February has come and gone and summer has left us in its wake. It’s been a full month, so I thought I’d just share a few of my favourite things from February.
- Book – Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. I’ve been a little late to the party on this one since it’s taken me two years to finally get to it. At Adelaide Writers Week in 2014 I had the pleasure of hearing Hannah share a little of the background to writing the book. This is a beautifully written novel based on real events in northern Iceland in 1829. Agnes Magnúsdóttir was the last person to be executed in Iceland, convicted for her part in the murders of two men. As she waits for her execution date Agnes is sent to live with District Officer Jón Jónsson, his wife and two daughters on their farm. I actually listened to the audiobook which was wonderfully read and made it much easier to cope with the unfamiliar Icelandic names. I was transported into the story, the characters drawn with empathy and insight. This is a book that will stay with me for a long time.
- Music – Audrey Assad’s new album Inheritance was released this month. A combination of wonderful hymns and original songs, I’m having trouble picking a favourite song. Some lovely versions of beloved hymns such as “Be Thou My Vision” and “It Is Well with My Soul” notwithstanding, there are two beautiful original songs (“New Every Morning” and “Even Unto Death”) which have been an accompanying me as a daily soundtrack in the last week or two. I’ll let you choose a favourite for yourself:
- Prayer Sunday – this year at church we are beginning a new practice of devoting one worship gathering per month specifically for prayer. This month we focussed on the presence of the Lord, and I was delighted see how we embraced the invitation to be in prayer and silence with each other. One thing I asked people to consider were the ways in which they feel closest to God, and I shared the images below, inviting them to notice which ones they felt most drawn toward. It was wonderful to hear people sharing the different ways that they feel God’s presence with them. It may not surprise you to know that one of my favourite ways of connecting with God is to spend time out in nature – I love the invitation of a bench in a park or garden. Which images resonate with you?
- The Fringe Festival – Think circus and jazz in a 19th century barroom and you might have a small idea of what to expect from “Scotch and Soda.” Mind-boggling feats of balance, acrobatics, trapeze artistry, and hi-jinks, accompanied by a lively group of jazz musicians. A fun time was had by all.