Thursday, 31 December 2020

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Sunday, 27 December 2020

< " In the beginning...what does that phrase call to mind ?..." In the beginning...a scientific formula... ?... or... the first few wordsof the Bible.../... the opening words of St John's Gospel...?
today we celebrate the life of St John the gospel writer... but he kept himself carefully anonymous in the Gospel... "the other disciple"... then much later "the beloved disciple"... which sounds rather odd to our ears, but maybe was quite ok in his own culture ? after all,it does seem that he was very close to Jesus ( being requested by Peter to just lean back and ask who was going to betray him...clearly expecting the response could easily be quietly whispered to him as he was so near : John 13 v 21 - 25 ) and he is theonly Gospel writer who claims to have been an eye-witness...eg John 19 v 35 & also John 21 v 20f... so, although we know little about whohe was... except through glimpses and hints& guesses intheGospels... maybe this is the important thing to celebrate today... that we have aneyewitness who wrote down, or morelikely dictated to a scribe, what he had actually seen of the life of Jesus, and the impact itmade on him... we can celebrate and read his Gospel in a new light... realising that here we have an eyewitness... * and if youdoubt this, and have been taught that this Gospel was written much later...then do look at "The Priority of John" by John Robinson (1984) and read the narrative parts of John's Gospel, and see foryourself... yes, he gives us a different angle on things than St Mark... and remember that Matthe & Luke are following Mark's account & not giving us independent eyewitness versions that happen to agree with his version of events... so maybe Jesus did spend much more time with individuals, as John suggests, and had at least three years before being arrested, ratherthanthe ratherhurried single year suggested by Mark...enjoy reading St Hohn's Gospel & take the life of Jesus at a slower, moremeditative pace... let it bring tears to your eyes... notice things... look at Jesus himself through the eyes of someone who was very close to him... and celebrate the life of this remarkable writer...enjoy :)

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Have you noticed that Matthew's Nativity Narrative gives us a picture of Joseph who is the main caracter, while Mary is hardly mentioned... she just slips intothe background while Joseph is the one making decisions, whose family & lineage are important... no doubt reflecting the cultural background of the patriarchal society into which Jesus was born...we have so many Madonna & child paintings, that I was surprised to discover these ones of Joseph...

Monday, 21 December 2020

Thursday, 17 December 2020

this follows on from yesterday's pictures...do lookat it in the context of walls surrounding Bethlehem...

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Sorry to be showing you all these pictures ofdepressingly painful walls... but this is the reality of living in Palestine today...
but its goood to see how someone can be creative even in these circumstances and maybe, just maybe, make life more worth living...

Saturday, 12 December 2020


 Its very cold, so I am really pleased to have finished knitting a thick long length cardigan to gather around my legs... but suddenly realising my toes were warmer than expected, I discovered our cat had quietly decided this was a good place to sleep :)  :)



                                                       
 

Thursday, 10 December 2020



 The beauty of weeping willows recall many memories.... Monet’s paintings of willows and waterlilies.... a neighbour who had planted a weeping  willow in her garden in memory of her daughter who had died tragically as a teenager...”we could hardly believe it when we heard about the accident... she had always been so full of life... and this tree reminds me of the good times we shared together... I can sit under it on a hot day, in floods of tears, yet watching the leaves dancing in the breeze, reminds me her spirit is still alive...” 
Whenever I had the chance, I sketched weeping willow leaves; one day, in a sudden downpour of rain, I took shelter under a large weeping willow, surprised by how dry it was underneath as the rain pelted down... then I gradually became aware that I wasn’t the only one sheltering there... a gentle rustling movement made me look up to discover a large bird with  a very long tail draped over a branch... we both remained very quiet and still until the rain stopped, and, emerging into the sunshine, the bird shook its tail and slowly opened it out to dry... revealing a beautiful peacock...and as I stood in amazement, three more huge birds slowly emerged from  under the “umbrella “ of this shady tree... how I longed for a camera!    I had no idea that while I had been quietly sketching its leaves, 4 peacocks were also sheltering from the rain under the same tree...
...later on’ looking through my sketches,I was fascinated by the dancing patterns of these leaves... so I bought some antique glass flashed with a thin layer of deep blue over a base of yellow& carefully covered it with a thick clear fablon that would be strong enough to resist the shallow bath of hydrofluoric acid in the special fume cupboard... took my sharp craft knife and cut out the leaf shapes, copying from my sketches and remembering... dancing leaves... pouring rain... and... hidden peacocks... then spending the next few hours watching and waiting for the acid to remove enough glass for the yellow to begin to shine through beneath the blue... then just removing enough of the resist to give different shades of glass giving the effect of light shining through onto different leaves, hopefully adding to the illusion of movement as sunlight shines through the glass...

waiting ... a theme of these days of Advent...   see St Paul’s Cathedral website for their Advent Meditations... the first one was on waiting...

Saturday, 5 December 2020

                                          early morning mist, Loch Turret : photo David French

 My brother David, who lives in Scotland with his family, happened to email me these photos from an early morning walk, and I thought you would like to share them... I think they were taken on the same morning we had a heavy snow shower followed by rain !

photo : David French


Friday, 4 December 2020

Still thinking and meditating upon the beginning of John’s Gospel, I found myself looking at early spiral galaxies and working through the photos needing classifying through the ‘Galaxy zoo project ... and found that these widened my horizons, taking me back far further in time... and some paintings resulted based on “In the beginning was the Word...and the Word was with God and the Word was God... the same was in the beginning with God, all things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made... [John 1 v 1 - 18 ] This poetic beginning seems to spiral or circle around in rhythmic repetition... and so this painting began ... taking up the whole of Advent one year, as I turned the large canvas round and round to paint the spiral, basing my ideas on what I had seen via www.zooniverse.org and thinking all the time of those few verses at the beginning of John’s Gospel which went round and round in my mind...

                                          widening horizons :  oil on canvas, Janet Driver

Any of the early Christians who had grown up in a Jewish background would no doubt be reminded of the first few verses of the Hebrew Scriptures Genesis 1 v 1f where the first story of creation is written in a similarly poetic form :”In the beginning...”   I always felt that because John’s Gospel echoed the beginning of Genesis, it would have made better poetic sense to have put his Gospel at the beginning of the New Testament.... maybe then it would have been easier to see the connection between God & His Word in the poetic story of creation... for it is only a few verses into Genesis 1 that we find : “And God said: Let there be light: and there was light”  and we see the importance of God’s Word in creating...for what he says is done, like an echo of his command or his word... as pictured in this manuscript illustration below where the universe is being created through the eyes of a mediaeval artist...rather a different take on things with the huge compass...

 
...

                                         MSS Christ the Creator c 13th Cent.

Thursday, 3 December 2020

 

                                                        journey to Bethlehem : artist unknown, apologies...