Tag Archives: 1 Corinthians

Cheerful Fingers

petworth.dairy (640x426)No, not a post about Oscar Peterson or any other pianist!

Our days in Chichester showed us many people working as volunteers; in National Trust properties, Pallant House Gallery and in Chichester Cathedral itself. We were there one morning as they came in, greeting each other, breathing the building to life. Read on and judge whether I was distracted by their voices and the click of the flower ladies’ secateurs.

These places would collapse without volunteers. As one told us, ‘When we (meaning the Trust) took over, there was just one gardener; now most work is done by volunteers.’ Note that ‘We’.

Paul saw things this way:

 God hath set the members every one of them in the body as it hath pleased him. And if they all were one member, where would be the body? But now there are many members indeed, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand: I need not thy help; nor again the head to the feet: I have no need of you. Yea, much more those that seem to be the more feeble members of the body, are more necessary.

1 Corinthians 12:18-22.

Sometimes I see volunteers begin their day at Canterbury Cathedral by lighting a candle before Our Lady Undercroft, beginning with conscious prayer, continuing praying through their work. May God bless their work and ours.

May volunteers and their work never go unappreciated by the heads of the bodies they work for: stately homes, cathedrals, FISC; schools, hospitals, hospices, …

The Winter Dairy at Petworth House, NT; maintained and explained by volunteers.

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On Not Taking Nothing for Granted.


Rain clouds near Caernarfon, April 2015.

Edward Thomas’s love of the natural world speaks to me, and his love of his children. Yet he was prone to depression and deep negativity. He was married and a father when he wrote:

I am alone. There is nothing else in my world but my dead heart and brain within me and the rain without.

Quoted by Robert Macfarlane in Landmarks, Hamish Hamilton, 2015, p245.

Thomas would walk his moods off, or at least try to. Walking, and observing.

Another observer is Fr James Kurzynski, an astronomer, for whom the heavens proclaim the Lord. He repeats Paul’s challenge:

Where, O death, is your victory?  

Where, O death, is your sting? (1 Corinthians 15:55)


The whole post is worth reading more than once. Kurzynski reminds us that Jesus was alone in the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed out of his loneliness. He did not take Nothing for for granted, but wrestled with it, and the angels ministered to him.

Sometimes wrestling with Nothing may mean carrying on ‘as if’ – as if all is well. We may not be able to pray as Jesus did, we may find it tempting to turn away from the Father, but our walk might well be to our own Emmaus: a friend may walk with us, angels may minister to us. We may only recognise them later. (Luke 24)

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Filed under Daily Reflections, Laudato si'