Scriptures and Pictures
A year in verse and image
June - Assurance, Solace and Peace
June, a bright and beautiful summer month, midway through the year. A time to reflect on the past and think about the future. Do you look back with quiet content and a sense of achievement, and, also look forward with anticipation towards fulfilling times to come? If these words seem to hang heavily in the air then you are not alone, read on...
While out walking I came upon the Sycamore tree in the first photo. I thought that trees are a wonderful example of the timeless, constant, reliability of God. Many trees have faithfully provided their seasonal changes long before we were born and will continue after our passing. Their beauty, stability and strength are a testament in these uncertain times. The second photo was taken at Bempton Cliffs, as the seabirds constantly and effortlessly wheeled and dived together overhead; another timeless example of constancy and assurance provided in nature. The third photo, taken at Ellerburn shows a scene of tranquility which will only change as the trees grow and mature. Do you remember the snowy frosted rhododendron buds shown in February? The fourth photo shows the fulfilment of that special promise.
Sometimes Jesus saw and explained the natural world as an illustration of the assurance, solace and peace which faith can bring. As we grow in faith we gradually put down roots which help us flourish and find renewal as the seasons of our lives unfold.
Psalm 46 v.10
'Be still and know that I am God'
Psalm 46 v.1
'God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.'
Matthew 6 v. 25-27
'Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who by worrying can add a single hour to his life.'
Philippians 4 v.5-7
'.....The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.'
John 14 v.27
'Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.'
May - The Path of Peace
Recently many people have used lots of local paths for exercise, exploration and solace. The first two photos were taken around Thornton le Dale, the third photo was taken at Ellers Pond, Ellerburn. The fourth photo was taken in the very lovely Castle Woods at Skipton. As you read the following collage of phrases, interplay the ideas with your own spiritual path and ponder your future way ahead. The photos may help you add a further layer of thinking, the Biblical texts, the true guide.
A winding path, a blocked path. Need to turn back. Through dark woods; a dappled shaded glade; near a stream; a fork in the path. Lost. A Guide; forest path; shadows; sign posts. Lovely view. Getting on the wrong path, a map, retracing your footsteps, stumbling along the way. A narrow path. Adverse weather. A boggy path; no sense of direction. A stony path, a straight path. A narrow path. A lonely path. An alluring alternative path. Missing the turn. Leading. Following. Which way? Trudging on, steep, crumbling, worn, slippy path. Rescue. Find the firm, right path. Home!
Psalm 25 v. 4 – 5
"Show me your ways O Lord, teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are my God my Saviour,
and my hope is in you all day long."
Isaiah 42 v. 16
"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths will I guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth."
Psalm 23 v. 1 -4
"....he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
for his name's sake."
Exodus 23 v. 20
"See, I am sending an Angel ahead of you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared."
April - Love at Easter
The first two photos and text may help us quietly think about Good Friday, they show our big old 19th century family Bible; in the second picture it is open at 1 Corinthians Ch. 13.
The third photo and text attempt to link ideas and portray something of the bewildering grief of Easter Saturday.
The fourth photo and text will hopefully enrich our thoughts for the joy of Easter Sunday. The photo includes pretty pan-tiles which seem to be the flowing signature of the Ryedale area. The last photo shows the promise of the sun rising over Ryedale.
When you go through grief and sorrow for the passing of a loved one or feel empathy for public grief, reflect on the love and sacrifice of Good Friday; contemplate the closed cold tomb of Easter Saturday; then pause, and let your heart be assured and find release in the radiance, love and triumph of Easter Sunday.
Luke 23 v.44
"It was about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the Temple was torn in two. Jesus called out in a loud voice, Father into your hands I commit my spirit. When he had said this, he breathed his last."
Matthew 5 v.4
"Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted."
John 11.v.25 "..... I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."
March - The bridge to Spring
In our day to day lives we put our faith in various built structures, bridges are a good example of this and if well maintained they are strong and almost timeless. Two of the pictures show local bridges, the first is the beautiful little packhorse bridge near Pickering and the second is the parkland bridge in Thornton le Dale. Both have been trusted and travelled over for many years. The rainbow shape of the bridges gives confidence that we will be raised up above all danger. The third picture shows perennial Primroses, a vibrant reminder that Winter is faithfully followed by Spring.
Faith is a gentle sounding word carrying immense strength, power and several strands of meaning. For Christians complete faith in the life story and teachings of Christ shapes our lives. Faith is like a bridge, step on the bridge and you will find Christ coming to meet you from the other side.
Hebrews 11. v.1
'Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.'
Hebrews 11. v 6
'And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.'
1 Peter. v. 8-9
'Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.'
February - Hope
Hope is a bright word full of promise and expectation; for Christians hope also looks forward with confidence towards God's promises. The strength of that hope is rooted in God's faithfulness. The pictures of Snowdrops, Daffodils in bud, Aconites and Rhododendron buds were all taken locally during this bleak February, with the intention of capturing pictures of life after winter. These heralds of Spring reassure us of the changing seasons and remind us of hope rooted in faith.
Romans 15 v. 13
'May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.'
Romans 12 v. 12
'Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.'
Jeremiah 29 v.11
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Verses and Pictures for January
A text is a few sentences, a little window of information taken from the Bible which you can turn over and over in your mind like a pebble in a stream. It can stand alone or it can be teased out in the context of the whole chapter. This is your choice. A picture helps you think more deeply about a text allowing you to linger while the words sink into your mind and memory. The first three texts have imagery of streams and the pictures are of the local streams in Thornton le Dale. If you come upon the scenes you might remember the text too.
Isaiah 43 verses 1b - 2 'Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you.'
Amos 5. verse 24 'Let justice roll on like a river and righteousness like a never ending stream.'
Psalm 1. verse 3 (A faithful and Godly man) 'He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.'