Creating Encounter in Colour: Red, White and Blue

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Devonshire or clotted Cornish cream, spread over the layer of waiting red preserves, strawberries captured in the sugary aspic of pectin and held perfectly on the tongue, a zing of luscious summer fruits alongside the soft dairy peaks, and all of it on the top of crumble-in-the-mouth scones, freshly baked and imparting their heat into all the rest, so that it deliciously melts.

Washing it down with orange picot or English breakfast, blue china pot warmed first before the leaves from far-off lands are heaped to infuse their flavour into just boiled water. Such is a thoroughly British late June sensation, bursting white, red and blue along with the clouds, sky and berries, a blessed Union.

And these are our colours, for which we send our lads and lasses to fight in distant un-Anglican places, and the flags that we plant in other people’s backyards, pinking the globe in British blush. We will bulldoggedly wave them at the Last Night, until we imagine Britannia rules okay.

You cannot have one United Kingdom without the other, past and present are bound together like the jam and cream before us, in a commonwealth of sweet and souring, even as we head out into hedgerowed rambling after the Sunday service, where we sang Jerusalem with ignorant gusto.

 

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Photo from Pixabay

Creating Encounter in Colour: Grey Havens

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Through a glass darkly, a smoky quartz seeing, our lives disjointed by the refraction of not holding the lens of eternity. Our sight fogged still, when the elves depart to the west, and the boats wait for us in the cobbled harbour, the mists rolling in from the grey havens. Ships with sails made of gossamer, sparkled with dew in the twilight, twixt dog and wolf, the time to embrace and own our uncertainty, walking by the moorings in the cloud of unknowing.

It is only when we set sail, that we shall begin to see, and all the steel scaffolding we thought held up the truth will fall away, scattering lines, and letting the truth fall clanking like stars. Yes, then we shall see, and all shall turn to silver glass, ice sharp wonder and clarity beyond all our wildest imaginings, even the grass, as his dear fellow inkling guessed, too sharp to set foot on until we have realised where we truly are.

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Composite art by R R Wyatt  © used with permission.

Creating Encounter in Colour: Gertrude’s Cloak

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This winter cloak is cerisely the colour of cherry pie innards, loganberries and deep Scottish heather. A long, velvet brocade that drips with the heaviness of too much wine, dizzy with its own lushness. When she sits on the gilt throne, it drapes grape-ishly along the floor, curls coquettishly into heaving shoulders of patisserie layers, as though folding in on itself in mille-feuille delicacy.

Such lightness with such weight, and the King’s silver clasp that holds it on my lady, joining across hard sternum, is thorn to its roses, ringing bells discordant at mourning, a wedding feast too close on the heels of funeral meats. A heady aroma rises and falls here, undulating like the cloth, akin to Jesus’ gambled garment, which knows no seams.

Let us not be caught unawares by the forceful fragrance of crushed petals, the impassioned poisoned perfume of ambition. Not unsexed but fully rounded, seductive, the spell of a persuasive smile and the perfectly timed drip-dropping of venom into one’s ears.

So much read that is not there, even betwixt the lines, her character moulded and imagined by so many male players and professors over the centuries. Sister to Magdalene, even she does not know how she has been played, and enfolded in plans long laid out, enveloping more than her body, cloaking her in foul deeds.

 

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Composite art by R R Wyatt  © used with permission.

Creating Encounter in Colour: Blue Pool

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Come lay yourself down on this lilo of leisure, close your screen-weary eyes and float to somewhere lostly deep. The pool is azure punctured with zaps of lightning sun, refracted zig zags of gold lapping at the lapis lazuli tiles. All is Mediterranean wonder and bright cobalt ceramic.

Feel the celestial coolness below you, imagine how the floor of heaven must feel to feet of bronze coming home after walking the earth on a summer’s day. Let your soul right itself, a Spirit levelled horizontally as you recalibrate your centre and plumb the depths in your mind’s eye. All other measuring can be released as the foolishness it is, attention given to cool turquoise surrounding you with softly undulating mammatus clouds of water, ripples kissing your sun-drenched skin and imparting life to arid places.

text © K Dibbens-Wyatt  Photo from Pixabay

Creating Encounter in Colour: Honey

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They are gentle souls we slip into like a gateway to that idyllic childhood we never had, always patiently waiting. He sits spooning hunny from one pot into another, often missing by way of his mouth.  A bear does need to eat after all, and there is quality control to think of.

