Christmas Is Coming!

www.youtube.com/watch

Samhain/All Saints: The Great Cloud of Witnesses — Sabbats and Sabbaths (Reblog)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.  [Heb 12:1. NRSV] As we approach the celebration of Samhain as well as All Saint’s Day, […]

Samhain/All Saints: The Great Cloud of Witnesses — Sabbats and Sabbaths

*Black Cat Pumpkin Necklace.

*What saint’s day were you born on?

What Do You Have Faith In? — New Heaven on Earth! (Reblog)

Do you have faith in a virus, or do you have faith in God? Do you have faith in fear, false evidence appearing real, or faith in Jesus? Do you have faith in the enemy of our souls or the Holy Spirit of God our Father and his Christ? When we stand on the Truth […]

What Do You Have Faith In? — New Heaven on Earth!

Bible Verse Divination? Thoughts and Insights of the Day, Our Times

It could be argued that the Bible is the most important and influential book in Western history. I don’t think many would dispute that, even today.

Whilst I would not describe myself as conventionally religious, I certainly do have a long running, off and on, interest in all things biblical.

By non-conventional, I mean that during my life I have explored several religions other than Christianity, such as Buddhism for example.

Grateful for my Indoctrination?

I was brought up nominally in the Church of England. When I was a child we had a religious service every morning at school, from the age of 5 to 18. This leaves an indelible impression upon everyone, whether one is religious or not.

I have to say, although I felt like rebelling against such teachings as a youngster from time to time, I am now extremely grateful to have had that ‘indoctrination’. I do believe morality is important, it gives us a rudder in life, and whilst we can quibble as to the morality of the institutions, I do think that the Bible itself is crucial, especially in regard to canon and common law, the latter especially being a foundation of our civilisation.

Now, I have seen it and heard it said before about randomly opening the Bible and seeing which verse one’s finger points to. I am not entirely sure what this might ‘prove’ but as I also have a strong interest in divination and spirituality, I thought I would give it go, just to see what would happen.

I opened my oldest copy of the King James Version, and my finger fell upon Acts 12, verse 21: “And the hand of the Lord was with them; and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.”

What are my thoughts? Well, my interpretation of this apparently random act, is that like many of us, I have been questioning how long this world crisis will continue. I think I would certainly welcome some divine intervention, some sign to say that God is still with us; Heaven knows it’s been difficult to believe that at times, especially this year.

So do we look to the skies for signs, or perhaps detect them in the more subtle events in our lives, which may suggest that we will get through this and emerge stronger and more spiritually aware on the ‘other side’?

Mysterious Ways

This verse from Acts is at the very beginning of Christianity. Christ’s followers too were looking for signs. Perhaps if we can simply look for the work of God in our lives, in the simple things, realising that there is a greater power beyond all of us who may indeed work in mysterious ways, we can look forward with more patience and tolerance, knowing that life can and will go on. We have to have faith that a new and better world will emerge. This was my instant, personal interpretation of the verse. You may disagree.

I guess that’s quite a lot to make from a few words in Acts of the Apostles, but I think we must look more deeply, or in scientific terms, begin to use more of our playful right brain rather than the more judgmental and exacting left brain which dominates our lives too much at times.

I may pursue this idea — to see which verse my finger will point to on forthcoming days.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Did Yahushua Return in 70 AD? I Think We Missed the Resurrection — reblog from The Unexpected Cosmology

“But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their word will eat as does a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” Sha’ul (2 Timothy 2: 16-18) A…

via Did Yahushua Return in 70 AD? I Think We Missed the Resurrection — The Unexpected Cosmology

Prague Churches, Some of the Best I’ve Seen Anywhere

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These pictures are just a selection of some I took on a recent trip to Prague. Nothing could have prepared me for the sheer quality of the churches throughout the city. I can’t remember the names, I was simply blown away by the visual and spiritual feast.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Poem: Pomegranates

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Peterborough Cathedral, England

They smile when I shut the heavy, creaking door,
from behind their neat wooden kiosks
stuffed with pamphlets and insipid books.
Smiles of recognition, a nodding
acceptance as if to say –
‘Oh, it’s you!’ Volunteer women serving Christ
better than those above them in Church.

