In My Own Strength

It’s at times like this leading up to the major Christian events and feasts that I am beginning to realise how important the concept of tradition and liturgy really is.

I became a Christian in 1994, being baptised at an Anglican church in Farnborough, Hants. The church was an evangelical Anglican church which was ‘traditionally’ evangelical in that there was little in the way of liturgy for the Sunday services and little or no ‘tradition’. At this church my faith grew but so did my rebelliousness. However, I began to question the natural authority within the church structure and the concept of the division between clergy and laity became more of a barrier to a Christian life than the true method that God employs in His church to further His aims. And to be honest the worldly outworking of the Church of England didn’t help much. Still doesn’t!

So my rebellious heart together with family living in a different area led me to take my own family to join a small pentecostal church in Egham in Surrey. This church to me seemed to be exceptionally dynamic, full of people seeking the heart of God. And indeed it was and still is. I am a deacon there and also lead worship for our services.

But now I am beginning to realise that the ‘problems’ I have discerned to be with the church really aren’t. They are problems in me. The initial passion for living God’s Word had become dampened by time and my own weakness. I now realise that the biggest failing lies with me and my own inabilities, in trying to live a Godly life aside from the framework of church, fellowship, liturgy, tradition and history that God has so gracefully supplied to His church. I have allowed each day to become much like the previous. Where the church calendar guides us through the seasons and offers respect to those who have gone before I have been trying to tread my own path, relying on my own abilities. And I realise I have been failing. My belief and faith in God  are stronger than ever, but the flesh is weak.

Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.

Psalm 102

1Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee.

2Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.

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The Subversive Christmas Tree

 Just spotted that the Christmas Tree in the staff canteen where I work has an angel on top. The single, sole reminder of that momentous event two millenia ago.

I wonder how long it will be before this smack-in-the-face for the militant atheists is detected by one of their acolytes. I mean, how dare anyone display such overtly Christian religious symbols at this, or any time of year!

I’m glad I’m not a first aider anymore as blood pressure and respiratory problems in humourless bigots were never my cup of tea.

St Michael’s Abbey, Farnborough

I’ve lived in Farnborough for over 20 years and have never really been aware of the presence of St Michael’s Abbey , let alone visited it.

So yesterday I decided to set things right and paid them a visit. The Abbey does public visits every Saturday at 3pm so I availed myself of the tour to see the Abbey and the Crypt. You can read about the Abbey at their website or on Wikipaedia.

I was given a tour by one of the Benedictine brothers which included the church and also the crypt where the Empress Eugenie, her husband Napoleon III and their son the Prince Imperial are entombed.

The church is in a baroque style complete with amazing gargoyles. Inside it was very moving with the reverence that such an environment gives to worship. The marble flooring was fantastic, the windows are in a Belgian bottle style and some ‘English’ stained glass windows. My first ever visit to a Catholic church. The recently installed underfloor heating was most welcome according to the brother!

From the church we walked around the grounds, past the monastery graveyard to the crypt built by Eugenie. Through the door we go down steps to the centre of the crypt. Ahead is the altar and above and beyond that is the huge marble casket containing the remains of Eugenie. To the left and right are similar caskets of her husband Napoleon III and her son, the Prince Imperial who was killed during the Zulu Wars in KwaZulu -Natal whilst in the employ of the British Army.

Afterwards a trip was made to the monastery shop where you find for sale the produce of the monks and the volunteers, honey, beef, candles and cards together with the usual things you’d expect in a Christian shop.

The monks raise cattle, keep bees, excel in Gregorian chant and have an expertise in bookbinding. Perhaps apt that you’ll also find the National Catholic Library in the grounds.

A visit to the Abbey is a really good way to spend a few hours if you are in the neighbourhood. So give them a visit and help support the community there.

Copenhagen

So we have the UN Climate Change Conference being hosted in Copenhagen.

We also have George Soros present who is going to form and fund an organization to advise policy makers on environmental issues and look after public interest as policies and programs are created to address climate change.

And then we have the Executive Vice Chairman of Rothschild, Simon Linnett.

But for the private sector to participate enthusiastically in a global carbon trading market, governments must collectively establish a robust framework within which trading can occur. It must be long, loud and legal:

  • Long: it is going to be around for a long time
  • Loud: it will be the dominant mechanism for sponsoring changes in behaviour and we are going to make this perfectly clear to the world’s people
  • Legal: we will enforce it through law

A key implication of creating a legal yet global system of trading, is the loss of sovereignty it implies. Governments must be prepared to allow some subordination of national interests to this world initiative, on the issue of emissions. This need not mean a new system of government, above individual nations.

Why do I get the feeling that this is little to do with the stewardship of this planet and more to do with the control of the masses by the unelected?

Pity the thirld world, pity the poor, pity the ordinary.

H/T That The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill

The Beatitudes X5

I’ve already posted over at my other blog Lansbury’s Lido the first of these videos but it’s so good that I can’t resist posting it again! There is something about that Orthodox chant in the Slavic languages!

To make things different I’ve added in a few other Beatitudes videos.


Any of these your favourites?

** just noticed the video has been removed by the user, a shame! **