One of my earliest memories is of a travelling salesman who called to our home and spent some time trying to persuade mum and dad to buy the Encyclopedia Britannica. At that time, back in the early 1960s, this wonderful treasury of knowledge came in twenty four large volumes and cost a considerable amount of money. My parents would have loved to buy it to help their children in our learning but sadly couldn’t afford it and the salesman had to admit defeat and leave without a sale and without his commission!
Fast forward to today and the World Wide Web (internet) is a truly amazing thing. Thousands of powerful computers, located across the world and storing inconceivably huge amounts of information, are all interconnected with each other, and anyone who has access to a suitable device can plug in to this massive treasure trove of knowledge, pretty much for free.
Of course some of this vast store of information is dodgy to say the least, and sad to say there are malicious individuals and groups who purposely proffer false ‘facts’ and dangerous advice that can and does cause harm. We all need to be careful what we visit and view on the web, but in general there is so much valuable and interesting content at our fingertips that the web is a magnificent development of modern technology that has in many ways changed our world and even how we interact with one another.
I have always had a sense of God and a deep need to express the truths of the Gospel of Jesus. That’s why I became a priest many years ago and since having left the active ministry I have struggled to find any release for this ‘fire in my heart’. It’s perhaps a reflection on the clericalism of the Catholic Church that few apart from priests are given the opportunity to preach the Good News of the Kingdom. No wonder then that for me the internet, and my website poemsforpilgrims.com, have given me a platform and an outlet for this fire in my heart. I constantly pray that my website, its poetry and blogs, are all according to the mind of God and will never ever mislead or cause someone to turn against God.
My website has given me the possibility of sharing the things of God with others, and yet there is a catch: partly because the web is so vast but also because to find something in the web you have to know how and where to search. While setting up and maintaining a website is relatively cheap, the process of making it well known and well visited can be complex and quite costly. My attitude has been: if there is anything of God in my website and God wants to make use of it then God can take the lead. I admit that that sort of attitude can often be a cop-out!
I’ve called this short blog “A voice crying in the wilderness”, borrowing John the Baptist’s description of himself, itself taken from the words of the prophet Isaiah (John 1: 23 and Isaiah 40: 3). In saying this I acknowledge that my poems have gone from being hidden in a cupboard to being effectively hidden in the vast ‘wilderness’ of the internet and that therefore my voice – which I hope is also the voice of God – has been isolated and ‘crying out in that wilderness’.
The home page of my website gives my mission statement:
a small website that seeks to combine two tremendous forces:
~ the Good News of Jesus
~ the power of poetry.
I do think my website is fairly unusual among the countless myriads of websites because there is no commercial aspect to it – there is nothing to buy or sell. And another thing which I do believe is pretty well unique – I certainly haven’t found another website that carries this – is a ‘website blessing’. While many websites contain prayers and specific prayers of blessing, my site has a specific blessing for everyone who visits, whether they actually alight on that page or not. And that means you!
People reacted to Jesus in different ways: some loved and adored Him while others hated and rejected Him. Few I suspect were ever left unmoved by Him. My hope is that through my website the Good News of Jesus is proclaimed and that visitors to the site are left hot or cold, but never lukewarm.