As with gladness, men of old,
Did the guiding star behold.
As with joy they hailed its light,
Leading onwards, beaming bright
(W. Chatterton Dix, ‘As with Gladness, Men of Old’ (c. 1861)).
Sunday, January 5. 11.15 am: Morning Prayer, St Padarn’s Church, Llanbadan Fawr. I reflected on one of the lectionary readings. God had forgiven the Apostle Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus) for prosecuting and punishing Christians, ‘unto the death’ in some cases. Moreover, God remembered his sins no more (Hebrews 8.12). Paul, however, could not forget his atrocities. Even after conversion, profound remorse coloured his self-estimation:
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst (1 Timothy 1.15).
An admission of, and forgiveness for, sin doesn’t preclude a deep and abiding sense of regret for the harm that we’ve done to others and, in some cases, to ourselves. But Paul was neither emotionally crippled nor wholly defined by his past. While believing himself to be the worst of all sinners (and this was no hyperbole on his part) he, nevertheless, could experience spiritual ecstasy and intimacy with God and, with His help, go on to make an unparalleled contribution to the theology and nurture of the nascent church. Thus, the Apostle’s past life was no match for God’s unmerited favour:
But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (Romans 5.20).
Today was the 12th Day of Christmas. Down came the decorations …
… and out through the window went the tree. (An unceremonious defenestration.):
Monday, January 6 (Epiphany). 8.00 am: A communion. 8.45 am: And so began the first day of a new term and several weeks of marking and assessing. 9.00 am: I returned to where I left off, late Saturday afternoon. The wind pressed against the windows, the rain rattled, and the temperature dropped. ‘Januaryness’ was asserting itself.
These days, whatever I’m focussed upon, part of mind is engaged in planning and decision making. This is in response to both intuitive and rational appraisals of past, present, and prevailing conditions. A transition is taking place – the necessity of which was realised several years ago. When change comes knocking, the call must be answered strategically and to the betterment of all (or as many as possible).
11.10 pm: Into the wind, rain, town, post office, and School:
1.45 pm: After lunch, I continued with marking essays: 1) ‘Don’t say things that patently aren’t true. Check your facts.’ 2) ‘Don’t contradict assertions that you’ve made in one part of the essay, in another part.’ 3) Don’t make-up facts.’ 4) ‘Just because you believe something to be true doesn’t make it so.’ 5) ‘Just because an author says so, doesn’t make it true either.’
In order to exercise my ailing back, I stood at a desk in the studio and thought-through a solution to a power supply inadequacy that dogged Pedalboard 1:
I maintained the oscillation between sitting and standing, computer and pedalboard, for the remainder of the afternoon and into the evening.
Someone from American Samoa read my ‘dairy’ today. This was a first. ‘Welcome, friend! What brings you here?’ Rarely are countries represented by a sole inquirer. Most have a number of readers who log-in on a daily basis. Of those from the UK, I know a few; although their identity isn’t discernible from the ‘site stats’. I know only because they’ve told me.