Extracting a Google Calendar Agenda for the Parish Noticesheet

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In common with a number of other churches, we keep our diary on Google Calendar. In recent months I have simply been scraping the data straight from that onto the noticesheet for the forthcoming week, and as usual trying to make it easier.

This php code extracts the data from a private ical feed to a display on the page. To get the right feed, go to Google Calendar, select the dropdown next to the calendar you want and select calendar settings.

Then select Private Address below and copy the URL which is listed there. If it’s the only calendar you use, I have found that my Chrome browser will remember it for you.

 

 

Visit this site: https://secure.webinformatique.co.uk/ical/index.php

Then select the date from which you wish to start and the duration (usually 7 days).

After a delay (a number of seconds for a large calendar, I have found), the data is output below

You can cut and paste this into any document.

Developed by Fr. S Using the toolkit developed by Jonathan Goode , John Grogg and Martin Thoma

Written for my own use and made available for you for FREE, all I ask is for your prayers… call it Prayerware if you like!

You are advised to check the entries before reuse as there is a bug in Google Calendar which ignores British Summer Time and sets all events in Daylight Savings Time to an hour earlier. Recurring events and events outside of BST do not appear to be affected. This is a summertime only issue.

Some of my favourite films

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A few years ago (2013) I listed the Albums which I felt had shaped me as a person: not necessarily the best albums but the ones which shaped me see http://www.frsimon.uk/my-favourite-albums-of-all-time/
My son, Liam, mentioned that he had been compiling his own list of movies, and so it set me thinking. Here is my list (in no particular order) of films that have helped make me what I am today, and for that I apologise. It is definitely not a list of the super-cool, hip or esoteric, but these are films I treasure.
Human Traffic
The Matrix
I did not really know what the Matrix was all about when I went to see it, and so the ascension of Neo back into the real world was a genuine shock – an experience that I’ll never get back, because once you know… That feeling was just amazing, a lightbulb moment. Beyond that the depth, the theology, the philosophy behind the Matrix has enough material to keep me engaged for decades: questions of reality and perception, of creation and ontology are all expressed in this wonderful movie. Pity the other two were absolute shite, but you have to milk the cash cow for all it’s worth these days.
City of God
Brazilian film of such style, grace and brilliant story-telling. Yes, it’s in Portuguese, but reading subtitles never heart anyone. It’s a wonderful, challenging film about one of the worst places in the world. People are ace, they really are.
Pulp Fiction
Tarrantino’s masterpiece of non-linear storytelling is just perfect: the characters are all comic-book, the timeline is all messed up to keep the whole thing boiling and the soundtrack is one of the most carefully curated parts of the film: not just an add-on, but an intrinsic piece of the story-telling. Each little episode is so disjoint and yet so connected. Does the suitcase really contain the soul of Marcus Wallace?
Napolean
Silent. 7 and a half hours long. Incomplete, because bits of it still hasn’t been found. This is simply a masterpiece. I have been fascinated by this film since a patient at Barts introduced me to it. Abel Gance tells the epic story so epically, and at the climax, across 3 screens. This was in 1927 for goodness sake! Best watched at a big screening and a live accompaniment.
Rocky Horror Picture Show

Mark Robinson and I (aged 13 or 14) went to see Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein (another excellent film, but one outside this list) as at the time we were all into Blazing Saddles and the like. On the double bill was this movie we’d never heard of. All we talked about for a year after that night was the other movie: the Rocky Horror Picture Show. So outrageous, so glam, so sexually ambiguous, it opened our eyes to diversity and camp. True to say, I’ve never been the same since.

Again, not necessarily the best films (or albums) but the films that have made a difference to me. I may well expand this list as time goes on and I am reminded of other great, important and influential movies on me. So, although I love to waste train journeys rewatching the camp classic Pitch Perfect, quote frequently and extensively from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Breakfast Club and won’t mention the pornography of my teenage years (formative in one way, at least), and clearly I’m not hip or savvy. This is me. I am who I am.

