God · Jesus · The Holy Spirit

A Walk In The Park

The walk

Last Saturday, 10th September 2022, I went on my usual morning walk in the park, which is just five minutes from our house. There was to have been an event in the park today supporting the local Pride celebrations. Like many other things this weekend, it’s been postponed because of the death of the Queen.

There would have been a lot going on here today with presumably the weekly Park Run as well as all the other events.

Even so, the park was bustling with activity, and as I took my walk, I began to be aware of diversity. I noticed first of all the variety of the park itself with all the different species of trees. I also noticed the the different people that I encountered. For example I’d never been aware of the Sikh community in the city before, but I saw two Sikh men walking and conversing together. I also saw two people who looked to have come prepared for the Pride events, one with rainbow hat and skirt, and the other with a rainbow scarf.

In amongst all of that, there were people using the outdoor exercise equipment; there were runners, although I guess the Parkrun had also been cancelled; there was a group of young men exercising as part of the Military Academy MPCT, that among other things prepares people for the Armed Forces; there were a few dog walkers, and another group doing some kind of exercise; the children’s play park is well used ; this part of the city is very multi cultural and multi faith, and that diversity was also apparent all around me.

Serendipity ?

Here’s the thing – I had just completed my daily prayer podcast, and had begun to listen to an interview with Rowan Williams, who was Archbishop of Canterbury until 2012.

And as I was seeing all this diversity before me, Roman Williams was talking about exactly the same thing, The diversity of human life, and that whoever you are, you can take pride in who you are and what you are.

He went on to talk about a Russian Orthodox theologian, Vladimir Lossky: “in the church, the action of Jesus Christ is to restore everybody’s possibilities, but it takes the Holy Spirit to make those possibilities actual in countless unrepeatable ways, so that the Holy Spirit’s presence, the Holy Spirit’s person you might say, is going to be the whole total of diverse human responses.”

Lossky again – we know that the face of the Eternal Word of God is Jesus Christ, but the face of the Holy Spirit to us is the infinite variety of human lives that have been turned around and transfigured by the Spirit.

As I sometimes find, it is the surprising conjunction of two seemingly unconnected things that struck me. The postponed Pride event, and Rowan Williams talking about pride – not the pride that is about flourishing at someone else’s expense, but about a loving acceptance of the person you are.

Grace and peace


Song for Today #15


Such a great lyric, and timeless.  Folk song written by Hamilton Camp, but this version by Quicksilver Messenger Service gives it the full on rock treatment with fantastic guitar work by John Cippolina

Turn around, go back down, back the way you came
Can’t you see that flash of fire ten times brighter than the day
And behold a mighty city broken in the dust again
Oh God, pride of man broken in the dust again

Turn around, go back down, back the way you came
Babylon is laid to waste, Egypt’s buried in her shame
Their mighty men are all beaten down their kings are fallen in the way
Oh God, pride of man broken in the dust again

Turn around, go back down, back the way you came
Terror is on every side, lo our leaders are dismayed
All those who place their faith in fire, in fire their fate shall be repaid
Oh God, pride of man broken in the dust again

Turn around, go back down back the way you came
And shout a warning unto the nation that the sword of God is raised
On Babylon that mighty city, rich in treasures, wide in fame
Oh God, pride of man broken in the dust again

The meek shall cause your tower to fall and make of you a pyre of flame
Oh, you who dwell on many waters rich in treasure, wide in fame
You bow unto your god of gold your pride of might shall be your shame
For only God can lead his people back unto the earth again
Oh God, pride of man broken in the dust again

Your holy mountain be restored
Have, mercy on the people
The people, Lord.