Poetic homilies, Year A

A, Advent 1 a                                                            Fulfillment

 

‘The time has come’.

Romans 13.11

 

Father, fulfill your plan in us.

Out of happiness you made us;

to happiness you send us.

Take us out of ourselves.

Make us what you want us to be.

 

You are holy, transcendent, happy.

You live in joy.

Pleasure is your constant state.

 

Let your joy inhabit us and excite us and

from within change us,

as the rising sun colours the dawn;

transfigure us and bring us to fulfillment.

Thus you will father us anew.

 

We are restless until you change us.

Give us the freshness of the new morning.

Touch us; cleanse us with your happiness.

 

Then all things will spring from our hands.

Whole new worlds will issue at our touch.

 

We shall look upon each other and see you.

In each other we shall see all things made new.

At last we shall see each other without fear.

 

What love, what affection,

what transports of delight, what intimacy.

what clarity and openness!

 

We shall be with you and in you.

We shall be as Christ to you.

To us shall come the Spirit softly walking.

From us the Spirit shall proceed: the great sigh of relief.

 

All shall be grace.

 

A, Advent 1 b                                               Creation

 

‘May peace reign in your walls,

in your palaces peace. ‘

Psalm 121.7

 

Father,

we are waves of the ocean: restless, passing;

but forever you are.

We seem to be, but you are;

– how our minds burst at the thought: you are rather than are not.

 

Here is not some cold world, uninhabited, a freakish mix.

Nor are you the distant, the detached observer of human frailty.

 

In peace you made us; in peace we shall be made anew.

You are the creator. You are our destroyer.

You delight to fashion and refashion.

You are with us.

 

How did you make the colour of the plumage?

The subtleties of insects,

the secretions of the earth:

how did they arise?

 

This earth, this jewel among the boulders of the cosmos:

how come?

Reason cannot know the mechanics of creation.

When at last we understand love we shall map the workings of love

 

As you are. we shall be too,

As we are, our world will be.

We shall not gobble up the earth,

We shall explore and

imagine and

shape and

transfigure our earth into Spirit.

 

We are fathers of the world to come.

 

 

A, Advent 2 a                                                In mankind

 

Then Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole Jordan district

made their way to him.

Matthew 3.5-6

 

Father, we are made in your image, for

we can laugh,

we can weep,

we are free, and

to us you have given charge of all.

 

Sinful, yes, weak, but

we are not corrupted, depraved, everyone, for

your image still lingers, and

still we smile at the onset of love.

 

All saints, the kings, the prophets of the past

have helped our minds to recognise the image of your Son.

The gnarled faces of the poor have prepared us for the crucified one.

How could he not bear the face of shame: the face of our many brothers?

 

He is not just another teacher in a tiresome cycle:

you have sent them all to prepare us to recognise him.

 

All flesh shall come to him

who stands at the centre.

 

He comes gently.

Without noise he allows your light to shine on us.

You do not sweep away our fondest memories.

Our history is precious

 

You have waited for us to bear the imprint of his face.

With joy and ease our human nature takes on his smile.

 

Your heart beats in ours.

We shall draw on the wealth you have placed in our hands.

 

We shall reshape the world, this humanity,

in our image,

in your image and

 

from the image of God

form our world into the Son of God,

so that he is come again.

A, Advent 2 b                                                In nature

 

‘God can raise children for Abraham from these stones.’

Matthew 3.9

 

All speaks of you, Father, the One, the only One, the merciful.

Each palm leaf traces the journeys of our world,

Each speck touches all times until the last.

 

How beautiful, how fragile this earth.

Our frailty and inconsequence show your immortal hand,

You who are.

 

The patterns of the sand and the beauty of finch’s wings,

the leaps and bounds of this evolving world,

all lead to Him

who whispers gently through the lattice.

 

How I love this world and its future

 

Out of the stones you have drawn flesh.

You have prepared a body for the Son of Abraham, the Saviour

and he inhabits this world

Without him the landscape is sorry and forlorn

 

These very stones, cracked by our human violence,

Still speak your wonder.

 

Father, be with us and

we shall tame this beautiful, this violent world of plants and beasts,

the world of storms and sunsets, of vitality and epidemics

 

Father us and we shall father the world to come.

What wonderful resources you have placed here

beneath our hands and within our bodies.

 

There will be a new evolution into Spirit.

We shall transfigure our world and our flesh and

from our body shape the world to come,

till we become Light and Freedom,

 

for such you are

before ever the world was.

 

 

A, Advent 3 a                                                            John restores

 

He is the one of whom scripture says:

Look, I am going to send my messenger before you;

he will prepare your way.

Matthew 11.10

 

Father,

You drew John the Baptist out into the desert,

there to live with you, from his earliest days;

there to live once again like your people,

escaping from Egypt,

to live in your light, in the silence and space of the wilderness;

in you alone.

Take me to yourself,

let me leave all things and fly to you;

in the silence and the bush let me dwell with you

– as I did before.

Father, there in the silence of his cave you spoke your Word to him.

He listened and leaped with joy;

as once to your people at Sinai

you spoke and gave the Law,

which they received with fear.

Here in the bush

you have spoken to me things both new and old,

startling things, secrets,

the Word and world to come.

I listen with all my heart.

Father, when the time came

you showed John to Israel,

startling them by the signs he gave.

He calls them to come out again into the desert,

away from their pagan ways,

to be purified and restored to the Covenant.

Only by restoring the original purity

could you make the New Light burst upon the earth.

Fill me with speech. Give me words of power.

Give me signs to touch and to stun,

that I may speak to the heart of this people of yours.

Make me the Word.

Father, you made him die for the Law.

so perfectly did he live it.

Like Moses he had to end there beyond the river,

outside the kingdom of heaven.

Let me give witness to you with my breath and my life’s blood,

spending my life in this marvelous adventure of the Spirit.

A, Advent 3 b                                                John the Forerunner

 

Are you the one who is to come, or

have we got to wait for someone else?

Matthew 11.3

 

John lived in the wilderness,

like the first man, the first Adam.

Father, it is you who dwell in light inaccessible.

With you Jesus has dwelt in the desert of your presence, always,

and from you he has come, taking flesh of Mary.

John in his way of life foretold this.

In the silence of the bush I dwell.

With you I live, without separation.

Otherwise I could not bear it.

Already from this silence I live the future.

In the silence, you spoke your Word to John,

and again the Word would come to him, gently walking.

Already he knew your Word and

so had eyes to see the Word made flesh.

John could cry out in greeting

as he had welcomed the Word in solitude.

I too shall be with the Word,

he who lives now, risen from the dead.

I live with him risen and draw him out

so that he is come again in me.

John spoke your Word to Israel and

sternly called them to repentance.

Only by returning to the original covenant

could the new Word he spoken.

Thus Jesus could speak himself,

standing before Israel in his flesh.

speaking words of authority and graciousness.

Let me be the Word

to make the new heavens and the new earth.

Father, you sent John to a martyr’s death.

He was beheaded for your Law

and was buried and so remained.

He prepared Jesus for his own death.

Jesus too must die,

not for the Law but for grace.

He too must suffer a pagan death – but only to rise again.

Let me pour out my life’s blood

for the sake of the Risen Word in me

as I struggle, with such difficulty, to say it:

and so bring life to our flesh

A, Advent 4 a                                                The sending

 

‘They will call him Emmanuel,

a name, which means ‘God-is-with-us’.’

Matthew 1.23.

 

Father, from the beginning you said your Word.

You expressed your Word and

he is there before you,

your image,

the perfect expression of your being.

You could not but communicate yourself,

for you are generous and outgoing.

Creator, in your delight

you spoke and light sprang into being.

You spoke the word and

we were formed in your image

made fruitful and

given responsibility for the earth and all its creatures.

All things were created through him

whom you spoke from all eternity.

Redeemer, from the start you wished to bring us to yourself.

You inspired the prophets and

they spoke your Word in words

to hold our minds and warm our hearts.

You spoke to the people taken from the dust of creation

and from their lips the powerful Word sprang forth:

a new song,

a new word

revealing things never been heard before.

Father, again you spoke, now completely, to our flesh

speaking in our flesh.

You inspired the Virgin Mary and                                                              from her flesh she spoke your Word.

No man’s permission was asked.

You alone spoke, and you spoke fully.

Out of darkness and nothingness you made the light.

With no help from any man you made the Word take flesh.

You call us to a life beyond birth and death.

By Spirit you made the Word take flesh.

By Word and Spirit we shall give birth                                                                  to a new heavens and a new earth.

 

 


 

A, Advent 4 b                                                Joseph

 

She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus,

because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.      

Matthew 1.21

 

Joseph,

you had intended to make Mary as your wife.

What consternation as you found her already pregnant!

Yet you were a just man and did not want her shamed.

 

Mary held out to you, like a new Eve,

not a forbidden fruit but the Fruit of the Tree of Life,

produced from both heaven and earth.

You, a new Adam, accepted from her this fruit.

The disobedience of the first couple was undone.

 

You took Mary home as your wife.

Here is a new way of bearing children!

He was not born of the urge of flesh or the will of man.

No need for the cycle of birth and death

and the endless incapacity of flesh to give lasting birth.

 

Joseph, you took the boy and named him.

You gave him a home, a family, a tribe, a status in Israel.

You gave him character and a trade.          ~-

He called you ‘abba’ and ‘father’.

Yes, he took flesh from Mary;          ….

but he took personality from you.

 

Mary was your wife and you were her husband.

She remained ever Virgin but

in the light of your male character she flowered

and you became strong in her presence.

 

You and she are the new man and woman,

the male and female of the new times.

Our human flesh takes on a new fertility.

Now, by our flesh we bring to an eternal birth, a lasting loving.

By the power of the Spirit

we who are flesh become spirit; we do not cease to be flesh;

and with our new flesh we give life.

 

For this we thank you, Joseph.

 

 

A, Christmas, Midnight                              Pre-existence

 

and this is the name they give him:

Wonder-Counsellor. Mighty-God. Eternal-Father, Prince-oJPeace.

Isaiah 9.6b

 

He is with you from the beginning, Father,

so profoundly one:

he could not endure to be without you.

It must be from the beginning that he is with you,

not called to your side          since he has never left it,

sent,                                        yet never absent from you.

His thought is stayed on you, and

his look is an eternal look and

his words have the calm of the eternal fire

so that people could know that he came from above.

Is he not Elijah come down from heaven or

John raised from the dead, they say?

He exists before time

so as to save us from time’s dislocation,

the passing of our joys

the length of our pain.

He exists without time

and enables us to take on time:

to enjoy the rippling stream, the budding flower,

making things beautiful with a timeless beauty,

and we enjoy                         the periods of time and

the pregnancy of the earth:

the coming to birth.

He is compassionate to all, and therefore is before all.

Disturbed at the sight of our sorrows and

at the mortality of his friend Lazarus

he is yet profoundly free of all time.

He can, therefore, enter every moment and every tomb.

He is at the start of all,          with the eternal Father,

free, untrammeled, unconfined,

the Word                                in whom all things are made,

from whom all things proceed.

He is he Word                       uttered, sent, heard in time.

We come to him and could not endure to be without him.

We are reborn from above and become eternal,

pre-existing our time

saved from time and

able to love time.

 

Time becomes eternal: the lovely dance of the Spirit.

A, Christmas, Dawn                                    “he came down from heaven”

 

So they hurried away and found Mary and Joseph,

and the baby lying in the manger.

Luke 2.16

 

He left your house, Father, and

submitted to our time and

took on our flesh.

In him, the Word, all things were made.

But how could he speak and be heard?

He must lower himself and

limit his Word to our speech.

How else could we hear the massive tones?

He must disguise himself and

come down to our level and

suggest his glory,

giving signs and hints of his Sonship and

so reveal your presence.

He came because you were communicating with us.

He is your Word

uttered by you and

received by us,

your Word,

speaking you and spoken to us,

your word spoken in our terms

from you and with us,

with you and for us.

He came from a glory

we can only begin to understand.

He went to a state of suffering

we can never experience.

He knew no sin

because he wore our sin and its pain.

He retained his honour by

taking on the shame of being crucified between thieves.

He knew you face to face,

and suffered more terribly at being abandoned in death.

We hear him and

become whom we hear and

so come to you, and

we are at last in our Father’s home nearest to your heart,

Ah, Father!

 

 


 

A, Christmas, Day                                       The Word was made flesh

 

The Word was made flesh, he lived among us and

we saw his glory,

the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father,

full of grace and truth.

John 1.14

 

From him, for him,

mysteriously,

the world and all flesh spring, and

are there before him,

and yet master him, and

he takes the form they require.

 

Thus, by the Jewish woman he is drawn

to be a Jew.

 

Flesh elicits him,

not to be just the same but

to inspire and

to change flesh with his form,

and you show him in light on the mountain.

 

He becomes the flesh which so charms him,

taking on sinful flesh,

becoming the opposite of flesh.

even death, dying on the cross.

 

His flesh is made spirit for her,

leaving the tomb, filling all creation,

so as to penetrate completely into her and

to bring her all the joy she is capable of,

enough to burst her heart.

This brings him to the state he is pleased to be in,

all power coming to him,

all authority and fruitfulness.

 

All this so as

to be Person to Person in the Person,

to be in communion with all,

and he knows you, Father,

God before God.

 

 

Mary, Mother of God a                               Mary, the New Eve

 

The shepherds hurried away and found Mary and Joseph, and

the baby lying in the manger.