What a “Resource Church” really means…

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When a shiny new Church Plant (usually from a shiny church in central west London) appears like a cuckoo in a city – in a reasonably affluent area or an area saturated with students, one of the phrases used to calm us is that it will be a “resource church” which on the face of it, does not sound like a bad thing at all.

 

“Oh good,” we think, “maybe some of those shiny resources can be put to good use in my slightly less shiny parish”, “perhaps they might have a screen or PA we could borrow, or even a working photocopier”, “I wonder if they might have some shiny young people to help us leaflet the estate about our mission to the elderly there…”

 

But such hopes are quickly dashed as the pre-existing congregation are levered out of their not very shiny church and abandoned as they focus relentlessly on a growth strategy that initially strips all the young people out of other churches  into the remodelled (how did they get that through the DAC so quickly? Money still clearly talks…) new interior where the boring old essentials of Anglicanism are relegated to the back to be forgotten, as a Cafe is open before each service serving “absolutely divine coffee”

 

As for the resources they have on offer for us? Well, the transplanted Vicar, Curate, “Worship Leader” and Administrator are very willing to resource the entire church… Why not send your people to one of their Discipleship or Beginners Courses? Why not gather all the “worship leaders” together and our Worship Leader can show them how finally to do it right. It’s funny, because I always thought the leading of Worship was the primary responsibility of the Vicar, Curate, Reader etc. Not just some bloke with a guitar (Fr Robb being the obvious exception to this).

 

What they want to resource us with is their way of doing things,  to insinuate themselves into each and every parish until,  rather like McDonald’s Franchises they come to be the bland, homogenised face of Christendom. If your face does not fit this shiny model of church: if you don’t have the same responses as them, share the same sexuality or gender then they can’y help

 

As an aside, I am amazed that there is not a single woman involved here who is not married to a ‘minister’ – it seems to be the only way they are allowed to minister, because someone in this resource church needs to have a penis somewhere it would appear. It seems that capable and spiritual women are reduced to smiling add-ons with great teeth, beautiful hair and a better class of theology degree that they simply are not allowed to properly utilise in proper ministry because of a single casual line in a pastoral letter of Paul. But I digress.

 

If your taste leans towards valuing the sacraments that Jesus and his bride, the Church have used for centuries and if guitar and drums don’t always work for you, then I am afraid, we can’t resource you.

 

You aren’t resourceable. Even though we must be Jews to the Jews and Greeks to the Greeks, that we must make our ministry as protean as Paul was prepared to do at the Areopagus, these resources come in only one form and in only one spirituality.

 

Tough. Our tanks are here on the lawn now. We are taking over.

Rainbow Cross. Use Freely.

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I’ve been working on this graphic in photoshop, and although I got (eventually) the thing I wanted, I’m still not clear how I got there. Use freely. To save, Right-Click and select “Save As…” or “Save Image As…” depending on your browser.

 

This is the chunky version (641px x 802 transparent png)

and this is the slightly more textured version.

The photoshop file is here.

Enjoy!

Watch of the Blessed Sacrament

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Will you but stay with me for just one hour?
In silence, where every footstep squeek upon the lino floor
Is a bold reminder that we are not alone
In this long watch I fight to stay awake
But silence looms and in its oppressive weight
I long for shouts and a noisy arrest to break into this time spent with you.

Alone with you,
All I can do is pray
And in that prayer draw closer
Before the clanging bleep of midnight on my wrist reminds me that
the relentless march of time towards the cross
continues, and lumbers through the dark and into a light
Which makes this calm seem…
…Special.
I will wait Lord,
Just one more hour
because I see
You are waiting on me.

 

Maundy Thursday, 2017
S. Anne, Glenholt

30 Pieces of Chocolate

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With a h/t to Mthr Gemma

It was one Saturday night After Eight, and me and my mate Freddo, were being paid a Bounty to guard this tomb. ‘Guard a tomb? You say. Yeah that’s a Whole Nut of an idea, I know.

