LOVELY TIME TODAY leading a day retreat for the Macclesfield Team Contemplative Prayer Group. The delightful Friends Meeting House in Antrobus was the well chosen venue, and the familiar ‘Quaker hospitality’ of the place, coupled with stunning, moving winter sunshine in mid-Cheshire countryside was the perfect breathing space on the eve of Advent Sunday.

Contemplation – “setting aside space to gaze at something, or someone, intently.” One of our little gathering spoke of the quietening of his heartbeat, and a general slowing of pace, for which he was patently thankful. Others spoke of similar experience.

I hear the Advent call tonight. “Sleepers wake!”, together with the encouragement of that great Quaker, Parker J Palmer, to “Let Your Life Speak”. And I’m conscious of the deep need in me, and frequently in the Church at large, to be awake and yet to be still sometimes, whilst awake. That’s contemplation. And yes, there’s much to be done in busy lives. But all that is needful is so much the better supplied when we, like Jesus before us, have set aside time and space enough, often enough, to gaze at something, or someone, intently.

Grateful thanks to new friends, and to The Society of Friends for affording us such delightful space so to do, and to my valued friend, the thoughtful Rector of Macclesfield, whose own capacity for contemplation continues to inspire and illuminate me, as surely as the blessings of winter sunshine.


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