Sunday, 31 October 2010

31st Sunday of Ordinary Time

I very much doubt whether Zacchaeus (whom we read about in the gospel today) was as good looking as this gentleman, but this magnificent image can help us ask the question, 'do we invite Jesus into our homes and lives?'

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Come unto me and rest;
lay down, thou weary one, lay down
thy head upon my breast."
I came to Jesus as I was,
so weary, worn, and sad;
I found in him a resting place,
and he has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Behold, I freely give
the living water; thirsty one,
stoop down and drink, and live."
I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
and now I live in him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"I am this dark world's light;
look unto me, thy morn shall rise,
and all thy day be bright."
I looked to Jesus, and I found
in him my Star, my Sun;
and in that light of life I'll walk
till traveling days are done.

Horatio Bonar, 1846

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 28

The event concluded with a safe and faultless landing. One of the soldiers from the Golden Lions display team was kind enough to wave a greeting to the readers of this blog.

I would like to take this opportunity of thanking Historic Scotland for having organised this Colossal Celebration of the Centuries at Fort George. It was a truly magnificent occasion.

On Wednesday we are off to the Orkney Islands - home of the Transalpine Redemptorists.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 27

The Celebration (which was held on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) concluded with an parachute display by the Golden Lions.

The Golden Lions Scottish Infantry Parachute Display Team was formed in 1969 by professional soldiers who wanted to promote the more adventurous side of the Scottish Infantry, and help keep the British Army in the public eye.

The Golden Lions consists of up to 12 soldiers from The Royal Regiment of Scotland, all of whom volunteer to attend a rigorous selection process followed by 12 months of training in freefall, accuracy and display coordination.

Only the best are trained in the canopy formations discipline, where parachutists join their canopies together in formations high above the arena. This is one of the hardest disciplines to perform. The Golden Lions are current gold medal winners in the Scottish National Championships and the Tri-Service Championships for Canopy Formations.

The team is based at Redford Barracks in Edinburgh, and travel all over Scotland providing displays for event organisers and military shows. In recent years the team has entertained crowds at the Inverness Tattoo, the Braemar Highland Games and more recently, the Scottish Rugby Union at Murrayfield Stadium.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 26

Today we celebrate the Feast of Saints Simon and Jude.

Here is another photo of the Spitfire Aerial Display - flying very close to Fort George!

During the Battle of Britain (1940) there was a public perception that the Spitfire was the RAF fighter of the battle; in fact the more numerous Hurricane actually shouldered a greater proportion of the burden against the Luftwaffe.

After the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire became the backbone of RAF Fighter Command and saw action in the European, Mediterranean, Pacific and the South-East Asian theatres. Much loved by its pilots, the Spitfire served in several roles, including interceptor, photo-reconnaissance, fighter-bomber, carrier-based fighter, and trainer.

Happy Feast!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 25

The Spitfire was a very important plane during World War II. We were privileged to experience an Aerial Display during the Celebration of the Centuries.

The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries throughout the Second World War. The Spitfire continued to be used into the 1950s both as a front line fighter and in secondary roles. It was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft and was the only Allied fighter in production throughout the war.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 24

Here we have a final view of the World War II zone - The British Army and the Home Front.

The Vicar and the Verger were important characters in Dad's Army; so here is a clip which includes them both!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 23

In the World War II display we are reminded that everyone was meant to help in the war effort. The idea of 'digging for victory' caught the public spirit well.

Come, ye thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in,
ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
for our wants to be supplied;
come to God's own temple, come,
raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God's own field,
fruit unto his praise to yield;
wheat and tares together sown
are to joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear,
then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we
wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come,
and shall take the harvest home;
from the field shall in that day
all offenses purge away,
give his angels charge at last
in the fire the tares to cast;
but the fruitful ears to store
in the garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come,
to thy final harvest home;
gather thou thy people in,
free from sorrow, free from sin,
there, forever purified,
in thy presence to abide;
come, with all thine angels come,
raise the glorious harvest home.

Henry Alford, 1844

This glorious hymn makes me look forward to All Saints' Day, which we celebrate in Scotland next Monday (1 November).

Sunday, 24 October 2010

30th Sunday of Ordinary Time

In the gospel today, we hear about the parable of the two men who went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector.