There was this guy, see. We’d executed him on the Friday, but he had said he would come back to life so we were there to make sure he stayed dead! No really, I’m not Lion! You think that’s mad? Join the Club! Now my mate is a bit of a Smartie, so while we were stood, guarding the dead body, we says, ‘why don’t we have a Picnic?’ And I thought, ‘Well why not? I could do with some Time Out’

So we sat down and ate our sandwiches Crème Egg and cress for me, then Chomping some Fruit and Nuts for one of my five-a-day, all washed down with a cold glass of Dairy Milk.

Anyway, back to the Topic. After our food we were Flaked out and… well… I’m not going to Fudge the facts, we fell asleep. I know we shouldn’t have, but we did. We loosened our Buttons, pulled off our Snickers (sneakers) and lay down under the Milky Way.

Next thing I know there is a Crunchie sound, like when you Rolo way the stone. Sat bolt upright and thought… ‘What a Kinder Surprise is this?’ I said. I couldn’t have been more shocked if a Penguin had arrived on a Double Decker bus!

So what was it, this surprise? Only an angel, clothes all Milky Bar white and hair all Curly Wurly – just sat there, on top of the stone! And the tomb was OPEN! (Open Hollow Egg)

Me and my mate, we were in a complete Twirl – we were so scared we called for our Mars – but just before we fainted, we heard a Ripple of fabric from the tomb. Seems he had come back to life after all!

I heard a Wispa as he stepped out. He winked at me and said ‘Aero!’

Anointing of the Sick Liturgy

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This liturgy is a hybrid of Anglican and Roman texts which I keep for use in the anointing of the sick. It is usually given as an act of healing and reconciliation which needs to be carefully explained so that it is not feared as “the Last Rites”

In the name of the +Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
Amen

The Lord be with you
And also with you

Sprinkling with holy water
If it seems desirable, the priest may sprinkle the sick person and those present with holy water. One of the following may be used:

The Lord is our shepherd
and leads us to streams of living water

or

Like a stream in parched land,
may the grace of the Lord refresh our lives.

or

Let this water call to mind our baptism into Christ,
who by his death and resurrection has redeemed us.

Introduction

My dear friends, we are gathered here in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ who is present among us.

As the gospels remind us, the sick came to him for healing; moreover, he loves us so much that he died for our sake.

Through the apostle James, he has commanded us: “Are there any who are sick among you? Let them send for the priests of the Church, and let the priests pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick persons, and the Lord will raise them up; and if they have committed any sins, their sins will be forgiven them.”

Let us therefore commend our sick brother/sister N. to the grace and power of Christ, that he may save him/her and raise him/her up.

Penitential Rite

Lord Jesus, you healed the sick:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you forgave sinners:
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you give us yourself
to heal us and bring us strength:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

The priest concludes the penitential rite with the following:

God, the Father of mercies,
through the death and reconciliation of his Son
has reconciled the world to himself
and sent the Holy Spirit among us
for the forgiveness of sins;
through the ministry of the Church
may God give you pardon and peace,
and I absolve you from your sins
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, +
and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Collect

God of compassion,
you take everyone under your care
and know our physical and spiritual needs.
Transform our weakness by the strength of your grace
and confirm us in your covenant
so that we may grow in faith and love.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit
one God, now and forever.
Amen

Scripture: Matthew 11:25-30

The Lord be with you
And also with you

Hear the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Glory to you, O Lord

On one occasion, Jesus spoke thus: “Father, Lord of heaven and earth, to you I offer praise; for what you have hidden from the learned and the clever you have revealed to the merest of children. Father, it is true. You have graciously willed it so. Everything has been given over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son but the Father, and no one knows the Father but the Son—and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Your souls will find rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden light.”

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ

Laying on of hands
The priest silently places his hands on the sick person and prays for their healing
.
Anointing
The priest anoints the sick person with blessed oil.

First, he anoints the forehead, saying

Through this holy anointing
may the Lord in his love and mercy
help/heal you with the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Then he anoints the palms of the hands, saying:

May the Lord who frees you from sin
save you and raise you up.
Amen.