Luke 2.16

 

Mary, you are beautiful. We all look and are amazed.

Where have you come from?

You are made in silence and

when at last we see you, our hearts leap.

 

There is nothing dominant, nothing necessary about you.

You are God’s good pleasure.

You are the work of grace.

Over you the Spirit hovered and

you best show us this Spirit.

 

You are bone from our bones,

yes and flesh of our flesh,

but what a flesh!

You weave yourself out of unknown strands.

 

You stand there, vulnerable:

gladly we become powerless before you.

You are free, doing as your hidden plans decide,

untrammeled.

 

You make us foolish with a higher wisdom.

You arise in us, and empower all our faculties.

Before you we cry out – is this not your wish –

a new word,

a new world.

 

You take away from us our loneliness.

You give us heart.

You have made all our creation good.

All things are for you – as a diadem.

You are the supreme work of the master craftsmen.

 

All come to you: husband, shepherds, Child.

All surround you, for in you the Father has taken delight.

 

As we gather silently in prayer, you arise in us.

All our prayer is addressed finally to you:

Woman at first and

at last each man’s Eve.

Mary, Mother of God b                               Mary, the Virgin

 

As for Mary,

she treasured all these things and

pondered them in her heart.  

Luke 2.19

 

Mary, you are forever young,

forever new,

fresh as the dawn,

springing from the Spirit.

After all the cares of the night and the labours of the day

I soothe my face in the freshness of your hands.

Smile on me and make me laugh once again.

 

You are young,

all your potential is there,

all possibility, all promise of happiness,

never sluggish, not worn out.

 

Virginal Spirit –

Spirit leaning on the Father’s arn and

drawing the Word into speech –

the Spirit hovers over you, Mary the Virgin!

You are entirely of the Spirit and you inspire.

 

Silence, all-knowing Silence, you captured the Word, powerfully,

and he could not hesitate to be born anew of you.

 

Assumed in heaven, as you race on ahead

you throw your glance backwards to us and

we run in the path you have made through the flowers.

 

Virgin, you call, you invite me irresistibly and I say yes to you.

To you I come, ever Virgin.

You know all things,

you know the secret recesses of my heart.

To you I come, ever virgin.

 

Woman, you pose no threat to me

nor do you call me to decay.

Rather, I shall abandon all things and die for you.

I will speak and act and win, for you.

 

You make us be what we are to be.

You bring us to birth.

A, Epiphany  a                                              Mystery

 

And there in front of them was the star they had seen rising;

it went forward and

halted over the place were the child was.

Matthew 2.9b

 

Father!

Are you absent?

Do you matter?

Are you cruel, unreasoning, idiotic?

The darkness surrounds us.

 

This glimmer of light, shining in my spirit and rising in my flesh,

so gentle, beckoning, where?

You lead me on into the night.

 

Where shall you take me? How shall I know you?

These are frightened questions.

If I could understand your ways

you would be beneath consideration and I should perish with you.

 

You are wonderful.

Your smile puts our stolid reason to flight.

In freedom, for your own good pleasure, all things arose.

Their laws are your playthings, eternal Child.

You take us away on a journey of adventure:

our minds are blown and

our hearts expand infinitely.

You are foolish and so we see that you love.

 

We do not understand.

Why bring us to the darkness of our tombs?

Why confuse our minds and disappoint our hopes?

 

Yet in the end we shall say “Holy, Holy, Holy” and

give thanks for the night and mist

which led us to you.

 

You have glowed in my mind’s eye and

I follow you along strange paths.

You hide your face and wait for me to seek you.

 

Therefore I run out into the desert and

chase the dark and learn folly

so as to follow your star and find you at the end.

A, Epiphany b                                               Theodicy

 

‘Where is the infant king of the Jews?’ they asked.

We saw his star as it rose and

have come to do him homage.’

Matthew 2.2

 

Peoples cried out – and you did nothing!

They asked for help – and you did not listen!

Why should they believe in you?

 

Many shout in the market place, each their different god.

Many have killed and maimed in your name!

How can we believe in you?

 

Then again, why depend on you and remain forever children, irresponsible?

It is time for us to be free, masters of our own destiny.

 

Nevertheless, the stars do speak your praise

and as we read the stars we find the one who rules them!

Reason cannot convince the heart, however.

Reason cannot disprove experience, either.

 

No, in our darkness a light has shone, gently beckoning.

You have called us away from our world

across the deserts

  • despite their laughter and their learned objections –

to come to you

 

You have made us as gods, giving us responsibility over heaven and earth.

This we acknowledge.

 

You wanted all authority to be given to us

so that you could worship us as you worship your Son:

God from God and Light from Light.

 

As people follow their own star and travel ways unknown,

it was in your light that they do so.

As you placed the pain of the world before them,

and as they open their gifts to the poorest of the poor

you stand by them quietly.

The light grows in them and

their darkness becomes as the day.

 

They see that they have become Light in the Light and

they thank you for giving them their freedom.

A, Lent 1 a                                                     Satan

 

Then Jesus replied. ‘Be off, Satan!’

Matthew 4.10a

 

Must we fear this ancient enemy, the ‘Father’ of lies?

 

He is no hobgoblin, no imp,

no figure of fun, with tail and pitchfork.

Our enemy is not a fantasy of children,

nor a nightmare of disturbed emotions,

nor a proof of our ignorance.

Nor is he a counterpart to God, a Darkness to match the Light.

 

Sin reveals Satan.

 

Who is this Satan?

From what pit does he arise?

Our focus is on your grace and your mercy.

Why think of these things?

Is there someone who has chosen sin as his portion?

Is there someone who is committed to his pride,

finally

decisively,

irredeemably,

who calls your mercy no-mercy-at-all?

Is there this someone out there?

to be revealed in all his horror at the final conflict

who even now can whisper evil to my spirit,

lying,

tempting,

dragging me to his agony.

 

You are the Father of truth.

To your Light I turn.

In you I believe.

 

Turn me from Satan, spurned, rejected, forgotten with all his works.

 

Let me bask in the light of your smile.

You have uttered your Word in our world,

exorcising us.

Bathe me in your Light and make me Light.

 

 


 

A, Lent 1 b                                                     Evil

 

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit out into the wilderness

to be tempted by the devil.    

Matthew 4.1

 

Are you evil, God of all, or powerless?

Are you God at all?

Why do you do nothing?

The cry of the world disturbs us, depressing our child’s confidence.

 

Yet, if you are evil we must despair.

If you are absent we can only grit our teeth and die.

You are our only hope.

 

You have placed in us a knowledge of the good,

therefore the evil oppresses us all the more.

Yet we we have seen the land of milk and honey,

therefore we lament our exile.

We wish to journey beyond Adam’s paradise to heaven itself.

 

How shall we understand?

Hurry Lord!

All will be revealed    at the end of time and

in the eternity of the Eastern mom.

In time you seem uncaring.

From eternity you are good.

 

The hour has struck.

The days of summer smiles have gone.

I must enter the dark night and endless time,

there to endure the doubt, the pain.          .

How I shudder at the thought! My sweat is as blood.

Who am I to know what is good or evil?

 

The false masks fall from your face.

You purify our knowledge of life. You draw out beauty from our clay.

 

Ah! from the stricken heart the waters flow,

the knowledge, the joy, the happiness, the power such as I had never known.

The very body of my pain has become the instrument of joy.

What rare flowers you have made to bloom!

What truth there is in this ordeal?

You are just and we knew it not, 0 Holy One.

All is fair and rightly done.

We thank you for our pains.

A, Lent 2 a                                                     Jesus the Son

 

‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour.

Matthew 17.5

 

He is with you, Father,

therefore Moses and Elijah and all the company of heaven

stand before him and

see you.

 

He is not against you, like Satan consigned to darkness.

He is true to you and he speaks your mind and reveals your heart.

 

Therefore you are pleased with him and

he is pleased to be yours,

each giving way to the other in courtesy.

He delights in your work

enthusiastic for the course you have mapped out:

the royal road of the cross.

 

He stands before you,           without shame, glorious,

without falsehood, brilliant with joy,

Light from Light,

greater than Adam the dust from earth.

 

He fathers the world to come

by the power of his grace and

all fall before him, swooning in delight.

 

He is the angel of the future,

leading us forward to your presence and your land,

till we all become open, transparent, without shadow of sin.

 

He transfigures us so that we become light,

Beaming, by many colours, the one Light from Light.

 

We are pleased with this sort of Messiah and

we become pleased with each other and our world

and at last we are pleased with you, Father.

 

Your pleasure in him gives pleasure to him,

gives the Holy Spirit to him,

arouses the Holy Spirit from him,

the Third Person of pleasure,

the Pleasure of God in God,

the climax of the Trinity.

A, Lent 2 b                                                     Jesus the Word

 

‘Hear him.’

Matthew 17.5

 

You are no silent God.

 

In my heart you have moved, in silence,

in the whispers of the Spirit, in my body, my secret language.

 

I search my conscience and my deepest spirit and

the Spirit in me turns my ear to him.

 

He speaks to me, in my terms,

Therefore I can hear him and I am affirmed in my sincerest emotions.

 

He does not thunder or speak of doom.

Here is no bombast nor tremulous voice, no scolding nor deceit.

 

He speaks to me, using my own words.

Therefore he persuades me.

He speaks to me, from me,

using the words inspired from within,

not just the Word outside,

the expressions of others,

the traditions of the past

but an unfailing stream of new things from within.

 

And I have discovered my word and

I in turn give shape to the world to come.

 

We hear him

because in him were made the heavens and the earth and

the whole substance remains in his Word.

 

From the Word comes the Spirit and

the Spirit gives rise to the Word in us.

We hear what you have said in me

because the Spirit and the Word agree.

 

We shall hear him and

hear you speaking and

delight in the tale you have told and

delight in you and

come to you

the Teller of all,         –           Father!

A, Lent 3 a                                                     Cleanses

 

‘God is spirit

and those who worship

must worship in spirit and truth.’     

John 4.24

 

Father!

Cleanse me    from the inherited stain and

from the blood of my own hands;

from the pollution of the world,

from the betrayals of life,

for I am caught here, trapped in the mud.

 

Pour a double flood upon me, Father:

the spring rising from within and

the stream falling from above.

 

Wash me from within

with that living Spirit whom you chose freely to give or to withhold,

that laughing Water who restores our joy.

 

Wash me from without.

by the hand of your Church,

by the hand of Christ himself.

 

Thus the Word and the Spirit will call on each other,

deep calling on deep,

conspiring,

co-inciding in their act.

 

If they do not agree, how shall I ever be clean of sin?

If I am             not inspired,

not instructed,

not at liberty to follow my call,                                                                    not obedient to our teachers,

if the sins of churchmen and

if the sins of the willful have infected me,

how shall I ever be free?

But at last,

by the working of your freedom

within my loyalty,

at last

I am released from the knots that have bound me.

I can be myself, invigorated, and

stand free among the free.

A, Lent 3 b                                                     Slakes

 

‘The water that I shall give

will turn into a spring inside him, welling up to eternal life.

John 4.14b

 

Slake my thirst, Father,

make well up in me that fountain of living water,

rising in me from the base to the heights,

pouring forth endlessly in me and

bursting the clogged centres of my soul,

that fountain of youth

bringing all my faculties to life,

taking me to the highest heaven.

 

I thirsted for the living water ever since first I knew you.

Parched, I traversed the desert these forty years

tasting here and there the brackish wells.

How I lived in anguish and uncertainty,

impatience, despondency

until at last I found my spring – surprisingly – at my very feet.

 

Now I quench my thirst in long cool draughts, delightfully.

 

Alas for those who have no thirst.

Alas, who have thirsted for brackish waters.

 

Let the waters of baptism acknowledge your spring in me.

Let my waters confirm the waters of the font.

Let       the baptism from within and

the baptism from without

agree.

 

 

 


 

A, Lent 4 a                                                     Heals

 

So the blind man went off and washed himself and

came away with his sight restored.  

John 9.7b

 

You are healing me, Father,

by this joy which runs through my veins,

by the joy which comes suddenly from within,

like a shower of sparks,

unexpectedly from the heart of the world,

by the pleasure of the Spirit

by the truth of the Word,

surging in me

untying all the knots, tearing heaven open.

 

You are healing me by those who come from you,

the long procession of the Church,

acknowledging your act within me and

calling me to their company,

pouring the refreshing waters and

committing themselves to me.

 

What joy,

what confidence and reassurance,

strengthens my feeble limbs.

It is the healing of baptism.

 

Free me          from the rivalry of fellow Christians,

from the reticence of people and their uncertainties,

from lack of perception,

from resentment at your gifts .

 

Let us acknowledge in each other, again and again, the work of the Spirit.

Let us empower each other,

giving each other the life-long baptism of our communion

to be completed at the resurrection

as we rise to you, out of the waters of death.

 

 


 

A, Lent 4 b                                                     Enlightens

 

‘The man called Jesus” he answered

‘made a paste, daubed my eyes with it and said to me, “Go and wash at Siloam’;

so I went, and when I washed I could see.’   

John 9.11

 

You have shone in my heart, Father,

with my own light.

You have enlightened me with your Light,

transformed, broken into my own colour,

unique, original.

 

Around me have gathered, haphazard,

events and rituals and impressions,

the scriptures, the chants, the images,

family, friends, the chance acquaintance,

  • these have conspired to spark in me

the gleaming Light, powerful,

given, spontaneous,

chosen.

 

In all of this you have acted.

