Showing posts from September, 2017

Can Aikido make you a better Christian?

“We must stand on the Floating Bridge even if we can find nothing else. Before God we must give up our ego, freeing our mind of all thoughts and endeavour to be able to execute divine deeds by calming our spirit and returning to God.” - Ueshiba Morihei, Takemusu Aiki, 1976 (trans. S. Pranin, 2012) It is said that a Christian priest must always have one foot in the grave. What is less often seen is that for the priest, the grave has been harrowed, and its very emptiness is the necessary precondition of infinite and eternal life. To have one foot in the grave is to have one foot in heaven while keeping the other on earth. There is an echo of this sentiment in the Floating Bridge to which O-Sensei refers above, which he elsewhere calls the Ame no Ukihashi, the Bridge between Heaven and Earth. Custom demands that a candidate for first dan grading in Aikido write an essay on the art in daily life. My daily life, indeed my whole being, is that of a Christian priest, and it would require jarr…

If Canterbury falls... A sermon on S Ninian's Day

"The city which had taken the whole world has itself been taken."
So St Jerome wrote in AD 410 from the safety of Bethlehem, but even there the tremors could be felt from the fall of the greatest city in the known world; the city called 'eternal,' but proven by Alaric and his Visigoth hordes to be somewhat more ephemeral than her people thought. The centre of civilisation and the patriarchal see of the Western Church, reduced to rubble; leading St Jerome to plead, "If Rome can perish, what can be safe?"

And that is the milieu in which, almost equidistant from the epicentre from Bethlehem, on the other, western side, St Ninian was working to convert the native Picts of what is now southern Scotland. The shockwaves must have hit him hard: St Bede tells us that though a native Briton, it was in Rome that he learnt "the mystery of truth." Though he predates St Augustine's mission to Canterbury by some 200 hundred years, and represents that period …