Have mercy, Lord, on me,
As Thou wert ever kind;
Let me, oppressed with loads of guilt,
Thy wonted mercy find.

Wash off my foul offense,
And cleanse me from my sin;
For I confess my crimes, and see
How great my guilt has been.

The joy Thy favour gives
Let me again obtain,
And Thy free Spirit’s firm support
My fainting soul sustain.

To God the Father, Son,
And Spirit glory be,
As ’twas, and is, and shall be so
To all eternity.

N Tate and N Brady (1698)

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 22

Here is another photo in the World War II display entitled 'The British Army and the Home Front.'

Here is a scene from Dad's Army.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 21

We have now arrived at World War II - the years 1939-45.

Here we see part of a display of the British Army and the Home Front. Many people will think of the TV series 'Dad's Army' when they see this scene!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 20

Here we see the Scottish Soldiers from World War I (1914-18) enjoying a brief moment of relaxation (and even a 'cuppa') in their field kitchen.

As pants the hart for cooling streams
when heated in the chase,
so longs my soul, O God, for thee
and thy refreshing grace.

For thee, my God, the living God,
my thirsty soul doth pine:
O when shall I behold thy face,
thou Majesty divine?

Why restless, why cast down, my soul?
Hope still, and thou shalt sing
the praise of him who is thy God,
thy health's eternal spring.

To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
the God whom we adore,
be glory, as it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.

N Tate and N Brady (1696)

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 19

We are now in the Tudor Period - the Year is 1650 - and a more gracious quality of life is apparent from these two photos.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 18

We have now moved from the Medieval Period (Middle Ages) to the Renaissance.

The year is now 1542 and here we see a lady doing some calligraphy.

Lord, thy Word abideth,
and our footsteps guideth;
who its truth believeth
light and joy receiveth.

When our foes are near us,
then thy Word doth cheer us,
Word of consolation,
message of salvation.

When the storms are o'er us,
and dark clouds before us,
then its light directeth,
and our way protecteth.

Who can tell the pleasure,
who recount the treasure,
by thy Word imparted
to the simple-hearted?

Word of mercy, giving
succour to the living;
word of life, supplying
comfort to the dying!

O that we, discerning,
its most holy learning,
Lord, may love and fear thee,
evermore be near thee!

Henry W Baker, 1861

Monday, 18 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 17

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Luke.

Here is a typical meal in the year 1391 - gruel! Of course the wealthier people feasted on much richer fare.

Happy Feast!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

29th Sunday of Ordinary Time

In the Gospel today, Jesus tells us to pray continually and never to lose heart.

Father, hear the prayer we offer:
not for ease that prayer shall be,
but for strength, that we may ever
live our lives courageously.

Not for ever in green pastures
do we ask our way to be;
but the steep and rugged pathway
may we tread rejoicingly.

Not forever by still waters
would we idly rest and stay;
but would smite the living fountains
from the rocks along our way.

Be our strength in hours of weakness,
in our wanderings be our Guide;
through endeavour, failure, danger,
Father, be thou at our side.

L M Willis, 1864

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 16

After watching the formal displays, I really enjoyed walking round the various folk displays.

Here we see an example of a kitchen in 1391. The cooking is on charcoal - good fun for a Scout summer camp, but not much fun day-in and day-out!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 15

Some of the youngsters attending the Celebration seemed far more interested in the Modern Army than the historical aspects. This boy is clearly a potential recruit.

Of course, we are all called to be soldiers of Christ. At Baptism we sometimes hear the following words:

Now that you have entered upon the Christian life, I sign you with the sign of the cross, to show that you must not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified and manfully to fight under his banner against sin, the world and the devil; and so continue Christ's faithful soldier and servant to your life's end.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Happy Birthday Mother!

Many happy returns of the day to my Mother (Jean Holdsworth) who is 90 today. This photo of my Mother and Step-Father (John) was taken at Dunkeld in August 2008.

Sadly John is not very well at present, and will be in hospital for my Mother's birthday. Do please remember Jean and John in your prayers.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 14

Here we ses a World War II field kitchen - complete with the famous Spam and Fray Bentos Corned Beef!

Note also the blue labels on the Kit-Kat. I didn't ask to try a finger!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 13

No military celebration would be complete without the firing of a cannon!