No one else did it for me.

You it was who drew me to my light.

Yes, You, the Source of Truth:

you have enlightened me.

 

This is the enlightenment of baptism.

not an endless flat information.

This is knowledge about the earth, yes, but more about heaven,

wisdom to live now and for ever.

We know you who transcend all and

we know the secrets at the centre of the earth.

 

Shine in me, Light giving Light,

train me to endure the Splendour.

Let my eyes of flesh see your uncreated Glory.

Let your Radiance

strengthen me to contemplate, unabashed,

the captivating brilliance of your Face.

 

 

 


 

A, Lent 5 a                                                    Obedience

 

‘Father, l thank you for hearing my prayer.’

John 11.41

 

Father,

he is with you,

as he stands before the tomb of Lazarus.

He is of one mind and heart with you, obedient, true.

In his human heart he feels your feelings.

His tears are your compassion for all the dead.

You and he agree.

He is your Sigh in our world.

 

He faces the tomb and does not fear the stench.

– whereas we wince, having no strength of purpose.

Here, lost in the darkness is his friend.

He stands before all our tombs,

our hells, our deadened hearts and stilted minds

calling out to all who can be of God and

calling us out of our bonds, our confinements,

to take us out into the light of day,

into his presence and

before you

to be with you as he is with you.

 

Because he is obedient to you, not willful,

he can command the heavens and the earth.

Because he listens to you, without parley,

you always hear his prayer.

 

Call us by his Voice

and take us to your side

without opposing ego,

free with your freedom,

delighted at seeing you,

without any wish to tum away.

 

Why should we turn from you

for we sought you from the beginning and

entertained death only for a little.

 

 

 

 


 

A, Lent 5 b                                                     Atonement

 

This will not end in death but in God’s glory.’         

John 11.4

 

Father,

Jesus stands before the tomb,

fearless and distressed,

in tears but powerful,

life and death confronted and

he stands before all our tombs

the deadened heart, the confused mind,

betrayal, humiliation, willfulness, disbelief

– what waste, what terror.

 

He will enter into a tomb and take the place of Lazarus:

he is more human because most divine,

he is made less than a man because more than human.

Only the height can plunge into the depths.

In himself he will know the height and the depth,

grace and sin,

innocence and blame,

pleasure and pain

fidelity, betrayal.

In your compassion you send him to experience all these and

so balance is restored,

atonement is made.

 

Thank you      for the sin of Adam and

for all the sins of our world:

they have ended not in death but in your glory.

 

By your gift, sin which was wrong is now valuable.

Atonement is                         not just a payback, a settling of accounts

but a new heavens and a new earth.

 

Such is your power, God,

your sleight of hand, your conjuror’s trick:

sin is now made glorious.

 

A new heavens and a new earth are made and

into this world of freedom he takes us.

 

We do not return to paradise but climb to heaven itself.


 

A, Passion Sunday                           Father of the Passion

 

He went away and prayed:

‘My Father’, he said ‘if this cup cannot pass by without my drinking it,

your will be done!’     

Matthew 26.42

 

Father,

this is all your doing, God of Passion.

You are the secret agent,

as he, your Mind, knows well,

taking the cup from your hands and

drinking it to the dregs.

 

You brought him to his death.

You raised your hand, like Abraham, to strike him.

You hardened the heart of Caiaphas as you did that of Pharaoh –

for you create the heavens and the earth and sway the human heart.

Your city is to be the stage of history.

Your chosen, good and bad, fickle and fervent, Son and people:

only the elect could be chosen to perform your deed.

 

You are in charge of our li ves.

We draw breath at your command, little do we know.

We imagine you are absent and that we must do it all

but, infinitely powerful, infinitely subtle, you lead with strings of love.

You freely accomplish your purposes within our freedom.

Here is a puzzle we shall understand only when we are free.

 

For you choose

to create a new heavens and a new earth, a new race of mankind,

to be Father – for you love to father, to have children –

we are your children.

 

You love to see us as gods and worship us,

forgetful of yourself.

 

You will not be dissuaded by sin

but achieve your ends even more strikingly.

Out of the chaos and mess of our lives

you will draw out salvation for all.

 

At the end we shall stand amazed and say:

‘You alone are holy,

you alone are God’,

and feel our hearts swell with an unknown delight.

A, Holy Thursday                                        Betrayal

 

Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands.

John 13.3

 

Judas betrays him,

Peter disowns,

the Twelve flee and

you, Father, abandon him.

 

There is no one. All support is gone. He is alone.

No knowledge, no comfort.

He is delivered into the power of evil.

The horror, the horror, the horror.

 

Then bursts forth a whole new world.

You have struck the rock and the water flows,

welling up into etemal life.

 

In the kiss of Judas, Jesus knows your embrace.

In the cup of suffering, he finds the wine of joy.

In the lie is the truth.

In the horror is the beauty.

 

Our human degradation is made wonderful.

Sin is undone,

no longer a sadness but a grace.

 

You betrayed him

to show your fidelity to us all.

 

God of surprises, you are holy, holy, holy.

 

 

 

 


 

A, Good Friday                                             Immolation

 

It was Passover Preparation Day, about the sixth hour.

John 19.14

 

You have taken what is best and reduced him.

 

For he has your heart of love

which drives him forward into the darkness.

He has your conscience, and

it constrains him to go in search

till he dwells with the father of lies.

 

You have moved him to take the lowest place,

deadened, passive, lifeless,

among the dregs of humanity and the dust of the decomposing tombs,

to see the horror with          open eyes and

an endlessly sensitive heart.

 

He sees his own body           stripped and laid out and

nailed and exposed to the gawking crowds,                                  a worm and no man.

 

He feels the point of the knife

as you drive all the pain of the world into his heart.

How your own heart recoils in horror as you strike again and again.

It is the implication of love.

You have wept and grieved for your son, your only son,

and there was darkness over the face of the earth.

 

You immolate him, for the sake of the mankind whom you love.

 

You give him the world by giving him to the world.

You give him all by taking all from him.

You give him to death and he masters the living and the dead.

At your behest he has earned it.

 

From the depths

the light bursts forth and

transfigures and transforms and

takes us upwards, ever upwards,

unlocking all the knots of the heart and

the channels of our human history

upwards to yourself and

 

we are blessed, sanctified by this immolation.

A, Easter Vigil                                              Access to the Father

 

And all at once there was a violent earthquake,

for the angel of the Lord, descending from heaven,

came and rolled away the stone and sat on it.         

Matthew 28. 2.

 

You delight in him, the Beloved

who went to the lowest place at your behest and

embraced the leprous and

entered all our tombs,

rejected by all, abandoned by you, Father,

going into a darkness none else can know.

You are always with him, though it seemed not so.

Your admiration knows no bounds.

You recognize him differently now

since he hangs before you surrounded not by cherubim but by thieves.

 

You looked on the one they pierced and you were transfixed with pity.

Your heart goes out to him and

to all whom he joined in death,

and you worship him

because he loved as you love and

loved even to the point of death.

Here is your God, Father God,

God the Son surrounded by a ragged humanity.

 

You delight in us all.

You forget all the wrong, the mess of our human history.

You are present to us all, without any trace of frown.

 

Your heart goes out to him and

you give all into his hand,

all times and seasons, all authority,

the tears of mankind and all our joys.

He empowers and enlivens,

invigorates and rejoices in all and brings to fruition

 

Your sun shines and opens the flowers;

the fruits ripen on the earth’s trees.

You look at all and heal all.

 

This is our redemption. We have access to you.

You have looked at us and your gaze does not turn away

but glistens and we become light.

We see you face to face,       ah,       at last!

A, Easter 1 b                                                 Testimonies

 

Till this moment they had failed

to understand the teaching of scripture,

that he must rise from the dead.

John 20.9

 

In your People you inspired songs and events

– this great nation of storytellers,

your Chosen people of the Word –

and they spoke of the One To Come.

 

Noah, in Mesopotamia,

the one Just Man who saved his family and all living creatures;

Joseph, ruler of Egypt,

the one sold into slavery so as to feed his brothers;

David, King of Israel,

who shepherds his people with the songs we still recite each day.

 

Yet other people too and

other times have portrayed,

the One whom no image or word can master.

 

He is suggested by Śiva.

Rāma depicts him.

Around his grave hover the shades of Apollo and Thor, Horus and Marduk,

for they did not dare enter really into the depths

but hinted at your dying and rising.

All these are testimonies and faces of the Lord

who existed from the beginning and

in whom all are saved.

 

Jesus, is the Christ, but also the Śiva,

for upon his head you sent down the full flow,

not of life-giving Ganga,

melted from the high Himalayas,

but of the Spirit

come from your generous hand,

Father in heaven.

 

Jesus the Śiva we adore.

 

 


 

A, Easter 2 a                                                 Jesus is divine

 

Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’      

John 20.28

 

Thomas bows down before him and says: ‘My Lord and My God’.

You too bow before him, Father, and

acclaim him as God, your God,

who proceeded from you

and came among us and loved utterly.

 

To him you surrender all

as you did from the beginning when first, eternally,

he sprang from your generosity and

was there before you, perfect expression of your being;

and to him you gave to breathe the Spirit,

the ultimate face of Godhead;

and to him you gave the Spirit whom you had breathed forth,

as you heart went out to him and

you saw him as God

 

Because he loved utterly, as you do,

he came among us, body,

straightforward and without guile,

open to all and revealed,

without weakness or crookedness,

showing to us both his flesh and our future flesh.

 

He claimed all his own,

commanding by his presence and his words,

taking all to himself, free,     .

sensitive to all our pain and our joy,

giving us his body and sweating his life’s blood for us.

 

We are vitalised, enlivened, and

we come filled with his joy, given from above.

Therefore we too worship him, our Lord, and our God, and

our primal hope, to be gods, is fulfilled.

 

We too are free, knowing good and evil.

 

 


 

A, Easter 2 b                                                 Jesus lives

 

The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord

and he showed them his hands and his side.

John 20.20

 

He was beaten with whips and beaten down,

pierced with lance and nails,

yet he could not remain dead because he lives from within.

He took flesh from the world but does not spring from the world.

He took the form of this system but not its purpose.

 

From the beginning he is with you and

with you he has your authority and power,

your vitality and energy.

This he knew and felt in himself.

He is first alive with your infinite life.

His interior life is intense.

From within there pour out

joy and initiative, imagination, signs and words

into our world, for our world.

 

He was beaten into silence,

removed from the face of the earth but

he could not fail to pour forth life in other ways

surprisingly, into another world.

If only they had understood his vitality

they would have known that no tomb can hold him.

 

If he were not physically alive now

how could he give our flesh hope?

Yet he was beaten down in his body,

which now is alive differently,

more alive, more physical, more organic, more solid,

huge, filling the whole world, massive.

If he were mot emotionally alive,

how could our faculties be transfigured?

Yet he was brought to agony and great distress and

his emotions now are differently,

more intense, rapturous, ecstatic,

his heart filling even the prisons with joy,

where one joy bursts to receive another swelling joy.

If he were not spiritually alive

how could we hope to stand in your Presence, our sins forgiven?

 

He lives. Therefore we live.

A, Easter 3 a                                                 Liturgy

 

Now, while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them.

And their eyes were opened and they recognised him;

but he had vanished from their sight.           

Luke 24.30-31

 

He stands before you, risen, ascended,

who came among us and

died as no one has died.

Despite our unworthiness, our crassness and our sins,

our acts of faith are done in him,

our acts of worship are pleasing to you.

 

He is not absent from us,

but acts unseen, filling the world with his presence.

He joins us on our journeying,

our flights, our despair, our hopes and dreams.

He accompanies and seconds us,

blesses and approves us in all our variety.

Our eyes are filled with the sight of him,

Unknowingly.

With our breath we feel his Spirit.

With our bodies we sense his resurrection.

With our thoughts we guess his mind.

 

We stand before you,

upright and true,

standing tall, straightforward,

we your sacrament before all:

for we have been touched by the waters of baptism,

anointed with oil and

fed with food made by faith.

All the sacraments make our bodies sacraments.

Our every word becomes a gospel,

our every act a sacrament

of good or evil.

We are the liturgy of the Church.

To us he comes from beyond the grave.

We walk beside him.

He acts in us,

we are in him

one body, one Christ.

He has appeared in us.

We are the finest proof of his resurrection.

A, Easter 3 b                                                 Fervour

 

Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us

as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’

Luke 24.32

 

Father, you burn with joy.

You live in fervour,

the flashing flame of your being,

the intense light of your Truth,

the fire of your eternal Spirit.

Make our hearts burn within us.

Take away the boredom, our sloth,

take away       our securities, our controlled lives,

our instant solutions, our lack of imagination.

Release the Spirit in us,

rising forcefully and

untying our knotted hearts,

allowing us finally to recognise you,

the one whom our hearts desire,

whom we have sought, the blessed vision.

Pull down our carefully constructed castles of sand.

Puzzle us,

take us through thickets and mist,

make us know silence and powerlessness,

dilemma and trial,

for here we shall find fervor.

Renew your Church,

free us from paternalism

which masks you, Father, from our eyes;

hush the tired old words

which do not reflect you ageless myth;

clear out the clutter of customs

which hide your simplicity.

 

Jesus speaks to us from beyond the grave

when all is at last clear,

and reveals to us       things both new and old,

things drawn from the ends of the earth and

from the caves of the heart.

Then we shall know

fervour and good sense,

freedom of heart, excitement.

And our hearts still shall burn within us with an everlasting love.