Prayer after Anointing

Let us pray…

Usual

Father in heaven,
through this holy anointing
grant N. comfort in his/her suffering.
When he/she is afraid, give him/her courage,
when afflicted, give him/her patience,
when dejected, afford him/her hope,
and when alone, assure him/her of the support of your holy people.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

In extreme or terminal illness

Lord Jesus Christ,
you chose to share our human nature,
to redeem all people, and to heal the sick.
Look with compassion upon your servant N.,
whom we have anointed in your name
with this holy oil for the healing of his/her body and spirit.
Support him/her with your power,
comfort him/her with your protection,
and give him/her the strength to fight against evil.
Since you have given him/her
a share in your own passion,
help him/her to find hope in suffering,
for you are Lord for ever and ever.
Amen.

Before surgery

God of compassion,
our human weakness lays claim to your strength.
We pray that through the skills of surgeons and nurses
your healing gifts may be granted to N.
May your servant respond to your healing will
and be reunited with us at your altar of praise.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray…

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the Kingdom, the power & the glory
For ever & ever. Amen

Blessing

May God the holy and undivided Trinity
preserve you in body, mind and spirit,
and bring you safe to that heavenly country
where peace and harmony reign;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
Amen

Crowdsourcing a Sonnet for Holy Ground on Palm Sunday

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I need your voice – many of you know of my Crowdsourced Psalms Project to produce a Digital Psalter. Now I need urgently to make this Sonnet by the wonderful Malcolm Guite:

Palm Sunday by Malcom Guite

Now to the gate of my Jerusalem,
The seething holy city of my heart,
The saviour comes. But will I welcome him?
Oh crowds of easy feelings make a start;
They raise their hands, get caught up in the singing,
And think the battle won. Too soon they’ll find
The challenge, the reversal he is bringing
Changes their tune. I know what lies behind
The surface flourish that so quickly fades;
Self-interest, and fearful guardedness,
The hardness of the heart, its barricades,
And at the core, the dreadful emptiness
Of a perverted temple. Jesus come
Break my resistance and make me your home.

If you can help me (it will take slightly less than 2 mins), then please do the following:

Instructions

  1. If you have a phone like an iPhone or an Android, there is usually an app to record your voice – often called “Voice Memo” or some thing similar. I use a free Android App called ASR which can be installed for free from https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nll.asr  If you have better recording equipment, then even better, but I have found that most smartphones are good enough nowadays. You can configure it to record at quite a good quality: I would suggest 192k in MP3 or MP4 format if that means anything to you. If not, just record it as it comes and I will do spooky mysterious things with it with electronics.
  2. iPhones will record in the very nice .M4a format. This is fine, but please try and set it to the highest quality you can.
  3. Read (nicely and in the highest possible quality) the above reading. Click here to jump to the optimum settings in ASR…
  4. After recording select “Share” (or similar) and email it to me at fr.simonrundell@gmail.com
  5. It would be really helpful if you named the file with your name. This will help me collate them.
  6. I will cut it up with all the others and make these into the reading using the multiplicity of voices, accents, genders etc.
  7. Can you tell others and ask them to do it for me please so I get lots and lots of voices.

Thank you.

 

Lent 4: Prayer & Senses

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Well, we are nearly four weeks into Lent and I am wondering how it has been for you?

I hope that you have been able to find some time for reflection amidst the busy-ness of daily living. That is always a challenge for me – but very necessary. And I am wondering what has been happening for you in your praying? As we have considered time and place to pray, so today I want to consider Prayer and the senses. As I said at the beginning of this course, my aim was to be more practical than theological, and I hope that this evening I may be able to offer some new insights and things to try as we seek to learn more how to pray.