It made a very loud bang!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 12

We have now returned to the 21st Century and here we see soldiers of the Black Watch who are currently stationed at Fort George. These soldiers have recently returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home:

Under the shadow of thy throne,
thy saints have dwelt secure;
sufficient is thine arm alone,
and our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
or earth received her frame,
from everlasting thou art God,
to endless years the same.

A thousand ages in thy sight
are like an evening gone;
short as the watch that ends the night
before the rising sun.

Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
bears all its sons away;
they fly, forgotten, as a dream
dies at the opening day.

O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
be thou our guide while troubles last,
and our eternal home!

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

Sunday, 10 October 2010

28th Sunday of Ordinary Time

In the gospel today we read about how Jesus cleansed ten lepers. In our own day we ask him to cleanse us from the leprosy of sin.

Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things hath done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who from our mother's arms
hath blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessèd peace to cheer us;
and keep us in his grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills
in this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given,
the Son, and him who reigns
with them in highest heaven,
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.

Words: Martin Rinkart (1586-1649)
trans. Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878)

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 11

Here we see a happy family celebrating Victory in Europe Day - 1945.

There'll be blue birds over
The white cliffs of Dover,
Tomorrow, just you wait and see.

There'll be love and laughter
And peace ever after
Tomorrow, when the world is free.

The shepherd will tend his sheep,
The valley will bloom again
And Jimmy will go to sleep,
In his own little room again.

There'll be blue birds over
The white cliffs of Dover,
Tomorrow, just you wait and see.

Words - Nat Burton
Melody - Walter Kent
Published - 1941

Friday, 8 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 10

Things are getting more familiar - it is now World War II - 1939-1945.

Lord of our life, and God of our salvation,
Star of our night, and Hope of every nation,
Hear and receive Thy Church’s supplication,
Lord God Almighty.

See round Thine ark the hungry billows curling!
See how Thy foes their banners are unfurling!
Lord, while their darts envenomed they are hurling,
Thou canst preserve us.

Lord, Thou canst help when earthly armour faileth;
Lord, Thou canst save when sin itself assaileth;
Lord, o’er Thy rock nor death nor hell prevaileth;
Grant us Thy peace, Lord.

Peace, in our hearts, our evil thoughts assuaging,
Peace, in Thy Church, where brothers are engaging,
Peace, when the world its busy war is waging;
Calm thy foes raging!

Grant us Thy help till backward they are driven;
Grant them Thy truth, that they may be forgiven;
Grant peace on earth, or after we have striven,
Peace in Thy heaven.

P Pusey (1799-1855)

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 9

It is now 1914-1918 - World War I. These soldiers are wearing aprons to protect their kilts.

Soldiers of Christ, arise,
and put your armour on,
strong in the strength which God supplies
through his eternal Son;

Strong in the Lord of hosts,
and in his mighty power:
who in the strength of Jesus trusts
is more than conqueror.

Stand then in his great might,
with all his strength endued,
and take, to arm you for the fight,
the panoply of God.

From strength to strength go on,
wrestle and fight and pray:
tread all the powers of darkness down,
and win the well-fought day.

That, having all things done,
and all your conflicts past,
ye may o'ercome, through Christ alone,
and stand entire at last.

Charles Wesley, 1749

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 8

Another image from towards the end of the Napoleonic Wars - 1814.

Here is the English translation of the French hymn that I posted yesterday.

Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son;
endless is the victory, thou o'er death hast won;
angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
kept the folded grave clothes where thy body lay.
Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son,
Endless is the vict'ry, thou o'er death hast won.

Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;
Lovingly he greets us, scatters fear and gloom;
let the Church with gladness, hymns of triumph sing;
for her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting.
Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son,
Endless is the vict'ry, thou o'er death hast won.

No more we doubt thee, glorious Prince of life;
life is naught without thee; aid us in our strife;
make us more than conquerors, through thy deathless love:
bring us safe through Jordan to thy home above.
Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son,
Endless is the vict'ry, thou o'er death hast won.