 

A, Easter 4 a                                                 Jesus the Call

 

One by one he calls his own sheep and leads them out.        

John 10.3b.   

 

I could not endure to be separated from you, Father.

 

Your call is not as though I were far away from you

such that you had to call me to your side.

Your call to me is the door your open before me,

the opportunity,

the kingdom you set before my eyes.

 

Your call is your will for me,

since you have chosen me since before the world began.

My will is your will,

your will is mine,

for we are of one heart and one mind.

I could not endure it otherwise.

 

Show your purpose for me.

Show me the gift you have given me,

novel, new, unheard of,

which I find hard to recognize.

 

Open doors to me, Father,

unclog the channels of my being,

open my narrow mind,

open the door of my mouth

that I may utter your Word,

open the heart of this people of yours,

to receive your Word.

 

Put before me your Christ:

he is the door,

the opportunity for me to be what I am.

He was nailed to the cross and

the hand that blessed is curled in pain.

He will not suppress.

He will not belittle but

to all he calls out ‘Eli, Eli’, and we come to his aid.

 

The veil of his body is torn and

we are called into you presence,

where we have always been

only we lost sight of you for a while.

A, Easter 4 b                                      Jesus the Teacher

 

When he has brought out his flock, he goes ahead of them and

the sheep follow because they know his voice.         

John 10.4

 

Teach me, speak to me, Father and

do not be silent

or I will pine away, without heart.

Tell me who you are and the mystery of your being,

speak to me of your heart and your joy,

your hopes and what it is to be God.

You have kept back no secrets:

you have shown your face.

You have opened before our eyes

a whole world of possibility,

the rich harvest of time.

You have taught us

because you have sent him,

the flash of a flame of fire

who has come into the darkness and

has lit up the whole world for an instant,

with his deeds, his signs, his words,

his feelings, his fears and his joys.

He is you teaching to us.

 

How slow witted we are, how little in faith!

How deaf we have become,

filling the ears of people with our bleating,

our minds confused by sin.

Again in our day teach us

– in silence, in ignorance.

Make us faithful to your Word,

faithful to our Teachers but

above all attentive to the Spirit whispering gently amongst us

turning us to hear your Risen Christ          ‘

who every day

  • since he lives in the eternity of your Day –

speaks again, at every moment,

all your teaching, all himself:

 

and so we can come to you Father

who have spoken to us

from the beginning and

will speak gently, in silvery tones,

forever to our delight.

A, Easter 5 a                                                 The Trinity of Persons

 

‘To have seen me is to have seen the Father,

so how can you say. ‘Let us see the Father’?’                       

John 14.9

 

From always, Father, you have lived

– not solitary, not unloved or unloving, – but

as a Person among Persons,

– or else you are not Love.

 

You, the First Person,

– by whom all persons become present –

freely and without hesitation you place him there before you,

the Second One,

the Person from Person, and

you delight in his perfect splendour.

He acknowledges you, Father,

and you, Father, recognise your Second Person,

and you are there,

both worshipping,

and choosing each other.

 

And your heart goes out to him

expressed anew in a Third Person,

the Person of your Persons,

the Person between Persons,

the Person who makes both of you Person to Person,

the point where your looks meet.

His heart goes out to you.

in thanks for the gift you have given him and

the more his heart goes out

the more the Gift is received.

 

Spirit! – you are this Bride, given and received,

in whom the Father and the Bridegroom commune,

You bind them in your company,

drawing them into your presence.

 

What delight to come into your presence, Trinity of Persons.

We are empowered, encouraged, enlarged, freed

We are loved and

we look on a world that is loved.

This is our secret shared with the world:

our communion together in you:

Father-Love.

A, Easter 5 b                                                 Father, Son, Spirit in each other

 

‘Do you not believe

that I am in the Father

and the Father is in me?’       

John 14.10

 

He is with you Father,

– the Son in whom your soul delights –

he is with you,

– not distant, not cast out,

or else there would be no hope for us

to stand in the garden of your presence,

the true Eden, at last.

He is with you,

he is in you;

you clasp him so tightly as to be in each other:

Person to Person, Person in Person,

God from God, God in God,

for he worships you and

you worship him

dedicated, transparent to each other,

one, without separation, without opposition

yet different, diverse,

able to be in each other.

not individuals, not masks,

not confused, not separated,

one in communion.

 

You breathe your breath in him.

His heart is in your heart and

and the tremor of your heart at the sight of him

makes his heart beat faster.

 

Together you conspire in the project of the Spirit

in each other, at last, by your co-operation.

Together you dwell in the Gift given and received

by whom you have an eternal commerce.

Together you commit yourselves to the Third Person,

in whom at last you commune.

 

Spirit!

in you their purpose is fulfilled and

in you they are united,

 

at last all are God.

A, Easter 6 a                                     The Spirit, from the Father

 

‘And he will give you another Advocate

to be with you forever.’

John 14.16b

 

He is there before you, Father,

free, splendid, wholly himself,

energetic, ready for love,

this Son.

 

How shall you not recognize him – who is from you-

and bless him,

communicating yourself anew,

for to him your heart goes out.

 

Before him, your Word,

you place fields of silence

Before this Light-from-Light

you set bright mystery.

 

To him you present

the One whom you call ‘My heart’, ‘My Love’,

God to God,

Light to the Light.

 

To him you give your best gift:

to receive the Spirit and

to breathe forth the Spirit,

someone to delight his eyes,

to capture him,

to make his heart leap with joy,

Virgin Spirit to the Only Son.

 

You fathered the Son,

Now you are Father to the Son.

This last fathering fulfills the first.

 

Father,

this is your ultimate work:

the uttering of the Bride,

from your heart.

 

 

 


 

A, Easter 6 b                                                 The Spirit, also from the Son

 

‘You know him

because he is with you, he is in you.’  

John 14.17b

 

He is there before you, Father,

the splendour of your light,

free, confident, your Word,

and there surges in him,

spontaneously,

to perform the highest act,

to posit,

not some thing,

not some structure,

not some object,

but Light from Light-from-Light,

Beauty beyond art,

Virgin from the Only Son.

 

Here is someone to cherish,

for whom to be responsible,

and his heart melts before this Virgin Spirit

the One entirely from him,

entirely his, given to him and

he surrenders.

 

Here is the Ultimate Person,

the Purpose of Father and Son.

allowing Father and Son to be truly God

the Person exceeding Persons,

Promise of endless joy,

showing whole worlds of possibility.

 

The Spirit is given and received.

The more she is received the more she is given,

the more you are thanked the more you bless him.

Here is an interplay without cease,

a generosity without measure.

 

At last, you, Father, and he commune,

concurring in the Gift,

who proceeds from you, Father, and

is seconded by your Son,

binding all in her Self.


 

A, Ascension a                                             Jesus ascends

 

‘He was lifted up while they looked on.’        

Acts 1.9a

 

He comes to you, Father,

ascending through the spheres of earth and heaven

like the eagle soaring.

 

He had stooped down in anger at the chains that bound us,

he entered the fray of our chaos and

loved to be with us.

The conquering hero took them all on and won,

he who never distanced himself from you,

who fought with your mind and your strength and

now he comes to you,

free, unrestrained,

with all his faculties awakened in the struggle,

having drawn on all his latent power,

unfurling all the resources of our human nature,

summoning all his power and rising to the occasion,

he fought his way through every circling barrier and

now he comes you,

ascending to his God and our God.

 

How strange the sight as you see him making his way through the thickets,

to see matter made spirit,

the fragile clay radiating an eternal glory,

bringing with him all the sorry tribe of our humankind,

his companions in the victory,

trophies of his victory,

the earth saved,

turned into grace,

 

and you are delighted at this slight of hand,

this contradiction:

we are made unto gods and

now we can set about our own salvation,

tapping on the grace within,

Jesus in us.

 

 

 


 

A, Ascension b                                             Jesus, at the right of the Father

 

‘All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.’    

Matthew 28.18

 

Father, how you welcome him,

who stooped down to be among us, and

fought his way back to you

bearing us in his company.

 

You honour him, at your side,

who once hung between thieves and

lay in our tomb.

 

Now he is at your side,

settled, stable in his abiding glory,

the coiled serpent raised up and not prone to fall,

human nature awakened,

the joy full,

for his task is done and

he rests in perfect activity.

 

Whatever worlds are formed in our space or

other universes created beyond our scheming

he is Lord

for he knows the contradictions of life and death

– the angels have not known this.

 

There at your side,

beyond death,

above life,

he is free from time,

hermit from our world, and

blessing comes from his body,

the thrill of his joy pours out;

all creation is refashioned from his frame and

his silence resounds as music to the world.

 

 

 


A, Pentecost a                                              The People of God

 

He breathed on them and said:

‘Receive the Holy Spirit.

For those whose sins you forgive

they are forgiven.’     

John 20.22-23

 

How I love them,

taken from time and

made without beginning or end,

eternal,

 

since there is in them

the Spirit descending and

rousing the spirit hidden at the root of all.

 

Not for me the faint-hearted,

the ‘neither here nor there’,

the ambiguous, the double-minded.

 

No,

you have put your Spirit in us,

the Spirit

rising                         from the heat of the earth and

cleansing us               by the cool breeze of freedom,

a fire                           refashioning the world,

a sound of wind        from the heart of heaven

teaching us                to speak the dialogue love

realising                     the future in wisdom,          ‘

crowning us               in heaven,

for we are the people of God.

 

We are like-minded,

changed in substance.

We form communion,

thoroughly remade, one Church.

 

To all who live according to the Spirit

who hovered at creation;

to all who live according to the Inspiration

who spoke through the prophets:

to them belong the waters of baptism.

These are our people.

 

 

A, Pentecost b                                              Confirmation

 

‘… and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire,

these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them and

they were all filed with the Holy Spirit, and

began to speak foreign tongues as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.’

Acts 2.3-4

 

You confirm him

who, by dying for all and

consecrating himself,

proved himself as Lord and Christ.

To him

through whom whom all is made and

from whom the Spirit proceeds,

to him you give all

who gave himself to all.

 

Now you affirm him, your Jesus,

by the outpouring of the Spirit.

 

Now he delights in

the smiling Spirit presented to him,

the other Paraclete,

the companion,

the whole field of activity,

the one like himself,

the one who removes all loneliness,

strengthening, confirming.

 

To all who are formed by this same Spirit

as companions of the Dead-Risen,

to us who have been baptised into his tomb

to us the same Spirit-Companion is given.

 

Why withhold our Spirit-Confirmation

why maintain the severity of the law,

subjecting them to our theologies,

suppressing the Spirit,

not recognizing in them the Paraclete

who looks beyond our words?

Why not strike the founding rock and

arouse the liberating Comforter?

 

We shall find our Spirit-Bride

binding all our world together in one smile.

A, Trinity Sunday a                                     Godhead

 

The Lord passsed before him and proclaimed,

‘Lord, Lord, a God of tenderness and compassion,

slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness’.      Exodus 34.6

 

God,

you are,

you dwell in happiness,

beyond our knowledge, immense, infinite, timeless.

 

You are, ever,

with us, or without us,          .

not a figure of our imagination,

not a projection of our needs

– we are the dream, changing, insubstantial, –

but you are, rather than are not

– and this amazes, it boggles our minds –

not impersonal, not some force,

not opaque or emptiness only,

and you show yourself to us,

and we can know you,

and we can speak to you.

 

What a delight           to be with you

– as from my earliest days –

to be in your space,

to live in your freedom.

 

To me you give the world in its beauty,

here to walk freely and

till the ground and

enjoy the harvest with my friends and

in our choosing, in our autonomy, our truth,

we see you arising in us and

we are as gods.

 

How sad for those who do not know you,

living insecure in world of chance,

unwanted.

 

Yet there is much I do not know of you.

Whence this pain, the tragedies not of our making?

What answer will you give?

 

 

Year A, Pentecost b                                     Fatherhood

 

‘God loved the world.’            

John 3.16

 

Father,

you have fathered us,

fountain, source of all being,

endlessly creative, without effort;

surprising, free, depending on no one,

you hold all together and

educate all things

through good and ill,

through making and remaking,

to their fulfilment.

Father,

you have fathered me,

all our fathers have been frail men and

yet in their weakness

we have perceived who you are:

father me!

Abba,

take me into your arms and

there I will the find the one who fathered me.

Take me home to you:

I belong where you are and

from your arms

let me look upon the world and

take it to myself

for to me you give freedom and authority

opportunity and responsibility

and so, – how strange –

we are as gods before you and

you reverence us,

considering our godhead not yours

whom you have enriched and empowered.

What of          those for whom you are absent:

– where shall they find their father;

those for whom you are violent, cruel, arbitrary, irresponsible:

– how shall they become human;

those for whom you are unbending, partial, omnipotent:

– how shall they trust themselves to your embrace?

Only when we have known life in all its fullness and

been submerged in all the horror of death,

only then can we know you who are beyond what we know as good and evil

and then we shall say: ‘Holy, Holy, Holy!’

A, Corpus Christi a                         Covenant

 

‘I tell you solemnly,

if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood.

you will not have life in you.’            

John 6.53

 

You have brought us to yourself, Father,

raising us with the Breath of the Spirit, and

we stand before you,

not slaves, not immature, in freedom.

This is your doing,

for you live in communion and desire covenant.

In all things you have the primacy, Father,

you are first and act first.

To this we agree.

To be with you is reasonable, and

calm spreads around us,

for you are Light and you live in the Light.