The Senses. Something integral to being human – and we are bodily people. Most of us, I suspect, take our senses for granted – hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell – unless and until we are deprived of them. A child born without any one of those capacities is, rightly, a source of sadness and pain to those close to them; for suddenly those around anticipate the sense of loss – of deprivation even – a sense of unfairness that a fellow human being should not have the opportunity to experience what we experience and enjoy what we enjoy.

Accident or age can deprive us of one or more of our senses later in life and we are suddenly bereft and left grieving for capacities we once knew and took for granted. Learning to live with such loss is not easy.

And yet there are many who will say that the body’s capacity to adapt is remarkable and where one sense is diminished, another develops extraordinarily to take its place…

The important thing to recognise is that because we are bodily creatures, our senses are very much a part of our praying, whether we recognise it or not. If we think about it, we will probably all agree that hearing and seeing are familiar parts of prayer: when we are together we hear words spoken, either as set prayers or biddings for intercession; and we see words printed on a page, which we read aloud and listen to as we speak them.

But that is only one dimension of hearing; only one dimension of seeing; and there are so many more. So let’s explore each of our senses in turn and stretch our minds, and in doing so, stretch the possibilities for our prayer.

Prayer is clearly about more than just words, but also about the non-words: silence is not just an absence of words, but rather it is a way of being attentive to God and to ourselves which can help us to go deeper than we might in other forms of prayer.

But when we are silent, we are still hearing – and we may well be using other senses as well, as we shall see in a few moments… When you sit in silence you need to hear both the external and the internal ‘noise’ – sounds from round about, but also the sounds from within: a phrase from Scripture; the words of a psalm or hymn that comes into your mind… But what other sounds are there and how might we be active in using our sense of hearing in our prayer?

Let me offer three particular areas you might explore: first, the sounds of nature. Sit in the garden or the local park, or go for a gentle walk on the Moor with your ears open and you will hear the sounds of nature: birds singing; the wind blowing through long grass; the trickle of a stream; the whistling of a buzzard; the scrunch of leaves underfoot; the brushing of a hedgerow against your jacket…. Whilst I’m not one for saying simply ‘You can always find God in the garden’, there is – for many of us – a deep inspiration that comes through hearing the sounds and seeing the sights of our created world. As Gerard Manley-Hopkins reminds us:

The sounds and sights of nature draw us beyond ourselves and can inspire us to praise and wonder at our Creator God. St Francis knew such wonder well and we hear it expressed, of course, in this extract from his Canticle of Brother Son and Sister Moon:

Video:  [youtube=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2AfJm5ZcCc”]

 

Most High, all-powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, and the honor, and all blessing,
To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no human is worthy to mention Your name.

Praised be You, my Lord, with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day and through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor;
and bears a likeness of You, Most High One.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
in heaven You formed them clear and precious and beautiful.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather,
through whom You give sustenance to Your creatures.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night,
and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.

Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains and governs us,
and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs.

Praised be You, my Lord, through those who give pardon for Your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.

Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, shall they be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no one living can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin.

Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.

Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility.

But what about the sounds of daily living? Perhaps we regard those as distractions? The traffic on the street; the crying child; the noises in the market place; the marital argument; the hoover; the washing machine. Our instinct is to say that this is ‘noise’ and we may try to escape from it. But these are the noises – the sounds – of life. And each, in its own way, can lead us to prayer: for the safety of those who travel; for family life; for all who trade; for relationships in conflict; for those who care for homes; for those with no-one to care whose labour is with hands and with back-breaking work. The sounds of daily living can be just as much part of our prayer as silence.

[vimeo 6017188]

For many people, however, music can play a special part in enabling prayer. It is, of course, so often a matter of taste. But, for each of us, there will be particular pieces of music – or styles or types of music – which help to still or stir us and which can often draw us to God.

Music can sometimes ‘reach the parts that others don’t’ in a way that it is hard to explain.

Music has the power to stir the soul, and is a uniquely personal thing. Whether it’s classical, modern, pop, rap, grunge, Taize or something else, music – with and without words- can lead us into prayer and sometimes even become the vehicle by which we pray. A Tallis chant or a Brian Eno piece, whatever works for you. Modern ways of delivering music: streaming online access to virtually the whole musical catalogues of the world give us unlimited opportunities.

