July 2017 Convocation Newsletter

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Reflection

Prospects

One of the church wardens at the Cathedral in Montreal owned a bookstore in the McGill University ghetto. He would put rather a lot of work into his window displays. One day there was a display of children’s religious books which contained one of those books with moveable cardboard bits in it. It was called Joseph in the Pit: A Popup Book. If you pulled a cardboard tab at the bottom Joseph would descend into the pit where he’d been cast by his brothers. If you pushed the tab he would pop up again.

In the beginning was the Word. In the beginning information passed from one person to others through speech. Oral tradition was the only means of distributing information until the advent of visual communication, and continued for some time to be the primary means of sharing and preserving information. Cave paintings are usually recognized as the earliest form of visual communication, with the earliest known dating to 30,000 BC. More permanent visuals — carvings rather than paintings — developed shortly thereafter, with pictograms (the predecessor to hieroglyphics and cuneiform) developing by around 9000 BC.

Giving Power to Strangers

[TEDxLSE] Writer and pilgrim Adam Weymouth reflects on the remarkable hospitality he encountered during an eight month walk taken from his home in Wiltshire, England to Istanbul. In the Bible, he says, 'the word often translated as "hospitality" is the Greek philoxenia, a love of strangers. And this goes both ways, for in a hospitable relationship each is a stranger unto the other – it is about recognising both the other within oneself, and oneself in the other.' 'We can never know where the act of hospitality will lead us. We would do well to open our doors more often.'

Yesterday I went for an afternoon run. Not only is the exercise good for my body and mind, but it is also a chance to connect to the unique features of the city. My “go-to” run usually involves a jog down Via Nazionale which then puts me at the edge of the architectural relics of Rome. Trajan’s column gives way to Piazza Venezia, and its dominating Vittoriano monument. A quick stair sprint up the steps of the Campidoglio has me thinking of Marcus Aurelius and Michelangelo...

Prospect

The invisibility of wind - the ordinary insubstantiality of air - is contrasted to its ability to affect and change the environment. It bends trees, shapes landscape and casts the water up into waves. Jesus used the image once to good effect with Nicodemus. The wind has its own origins. It rises unbidden. It changes direction. It blows where it will.

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