Therefore we offer you bread and wine,

the substance of ourselves and of our world;

privately and publicly we are before you and

yes! we are yours and you are ours.

This is said, done, enacted, realised in our world,

while the traffic roars outside and

the business of life whirls about.

You, my friends, who stand with me,

drawn here by the same impelling Wind,

receive me in covenant,

– for this I have longed all my life –

not fellow travellers, not just friends,

not just as we are, unstable, corruptible,

but as we shall be,

in the lasting bond of our bodies made one spirit.

Springing from the waters of baptism,

we take wheat and wine and

we take the flesh and the blood and

we commune,

so to close the doors on this passing world,

and to open upon a new earth with every delight.

This covenant

which he has done in his blood,

we do in our time,

in our flesh become his body,

for it is an everlasting covenant

which the Body does in the Body.

A, Corpus Christi b                         Communion

 

‘This is the bread come down from heaven;

not like the bread our ancestors ate: they are dead,

but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.’   

John 6.58

 

You reach down to us, Father, and hand us food.

What is this gift?

What does it say of you?

What will it make of us?

It is a gift known and unknown

not of our kneading and baking

from a Father we see but do not comprehend.

 

Your look

drives away the night,

eases us of our burdens:

at last we are allowed to be ourselves.

How our hearts expand,

like sails on the open sea

and we live!

 

To such a giver and such a gift

we say:           ‘Yes, again and again, do this!’

 

Yes,

you give yourself publicly and

publicly we receive your gift and

we come close to you,

we can look at you without shame or shyness,

– with untroubled eyes.

We commune with you.

 

You give us permission to interchange,

to be with body and

to exchange flesh and

to become one Body in the Body,

which she conceived and gave in birth,

and who will come again in an everlasting return.

 

You entice us and draw us to yourself.

This gift we receive and

so you receive us to yourself,

and we receive each other by this gift

made by the Fire from heaven.

SS Peter and Paul                                        Primacy

 

‘So now I say to you:

You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church.’       

Matthew 16.18

 

You are first, Father:

first to speak your Word, the Christ.

first to recognise him,

first to love and

first to pour out the gift of the Spirit.

 

You chose Simon out of all his brothers

setting him first,

with     insight and knowledge,

courage and speech:

and he speaks first in time

what you have recognised from eternity:

‘Here is the Son of the living God.’

 

Therefore Jesus names him after your own title,

our Rock – Peter.

 

Simon is for a time, crucified on Vatican Hill.

Peter is for the journey of the Church,

From this rock will flow the waters of grace

irrigating the whole length of our journey

until we have come to your holy mountain.

 

The Bishop of Rome has primacy in your Church.

Let him always be first to recognise the Christ.

Let him recognise Christ living in us, strangely, diversely,

seeing Christ where others see just flesh and blood,

recognising your Son hidden behind many masks.

 

Let him first recognise our gifts.

Then he will indeed be Peter for us

and we shall know him.

 

 

SS Peter and Paul b                                     Infallibility

 

‘Whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven;

whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’            

Matthew 16.19b

 

You are the Father of truth,

sure and certain,

unambiguous, decisive.

When you speak it is done.

When you decide, who can resist?

Could it be otherwise in your Church?

 

What is true of the Church is true of Peter.

We are infallible.

He is infallible.

What is true of him is true of the Church.

 

What power you have given to one man –

to commit heaven itself by his actions:

He speaks – You have spoken:

to the whole Church and

to all mankind and

the heavens themselves are shaken.

 

When the storms rage,

he must, with a word, bring calm.

In the midst of uncertainty he can be decisive.

To confusion he brings clarity.

and we can give our eternal assent:

– or else fragmentation, division, doubt.

 

We have a lode-stone for our investigation and

we can walk unknown paths

secure.

 

He speaks your truth,

till such time as we see not by a darkened mirror

but have come face to face.

And then he shall fall silent,

because you speak to us without enigma and

he will fall with us in worship.

 

 

 

 

A, The baptism a                                        The God-man

 

As soon as Jesus was baptised

he came up from the water and

suddenly the heavens opened.            

Matthew 3.16

 

Out of the waters he comes, and

he sees into the heavens.

He knows the waters of death and

he knows the glory of God.

 

In him is         knowledge and ignorance,

confidence and the trembling before the cup,

the cry of joy and the cry of despair at the cross.

 

You reveal yourself best in the junction of opposites.

 

He is the God-man.

He is God:       he has the strength to be weak and to be become sin.

He is God:       he is strong and with a touch he heals the leper.

He is Man:      at last we can hear the Voice from above.

He is Man:      and we do not fear you, Father, any more.

 

He is weak with love for us

yet, with eyes of flesh he sees the glory of heaven.

He feels with a divine sensitivity:

therefore his suffering is terrible, unparalleled.

 

He touches us

and so he ensures

that every joy of ours will become boundless

that all our actions will become marvllous,

without the limitatios of death,

without fault,

without masks,

that we shall become as light to each other.

 

In his being we receive hope for our being:

entirely human at last

because we have become

entirely divine.

 

 

 


 

A, The baptism b                          Trinity

 

He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him.

And a voice spoke from heaven,

‘This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him.’

Matthew 3.16b-17

 

At his birth the stars spoke, announcing good news,

and the Virgin, in her conception, gave signs;

but now Father, you speak

before the whole people of Israel and

before John – who embodies the Law –

and declare: ‘This my Son, the Beloved’.

You declare now and in eternity:

you spoke him from the start

he is the perfect expression of your being;

he is now and always,

he has never ceased to be your Son.

 

He stands there before you in all his glory

delighting to be your Word,

God from God, Light from Light:

you are amazed at the wonder of his being and

you recognise him, the Beloved.

And your recognition is not empty handed, not some idle statement,

for your heart goes out to him,        .

so completely,

so personally,

so totally,

so perfectly expressed,

that the Spirit descends: the perfect expression of your heart.

 

This is your gift, delicate and strange,

the Third, the Spirit descending, the perfect Gift,

The magi brought him tribute, gifts of the earth, rare and delicate,

but you gave the highest gift of heaven,

given now and given from all eternity.

 

Here, on the banks of the Jordan, the heavens opened and

we have seen the glory of the Triune God.

Here was the purpose of his birth and of the visit of the magi:

the epiphany of God.

What shall he do,

Jesus who stands on the banks of the river,

streaming with water?

What cannot he do in the power of your recognition?

A, Sunday 2 a                                                Jesus the Truth

 

The next day, seeing Jesus coming towards him,

John said, ‘Look, there is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.’  

John 1.29

 

Father,

how you take delight in him,

Jesus, who stands there on the banks of the Jordan!

 

He stands among his own people,

true to your Law,

true to the hopes of Israel.

He stands there, coming to do you will,

come to do his own will,

for you and he conspire.

 

The Son of God stands on the face of the earth

with us who have toiled here so long.

He is not our rival:

he is true to us and all that he says is Truth.

He speaks from your heart and to our heart he communicates you.

Softly he utters himself into us and

he reveals us to ourselves.

 

The Lamb is true to our pain.

Gently he comes towards us, not to crush, not to accuse, not to embarrass.

In his presence, at his smile, all our burdens fall away.

We are set at rest.

Indeed, what matter our sins?

The blows of the iron nails and the blows of all our sins,

by a divine alchemy, are made worthwhile.

 

He baptises us with your Spirit.

Doors open before us and

great casements onto a sea of opportunity.

Vistas of gracious beauty spread before us.

We can see at last the One who fills our eyes.

Here is the One we can love:

the Spirit        whom we love

as you and your Son do.

With your Virgin Spirit, Father,

we find new vigour, an authority over all your gifts,

freedom, joy, a lasting excitement.

 

All is made new.

A, Sunday 2 b                                                Jesus the Communication

 

‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and rest,

is the one who is going to baptise with the Holy Spirit.

Yes, I have seen and I am the witness that he is the Son of God.’    

John 1.33.b-34

 

You are not aloof, absent, indifferent.

Over us you have cast a net finer than gossamer,

a net to capture the heart,

a Breath to inspire our breath.

 

You spoke

to Moses in the wilderness, and

to the prophets in the silence of prayer but

to us, in every age, in the person of Jesus

who comes walking towards us.

He comes in your name,

without guile, Light of your Light.

In him we can see you.

 

You draw us to you and our heart leaps:

at your side we find such peace, such strength:

we are real at last.

 

You have communicated to us your best gifts:

Jesus your Word and

Spirit your Heart.

All your secrets you have shown us.

All your authority you have given us.

We are nothing

but now you wish to worship us as gods,

so great is your generosity.

 

Therefore, at last we can see one another,

without fear,

not dumb before each other,

uncommunicative,

but transparent, open, known.

We are brought to communion with each other.

 

Knower and Known and Knowing are one

 

Therefore

I will sing a new song

in the presence of the Church and its assembly.

A, Sunday 3 a                                                     Leave!

 

And they left their nets at once and followed him.     

Matthew 4.20

 

Life, reputation, customs, ideas,

our race and our possessions and our individuality –

these we leave behind, these nets, gladly,

all the nets which have held us entangled.

We shall leave all.

Out into the desert we shall go, into the unknown,

wanderers on the face of the earth,

and come to the transcendant God.

 

Abraham left his father’s house.

The people of Israel left Egypt and-its fleshpots.

These times, the bright lights, the talkative world

these we will leave and

you alone we will follow because you speak to our hearts,

across the ages you call us to leave all things and to follow you.

 

We can leave all these things because you call us to join your company.

Ah to be free at last and to spread our wings!

Master, where shall we go?

We are at your disposal.

Together we are as wind and fire and flood, adaptable.

Who then can resist us?

 

Let us go into the darkness, and follow you into the silence of the tomb.

You left heaven and Nazareth.

You left the company of mankind and

your Father left you in desolation upon the cross.

Shall we not leave all and follow you and come to the Father?

 

We will indeed seem to have disappeared from the earth.

no longer relevant,

driven out,

but we have escaped and

we live in communion.

 

 


 

A, Sunday 3 b                                                Follow!

 

And he said to them

‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. ‘     

Matthew 4.19

 

Father,

you sent your cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night

to lead the your people to the promised land.

Now you send us Jesus.

 

He draws us away from the humdrum of our boats and our nets

into the unknown, into his mystery.

 

Lead on, Jesus.

It is marvellous to follow you wherever you may lead.

You stooped down to us and spoke in our tongue.

We shall follow you because, first, you followed us,

even to the depths of hell.

 

Whatever takes us along your road is valuable. This we choose.

The rest we leave aside.

 

Come occupy our hearts and

let our hearts respond to the movements of yours.

We shall follow you and you will hearken to us,

for our hearts will conspire

Who then shall tell us apart?

We are completely identified, one.

 

You are the fisher of men.

We follow you into the waters and

catch those who are lost in the depths.

We shall never forget you and

yet we shall focus on our catch.

That is your will for us.

 

You go ahead beyond our sight.

You leave us, you draw us after you.

We seek you above.

 

You will come again to take us with you.

We feel you in ourselves, you are returned in us.

We follow not from outside but from within.

 

 

A, Sunday 4 a                                                Paradox

 

Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:

‘How happy are the poor in spirit,

theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’      

Matthew 5.3

 

You are a God of surprises.

We like our world     neat and tidy,

organised, legal,

programmed, checked,

safe, insured, forecast.

But you are a God of paradox.

You     puzzle,

confuse,

fascinate us:

for you are God, not man.

 

To you

the poor are preferable       not the healthy.

the gentle                               not the intelligent,

the pure in heart                  not the cultured,

the merciful                           not the victorious.

You are a God of folly, absurdity, impossibility.

You are a God of power.

In your folly you show that you are holy, holy, holy.

 

Indeed, in the order of the universe you are known.

In the glory of Christ crucified you are fully known.

In the paradox of the Spirit you are finally known.

 

Let us therefore enter into paradox of meditation.

Let us enter into the silence                        and find the Word.

Let us be still                                     and make voyages of the Spirit.

Let us breath quietly                         and know the wind of Pentecost

Let us be motionless                         and enter into the heart of the world.

Let us enter into a life of risk, let us live on the edge

 

Our values are crazy to the world around us.

We dance to a different tune.

This is our hidden quality.

We are a paradox in our time,

sent to puzzle and confuse and

question and disturb and

 

give a peace from above.

A, Sunday 4 b                                                Happiness

 

Then he began to speak.

This is what he taught them: Happy ….’

Matthew 5.2-3

 

Father,

you are supremely happy and

you want us to know your happiness

spilling out as the summer’s sun at noon.

 

Such happiness in seeing your Son who stands, perfect, before you,

so happy to give him every power and all authority, and

the Spirit who proceeds from your heart .

 

Happy to be free, happy to be love,

happy to form with your word whole worlds,

such delight in imagination,

such delight in forgiveness,

such delight in lost sheep:

this is the happiness to which you call us.

 

Unhappiness is not your plan for us

We know the cries of lament and the tears of loss

the injuries of sin and sickness,

still you have made us for happiness.

At times past, in memory of the martyrs,

we venerated fasting and sleeplessness, and vigils and the scourge.

Take from us the cloying pleasure,

the passing pleasures, cynicism, irony.

Not virtue, not lawfulness, not duty,

these do not satisfy the heart.

How shall we be happy?

poverty, gentleness,

compassion, purity of heart.

These are the seedbeds of happiness.

What surprises!

But now you call us to the discipline of happiness.