Trans. Richard Hoyle (1875-1939)

This magnificent hymn is banned at St Columba's Culloden - how very narrow-minded. They had better be warned - I have requested in my Will that this hymn be sung at my funeral!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 7

The year is now 1814 - and we are near the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

A toi la gloire, O Ressuscité!
A toi la victoire pour l'éternité!
Brillant de lumière, l'ange est descendu,
Il roule la pierre du tombeau vaincu.
A toi la gloire, O Ressuscité!
A toi la victoire pour l'éternité!

Vois-le paraître: C'est lui, c'est Jésus,
Ton Sauveur, ton Maître, Oh! ne doute plus!
Sois dans l'allégresse, peuple du Seigneur,
Et redis sans cesse: Le Christ est vainqueur!
A toi la gloire, O Ressuscité!
A toi la victoire pour l'éternité!

Craindrais-je encore? Il vit à jamais,
Celui que j'adore, le Prince de paix;
Il est ma victoire, mon puissant soutien,
Ma vie et ma gloire: non, je ne crains rien!
A toi la gloire, O Ressuscité!
A toi la victoire pour l'éternité!

Edmund Louis Budry, 1854-1932

We will have the English translation tomorrow!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 6

Another delightful photo of 1650 - the Covenanting Period.

O God of Bethel, by Whose hand
Thy people still are fed,
Who through this weary pilgrimage
Hast all our fathers led.

Our vows, our prayers, we now present
Before Thy throne of grace;
God of our fathers, be the God
Of their succeeding race.

Through each perplexing path of life
Our wandering footsteps guide;
Give us each day our daily bread,
And raiment fit provide.

O spread Thy covering wings around
Till all our wanderings cease,
And at our Father’s loved abode
Our souls arrive in peace.

Such blessings from Thy gracious hand
Our humble prayers implore;
And Thou shalt be our chosen God,
And portion evermore.

P Doddridge (1702-1751)

Sunday, 3 October 2010

27th Sunday of Ordinary Time

In the gospel today, Jesus teaches us that if our faith is only as small as a mustard seed it will make an enormous difference to our lives.

Give me the wings of faith to rise
within the veil, and see
the saints above, how great their joys,
how bright their glories be.

Once they were mourning here below,
and wet their couch with tears;
they wrestled hard, as we do now,
with sins and doubts and fears.

We ask them whence their victory came:
they, with united breath,
ascribe their conquest to the Lamb,
their triumph to his death.

They marked the footsteps that he trod,
his zeal inspired their breast,
and, following their incarnate God,
they reached the promised rest.

Our glorious Leader claims our praise
for his own pattern given;
while the long cloud of witnesses
show the same path to heaven.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 5

The year is now 1650 - we are in the Covenanting Period.

A safe stronghold our God is still,
a trusty shield and weapon;
he'll keep us clear from all the ill
that hath us now o'ertaken.
The ancient prince of hell
hath risen with purpose fell;
strong mail of craft and power
he weareth in this hour;
on earth is not his fellow.

With force of arms we nothing can,
full soon were we down-ridden;
but for us fights the proper Man,
whom God himself hath bidden.
Ask ye, who is this same?
Christ Jesus is his name,
the Lord Sabaoth's Son;
he, and no other one,
shall conquer in the battle.

And were this world all devils o'er,
and watching to devour us,
we lay it not to heart so sore;
nor they can overpower us.
And let the prince of ill
look grim as e'er he will,
he harms us not a whit;
for why?--his doom is writ;
a word shall quickly slay him.

God's word, for all their craft and force,
one moment will not linger,
but, spite of hell, shall have its course;
'tis written by his finger.
And though they take our life,
goods, honor, children, wife,
yet is their profit small;
these things shall vanish all:
the City of God remaineth!

Martin Luther (1483-1546)

What splendid organ playing!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Celebration of the Centuries - 4

This musician is from the late Medieval period - around the year 1411.

It was around this year that the following carol was written by an unknown author.

Adam lay ybounden,
Bounden in a bond;
Four thousand winter,
Thought he not too long.

And all was for an apple,
An apple that he took.
As clerkes finden,
Written in their book.

Ne had the apple taken been,
The apple taken been,
Ne had never our ladie,
Abeen heav'ne queen.

Blessed be the time
That apple taken was,
Therefore we moun singen.
Deo gracias!

Today (1st October) is traditionally the first day of the apple harvest.

Happy Fall!