[youtube=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6RgaPTo4hE”]

So much for hearing. What about sight?

Well, I have already spoken of nature and few of us would deny the power of a sunset or a glorious vista to stir us within. What God has made is indeed good. But what about the works of human beings? Art, sculpture, photography, icons….

The long history of association between art and religion has borne fruit since time immemorial and never more so than in the Christian era, in a wealth of carvings, engravings, paintings, frescoes, icons, woodcuts and more both inspired by and inspiring of the God in whose image the artist is made.

If you have never used a work of art to inspire you to pray, then please try it; look at it with eyes of faith and be amazed at what God unfolds for you….

And it’s not just works of art that can help us. We live in a visual technological world and the creative possibilities of the internet, YouTube and computer-generated visuals are enormous. Such materials may not be to your personal taste, but for a new generation they offer huge potential for expressing and communicating the truths of God.

Finally, while we’re thinking about sight, let’s not forget the simple power of the lit candle as an aid to focusing the mind and stilling the soul. Whether in light or darkness, a candle can be a hugely effective way of signalling attentiveness to God and to prayer – a way of marking out both the place and the time….

The sense of touch is one we may not have explored before. The classical use of the rosary, not only in the Christian tradition, but by other faiths as well, illustrates the way in which physical connectedness can both enable concentration and engage the body at a different level to the mind.

Holding crosses have become popular in recent years – a simple, off-centred cross which fits neatly into a person’s hand and which can often act as a great reassurance to those who are troubled or sick and otherwise unable to pray.

But what about holding other things from nature – stones, shells, leaves, grass or flowers – feeling their beauty and complexity as an aid to prayer rather than simply looking at them – beautiful as they may be to the eye. Or there may be the seasonal use of objects such as fruits or vegetables at Harvest-time, or nails in Holy Week. And then there is the whole question of the appropriateness of touch when praying with others – the laying on of hands; the holding of another’s hand when praying for them, or anointing the sick with the Oil of Healing (which is always for healing, and not as popular culture understands it as the last rites)

Jesus healed in a visceral way: spittle, mud, physical contact, and when appropriately given, touch can be an important part of the physicality of faith..

[youtube=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBvf7Voj9i4&t=259s”]

Smell and taste are perhaps a little more diffuse when it comes to thinking about prayer, despite the fact that incense as long been an aid to prayer in the history of the Church; and all four Gospels give an account of the woman who anointed Jesus with fragrant perfume in preparation for his burial. There is the distinct smell of the Oil of Chrism used in Baptism, Confirmation, and Ordination.

But when we read Scripture and begin to imagine some of the smells and tastes that those in the stories may have experienced, it can become an inspiration to our own prayer and can open up the narratives in ways we have never thought of.

  • What might it have smelt like, for example, by the Sea of Galilee?
  • What might it have smelt like in the heart of the city of Jerusalem with sheep and goats roaming the streets and spices being sold, and bread baked, and the sweat of humanity all around?
  • What might it have smelt and tasted like when Jesus and his disciples broke the bread and shared the fish, and turned water into wine, and picked the figs, and plucked the grain….?

This might seem a long way from prayer and the senses, but in fact it is not. For Scripture can be a way in to encountering God with more than just our minds. It is a way of prayer (the examen) encouraged and developed by St Ignatius Loyola in the sixteenth century, and which has enabled countless Christians since to deepen their prayer lives as they have learned to enter in to the biblical narrative using their senses as well as their intellect.

There is much more that could be said. But I hope I have whetted your appetite (and I use the phrase deliberately) to experiment with new ways of praying for you; ways that encourage you to use the whole of who you are and not just your mind.

If you want to talk more about ‘how’ to use your senses, then please ask. And remember – God gave us our senses to use in all sorts of ways – not just so that we don’t burn the toast!

Next week we will finally come to explore Prayer and Words.