 

From happiness we shall refashion the world.

Let happiness of others

the smile of the Spirit playing in our faces,

the laughter of children,

the sighs of lovers,

be the purpose of our laws.

Our happiness – this is our value.

A, Sunday 5 a                                                Preserver

 

‘You are the salt of the earth.’           

Matthew 5.13a

 

You have made us salt of the earth, Father,

by your secret working in us,

teaching us,

inspiring us softly.

 

We are hidden, yet everywhere,

dispersed, yet affecting all,

to preserve the earth and

to ensure it unto eternal life.

 

The whole world is ours and

in the power you have given us,

the power of knowledge,

the force of conscience,

the impetus of the Spirit,

we enjoy all this and

bring all to joy,

amazed, beside oneself.

 

Where there is injury           we are salt for the wound.

Where there is dissipation   we are the salt of tears.

Where there is good                         we bring the flavour of joy.

Where there is need                         we bring the salt of our sweat.

 

We love

everything you have made and

all mankind has fashioned.

 

Therefore the loves of people are not lost in the dusts of time and tomb

nor their memories and deeds;

nor is the work of the past wiped:

  • Plato’s mind, Roman law, Indian yoga;

 

all these we preserve in our Church

 

and we raise the dead:

 

because you have made all this and

you are good and

the world is good.

 

A, Sunday 5 b                                               Model

 

‘In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men,

so that, seeing your good works,

they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.’            

Matthew 5.16

 

You are Light, Father, and

in you there is no darkness,

no shadow of inconstancy,

no duplicity.

 

On the first day you spoke and

there was light and

all was formed in your light.

On the first day of the week, while all was dark,

your Son rose,

the Light of the world.

On the day of the first harvest,

as the fire descended from heaven

you breathed your Spirit upon the Church.

 

Nothing can resist your Fire in us,

whose time has come to set the world ablaze.

 

We are light

illuminating our world,

all its beauty

and hidden possibilities and

all its horror;

speaking your truth

true to you and making all things true,

a model to all,

calming all with our calm;

performing the signs,

heart awakening heart,

spirit inspiring,

enjoying all and bringing our joy,

 

till the shadows cease their haunting,

till we all become light.

seeing each other, without masks,

unafraid, without shyness,

the Last Day as before the first day:

 

Light seeing light by means of the Light

A, Sunday 6 a                                                Brotherhood

 

‘But I say this to you:

Anyone who is angry with his brother

will answer for it before the court.’  

Matthew 5.22

 

Father, you have made us brothers and sisters together.

How we rejoice!

 

Yet,

how often to defend his rights a man has struck against his own flesh!

Success, envy, jealousy, revenge, rivalry, power,

how often these have caused a man to kill his brother!

The clans, the covens, the tribes,

how often these have spilled blood on the ground!

Will there be no end to it?

 

How many crimes are done in your name, Holy God.

How many have wanted to be your champion and kill for you!

 

We are one race,

We have one Father,

We are pilgrims to one city that is to come.

 

My friend,

your talent is mine and mine is yours.

Your history, your pain and your hopes I take on as mine.

I am the Indian and the beggar and the scientist and the madman –

I perceive your inmost self, your inspired spirit

with a sensitivity that comes from an inspired heart.

 

Jesus, by your incarnation we become incarnate in each other.

 

Eternity will be this fireball of exchange

bringing on exchange and exchange of exchange,

in endless combination.

 

Thus we are become all in all.

 

 


 

A, Sunday 6 b                                                Respect

 

‘But I say this to you: if a man looks at a woman lustfully,

he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’  

Matthew 5.28

 

You are free.

I perceive the grace in you,

and you I worship

for you are from God and going to God.

 

I perceive the goodness, the virtue, the pain

and I stand in awe.

Your emotions and your choices

your experiences and your relationships,

the friends that have come your way – and the enemies –

these have formed your person where God is revealed.

 

How should I not respect you?

How could I mishandle you?

To abuse grace is to fall from grace.

 

I reverence

your culture, your state of life,

your history and your language:

these are the triggers of divine action.

 

Therefore I will take pleasure in you.

I shall not      exploit or

collect into dusty museums, or

imprison into reserves.

How could we violate what God has sanctified!

I shall not lust or

use your gifts to my own purpose, or

suck the youth and beauty out of you and toss away the skin, or

touch you without love,

except to do what you want me to do,

to serve you and

to fulfill the hope that is in you.

 

There is in you a power

to transform our earth

into your image.

Whatever the hand of God touches will be victorious over the earth.

Let us mingle our being therefore

and form one body.

A, Sunday 7 a                                                Citizen

 

‘On the contrary:

If anyone his you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well;

if a man would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him.’  

Matthew 5.39b-41

 

Retaliation, revenge, vendetta, feud: when will the cycle stop?

We shall stop it!

 

We turn the other cheek: in defiance.

Our action is a sign, a gesture, a statement:

our honour does not come from the one who struck us.

He can give us neither honour nor insult, for

our honour comes from above, – from you Father.

 

We shall not strike back, imitating the one who has struck us.

We face him again and again and again,

and wear him out with kindness.

We undermine his action and show him he is powerless.

Violence is returned with peace

and peace is established on the earth.

 

And we are rich.

When they take our clothing and our possessions,

no real harm has been done us.

Our treasure is stored in heaven.

We give him our tunic because no one ever gave him gifts.

 

You have given us freedom.

If he makes us walk one mile

we can afford to accompany him again another and

be gracious to him who has been ungracious to us.

 

We rise by that by which we are struck down.

He thought to set the agenda but we have turned the tables,

because You are with us.

We turn sin to grace and

we thank him for his sin and

he will acknowledge us.

Generosity and honour and freedom flow from us and

we give           shade to the trees and

perfume to the flowers and

song to the birds.

All thrill because of us.

A, Sunday 7 b                                                Integrity

 

‘He causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and

his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike.

You must therefore be perfect

just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’       

Matthew 5.45b, 48

 

We make no distinctions

between         white and black, high and low,

rich and poor, learned and simple,

them and us:

for you are generous to us all

How shall we not be universal in our affection!

 

We keep our integrity:         without divided heart,

not loving partly and partially

– divisive

 

We shall         love all and

pray for all and

do good to all and

greet all – for you have anointed us with the Spirit of courage.

 

You show us the glint of gold at the bottom of the pool.

In the brightness of your light it gleams.

What matter the decaying leaves afloat on the surface.

This is the sacred remnant left from the ruin of a life.

This we seize and hold and all becomes gold.

 

You have shone upon us all and given us a blessed rain.

You love us despite our sins.

Therefore we shall do the same.

Wherever we can find love

we shall take it to ourselves and

carry it on our shoulders.

 

What remains of the disfigured face, this we bring into our temple.

We are not shocked or horrified or frightened, we searchers for pearls.

We take to our bodies the sacred gift of their bodies.

This is evidence of a greater strength.

This is our victory.

 

 

 


 

A, Sunday 12 a                                              Apostolicity

 

Jesus instructed the Twelve, ‘Do not be afraid.’        

Matthew 10.26

 

We have felt the hands and

the touch of hands upon hands

going back in time, back and back,

through the mists of time

back, past the rise of kingdoms and fall of emperors,

to the one who chose his Twelve.

 

Here is the new race,

not twelve sons of Jacob by generation

but the Twelve by choice –

the new Israel of the Word.

 

Father,

your Word, who first spoke to the Twelve,

reverberates down the corridors of time

and comes to us,

whispered and shouted and

we tremble at the sound and

we are changed.

By him we are chosen over the course of ages

whom you chosen before all ages,

empowered, authorized;

from him we receive intitiation.

We are sent, legitimate, secure,

a living Organism envelopping the earth

with the universal whisper.

 

My friend,

in you too I recognize the finger of our Father touching you from eternity.

How could we refuse you the touch of the Church:

the hand of welcome,

the declaration of faith,

the chrism thicker than blood,

the call to company and the good fight, and

encouraging, correcting each other,

till the end of time,

when a new heavens and a new earth,

will spring from our Word

handed on,

shaping those who receive him.


 

A, Sunday 12 b                                             Magisterium

 

‘What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight;

what you hear in whisper, proclaim from the housetops.’   

Matthew 10.27

 

You have spoken, Father.

We are not fatherless,

nor are the heavens shut against us,

but in Jesus we hear you:

‘Our Father speaks to us.’

 

We tremble with delight to hear you;

we are not afraid,

we are made, restored;

our faculties come to life,

for you father us in the Word:

the Twelve and the fathers of our church

echoing your Word through the ages

not silenced by our weakness, and

the barren earth springs with flowers.

 

Here are men who have the right to speak to us,

assuring us, solving our dilemmas,

enabling us to speak with conviction; sure,

clear, straight, without ambiguity.

We know and

we know that we know

what you have said, and

we can entrust ourselves to

what we hear and

have heard again and again,

from mouth to mouth,

down the ages.

 

Through the Twelve he has chosen and sent us

until at last your Word transforms us to be the Word

reaching down into the terrible silence of the abandonned,

speaking openly to the whole world,

teaching us the words of eternal dialogue

till the all the words of this world

conclude in one exultant cry:

‘Abba, Father’.


 

A, Sunday 13 a                                              Gathering

 

‘Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me;

and those who welcome me welcome the One who sent me.’

Matthew 10.40

 

Father, gather us to yourself:

from you we have come,

formed at your creative Word;

gather us together in the great home-coming,

called out of nothing,

rescued from the darkness:

for to you we belong.

 

You create in endless variety,

of plant and animals and angels,

the cultures and the languages of mankind,

emitting endlessly from your fertile imagination,

for you love to father

and only in variety can there be unity

as you know from your Son and your Spirit:

how diverse they are and, with you, One!

 

We gather as you have gathered.

 

Nothing human is foreign to us.

Each speaks of each and

like your Son we will taste everything:

good and bad, light and dark,

so as to bind all things together in our body

gathering together the scattered children of God

till there opens- before us, in the colours, at last

the sight of the one Light:

the one Spirit birthing all,

the Word in the words,

the one God of all.

 

 

 


 

A, Sunday 13 b                                             One Church

 

‘If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water

to one of these little ones because he is a disciple,

then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.’          

Matthew 10.42

 

You are one, Father,

one Origin from whom we come and

to whom we are destined,

to rediscover the cave of your heart

who first conceived of us.

 

There is one Lord,

one human centre to our history,

holding all persons together in his person;

 

and the one holy city, Jerusalem:

no other place could stage the play of our salvation,

providing both the knife and the victim;

and the one Church

welcoming all mankind into one,

building the Perfect Man:

an end to the scattering of our race, and

to the dislocation of our persons,

all bound in concord and covenant,

admiration and regard,

choice and affection

forming one Body.

 

Our glance is directed to the One Spirit

whom we all love,

breathing the Spirit and receiving the Spirit,

in one communion.

 

What delight to be within each other,

to become each other,

to share the scintillating variety of mankind in my mind.

 

This is your plan, Father – One God,

giving rise to all and bringing the many into one,

until you are all in all,

till we are in each other,

becoming one flesh,

become one Being,

in you, Father.

A, Sunday 15 a                                              The world

 

He said,

‘Imagine a sower going out to sow’.

Matthew 13.4

 

How beautiful is this world!

where we walk with you as in our garden and

where we feast on the fruits of the earth:

enjoying the hopefulness of early morning,

the noon day sun, brilliant, hot,

the freshing breeze at evening;

the world of music and song,

of piled and carved stone,

all the work of human hands.

 

This world is given to us,

springing from us,

waiting for us,

sacred since from your hand,

given and good and

only a little soured:

dramatic, puzzling,

questioning and painful, resistant,

passing yet adaptable,

barren, empty,

not a vale of tears but a prize to be won,

not a place for abuse but a field to be ploughed,

till the seed is cast,

coming from heaven and

falling upon the earth and

entering below to die.

 

Here is our field: the vast expanse of world and space.

What seed shall we not cast

till indeed we cast the Word of God

and this world produce God,

become now supremely useful,

redeemed, no longer barren,

producing a hundredfold,

gods upon gods,

and the earth will flower as heaven,

a new world, out of this world?

 

 


 

A, Sunday 15 b                                             The laity

 

‘The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are revealed to you,

but they are not revealed to them.’   

Matthew 13.11

 

We are moved by your Spirit, Father,

the Spirit for whom at last you are God,

the Third who,

yet to proceed from you and your Word,

yet unknown,

still is the spring of your love

is the reason of your divinity.

 

We are here, like Mary

she is our earth calling to the seed and

she is our open ear inviting the teaching

waiting, trusting,

who drew the Word to Nazareth.

How could you resist?

You cannot but speak your Word in time,

and your Son at the end of time,

coming on the clouds of heaven.

 

We invoke the Truth.

We shall be deaf to all else and

shall refuse to receive what is false:

it is noise drowned by the wind.

 

Speak as we need,

and we shall bear fruit,

Do not speak except according to our fruitfulness,

or else it is wasted seed.

 

Send us your light and

we shall bear fruit, unnumbered, unimagined,

wisdom, generosity, service, witness, endurance, joy,

till this earth is transformed and

becomes who we are:

heaven upon earth.

 

 


 

A, Sunday 16 a                                              History of the Church

 

‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed

which a man took and sowed in his field.

It is the smallest of all the seeds but when it has grown

it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree

so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.’

