A, Advent 1 a Fulfillment
‘The time has come’.
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. ‘
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:
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
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.
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.’
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.
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?
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’.’
Father, from the beginning you said your Word.
You expressed your Word and
he is there before you,
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.
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-oJ–Peace.
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.
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,
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,
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.
From him, for him,
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.
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,
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.
Mary, you are forever young,
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.
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.’
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!’
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,
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,
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,
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.
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?
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.
He is with you, Father,
therefore Moses and Elijah and all the company of heaven
stand before him and
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
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.’
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,
co-inciding in their act.
If they do not agree, how shall I ever be clean of sin?
If I am not inspired,
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,
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.‘
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,
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
A, Lent 4 a Heals
So the blind man went off and washed himself and
came away with his sight restored.
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 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.’
You have shone in my heart, Father,
with my own light.
You have enlightened me with your Light,
transformed, broken into my own colour,
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,
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.’
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
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.’
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
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!’
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.
Judas betrays him,
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.
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.
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!’
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.
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.
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,
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?’
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.
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.
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 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.
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’?’
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,
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:
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?’
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.
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.’
He is there before you, Father,
free, splendid, wholly himself,
energetic, ready for love,
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.
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.’
He is there before you, Father,
the splendour of your light,
free, confident, your Word,
and there surges in him,
to perform the highest act,
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
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.’
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,
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,
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.’
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,
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.’
How I love them,
taken from time and
made without beginning or end,
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.
you have put your Spirit in us,
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.’
You confirm him
who, by dying for all and
proved himself as Lord and Christ.
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 whole field of activity,
the one like himself,
the one who removes all loneliness,
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
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,
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.’
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.
you have fathered me,
all our fathers have been frail men and
yet in their weakness
we have perceived who you are:
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.’
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
so to close the doors on this passing world,
and to open upon a new earth with every delight.
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.’
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.
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!’
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.’
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.’
You are the Father of truth,
sure and certain,
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
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.
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,
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
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.’
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 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.’
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.’
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.
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,
not dumb before each other,
but transparent, open, known.
We are brought to communion with each other.
Knower and Known and Knowing are one
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.
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,
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. ‘
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.’
You are a God of surprises.
We like our world neat and tidy,
safe, insured, forecast.
But you are a God of paradox.
for you are God, not man.
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 ….’
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?
compassion, purity of heart.
These are the seedbeds of happiness.
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.’
You have made us salt of the earth, Father,
by your secret working in 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.
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.’
You are Light, Father, and
in you there is no darkness,
no shadow of inconstancy,
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,
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.’
Father, you have made us brothers and sisters together.
How we rejoice!
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.
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.’
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.
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.’
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
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.’
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.
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,
from him we receive intitiation.
We are sent, legitimate, secure,
a living Organism envelopping the earth
with the universal whisper.
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
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.’
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:
A, Sunday 13 a Gathering
‘Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me;
and those who welcome me welcome the One who sent me.’
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.’
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
‘Imagine a sower going out to sow’.
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:
questioning and painful, resistant,
passing yet adaptable,
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.’
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,
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
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.’
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 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.’
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 bluestone churches,
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.
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.’
You have dreamed your dream, Father, and
we are here;
substantial, only because you think of us,
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.
in our own day, repeat your deeds, Father,
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.
At the command of your voice, Father,
the light sprang forth and
all the variety of the world,
brought out of nothing, and
still we hear the thunder:
resounding through all space and
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. ‘
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.
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.
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.
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 ”
You work, Father, and
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;
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,
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.
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
‘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.’
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,
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,
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.’
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.’
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.
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?’
In your presence,
alone before the One,
in the clarity of the desert,
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.’
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
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’.
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?
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,
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.
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.’
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?’
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,
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.’
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.’
Change us at the heart, Father, and
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
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,
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.’
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.’
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.’
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.’
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,
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,
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.’
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 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.’
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?
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.’
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,
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.