Like Jonathan in the forest, your eyes will sparkle anew on eating the sacred gathered gold poured from flowers. Tea and story time is all a-drip with butter, honey and imagination, running and plentiful, deliciously treacled on toast, drizzled on scones and sustaining us through the reality of being grownups, which, frankly, is bothersome.

And in the middle of Rabbit’s rabbiting and Owl’s pontificating and Eeyore’s gloom, unperturbed by Tigger’s bouncing and Roo and Kanga’s family, holding hands with Piglet’s blinching, is rotund saffron Pooh, calmly joyful and serene, reminding us that wisdom and tolerance are better than even just a little brain.

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Composite art by R R Wyatt  © used with permission.

 

Creating Encounter in Colour: Red Shoes

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The red shoes hang on a nail by their trailing ribbons, looking innocent for all the world, though no-one is looking at them today but this tired old ballerina. She knows them only too well and will not be fooled again. New, they were the colour of nascent shell, or the inside of a kitten’s ear, all velvet oyster pinkly grey. Nude as Eve’s Edenic soles, and probably as old. Once worn and worn once, they ripped en pointe feet to shreds and quickly filled with scarlet offerings.

The world will not cease its vampiric feasting, once it has begun to make you dance to its manic tunes. Our only hope is to rip the ribbons that seemed so delightful from our calves, and tear the suckering soles from our souls. In one wrench, band-aid like tossed aside, or hung here on the wall like trophy antlers, the hooks that barbed us.  Only the free can see them for what they are, and the rest gawp at the bloodied rags, astonished that we no longer wear them.

We refuse to dance ourselves to death, and now walk healing paths in streams and forests, barefoot. If we must wear red shoes, they will be ruby slippers that have sequins missing, and when tapped together, take us home.

 

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Composite art by R R Wyatt © used with permission.

Creating Encounter in Colour

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Shortly after I began practising prayer and meditation as a central part of my life rather than an “add-on” the Lord started talking to me about colour. He reminded me how my favourite film as a child was The Wizard of Oz and hinted that my life was soon to be transformed from black and white to glorious Technicolor in the same way that the world changes for Dorothy when she travels from Kansas to Oz. After living so many years in what seemed a grey and deserted wasteland suffering with M.E. this came as very welcome news. The Lord drew out of me the realisation that colour is something that makes my heart leap.

As a child one of the most exciting things I could possibly find in a shop was a set of colouring pens or pencils. The range of pens all lined up shouting out their colours like a packaged rainbow was thrilling to me. It made me joyful. As an adult I had my capacity for joy stolen from me for a long time, due to this long and terrible illness and a crushing divorce. For years, my only consolation was doing cross stitch. The huge range of colours of embroidery thread were soothing to my soul, as was the act of creating. Next came a new, loving husband, thank God, and my new hobby, crochet, and although I could only do a very little at a time, the colours of all the yarn were balm to my wounds.

For my 40th birthday seven years ago, my parents bought me a retreat at Aylesford Priory in Kent. This was before my latest relapse which has left me almost entirely housebound. But back then, when I was sitting in the Relic Chapel which has the most beautiful coloured stained-glass windows (see my photograph above). I was thinking about prayer and colour when I felt the Lord strongly imprint a commission on my heart and I knew it was to be a writer. The first thing he wanted me to write about was colour. I duly wrote a short book which brought me great joy.  I’ve not yet been able to publish it, since it needs colour printing which is very expensive!

Three years ago, the Lord brought out of me a talent for art, and no-one was more surprised than I! My passion for colours had finally found its full outlet. I am deeply grateful. A few times over the years I have come back to writing here and there about my heart for colour, but now seems a good time to marry that with my love of art and photography, and this blog about Creating Encounter with God as well as resurrecting bits and pieces from that very first book.

My intention, God and health willing, is to post a piece a week on both this blog and at Fresh Mercies, of my trademark poetic prose, reflecting on colour as prayerful meditation. I hope that you will find your heart lifted and enjoy my little offerings. See you next week for piece one!

God bless you,

Keren

 

Creating Encounter in Colour

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Firstly, apologies for the blog having taken a short break. My M.E. has been so bad that I have got very little writing done and I have had to let some things slide. I have also taken some time to pray into how to keep up this weekly blog. The outcome will be about how we create encounter God in colours, which is something close to my heart. I will be sharing a piece once a week on here and on my Fresh Mercies blog, all being well, and now and then adding extra pieces here (including guest writers) at Lakelight on the continuing theme of encounter. I hope you will enjoy the journey!