Matthew 13.31-32

 

How long will it take, Father,

for the seed to strike root,

in the soil of every land,

even in the depths of space and

there to draw nourishment,

there to be blighted by scandals not of your making,

there to grow             in fruitfulness of every kind,

in sanctity of life,

in courage of martyrs,

in the penetration of your mysteries …..

 

How long, O Lord,

– we are impatient, not having the long view –

this interplay of your Word in the world,

matter and Spirit,

eternity and time,

the extremes being joined?

 

What pleasure,

what delight in this play,

this change upon change,

this exchange till the end of time,

where all receives all and for ever,

knowing no limits to the interpenetration .

 

Who is God and who is Human in this exchange?

All becomes all

in you, Father,

who are all in all.

 

 

 


 

A, Sunday 16 b                                           History of the Archdiocese

 

‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man

who sowed good seed in his field.’    

Matthew 13.24

 

It started in the hut in Elizabeth Street,

this gathering of your church

around the rosary beads of a French carpenter,

this gathering of your people          ,

around the wooden box

which first held the Body.

 

How we have grown,

in number,

in bluestone churches,

in complexity,

this gathering of the nations into our community!

 

We have known        poverty and wealth,

bigotry and tolerance

humiliation and prestige,

law and license,

gain and loss.

 

But, what new springs will you make gush in our desert?

What will you do here among us,

that you have done nowhere else,

new flowers as no other land has put forth,

songs and whispers never heard before,

gathering fruit none have seen,

seeing you where none have looked?

For here too, at the ends of the earth,

you are present and fruitful.

 

Surprise us,

give us freedom, initiative,

imagination and confidence,

and we shall bring forth the Word, again and again,

till the end of time.

 

You and we – there is nothing we cannot do.

 

 


 

A, Sunday 17 a                                              The Dreaming

 

‘The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls;

when he finds one of great value

he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.’   

Matthew 13.45-46

 

You have dreamed your dream, Father, and

we are here;

substantial, only because you think of us,

passing,

come and gone like a dream in the night.

Yet we are never absent from your thoughts,

lover of mankind, and

we stand before you,

imaginative artist of our being.

To give substance

to our frail bodies,

to these echoing shades of Sheol,

you sent your Word, Jesus,

to speak us at last and

for us he died and rose.

This is our dreaming,

our collective memory,

not of things past

but of Easter present.

 

All our work is done between two memories:

of things past and of things to come,

springing from one and summoning the other.

 

Therefore,

in our own day, repeat your deeds, Father,

excell:

let the memory of the past fade

before the dream of our future.

Here is our dream:

the coming Son of Man

– let our dream come true!

We shall live out the memory

which has formed your people and

see in our own bodies the death of Jesus

so as to be with him

in his last dream,

his last day and

rise with him.

A, Sunday 17 b                                            The Word in all creation

 

In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God

and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things came to be,

not one thing had its being but through him.            

John 1.1-3

 

At the command of your voice, Father,

the light sprang forth and

all the variety of the world,

brought out of nothing, and

blessed;

still we hear the thunder:

resounding through all space and

still sustaining,

still we hear the drone filling all the earth.

vibrating in us,

with the power of a didgeridoo.

Then your Word was made flesh and

we hear your Word

speaking to us in one like us,

in Jesus conversing,

till he says all our prayers

in one great cry,

uttered in desolation on the cross,

a new song,

terrible and beautiful.

Still in our hearts,

the Spirit expresses our plea in groans beyond all utterance;

and we tremble at the power of the Church’s plea,

bending heaven to our wish.

 

Here is our common language,

the hum within all sounds,

the universal Gospel,

uttered by the universal Lord,

 

till such time as the trumpet blares forth

ushering in the day of doom and hope,

powerfully calling the dead to life,

till we all resonate in one accord

a mighty throng

to sing the praise of God, and

speak the Word

come at last.

A, Sunday 18 a                                              In fruitfulness

 

But they answered,

‘All we have with us is five loaves and two fish.

Matthew 14.17

 

No words to move your people,

no joy, desolation, day after day,

no prospect of joy or companionship,

no openings, no possibility,

no one asks me to help,

no reputation, no consideration,

all around me there is darkness.

 

Do you want me? I seem useless to you.

What wasted work, talent gone to seed,

wasted resources and emptiness of heart,

time and hope trickling away,

all has turned to dust in my hands,

All is darkness and I am in the tomb.

 

Yet you are and

in this I rejoice,          that you are and

ever will be.

 

Then comes the tremendous upsurge of joy,

the energy which bursts forth

like the light of the first day,

a flash of heaven itself.

 

How shall this fire be cast on the earth?

From my hands let bread fall, loaf after loaf,

fish enough to fill the sea

 

 


 

A, Sunday 19 a                                              In harmony

 

In the fourth watch of the night he went towards them,

walking on the lake.

Matthew 14.25a

 

He comes gently walking, who is your Son, Father,

calm among the wind and the waves

he who dwells with the beasts,

where we are troubled,

walking among storm or calm, equally,

as in his own garden ,

for he is master of all,

being at one with all.

 

He walks on,

not fixed, frozen, refusing all change, and

brings us to the place you want for us

not forcing nature,

not fearful of some corrupt world,

but holding, reconciling, encouraging,

and calm comes with him.

 

One day he will walk through the waters of death and

his flesh will achieve its fullness,

risen from the dead,

flesh made spirit.

 

At his invitation

we will take the bread of earth and

make it Bread of Heaven,

penetrating all times and all flesh and

mingling the energies of above and below,

making our world expectant and

giving birth to Him

who comes on the clouds of heaven at the last.

 

In this,

as all become one,

harmonious in the One,

Father, you are known.

 

 

 

 


 

A, Sunday 19 b                                            In evolution

 

Then Peter got out of the boat and

started walking towards Jesus across the water.

Matthew 14.29

 

You are endlessly creative, Father of all,

always fathering and

fathering differently in every age,

you at whose word

the light flashed the across the waters of the deep.

 

In every age you raise up new forms – we know not how –

new manifestations of your power:

species to reveal your endless variety,

prophets to speak your mind,

bringing us    from nothing to being,

from life to knowledge and

from intimacy to grace ,

gift upon gift, making and remaking

through all degrees.

 

So we progress

  • whatever the chaos of our world –

till we reach our home,

like your Son as he walks surprisingly across the waters,

teaching us not to fear,

giving us faith so that we too can

leave our boat and

walk on the wings of the wind,

living by faith

pronouncing a new heaven and a new earth,

till such time as we become spirit

 

By the power of faith in the Son of God

we have journeyed from nothing to ‘I am’.

 

 

 

 

 


 

A, Sunday 20 a                                              In the work of creation

 

‘Lord, she said ‘Help me

Matthew 15.26b

 

You work, Father, and

you rest,

for you, work and rest are the same,

at rest in your work, and your rest brings calm to all,

for you are supremely active;

effortless

in the expression of your being in the Word

who springs from you as might music,

in the communication of your person in the Spirit,

pouring forth as a never failing stream;

generous, needing nothing,

at work, but not labouring,

productive, effective,

 

It is natural for every being to work.

 

You go on working in Christ Jesus

who ceases to be a carpenter only to build his Church,

his hands nailed to the wood, this architect of our salvation, and

from his silence at your right hand of rest

he inspires his Church,

bringing us to our place of rest and

to the work of communion.

 

Give success to the work of our hands,

free us from labour and give us work,

leave aside the payment but reward us,

take us into poverty and free us,

give us the power of grace and

make us work at love

where all work is joy and all joy is creative.

 

Here will the Carpenter’s Son be seen.

 

 


 

A, Sunday 20 b                                             In the work of re-creation

 

Woman, you have great faith.

Let your wish be granted.

Matthew 15.28a

 

Let us build a new earth, Father,

who built the first heaven.

Let the work of ploughing the fields be quickly done.

Let us have done with spinning and counting and

come to the work of faith.

not for pay but for pleasure,

not for remuneration but for communion,

for faith moves mountains and

brings heaven to earth.

 

Let us take our earth and transform it into the gift

demanded by the One who lives in freedom, and

worthy of your Spirit, Father,

able to please and

to provoke the smile

on the face of the One we all love,

reconstructing the bower of our love,

bringing an offering

inspired by the Spirit who receives all.

 

We shall commune in the work of grace and

your Spirit will give the cry of joy,

announcing the new heavens and the new earth,

the Christ come again and seen in glory.

 

 


 

A, Sunday 21 a                                              In faith

 

Jesus replied,

‘Simon, son of John, you are a happy man!

Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you,

but my Father in heaven.’      

Matthew 16.17

 

It was not enough for him

to calm the storm or

to multiply the loaves and the fish.

It was not enough for him

to speak the truth or

to be without sin.

It is not enough

to be seen from outside,

interpreted by deduction and inference.

 

You had to reveal from within, Father,

choosing Peter,

touching him with the finger of your Spirit and

binding him to Jesus in faith.

Peter looks at Jesus and recognises him and

gives the assent of mind and voice

which only you can inspire.

This Peter stands there, at Caesarea Philippi,

at the headwaters of the Jordan,

at the source of your Church:

Christian with the Christ,

like to like,

son with your Son,

this Rock you set alongside the Cornerstone of our race.

We too are taught from above and

see Jesus sent from above;

Chosen by God,

we recognise God-from-God;

We know from the Spirit and

can sense the Breather of the Breath;

Touched by you from within

we know Jesus from the heart.

We shall hold all together in the strength of our faith,

responsible,

able to move the mountains which you have made,

to free, to empower,

because you have brought us to faith and

we know the Christ from within.

A, Sunday 21 b                                             In empowerment

 

‘And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it.’

Matthew 16.18b

 

Who can resist you,

Maker of the world to come?

Who can resist your Church and

the flood of grace?

The strongholds of denial,

closed to truth and grace, impervious:

not even the gates of hell,

hold out against your faithful people.

 

You have brought us to yourself in faith.

You have brought us to death and

because you live

we trusted in the unseen, the invisible.

This faith is a knowledge unheard of before,

which only those who are in death can know and

so we are victorious and

all is changed by faith.

 

From us stream all that is made and unmade:

even heaven and earth are for us and through us, and the energy of grace streams from us.

 

The rigid attitudes become subtle,

the iron laws become a breath of the Spirit,

opaque faces shall be transparent with light.

 

We shall dismantle the battlements,

we shall refuse the refusal,

enjoying the joyless,

loving the unlovely,

as we overlook and forget,

dig deep and grasp hold of those who look up.

 

Here is the greatest show of the power of your Christ.

 

 


 

A, Sunday 22 a                                 In mortality

 

‘Anyone who loses lose his life for my sake will find it.’

Matthew 16.25b

 

How fine it is to walk in the sun

through the speckled bush

as hidden music fills the sky.

Let it last!

But time hangs over this beauty.

This very joy hints at another joy:

let the Beauty beyond beauty come to me:

this I will have;

You I want and

will puzzle and tussle till I find you,

search and question till I am yours.

 

Ah, you are:

Light shining in a cloudless sky, brilliant,

‘even though the vine fails and stalls stand empty of cattle’

you are there.

 

In this knowledge I feel the fountain of life:

every possibility stands open before me,

even to pour forth the Spirit and all her fruitfulness:

 

such vitality even

to return to our mortality and

to die with the dying,

– to live when others die, no!

that would break covenant with my flesh and blood and

I could not live –

to enter into their wounds – Father, make me strong –

and into their sin,

to take on my shoulders the sin of the world,

not afraid of the guilt.

Behold

a new life issues forth,

new waters from the rock struck and crushed

a new humanity, a thousand petalled pleasure,

the generation of worlds unheard-of, bursting in showers,

the journeying from matter to Spirit,

the long pilgrimage of our race.

Then we shall say:

Indeed you are holy,

who have brought us from death to life.

A, Sunday 22 b                                             In life

 

‘What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and

ruins his life?’            

Matthew 16.26a

 

In your presence,

alone before the One,

in the clarity of the desert,

I stand.

 

I have left

the jungle and the chaotic vines,

the choked undergrowth,

where the beasts stalk, ready to pounce,

where the vegetation decays and grows and decays:

an endless, relentless cycle;

that world of shadows and threats

where all things live in fear and desire,

looking swiftly on every side in terror and lust,

a dank world

where they attack what they enjoy and enjoy the attack,

consuming, eating, competing,

heartless and devouring.

 

This jungle I have left

and now I live,

standing in the expanse of your sun,

communing with you and with all that springs from you.

 

Here is life, and truth and

clarity of eye and soul.

 

 


 

A, Sunday 28 a                                             The consummation

 

‘Everything is ready. Come to the wedding.’

Matthew 22.4b

 

From the start,

you are communion, and

you delight, Father, in the union of your Son and Spirit.

 

And at the end,

when all our history is told,

you will delight in the union of heaven and earth.

 

For you are the matchmaker,

Father, lover of mankind and

you draw us, eventually, out of history and

within flesh you form our body.

You make us ready,

joining heaven and earth,

Spirit and matter.

The whole evolution of our world is

not contest but invitation,

our response to the wedding of your Son.

 

And so we take all to ourselves.

The flotsam and jetsam of life we join to ourselves.

We do not turn away, fearing to kiss the leprous,

for we have fallen in love with every moment,

taking, responsibility for all.

We receive all and

claim all,

refashioning all by the love welling up in us,

transfiguring all with the pleasure of your Spirit,

 

It is the marriage of your Son.

 

And we shall receive each other as food,

becoming one body,

and we shall find joy in each other,

inebriated in our mutual spirit,

 

and all will be consummated.

