Unbroken is a film worth watching. Jack O’Connell’s performance is great, and he has received the BAFTA Rising Star Award this year. He plays Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete who enlists in the military in WW2 and struggles through hardships, refusing to be “broken” in a Prisoner of War camp. It is also based on a true story, and you can view the trailer here.

The rest of this post will contain *spoilers* so don’t read on if you do not wish to know particular details about the film and its ending.

In the PoW camp Louis is imprisoned in, the Japanese head guard is someone he had met at the Olympics, and this creates a tension which eventually brings the guard to tears, as men who had once been equals realise the harshness of the war.

At the end of the film a message pops onto the screen:

After years of severe post-traumatic stress, Louie made good on his promise to serve God, a decision he credited with saving his life. Motivated by his faith, Louie came to see that the way forward was not revenge, but forgiveness. He returned to Japan, where he found and made peace with his former captors.

I was reminded of Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place, a book I read in 2010, which is similar in that Corrie eventually shakes the hand of one of her captors and feels that despite his sins God has been able to forgive him because of his repentance.

The message of forgiveness and the strength of will displayed in this film are beautiful and encouraging. A film well worth watching.

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Plaisir d’Amour

I went to a Folk night (acoustic only) recently, and it was great. A fairly small room but about 40 of us sat inside by candle-light with people playing the guitar, singing, telling short stories and poetry, a lot of which were beautiful original pieces and some which were well-known which we could all join in with.

To me, I felt like that night was like church. We all gathered in one place with a shared love in something, and shared stories and emotions in music and poetry. We didn’t talk about explicitly about Jesus, no, but we talked about life and love in a way I think God would be happy about. We had moments of reflective sadness, with songs about loneliness and loss, we had more upbeat songs such as The Wild Rover which got us all singing and stamping our feet, and we had funny stories to laugh to.

Psalm 133:1 How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!

I loved most of the music that night, but the one that has been most in my mind since has been Plaisir d’Amour, sang then by mother and daughter.

The pleasure of love lasts only a moment
The grief of love lasts a lifetime.

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A Very Special Easter

Funny how the weather seemed to fit the timing of our Easter calendar this year; on Good Friday it was a bitterly cold, windy and dark day, but on Easter Sunday the sun came out, much warmer than it has done so far this year. I’ve enjoyed a few days sat in what feels like the summer sun, reading, and feeling a hundred times better for the warmth it brings, and been happily reminded of the presence of Jesus in my life by a host of videos, music and words pointed out by others.

I hope you have had a very special Easter.

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Christmas starts with Christ

I often get stressed and worried when Christmas comes around because I’m thinking about how I should be spending it and what it should mean to me and to others. I worry that it has become too secularised, that we don’t think about ‘Christ’ enough and that Jesus is forgotten. My partner told me that Jesus isn’t forgotten because he’s in my head and in my heart throughout Christmas, and in hers, and in other peoples too. She also reminds me often that God is Love, and so I can see that a Christmas spent with people I love is a Christmas spent with God, and that Jesus would be happy to see it as a time of love, and of coming together. I’ve watched the above video, “Christmas starts with Christ”, several times since I saw the advert, and my attention is so often drawn to the man in the video, and the huge love displayed in his face.

Christmas starts with Christ. Christmas is the story of the power of love. I hope you have a joyous, merry, love-filled Christmas.

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For The Fallen

Words taken from Laurence Binyon’s poem, Douglas Guest’s music

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

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Árstíðir – Heyr himna smiður (Hear, smith of the heavens)

Heyr, himna smiður,                    Hear, smith of the heavens,
hvers skáldið biður.                      what the poet asks.
Komi mjúk til mín                         May softly come unto me
miskunnin þín.                               thy mercy.
Því heit eg á þig,                            So I call on thee,
þú hefur skaptan mig.                  for thou hast created me.
Eg er þrællinn þinn,                      I am thy slave,
þú ert drottinn minn.                   thou art my Lord.

Guð, heit eg á þig,                         God, I call on thee
að þú græðir mig.                          to heal me.
Minnst þú, mildingur, mín,          Remember me, mild one,
mest þurfum þín.                          Most we need thee.
Ryð þú, röðla gramur,                  Drive out, O king of suns,
ríklyndur og framur,                    generous and great,
hölds hverri sorg                           human every sorrow
úr hjartaborg.                                from the city of the heart.

Gæt þú, mildingur, mín,              Watch over me, mild one,
mest þurfum þín,                         Most we need thee,
helzt hverja stund                        truly every moment
á hölda grund.                              in the world of men.          
Send þú, meyjar mögur,             send us, son of the virgin,
málsefnin fögur,                           good causes,
öll er hjálp af þér,                        all aid is from thee,
í hjarta mér.                                 in my heart.

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Father Hear the Prayer we Offer

Father, hear the prayer we offer:
not for ease that prayer shall be,
but for strength, that we may ever
live our lives courageously.

Not for ever in green pastures
do we ask our way to be ;
but the steep and rugged pathway
may we tread rejoicingly.

Not forever by still waters
would we idly rest and stay;
but would smite the living fountains
from the rocks along our way.

Be our strength in hours of weakness,
in our wanderings be our Guide;
through endeavor, failure, danger,
Savior, be thou at our side.

Lent may be over, but its lessons should be remembered. It is not about giving up chocolate, it is about contrition…

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