The Sky’s the Limit!

That’s the title of the next big Science and Faith event at Ely Cathedral in May/June next year. Watch out for the giant 7-metre Moon hovering above the nave, to mark the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing!


It’s all about real people, real lives

Demas, Crescens, Titus, Luke, Mark, Tychicus, Carpus, Prisca, Aquila, Onesiphorus, Erastus, Trophimus, Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia.

The early church comes alive in 2 Timothy 4 as Paul reels off the names of some of its members, familiar and unfamiliar from other passages in the New Testament. I find it strangely moving,

Ethel, Brian, Tom, Mary, Alice, Peter …

Mercy! Mercy!

I wouldn’t normally shelve Jonathan Swift with my theology books, but he was a Dean of course (of St Patrick’s, Dublin) and wrote Thoughts on Religion as well as his better-known works.

And among the Thoughts is this:

God’s mercy is over all his works, but divines of all sorts lessen their mercy too much.


Anglo-Saxons Ahoy!

The list of events being put on at the British Library to support their Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition just grows and grows. And there’s real quality there too. Go to to catch up with the latest.

Lead us into Truth

I’m just travelling back from a splendid Harvest Service at St Bride’s, Fleet Street, and an equally splendid lunch at Painter’s Hall, courtesy of the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists and their Hon Chaplain Geoff Dodgson. Malcolm Guite was there too, to read one of his sonnets: my job was just to say grace.
The CEO of the Tenant Farmers’ Association delivered the sermon on the truth of Christ which sets us free. I found myself thinking in a more applied way. Good folk though these Guildswomen and men are, we are living in a post-truth world and they are heavily engaged in PR as well as journalism. So I wonder what the temptation to step over the truth line looks like to them, why it might prevail, and what might help them counter it. I wonder.

Bringing lllumination to Life Through Words and Music

I’ve just booked into this evening event at the British Library on  Wed 12 Dec 2018, 19:00 – 20:30.

Exploring and performing the Vespasian Psalter King David scene

The beautiful and intriguing Vespasian Psalter, which contains many images of musicians and instruments, is brought to life as a panel of experts and musicians explore the instrumental sounds of the 8th century.

Carbon dating has enabled us to date the ‘River Erne’ horn (a wooden trumpet discovered in the river in the 1950s) and confirm that the wooden horns shown in the Vespasian Psalter were present at the time it was produced. The accurate reproduction of two of these instruments gives us access to a true sound from the 8th Century AD. 

Joanna Story, joined by musicians Simon O’Dwyer, Barnaby Brown and Malachy Frame, ask whether the Vespasian Psalter illumination of a group of musicians performing together is a reflection of a real scene or a product of the imagination of the artist, through inspection of aspects of the illumination and live performance.

In association with Ancient Music Ireland

Image: an image from the Vespasian Psalter with horn and lyre players


Name:Bringing lllumination to Life Through Words and Music
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: Wed 12 Dec 2018, 19:00 – 20:30
Price: Full Price: £12.00
Member: £12.00
Senior 60+: £10.00
Student: £8.00
Registered Unemployed: £8.00
Under 18: £8.00
Enquiries:+44 (0)1937 546546
Book now

Go back to God with David

Cardinal (St.) John Fisher was Bishop of Rochester and Chancellor of Cambridge University in the dangerous days of the Henrician Reformation. Before being executed by Henry as a Catholic loyalist, he was highly influential, working with Lady Margaret Beaufort for instance to found John’s and Christ’s Colleges. He also published a short commentary in English on “The Seven Penitential Psalms” (key texts for Lay devotion at the time), which was the religious “best-seller” of the day, before it and his subsequent reputation in the Church of England were lost along with his head.

Prompted by a reference in Eamonn Duffy’s latest book (Royal Books and Holy Bones – a super retirement present) I’ve downloaded the commentary to Kindle (free from He opens his comments on the first psalm (6) with a re-telling of the story of David, and then very effectively makes David an exemplar of returning to God in penitence after a fall, that no sensible person would ignore:

Which of us now that were sick in any part of his body, being in jeopardy of death, would not diligently,search for a medicine wherewith he might be healed, andfirst make inquisition of him that had the same sicknessbefore? Would we not also put very trust and hope to have remedy of our disease by that medicine whereby like manner sickness and diseases were cure4 before?Sith we now therefore have heard tell for a truth how greatly sick and diseased this prophet David was, notwith sickness of his body, but of his soul, and also with what medicine he was cured and made whole, let us take heed and use the same when we be sick in like manner as he was, by our sins, shortly to be cured; for he was a sinner as we be, but he did wholesome penance, making this holy Psalm whereby he got forgiveness and was restored to his soul’s health. We in like wise by oft saying and reading this Psalm, with a contrite heart (as he did), asking mercy, shall without doubt purchase and get of our best and merciful Lord God forgiveness for our sins.

That’ll do nicely for a morning devotion today. And you didn’t misread the reference to David in the title of this post, did you? 🙂