(photo from Pixabay of the Glory window in the Thanksgiving Square Chapel at Dallas)

Creating Encounter: In Music

By Rowan Wyatt

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“Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord” Eph 5: 19-20

 

From Mozart to Motorhead, Beethoven to the Beatles, music is everywhere and with modern technology you can have it performing into your ears every minute of the day. As someone who lives for music I do exactly that, my life is made up of music. Memories are triggered by it, emotions, thoughts and creativity and more are inspired by it.

I am lucky enough also to get another benefit from music for that is where I mostly have my encounters with God. I am very intuitive towards music and I will often ‘get’ something that the composer never intended. Take for example Vaughan-Williams’ “Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis”. Whenever I listen to this music I am transported immediately to be standing beside Mary as she watches her son die on the cross, I feel the raw and wild emotion as grief and love threaten to overwhelm me to the point of drowning. I never cry but when I am here.

It is moments like these that God uses to remind me who he is and who I am in him, what he has done for me and will continue doing so, for his love for me is stronger than Mary’s was for her son as he hung on that cruel scaffold.

It goes without saying that sacred choral works move me in faith as well, but they pale into insignificance next to how I feel when I am listening to plainsong and chanting, most often nowadays erroneously labelled Gregorian Chant.

I value music as a most highly prized treasure and I am so very pleased that God has chosen this way to reveal himself to me, to instruct and support me. Being a musician, I have been able to honour Him with singing and music of my own, nothing as amazing as the Vaughan-Williams but that isn’t important, the intent, the heart is what is important. A triangle played with love and joy is of far more musical value to God and us than a virtuoso violinist ‘going through the motions’.

As an atheist I would imagine Vaughan-Williams would be amused to hear what that piece of music does to me, but I wish to thank him for it, for though his composition I have come face to face with our saviour and fallen in love with him.

Text © R R Wyatt Photo from Pixabay

Creating Encounter: In the Waiting

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Today is Pentecost Sunday when we remember the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples gathered in a house in Jerusalem, traditionally thought to be ten days after Jesus had ascended to be with the Father. Ten days and nights of waiting must have seemed a long time. It must have been a strange time, too. It was so generous of the Risen Christ to spend time with them all over a forty day period before his Ascension to make sure they were all certain of the truth.   I wonder if he had only given them fleeting glimpses, there might have been moments or hours, especially when they were trying to sleep, when this band of people would have wondered separately if they had been deluded. Had they really seen the Christ risen from the dead? He made sure they had had ample opportunity to test it out for themselves, to see and even feel his wounds, before doing what he must have longed to do, to take those hard-won battle scars home.

It was almost too amazing to contemplate. And yet, that is exactly what they had time now, to do. To think it all over, to mull, cogitate, meditate on all that had happened during their time with Jesus, and to think on how the Scriptures had been fulfilled. It must have been a time filled with the wisdom of hindsight.  “So that’s why he said that!” “I wondered what he meant by that, and now it is becoming clear!” A time of sharing wisdom and ideas, a time filled as well with “What now?”  Because they all knew they’d been told to wait for something, but they didn’t know what.

Jesus had told them, “ ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’ “ (Acts 1: 4-5)

The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is when we say the Church was truly born. But I find that short gestation period when the worshippers all met together and prayed, just as fascinating. Those in between times, those waiting times, those times when we are holding on to faith that God will act but have no real idea of what he will do. Those times probably tell us more about where we are spiritually than how we react to outpourings of blessing.

I’ve read a sermon recently where Peter was criticised for backwards thinking in using some of this time to replace Judas with another disciple. But I think that if nothing else it showed great faith, because he was already preparing for the existence of the Church. He was already acting so that all he could do was in place. He knew that this was just the beginning.

In my life, it is a time of waiting on God. It has been for years, but right at this point there are a number of things which may or may not bring great change. Whilst it might seem like living in Limbo, or being sat motionless in the doldrums, the best way I can hold on to my faith is by preparing. I don’t know what for, any more than Peter truly did, but I can put as much in place as possible, so that when God moves, I know I won’t be totally ready, but I can be getting there. Like an athlete who knows there is going to be a competition, I can exercise and practice. Like a chick who has no idea what flight is, I can still follow that instinct to prepare to flap my wings and start venturing out along branches. However still the wind might be now, God is always about to breathe.

 

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt Photo from Pixabay