 

 


 

A, Sunday 28 b                                             The end

 

‘And the wedding hall was filled with guests’.

Matthew 22.10b

 

Where will it all end, this long history of our race?

Shall it be in dispersion, the wasting of all our energies,

in some dull impasse or

in a maze of frenzy and confusion of heart;

just a cruel joke?

 

Are we incapable of knowing?

Can we live without hope?

Do we close our eyes to the future?

Shall we refuse to ask question these questions?

 

No.

From the start, Father,          you have held out a promise.

Before ever there was sin,   you invited us to marriage.

The end of all is not the failure of our human endeavour,

despairing, demoralised.

The outcome will be             companionship and conviviality,

laughter and joy,

pleasure and peace.

 

You will not be thwarted, King of heaven.

All the confusion of our world will be resolved in peace

because you are endlessly inventive,

you who formed out world in simplicity and complexity,

evolving from matter till all becomes Spirit.

 

Therefore,

let all come to me,

welcomed, filling my life as guests,

this whole world joined to me in my wedding.

 

 


 

A, Sunday 29 a                                             The State

 

‘Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar

– and to God what belongs to God.’

Matthew 22.21

 

You live in communion, Father,

and with your Word and your Spirit,

You are Three and One and

whatever comes from your creative hand

bears the trace of your Person.

 

When you created the heavens and the earth,

you formed choirs of angels and

you formed husband and wife,

and all the children of mankind,

to live in harmony and unity,

to work together in society:

 

to till the earth and

to tend all the trees and their fruitfulness,

discovering the capacities of our world,

protecting our achievements,

passing laws in freedom,

 

preparing the ground to receive the Word

not heaven and earth at odds,

not nature versus grace,

not Church and State opposed,

 

allowing your People to flourish,

  • the great tree planted within the field of earth-

 

till such time as we are raised from the dead

your kingdom come on earth.

 

 

 


 

A, Sunday 29 b                                            Liberty

 

‘Tell us you opinion, then.

Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’

Matthew 22.17

 

You are free, Father:

in freedom you made us and

only in freedom can we approach you.

 

Your freedom governs us.

Your freedom is not at our expense,

for freedom inspires freedom.

 

We are free with each other without prejudice to each other’s freedom and

you prepare us by the freedoms of our society:

our freedom to speak,

our opportunities,

our support,

our respect,

 

without licence,

without persecution,

without favoritism,

without paternalism,

your prepare us by the characteristics of a civilised society:

 

to breath forth the Spirit

 

– whom you breathed forth upon the Son and

in obedience and freedom he breathes the same Spirit

for you both conspire and agree and

 

  • from you, Father, and

from us, the Body of Christ,

the Spirit spins herself and

then we are truly free

 

– for where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

 

 


 

A, Sunday 30 a                                              Commandments

 

‘This is the greatest and the first commandment.

The second resembles it.’

Matthew 22.38-39a

 

You spoke your Son, Father,

the perfect image of your being and

he is there, before you,

perfect copy of your nature,

true to you, true to himself,

obedient, faithful copy of your being.

 

You have made us, Father, and

formed our being with laws and structures,

articulated and built,

in our bodies, in our minds and

these we fracture only to our undoing,

dismantling the fabric of our world.

 

Our forebears in society have formed the laws

for us to survive and enjoy the earth and

we become ourselves

within the pattern of our culture.

 

What is your will for me?

What casement do you open before my gaze?

What is your command

so that I can obey you?

 

Deep in my conscience,

deep, deep into the heart of this people of yours and their cries and

there at the heart,

I find my sincerest wish:

it is yours and

will always lead to love.

 

 


 

A, Sunday 30 b                                             Love

 

‘You must love the Lord your God …..

You must love your neighbour as yourself.’

Matthew 22.37, 39b

 

You love him, Father,

whom you recognise as your Son,

perfect outpouring of your being, and

your heart has gone out to him as the Third between you,

the communication of your Person; and

he has acknowledged your generosity and

in his reception, the Gift becomes real:

his thanksgiving declares the gift and reveres the Giver:

here is an outpouring of the same Spirit.

 

How could you not command love,

love calling on love,

love summoning love from the very stones,

an evolution of love.

Wherever we love,

washing the feet of the poor,

hearing the cry of the unborn,

hidden in that love,

it is you who are loving,

though we did not know it.

All loving leads to the Lover of mankind.

 

‘Do you love us?’       we ask of you;

and you ask of us:     ‘Do you love each other?’ and

when we do

we will sense your love rising in us,

in the springing of joy

knowing that you love us unabashedly.

 

We shall create a society of love

whose agenda is not territory nor trade but love,

a communion of love.

We will not break the covenant of love,

despite our differences of doctrine,

despite our past and future wounds,

for love is a power,

creating and re-creating,

allowing and letting,

so that all become enflamed with love and

everywhere we find Love, Loved and Loving.

A, Sunday 31 a                                             Reform

 

‘You, however, must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi

since you have only one Master, and you are all brothers.

You must call no one on earth your father,

since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven.

Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers,

for you have only one Teacher, the Christ.’

Matthew 23.8-10

 

Change us at the heart, Father, and

refashion us,

breaking down the barriers of master and servant,

unbinding family ties and

cancelling our theocracies

for you are Father and we are brothers,

 

convert us and

transfigure us,

raising us from the dead,

for your Spirit is in us

beyond our control as fire,

as puzzling as the wind,

graceful as pools of silence.

 

We shall live without institutions,

beyond words and systems,

society finished,

Church accomplished,

 

abandoning our plans at the inspirations of your Heart, reconstructed according to your eternal Spirit.

 

The changes of the Spirit alone will be constant

 

and the beat of every angel’s wing

will alter the patterns of the universe.

 

 


 

A, Sunday 31 b                                            The Kingdom

 

‘You, however, must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi

since you have only one Master, and you are all brothers.

You must call no one on earth your father,

since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven.

Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers,

for you have only one Teacher, the Christ.’

Matthew 23.8-10

 

Destroyer God,

Father of the world to come,

 

batter down these walls –

we need them for a time

but not for eternity,

they protect our weakness

but hinder our soaring flight –

dismantle quickly the hierarchies of state and family and religion and

 

build up a new society

of grace, of intimacy,

courteous and encouraging and

let us step bodily out of our flesh,

 

so touching the farthest stars,

striding to the end of time

 

free at last with your freedom, Father,

expressive as you expressed your Word,

generous as you poured out your Heart,

 

living now as Trinity.

 

 


 

A, Sunday 32 a                                             Death

 

‘Those who were ready

went into the with him to the wedding hall

and the door was closed.’

Matthew 25.10b

 

We refuse our dying,

for we are like you, Father: living and life-giving: and

we cast off the palls of death, the stoic and bitter smile; and

we refuse the distractions masking death.

We allow mortality to touch us to the quick,

to spur us on to find the door to life

confident in ourselves and in you,

for we live and half-live.

 

You have given us

a time to live and a time to die,

a perishable condition and unlimited hope,

the possibility of failure and loss,

opportunity and space, and

we are determined to live,

cherishing every precious moment.

 

We draw on all our resources and

discover you at our disposal.

 

We give thanks that

we can die for someone,

turning death into glorious martyrdom,

giving value to our short years and

choosing, even now, our pattern of eternity.

We give thanks for

a time to bring to life and

a time to be brought to life,

not endless re-incarnations

but a speedy entry into life beyond life.

 

Nevertheless, we tremble in pain

as we pass out of the womb of this world and

rise into the light of your Day.

 

 


 

A, Sunday 32 b                                            Obduracy

 

But he replied,

‘I tell you solemnly, I do not know you.’

Matthew 25.12

 

Don’t close the door on me, Father,

despite my wasted opportunities,

despite my foolish choices:

have mercy on me,

now that the years are passing and

time is growing short.

 

Don’t let me knock in vain,

even though I have closed my heart to others and

pandered to my ego,

refusing to call you Lord,

 

but open the gates of holiness:

in my blindness give me sight of the coming bridegroom,

in my drowsiness give me vigour of spirit, and

let me rejoice in your presence,

not unforgiving         but forgiven,

not despairing           but invited,

welcome,                    not obdurate,

chosen,                       not proud for ever,

 

recognised as one of your own.

 

 


 

A, Sunday 33 a                                              General judgment

 

His master said to him: ‘Well done. good and faithful servant;

you have shown you can be faithful in small things,

I will entrust trust you with greater;

come and join in your master’s happiness.’  

Matthew 25.21

 

When all our history is done,

  • do we not stand at the centre of time,

with a future stretching as far

as our past recedes? –

and no avenue is left unexplored,

no experience omitted and

when at last, by means of Love, we have become Love

in the last great battle of the spirits,

then at last we shall understand what is good and

we shall look upon all your acts, Father, and

say: ‘Holy, Holy, Holy are you, Father, and

in justice you have done all things,

putting down the mighty and

raising the lowly,

drawing good out of evil,

bringing the dead to life –

a plan worthy of you,

Infinite One,

Just Judge of all mankind.’

 

We shall know the value of our works at last, and

we shall empower each other,

each a judge judging the whole tribe of Israel,

justifying all that is of you,

summing up all our time in one, focused,

brought to one eternal memory, one sentence,

one Word

come again.

 

 


 

A, Sunday 33 b                                             Particular judgment

 

‘Now a long time after,

the master of those servants came back and

went through his accounts with them.’

            Matthew 25.19

 

I have done nothing.

So much stood open before me,

a whole world of the Spirit,

but nothing is achieved.

I have wished and half-wished and

sought and not found a way.

I am nothing in your sight.

 

You are.

You are true and fair.

 

You will look on my life.

What will you see and

to what will you say

‘Yes, that was good’?

For your look is powerful, and

holds and blesses.

Will you say yes and

surprise me, amaze me,

finding pearls at the bottom of the sea,

filling me with joy,

for your thoughts are not my thoughts?

 

And at the end I will look back and

review the winding paths and

  • averting my eyes from what is not of you,

consigning it to the gloom, withering –

perhaps see with your eyes and

say yes to my life,

yes to the pattern made in time and proposed for eternity

yes to the blossoming of what I have planted.

 

Then I shall become real,

become who I am.

My life will have been worthwhile, and

not a wasted joke.

I will take on the words of those who bless me,

echoing the chorus of the faithful

joining their voice to yours.

A, Christ King a                                            Hell

 

‘Go away from me, with your curse upon you,

to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’

Matthew 25.41

 

They

never heard the cry of the poor,

never lifted a finger to help,

never stooped down in pity.

 

They have nothing in common with you,

– how is it possible? –

so unlike you

who lowered the heavens and came to our help,

hearing the cry of your people in Egypt,

hearing the cry of desolation of your Son upon the cross,

for you are a generous God, Father, and

from your heart flow worlds and grace.

 

What character inhabits them?

Where have they come from?

Who is their father?

 

They

have done nothing, given nothing and

have chosen nothing and darkness.

They did not bless and have chosen the curse

They did not hear and have chosen the weeping.

They turned from the poor and prefer to hear:   ‘Go away from me’.

 

Your love is for them a burning fire.

Your fairness torments them.

Your concern drives away their indifference.

 

Who shall prevail?

 

The time has come.

You must settle the issue.

You suprise them and catch them out.

It is the judgment. It is the peace.

 

 

 


 

A, Christ King b                                           Heaven

 

‘Come, you whom my Father has blessed,

take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you

since the foundation of the world.’

Matthew 25.34

 

From the start you have promised us the kingdom,

Father, source of every good, and

the unfolding of the universe,

its wheeling galaxies,

the unravelling of the species, and

the loom of language:

all this is your preparation, in the blood of the lamb,

for our kingdom.

 

Our weakness and our sins have not perturbed you,

far-seeing Father

for you anticipate all,

and only redouble your inventiveness,

sending the God-man among us.

 

He clothed us in light and

gave us his food flesh and blood to drink,

walked among us, and

called us his friends and

took his place in our tombs.

 

All this because you delight to express and to give.

You need nothing and you give everything,

even your Spirit

whom the Son received as the finest, highest Gift.

 

Why be surprised

when you bless those who have blessed,

feeding the hungry and clothing the needy.

 

They served their king         though they did not know it.

They gained their heritage though they did not seek it.

 

Are they not like you?

You cannot tum from them.

They must come to you and

be set near you:

they share the same nature and the same heart.

 

About interfaithashram

Rev. Dr. John Dupuche is a Roman Catholic Priest, a senior lecturer at MCD University of Divinity, and Honorary Fellow at Australian Catholic University. His doctorate is in Sanskrit in the field of Kashmir Shaivism. He is chair of the Catholic Interfaith Committee of the Archdiocese of Melbourne and has established a pastoral relationship with the parishes of Lilydale and Healesville. He is the author of 'Abhinavagupta: the Kula Ritual as elaborated in chapter 29 of the Tantraloka', 2003; 'Jesus, the Mantra of God', 2005; 'Vers un tantra chrétien' in 2009; translated as 'Towards a Christian Tantra' in 2009. He has written many articles. He travels to India each year. He lives in an interfaith ashram.
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2 Responses to Poetic homilies, Year A

  1. Thanks, Patricia,
    They date from a long time ago – middle 90’s. You suggestion is good. They could be put on Kindle or even printed? What do you think?
    Fr John

    Like

  2. Patricia Chaves says:

    Dear Father John, Beautiful words and profound sentiments. I will need to print this out to read a little bit at a time. Is it all already in a book? Best wishes,

    Patricia

    >

    Like

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