This music

With thanks to Ben Harper





I am

nurtured and sustained

consoled and restored

by music

from human hearts and hands.

This balm,

resonates within

my entire being

in ways I can’t fully explain,

making me feel 


Reflection for Sunday 14 May

John 14:15-21

The Holy Spirit, God’s continuing presence in the world, is with us always. Last week Jesus told us, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’. So the Spirit of truth, that Jesus tells us about in today’s Gospel, is sent by the Father and is an extension of Jesus. The Holy Spirit gives us gifts and also reminds us of the gifts that we already have. Our task is to develop such God-given gifts and use them to build community, like many do in our parish.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus encourages us to follow his commandment: love one another as I have loved you. This is part of the way, truth and life we heard in last week’s Gospel. The self-sacrificing love of which Jesus spoke is a way of living that develops over time, that leads each of us on to be true to ourselves and each other and gives life to everyone touched by it. We each have our own examples, which surely include mothers.

Since we believe that God is love, we need no more tangible a symbol of God than those who mother others. Thus those who mother others are, like the Holy Spirit, part of God’s continuing presence in the world. Some we call ‘mother’ are no longer with us but have ‘gone home’. We cherish their memory. Let us celebrate mothers – in name or nature – for all the good that their love engenders. Such love builds each of us up so that we can be all that God intended us to be. What a gift!

Salvation is now

When someone dies 

salvation can become 

a topic of reflection.

Instead, I think that 

salvation is now.

For me to be saved 

I need to be saved 

from myself:

My selfishness 

my controlling 

my obsessions 

my lack of compassion 

my lack of love.

When I am saved 

from myself

I can more fully 

enter into relationships 

with others 

and God.

That is the work of a life.

This brings the reign of God 

in this life 

and the next.

Celebrate life!

It’s so easy 

to sleepwalk

through life.

Barely awake,

barely aware

of the miracles 

around us

every moment

of every day.

Before my mother’s 


she revelled

in so much that

life has to offer:

‘sucking the marrow’.

While I’m sad

at her passing,

right now

I am so grateful

to be alive

in my life,

especially for those

who love and nurture me – 

something that has 

wondrously come

to the fore

in recent days

as we acknowledged

mum’s passing.

More than that – 

a death

should propel us

into life.

I have

this time


and I need

to make the most of it.

I need to be awake

and aware

of those everyday 


and celebrate life

in me

and around me.

For Earth Day

How do I live on Earth?

With wonder

or expectation?

Do I see the world as a menu

or resource list?

Do I marvel 

at the bees and insects,

plants and flowers?

Am I astonished 

at food webs?

Am I agog

at photosynthesis?

These supposed ‘lower’ life forms

that create their own food?

Oh and supply the rest,

including us, 

with the oxygen we need to live.

Do I stand 

in open-mouthed wonder at

the intricacies

of the carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle,

water cycle, tides, weathering,

volcanoes and earthquakes,

tectonic forces at work

for millions of years?

If I say I’m a Christian

do I really believe that

‘all things came into being through him’ (John 1:3)?

In which case we should celebrate

everything around us  

as a gift from God

to be carefully tended and preserved.

This challenges me:

how do my actions

need to change

to live out this fundamental

yet neglected part 

of our faith?

Will I have 

the wisdom of a child

to embrace the extraordinary ordinary

of each day

as the grace that it is?

Immersed in Love

Whether I am 

in the arms of my love,

bathing in sunshine,

admiring the flowers

and their close companions

bees and lorrikeets,

rugged up against a foggy morning,

listening to an old friend,

weighed down 

by fears or worries,

I am constantly

immersed in Love.

I need to remember

and live this truth

if I don’t have the feeling.


Fuji demands attention

like an adult in a children’s playground.

Its sheer size

has an immediate emotional

and spiritual impact upon me.

I spend the rest of the day

catching glimpses

as its peak is shrouded in cloud,

reminded that this colossus

is not something to be possessed

nor controlled.

As we leave Shimizu

and the light is fading,

the cloud dissipates

as if Fuji is giving us

a farewell wink.


Places and times

can be special

for different reasons.

Describing why isn’t easy.

It’s about feeling.

Being in Kyoto

during cherry blossom

is one such experience.

Crowds throng

to ‘be there’.

There is so much 

cherry blossom

it’s like being in

a cloud,

a warm hug

of pinky, white petals.

It’s as if you are

floating in cherry blossom.

We walked a lot

but the precious memory

of bathing in the blossom

will remain

and bring

a contented smile.


Glorious, sunny spring day

sitting beside a river

as it crawls past,

host to water birds.

Some fly, others sun themselves

along with flowers 

and the ubiquitous cherry blossom.

All is at peace.

This is even more remarkable

given where we are

and its history.

Hiroshima is not stuck.

It has moved forward

while honouring its past

primarily through 

the Peace Memorial Park.

The peace that the park

works to promote

is remarkably prevalent.

My senses are caught

In this uncomplicated


and powerful feeling.


Grace today

as an older Japanese man

spoke with passion

about the details

of a heritage home.

Grace, too, that

we had his undivided attention

for such a long time.

Whether it was the garden

and its composition

or the different vista

from each room

everything was deliberate.

As our time concluded

I felt blessed and enriched.