Archives October 2016

Halloween – the Darkness runs from the Light

Vast armies undead do tread through the night and
In hordes march towards hapless victims to frighten.
They stumble in step with glass-eyes on the prizes;
Bunched hither, hunched over in monstrous disguises;
In sizes not lofty but numb’ring a throng;
To unleash on their prey the dreaded DING DONG.
Small faces with traces of mother’s eye-liner,
Peer up to the resident candy provider.

And there to intone ancient threats learnt verbatim;
They lisp “TRICK OR TREAT!” Tis their stark ultimatum.
Thus: region by region such legions take plunder.
Does this spector-full spectacle cause you to wonder?
Just how did our fair festive forebears conceive,
Of this primeval practice called All Hallows Eve?
The answer, if anyone cares to research,
Surprises, it rises from old mother church.

On the cusp of the customary All Saints Day
The Christ-i-an kinsfolk made mocking display.
These children of light both to tease and deride;
Don darkness, doll down as the sinister side.
In pre-post-er-ous pageants and dress diabolic,
They hand to the damned just one final frolick.
You see with the light of the dawn on the morrow,
The sunrise will swallow such darkness and sorrow.

The future is futile for forces of evil;
And so they did scorn them in times Medieval.
For this is the nature of shadow and gloom;
In the gleaming of glory there can be no room.
What force is resourced by the echoing black?
When the brightness ignites can the shadow push back?
These ‘powers’ of darkness, if such can be called,
Are banished by brilliance, by blazing enthralled.

So the bible begins with this fore-resolved fight;
For a moment the darkness…. then “Let there be Light!”
First grief in the gloom, then joy from the East.
First valley of shadow, then mountaintop feast.
First wait for Messiah, then long-promised Dawn.
First desolate Friday and then Easter Morn.
The armies of darkness when doing their worst,
Can never extinguish this Dazzling Sunburst.

So… ridicule rogues if you must play a role;
But beware getting lost in that bottomless hole.
The triumph is not with the forces of night.
It dawned with the One who said “I am the Light!”

This video is excellent, and I am clearly going to use it in my Collective Worship at the end of October. However, I’ve had a look at the website of 10ofthose.com: it believes worship be about just singing songs, and puts Mark Driscoll and Penal Substitution at the heart of its book choices. It is not, regrettably, a place for objective Bible Commentary, so I’m afraid I cannot recommend it.  


Dwelling in the Word – Reflection & Meditation before a PCC or any other meeting at which we should hear God’s Voice…

I found this exercise very useful, and the two times I have done it, I have been drawn by different things. Here is the key difference between this and Lectio Divina:  you do the same passage each time. This means that new meanings arise in each context. Also, it is not about a personal reflection, as Lectio is, but is about listening to your partner, and listening is a key value to get into frame with at the beginning of a meeting.

How we Dwell in the Word

  • Listen to the passage read (below)
  • Consider where it “captures” you, speaks to you and/or what question(s) it raises for you
  • Find a person in the group you do not know or know less well, a ‘reasonably friendly-looking stranger’.
  • Listen to that person as he or she tells you what they heard in the passage. They may mention something they’d never heard before, something odd or something comforting, or something about which they’d like to ask a Bible scholar.
  • Listen well, because your job will be to report to the rest of the group what your partner has said, not what you yourself said. Some people take notes to help them focus and remember.

At the end:

A prayer as we Dwell in the Word

Loving God,
Though our destination is not yet clear,
May we trust in Your graceful promises;
Though we are uncertain of ourselves,
May we be rooted in Your loving regard;
Though our attention is inclined to wander,
May we hear the things You are saying;
Though we often neglect Your influence,
May we be convicted of Your power to change,
In Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

The Text: Luke 10:1-12   (NRSVA)

After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house.

Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 “Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.” 12 I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.


Animated / looping images inside Prezi

nimbus-record-video

Prezi, thankfully, still supports animations, but not as we now know and love them. With one simple step, however, you can insert animated gifs and take other short movies and insert them into your Prezi presentation to liven them up.

Although Pregreen-right-arrow-moving-up-and-downzi does not support animated gifs (yet, hint, hint) you can easily convert these to Flash swf format files which will loop indefinitely in a Prezi.

Here is how you do it.

  1. Find your animated gif through Google Images
  2. Enter a search term and then select “Search Tools” and under “Type” select “Animated”
  3. screenshot-www-google-com-2016-10-19-11-52-04This will limit the search to images that are moving. Download that image (Right-Click / Save As…)
  4. Visit the excellent Convertio online converter, drag and drop the downloaded file onto the page and select as output “Video/SWF”screenshot-convertio-co-2016-10-19-11-58-54
  5. Add as many files as you like and then convert them. There is a daily limit, but I can’t imagine you would exceed this for this purpose.
  6. Now in Prezi, you can drag and drop the new SWF file, or Insert it as a File. You can also insert it as a Background image, which is particularly good as an opener.giphy_champagne_wrong_rcs
  7. I would use it sparingly, especially as some animated gifts move very fast, but a gentle animation like the one above, or a subtle illustration can be effective.
  8. Beyond that, you can convert a (very) short and small movie from your video editing package into an swf. You can do this directly in some packages (NCH VideoPad) or export it from iMovies / Windows Movie Maker and convert it via Convertio. This could be, I imagine, a moving graph, or a quick clip.

nimbus-record-videoHave fun.