On 25 July, 2017 this blog carried a post regarding a Sikh child being refused enrolment in a Christian school because the traditional headcap the child wore did not conform with the school's dress code.
Readers of Beside The Creek will be pleased to know that the matter has now been resolved in favour of the child and his family.
Wednesday, 20 September 2017
Monday, 18 September 2017
Hildegard of Bingen has been a favourite of The Editor's for a very long time.
Saint Hildegard of Bingen, professed nun of the Order of Saint Benedict, to be a Doctor of the Universal Church. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
The 17th of September is the feast day of Abbess Hildegard of Bingen, a remarkable and prophetic woman, who described herself as 'a feather on the breath of God', and whose many works in theology, music, visual art, poetry and drama are still inspiring people today. Indeed she is coming more and more into her own, as one of her key ideas 'Viriditas', or the greening and life-renewing work of the Holy Spirit, seems especially apposite for our time. See this page on her by a contemporary Benedictine. Appropriately for Hildegard's day, I will be taking part in a service at Ely Cathedral this evening at 6:30pm called Dark Reflections: Poetry Environment and Lament
Do come along if you can.
The photo below is by Margot Krebs Neale
I wrote this sonnet at Launde Abbey in Leicestershire where I shall be giving an Advent retreat next year. It is published in my new volume of poetry The Singing Bowl, Canterbury Press, available on Amazon in both the US and the UK
As always you can hear the sonnet by clicking on the play button or the title.
Hildegard of Bingen
A feather on the breath of God at play,
You saw the play of God in all creation.
You drew eternal light into each day,
And every living breath was inspiration.
You made a play with every virtue playing,
Made music for each sister-soul to sing,
Listened for what each herb and stone was saying,
And heard the Word of God in everything.
Mother from mother earth and Magistra,
Your song revealed God's hidden gift to us;
The verdant fire, his holy harbinger
The greening glory of viriditas.
'Cherish this earth that keeps us all alive'
Either we hear you, or we don't survive.
Friday, 15 September 2017
Tuesday, 5 September 2017
Monday, 4 September 2017
Sunday, 3 September 2017
If there is one Greek word that everyone should know is this word – “philoxenia” ¬¬¬ literally translated as “friend to the stranger” but a lot deeper than that.
In ancient Greece hospitality was a value ranking high on the list of virtues – there was great respect and honor bestowed from host to guest. There were ancient inns and boarding houses but they were considered lowly. Most people had an organic network of contacts around Greece where a friend of a friend of a friend would show up at your doorstep and the host was dutifully bound to offer hospitality, food, drink and a bath before even any questions were asked to ensure the guest(s) were totally comfortable. The guest too was bound to be courteous, polite and not be burdensome to the host.
Homer’s Illiad and the Bible describe “philoxenia” – and the Trojan war was a result of an abuse and transgression of the bounds of philoxenia when the guest of Sparta’s King Menelaus abducted his wife Helen – a transgression that had to be avenged since the violation was an affront to the gods – hence the derogatory term we ascribe to strangers and foreigners we fear - “Xeni” – a result of being double-crossed.
Philoxenia today can be as simple as a smile, helping a stranded motorist, buying a meal for a homeless person or opening your home to friends and family. Philoxenia is a value that needs to be practiced in the home, at work, and is sadly missing in some of the most important places where it should be practiced – in our government.
“Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” Hebrews 13:1-1
Saturday, 2 September 2017
As usual, this email is sent "blind copied" to a number of people who have at some time expressed interest in DIN. This time we have two important requests;
First, we have a special speaker at our next meeting on Monday 11th September at 7:30pm, at the Quaker (Society of Friends) Meeting House.
Jay Lakhani studied theoretical physics and more recently has spoken and broadcast widely about science, "spiritual humanism", and his Hindu perspective. I am attaching to this email a poster (use the JPG or PNG file formats) advertising what we hope will be a "question and answer" very interesting session. (One question might well be, what does he mean by spiritual humanism). We would be grateful if you could arrange to display this poster in any local meeting places or schools, colleges that you think appropriate. If you cannot print the poster (in colour), reply to me with your postal address and I hope to post to you A4 sized versions on card.
N. B., a vital request. We have already given notice of our Inter Faith Week event on Sunday 19th November 12:00 noon at Adeyfield Community Centre. As part of that event, we want to have stalls (generally on tables) representing as many as possible of the many Faith groups existing in the Dacorum area. You may remember the public Interfaith event we had in November 2014, with many stalls, with a variety of literature, leaflets, posters, history, symbols and artefacts. This year we will not be having public speeches about the individual faiths, but the stalls we hope will encourage face to face discussion, with interest to members of the public attending. The purpose is not to proselytise, but increase mutual understanding. Could you please consider yourself organising, or asking leaders in your faith group, getting volunteers together to provide the material and if possible staff the stall.
I would be very grateful for quick interim responses, not necessarily committing yourself to anything, but registering possible interest, or stating that you have passed the request on to others. If there are several offers from different parts of the same faith group, I will try to facilitate liaison between them, avoiding obvious duplication but encouraging individuality and diversity wherever that seems appropriate.
Norman Spink - on behalf of DIN