle the times when we have to walk a dark path.

When I was a teenager I was trained to take the good news to my friends. One of my teachers, in particular, combined music and visual imagery. Using a cassette tape and a film projector with actual reels! To help us imaginatively engage with the meaning. The song he chose was “The sound of silence” by Simon and Garfunkel. The experience of frustration has been reinterpreted and expressed by “Disturbed” more recently.

This freedom and adaption to a changing world was a rarity though. Many had a desire to take the gospel relevantly to every generation. Their underlying agenda was to bring people to their vision of Church however. With the best of intentions, it seemed like they would bait activities with fun, reduce their dogma to soundbites, and then expect new recruits to settle down into established church patterns. Young people who were devoted to the Way would be burdened by their elders perceived failures to succeed. Issues like consumerism, climate change and the persecution of people because of their gender and sexuality were badly handled by a culture finding it difficult enough to understand the ethics of vegetarianism.

This song and video helped me work though some of that experience.

I started with a pop/folk song covered by a metal band. A while ago I was intrigued to discover that a metal track composed by “Nine Inch Nails” had become popular in Church circles. The new version was recorded by Johnny Cash towards the end of his life. Hindsight, nostalgia, these are powerful emotions.

What are the consequences of addiction to social order experienced by national churches? To denomination by those trained in that path? All humans need safe spaces to nourish a strong sense of identity in relationship – but how many “little deaths” have young people been forced to make in order to fit in? Where has the support for them been, when they leave the mother ship to establish safe spaces for outcasts and those who question the status quo?