Thursday, January 10, 2008

John O'Donohue

I like many are deeply saddened by the news of John O'Donohue's sudden death while on holiday in France. John was a giant of a man in so many ways, yet I have never met anyone more gentle of heart and spirit.

I remember fondly that when he spoke to me just after the death of my Mum, his gentleness and creative genius touched my griefing soul.

Whilst he is no doubt just about now bending Yahweh's ear about something or other, his God-filled soul and kind spirit are at peace.

These words are from John's own hand and minister to us even though his journey is complete.

On the death of the Beloved

Though we need to weep your loss, You dwell in that safe place in our hearts, Where no storm or night or pain can reach you.
Your love was like the dawnBrightening over our livesAwakening beneath the darkA further adventure of colour.
The sound of your voiceFound for usA new musicThat brightened everything.
Whatever you enfolded in your gazeQuickened in the joy of its being; You placed smiles like flowersOn the altar of the heart. Your mind always sparkled With wonder at things.
Though your days here were brief, Your spirit was live, awake, complete.
We look towards each other no longerFrom the old distance of our names; Now you dwell inside the rhythm of breath, As close to us as we are to ourselves.
Though we cannot see you with outward eyes, We know our soul’s gaze is upon your face, Smiling back at us from within everythingTo which we bring our best refinement.
Let us not look for you only in memory, Where we would grow lonely without you. You would want us to find you in presence, Beside us when beauty brightens, When kindness glowsAnd music echoes eternal tones.
When orchids brighten the earth, Darkest winter has turned to spring; May this dark grief flower with hopeIn every heart that loves you.
May you continue to inspire us:
To enter each day with a generous heart. To serve the call of courage and loveUntil we see your beautiful face againIn that land where there is no more separation, Where all tears will be wiped from our mind, And where we will never lose you again.

-- John O’Donohue

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Happy New year to any who pass the way of Graceland at this time of the year and we wish you God's blessing for 2008.

May things go well with you and yours.


Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves
When our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little
When we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst for the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back the horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Foy's Noise

Despite the miserable November deluge, I found myself amongst the Belfast student scene on Saturday night savouring the delights of Foy Vance in concert.

It was a virtuoso performance by a man at the top of his musical & performance game.

Profound, soulful, witty, intelligent & immensley creative. Foy held the packed Mandela Hall in the palm of his hands as he sang, looped & played his way through most of his ever growing catalogue.

If you haven't had the Foy experience, you don't know what you're missing.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

God is not elsewhere

You might consider visiting Gareth Higgins blog at this link;

Always thought provoking and insightful. His most recent entry raises much needed questions about "rendition" which flow from the recent film of the same name.

Having viewed it, I am troubled and challenged by the issues it raises and its depiction of the everyday practice which the American Government advocates and endorses and UK Government seems to allow to go largely unchallenged. Gareths thoughts are:

"Some thoughts on the practice of extraordinary rendition - The fact that we know such practices are employed in our name should have been enough of a wake up call – but as yet, the groaning near-silence of free people whose leaders exercise injustice on our behalf continues. Are we prepared to do more than go to meetings, or to pray, or to write blog posts about what is happening in our world? What will a non-violent Reformation require of us? - if you want to read more of my thoughts on this, check out the God's Politics blog..."

Friday, November 09, 2007

What are we reading?

A generous soul recently gave me the gift of Brian McLaren's latest book, Everything Must Change.
As with most of McLaren's work, this is a provocative and challenging read and whilst I haven't read enough to give a full review, it may be something you may consider giving as a gift this Christmas.
A full review will follow later.
Made me wonder what others out there in cyberland may be reading?
Feel free to offer Graceland a recommendation.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


"Nothing makes one so dizzy as human reasoning, which sees everything from an earthly point of view, and does not allow illumination from above. Earthly reasoning is covered with mud. Therefore, we have need of streams from above, so that, when the mud has fallen away, whatever part of the reason is pure may be carried on high and may be thoroughly imbued with the lessons taught there. This takes place when we manifest both a well-disposed soul and an upright life."
St. John Chrysostom, Homily 24 (John 2:23-3:4), A.D. 390