I walk along the emphatic southern aisle under
uber-Norman arches, at the far end of which
hangs a limp flag of Saint Andrew,
in honour of Mary Queen of France, Scotland
and some say of England, too.
Glancing to my left a young man kneels,
wringing hands beneath a life-size figure

of a crucified Jesus, hanging high in space.
He stares upwards, rocking gently back and forth,
as if imploring Him to be real,
to writhe, sweat, bleed, perhaps to save Himself
and then, somehow, to save him as well.
I’m here to light a candle outside
Saint Oswald’s shrine and to sit for a time

in silence inside the tidy chapel,
to pray for a poor boy in pain,
perhaps to ponder on those relics,
those bits of bodies and other things,
worshipped once and then dispersed,
despised in fractured minds,
to us now mostly objects of indifference.

Oswald’s arm must lie hereabouts,
known to someone who still believes
in its restorative power, like the monks
who consumed this place, where Domesday
came and went without event,
where the Chronicle of a people faded to grey
in an undrying ink. Still it awaits the next line.

In this fossil the dead are lucky.
They are dead but in faith, whereas I roam
restlessly among echoes of whispers,
a heartless void. I cut across through the choir
to find I’m not alone, where the true
Queen of Hearts lies. Letters of gold spell
her name to all, but for me she smiles

brighter than anyone alive,
a smile from scorched Iberian lands,
her fate to end up on this drab island
where fashioned pomegranates mark her spot,
from which she expects to rise
at some glorious hour, where, until then,
the anonymous faithful lay fresh fruit

and flowers to mark her special days.
I watch a tourist, a German tricolour sewn
onto his rucksack, as he reads
the commemorative words. A sudden,
unexpected pride washes over me
while he pauses on her ground to think –
where I was once intrigued.

Almost believing.

IMG_1894
Resting place of Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England. Peterborough Cathedral. Featured image at top of page are of pomegranates on her tomb.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Poem: A Revelation

person holding bible with cross
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

One day, it may be right now
I will read Revelation again

What’s that? You don’t understand?
You say it’s mumbo-jumbo

that no one truly believes it
Well I’m not saying I do

I am a seeker, restless
I want to know the facts

and if John’s words lead me closer
to some truth

then so be it and I will pause
stop, digest it

however unpalatable
because I need to be prepared

Don’t let me be the one who says
I told you so

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Poem ‘Pomegranates’

Pomegranates

They smile when I shut the heavy, creaking door,
from behind their neat wooden kiosks
stuffed with pamphlets and insipid books.
Smiles of recognition, a nodding
acceptance as if to say –
‘Oh, it’s you!’ Volunteer women serving Christ
better than those above them in Church.

I walk along the emphatic southern aisle under
über-Norman arches, at the far end of which
hangs a limp flag of Saint Andrew,
in honour of Mary Queen of France, Scotland
and some say of England, too.
Glancing to my left a young man kneels,
wringing hands beneath a life-size figure

of a crucified Jesus, hanging high in space.
He stares upwards, rocking gently back and forth,
as if imploring Him to be real,
to writhe, sweat, bleed, perhaps to save Himself
and then, somehow, to save him as well.
I’m here to light a candle outside
Saint Oswald’s shrine and to sit for a time

in silence inside the tidy chapel,
to pray for a poor boy in pain,
perhaps to ponder on those relics,
those bits of bodies and other things,
worshipped once and then dispersed,
despised in fractured minds,
to us now mostly objects of indifference.

Oswald’s arm must lie hereabouts,
known to someone who still believes
in its restorative power, like the monks
who consumed this place, where Domesday
came and went without event,
where the Chronicle of a people faded to grey
in an undrying ink. Still it awaits the next line.

In this fossil the dead are lucky.
They are dead but in faith, whereas I roam
restlessly among echoes and whispers,
a heartless void. I cut across through the choir
to find I’m not alone, where the true
Queen of Hearts lies. Letters of gold spell
her name to all, but for me she smiles

brighter than anyone alive,
a smile from scorched Iberian lands,
her fate to end up on this drab island
where fashioned pomegranates mark her spot,
from which she expects to rise
at some glorious hour, where, until then,
the anonymous faithful lay fresh fruit

and flowers to mark her special days.
I watch a tourist, a German tricolour sewn
onto his rucksack, as he reads
the commemorative words. A sudden,
unexpected pride washes over me
while he pauses on her ground to think –
where I was once intrigued.

Almost believing.

image and poem © copyright dfbarker 2012
*poem first published in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, available at amazon.com
**image from part of an historical reconstruction I did in watercolour of Spalding Priory, as it might have appeared in the fifteenth century.